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Slow Dancing in the Dark

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The soft blue light of Discord lit Dream’s face as he scrolled mindlessly through various servers, and checked DMs he didn’t really care about, and probably would never respond to.

No particular reason, it was mostly because he had nothing else to do.

He had just got off of a call with George, they had been talking for hours while Dream wrote down any video ideas that came to mind by him running around on a single player world and scrolling through the creative item menu. All the while George was complaining about coding a plugin, and Dream was constantly having to tab out and watch George’s screen-share as he ran through the code to try and find what went wrong, laughing at his incessant grumbles.

And now it was late evening, even though Dream, George, and Sapnap had more or less completely synced their sleep schedules, George was a mess of yawning and mumbled words by 11:30 (5:30 for him). Sure - it was absolutely hilarious, and honestly adorable. It was fun to tease him for it, hearing him pause for a good while just to process their words, or him cutting off his sentences with a yawn. But George also needed sleep, so he had managed to get them, albeit reluctantly, to leave the call and get some rest.

Though this meant Dream was getting that melancholy lonely feeling after leaving a call, the sparks and warm fuzzy feeling from being with a person he considered his soulmate had gone in the past ten minutes, and he was left in a weird drifting haze of having nothing to do, but not feeling tired enough to go to sleep.

He stifled a yawn with his hand.

Okay fine , he was tired, he just didn’t want to go to sleep yet.

His eyes clearly did though, and fast forward 15 minutes he was having to physically work to keep them open, so, he made his way downstairs, mentally kicking his past self about deciding to go to bed so late last night. After closing the blinds, making sure Patches had water for the night, locking the back door and double checking the front, squinting and cursing at the brightness of the hallway light, he made his way back up the stairs, a layer of misty haze over his eyes in his tired state, but the sound of a notification lifted the blur ever so slightly. Internally groaning, he grabbed his phone, and saw he had a notification from his emails.

Emails?

He frowned.

The only notifications that got through to his emails were either his business emails, that someone personally filtered through to get out junk mail, or it was George or Sapnap, and… they would never use email?

Feeling his vision get clearer, he hastily opened up the email, images of his friends in trouble racing through his now more alert mind.

Though what he saw was entirely different:

 

Dear Dream,

Strictly Come Dancing has decided to reach out to you and your content creator associates to participate in a charity event this year, held at Elstree Studios. Commencing at the beginning of September. It would be a 9 week programme 4-6 days-a-week work time depending on your current schedules. 

 

There were then a few paragraphs of links, addresses, contracts, contacts, and other details Dream skipped over, a baffled expression on his face - he can read those tomorrow.

 

If you wish to take part, please have all considering participants join the scheduled call for August 22nd at 8 BST, but be aware that there are only 16 places in the event. Here we will discuss details and technicalities, while also answering any questions you may have.

Wishing you well!

Strictly Come Dancing Studios.

 

Dream’s mouth quirked upwards, the slight amount of adrenaline from the thoughts of his friends being in trouble rapidly ebbing away, scorning at himself for even thinking of that.

But the email itself… well… what ?

And the only thought he had, at 12:13, after receiving possibly a life changing decision was:

It is too late for this .

He quickly screenshotted the email (having to take 3 separate photos to get it all in) and dropped it in the DreamSMP discord server announcements channel, captioned with a simple ‘thoughts?’, and turned his phone off.

Then promptly fell asleep.

 

—————————

 

Dream awoke naturally next morning, (feeling actually refreshed for once!), no Patches jumping on him, no alarm clock screaming at him to do things he simply did not want to, instead just gentle light seeping through the white curtains, barely peeking through a gap in the middle where he hadn’t closed them properly.

The time was 10:24, meaning he managed over 10 hours of sleep, regardless of the bombshell that had been dropped last night.

Oh heck, last night .

He didn’t know much about Strictly, he remembered watching it with his parents and some friend of theirs he didn’t know in their living room at a young age. They had asked if he wanted to join, and a 10-year-old Dream who wanted to get on their good side so he could get a PC for his birthday, had immediately responded with an excited ‘Yes!’ and shared a blanket with his dad.

He didn’t remember too much about the 30 or so minutes he watched, apart from extensive and extravagant movements and choreography, jokes that (at least at the time) he did not find funny yet everyone laughed at, colourful and sparkly outfits, and now imagine all of that covered head-to-toe in glitter and sparkles.

And if their content involved a bunch of gamers who left the house once a week and probably barely did any exercise, instead choosing to commit their time to Minecraft role play, a lot of swearing, or just being a bunch of dumb friends fooling around and doing dumb stuff, then why would they choose his circle? I mean, the very person they were asking wouldn’t be able to compete? He hadn’t face revealed yet and hadn’t been planning on it- well, not that much at least, and there was no way he could dance with a mask on.

The more he thought about it, the more ridiculous it all seemed, and the more likely the possibly it was just a dream was becoming.

Frowning, Dream took out his phone as he rubbed sleep out of his eyes, momentarily flinching at the brightness, before adjusting it down, then checking to make sure that email was real.

His business email was complicated to get into, the passwords had to be secure, so instead he went onto discord to check the server, smiling to himself at the idea that he could have conjured such an elaborate dream.

But no, there it was, the email from last night, now with a few responses.

 

Discord Server: DreamSMP #ann-responses

AweSamDude, Badboyhalo… Read More

 

Hannahxxrose 00:28

woah what omg that sounds so awesome how is this real???

 

Tommyinnit  08:49

GWTA

SRIPSSULT?

SERIOSUFL?

SEIODUSLY?

SERIOUSLY?

 

FoolishG 09:22

YOO THATS SO AWSOME HO YMG OSH IM SO EXCITED THATS GONA BE SO COOL

 

skeppy 9:34

wait this sounds sick dude

 

Dream scrolled through an abundance of other excited messages, landing on the one he was looking for.

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:11

LETS GOOO THIS SOUNDS SO FUN

 

He beamed at the other’s excitement, and began typing out a message of his own.

 

Dream 10:29

alright well make sure to join that call @everyone and we’ll post notes in the new server channel if you can’t make it so dw :)

 

He quickly created three new channels (#scd-info-announcements, #scd-ann-responses and #scd-general) and impulsively for no reason whatsoever sent ‘ yes ’, receiving discord pings in the background as he worked.

 

Wilbur Soot 10:30

alright cool :))

 

Tommyinnit 10:31

sick!! might join a little late idk @Tubbo_ you still wanna stream w me tonight? we can always put it to another day?

 

Badboyhalo 10:31

okay !! owo

 

Satisfied with the responses, he logged off, got dressed into simple trousers and a black hoodie (with a certain someone’s smile embroidered on the front, sue him, he has comfortable clothes, and those same clothes were in his wardrobe so why not), had a simple breakfast after giving Patches hers, and opened up the curtains to give some semblance of the functioning household he definitely resided in.

Until then, he decided to spend his time - in true Dream fashion - doing research on Strictly Come Dancing. He had an autoplay of a long list of videos that seemed somewhat informative on one of his monitors, on the other he went onto Hypixel, smiling at the freaking out members of the chats and the rush of people surrounding his character, he dropped a blithe ‘hi’ in the chat, before nicking and going onto a random parkour housing just to do something with his fingers.

Now don’t overestimate him, he knew next to nothing about dance, the only thing that could count as ‘knowledge’ were few and far between dance performances he had seen, two at his high school, occasional dance numbers at Christmas pantomimes, or just getting tickets to shows with family or friends. He wasn’t a big watcher of any kind of reality shows, meaning if he did see dance it wasn’t at all the technical side, though nonetheless he enjoyed the dances. He could appreciate quick movements that looked difficult or particularly impressive lifts, and enjoyed the next few hours imagining his friends in places of the dancers on the videos, still finding it absolutely wild that this was happening.

At some point Patches had came into his room, milling around or scavenging in his bin. With an eye roll, Dream picked her up, ignoring her ridiculous flailing around as he placed her on his lap. With a discontented glare that turned into somewhat of a staring contest (Dream won), she finally lay down and got herself comfortable.

Dream had read a brief description of each of the dances, and watched a video or two of those that seemed interesting. His mind was kept busy and well entertained imagining his friends in the positions of the dancers, some of the more… suggestive movements or outfits were particularly hilarious, and Dream found himself positively grinning. He even sent one of the video links to Sapnap with a ‘dis u?’. Even if he couldn’t take part himself, watching his friends dance in pairs together would be incredible, if it all worked out of course.

He checked the time, 12:56, and decidedly paused his current video and went to the Hypixel hub, contemplated what to do with Patches, before picking her up and making up some breakfast, grabbing left over pasta from last night.

He logged into his business email and read through the letter again, making an effort to take in the details his addled tired brain didn’t compute last night, so he’d have something to discuss on the call later.

 

——————

 

The call was filled with brief introductions and too-wide smiles (though that was probably custom, it was TV production of course), then they explained the concept of the show.

 

( ‘Alright’ Max, one of the behind the scenes event organisers, said, sounds of typing coming from his end, ‘well have you lot seen the show before?’

There were a few murmurs of agreement, but mostly blank looks or ‘no’s throughout the call of 23 people.

‘Okay, well strictly come dancing is… well, a dancing show’ some polite and friendly laughs, ‘there are 10 pairs who take part in the competition, you’ll be given a type of dance, a song you dance to, and a professional dancer to teach you the choreography, also- well just how to dance in general. Usually you’d be paired with a professional but this event is different, so that’s not happening, instead you’re paired with each other.

You’ll have a 5 days a week training programme at an assigned location, and it will be pretty physically trying, so it is highly recommended to practice some basic cardio and exercise in the build up from now until the first day of training. So… let’s see, okay yeah Monday to Friday will be training, Saturday will be the day of the event, and Sunday is your day off, you can… do whatever honestly.

When you do your dance on Saturday, after you’ve all danced, there’ll be a short interval of an hour break, then we have the dance off to decide which pair will be leaving the show, the two pairs with the least points will go up against each other, do the same dance they performed that day but now with feedback from the judges, and a lot more pressure, and the losing pair are out.. The second half after the interval isn’t aired to the public until a day later, so no leaking the results!

We repeat this process until there are only 3 pairs left, and then we have a winner, if you make it far enough you might have to learn two dances for the finale, or have to re perform an old dance, winners get bragging rights- just kidding, I mean that too but also the Strictly Come Dancing trophy, and 30 grand

And then the only other thing is we have like an extra mini-series kinda thing called It Takes Two, usually pairs will join for the chat-show for a short section - usually 10 minutes - and this could happen multiple times, though of course it depends when you leave the series, but everyone will be on the show at least once, and if you win the show, you could be on for five times or maybe more. If they want you on that show show, you’ll be contacted through us, and if you really can’t make it that’s alright.

I know this is probably a lot to take in, but we’ve emailed uhh… Dream? …Emailed Dream a leaflet he can forward on to everyone else containing the information needed. Alright, any questions?

Max finally breathed and took a swig of water, fingers drumming on his desk.

‘Are there any apartments or flats or… just housing near Elstree studios? Where will we be staying?’ Sam chimed in.

‘Oh yeah of course! We rent out a large house that you all can stay in unless you’d rather stay elsewhere, but the show can’t cover the money for that. It’s a lovely place anyway anyway, you have a bedroom each, a kitchen between you all - though it’s pretty sizeable, and you’ll probably be going out a lot anyway, and then there’s 6 bathrooms.’

The next twenty minutes were spent with various questions being asked, until they each left with a smile or a wave, a lot of the Dream SMP had moved to vc 3 in the discord server, but now it was only Dream, George and Sapnap left.)

 

Things felt so much more real now, people were discussing visas and booking plane flights, signing the contract they had been emailed, the insane reality that they were actually doing this was only just sinking in.

The DreamSMP discord server was extremely active, its members each excited for either themselves or for everyone else to enjoy the experience.

And Dream had a bit of a dilemma.

The problem was: he really wanted to do it.

Everything they spoke about, every video he had looked at, it all looked so genuinely fun.

He wanted to learn to dance with one of his friends, he wanted to laugh with them about their outfits, he wanted to see those breathtaking lights in the flesh, he wanted to meet everyone down in the UK, he wanted to talk and laugh with them and wake up to their voices, he wanted to meet them at the airport and be able to smile and wave at them, he wanted to see their reactions to his face to be completely honest, his secret being uncovered was thrilling. And oh, he’d finally meet George, and be able to hold him and hug him and just... exist next to him. He wanted to truly enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

He had spent the past year looking forward to this moment, and he wanted to meet everyone at the same time as them, because the truth was, if he didn’t do this now, when he’d finally meet with everyone they’d have already done it. A train was coming for him and either he’d hop on or let it pass. He couldn’t help the bitter bite of jealousy at the thought of his friends seeing each other before him, without him.

But he’d have to make sacrifices, it would completely push forward his face reveal, which he had only just begun thinking about, and if he did show up, he’d go from almost complete anonymity (because even Dream wasn’t Callahan level) to being broadcasted on a television show that's publicity went further than his own audiences.

It wasn’t even the possibility of hate that he was worried about, he’d been there, done that. It was more of the fact that it was frightening enough to be on stream and need to entertain a live audience with friends, but combine that with… atleast 20 new people he didn’t know, who did things completely differently, and then for his entire self to be presenting a dance for the public to observe and scrutinise… it just felt so...  off , he couldn’t imagine himself doing any of that at all.

When he started all of this, at least he had something he could hold close to his chest, to distance himself or ground himself when the world got just a bit too scary. When he saw comments or edits or… anything online, atleast it didn’t have his real life self in it, it was nice to have some separation from the hectic world that Youtube and Twitch was.

And honestly, being a ‘faceless’ content creator was, well kind of his brand. It was a part of who he was, the iconic mask was in nearly every fanart, people would speculate on it or ask about it, he could make jokes about it if it meant he couldn’t do something.

But if he took this golden opportunity… he would lose all of that.

Sure it was annoying sometimes, but maybe it was easier to stay where he was, it wasn’t much of a problem, sure he thought about it fairly often, and missed out on some undeniably incredible opportunities (and here he was making the decision whether or not to add another to that list), though it felt like his identity would be stripped away by this. He had accidentally made himself a comfort zone, a glazed-over bubble that he could hide in, and if he took the slightest step outside, it would… undoubtedly pop.

‘You don’t have to if you don’t want to Dream’ George spoke up, voice sounding slightly softer, catching Dream’s attention.

Dream had voiced his concerns to his two best friends, both of which sympathised. They were sitting in vc-3, George screen sharing him just running around his own minecraft world, surrounded by an unnatural looking mountain of sand, adding more himself as he sprinted around, there were sounds of occasional typing from Sapnap’s end, and Dream was just sitting at his desk, thinking. They had their own system, and had for a while, Dream could sense George and Sapnap almost buzzing with excitement and questions and just , wanting to gush and ramble about their thoughts on the entire affair (easy for them to say a bitter thought crossed through his mind, misdirected frustration of course) but for years they had decided that if someone was struggling, they came first, Bro Code 101 or whatever.

No matter the outcome of his own situation, Dream would be happy to listen or watch the other two do something great! Don’t get him wrong, Dream could be salty sometimes, but not for something as big and amazing as this, and certainly not for his best friends.

But that could wait, because right now he needed to sort this out.

‘See here’s the thing, that’s the problem, I do want to go… just I feel like I can’t, there’d… be a lot of stuff to figure out.’ Dream responded, rubbing at the side of his face in discontentment.

‘I mean, dude, okay well I get that, but if we break it down all it is that would suck for you is having to do a face reveal and… well, body reveal-’

Body reveal?’ George said flippantly in a dumb accent, cutting Sapnap off, and Dream smiled at the image of George doing that thing where he tilts his head to the side and raises an eyebrow that appeared in his head, ‘That makes it sound so weird what?? Body reveal.’

‘Shut up dude! You’re an idiot like- what do you want me to say?’ Sapnap shot back, feigning annoyance, ‘I mean it’s a fairly big deal, it’d make sense to be nervous, I just think like, you were talking to us about possibly face revealing soon right?’

Dream hummed.

‘And you had said you didn’t want to do it like, at the end of a video or something, you wanted to do something at like an event?’

Dream was pretty sure he knew where he was going with this.

‘I don’t think Strictly Come flipping Dancing is the way I want to face reveal Sapnap, they don’t-‘

‘No no no I’m not even kidding, I don’t even mean on there, like we probably won’t be going straight to the show thing right?’ Hmm, he had a point.

‘Like we could all have an awesome meet up and stuff first to settle in,’ George jumped in, catching on with Sapnap’s point, ‘you could do it then, and then everyone has time to adjust to it right? I mean everyone will need, hmm... at least 2 weeks to recover from just how attractive Dream is.’

Dream scoffed, but he was thankful for the change in tone.

‘You… ughh you have a point, okay well. If I did do that- from now I’d have what like, were people talking about getting a flight down there in a week?’

‘Week and a bit yeah!’

‘Alright, so I’d have time to… brace myself or whatever, and then if I- well no okay the fans would be having an absolute field week, and it might be slightly overshadowed by the meet up and the show itself right?’

‘I’ll be honest Dream,’ George responded, ‘I’m pretty sure the face reveal would overshadow the meet up.’

‘You are not helping our case here dude’ Sapnap rolled his eyes.

‘You know what? I’ll- I’ll sleep on it, they say that works I don’t know there’s a lot in my mind right now and I kinda wanna just chill for a bit, thanks guys for helping me, genuinely I really appreciate it, but I can literally feel excitement radiating off you that’s bad for the environment guys come on.’

‘What- you’re literally taking a plane to go to a dance competition I don’t know sounds like you suck Dream.’

‘Sounds like you’re a lucky British idiot.’

‘Not so lucky now are you Dream?’

George's voices went oddly low at the end, and Dream was taken aback, he raised an eyebrow and scoffed, thankful to leave on a good note and to have his thoughts calmed down more. He bid the other two goodnight, and began closing his tabs, eyes lingering on the discord server with the summary notes of what the show would entail.

Sleep on it you idiot .

…Isn’t this exactly what I did yesterday? Well, okay no I know more now, there’s more to think about.

An inkling in his mind reminded him sleep doesn’t solve all your problems, and he’d still have to make a decision, but it was debatable whether that little voice was right or not.

Dream finished his night routine, then slipping into the warm covers of his bed, hugging a pillow close to his chest, he dreamed of dancing and sparkles, training and airports and planes flying through his mind. He dreamed of meeting the Dream Team, he dreamed of seeing George smile in real life, and seeing him in some fancy suit while they laughed together about the absurdity of the situation. He dreamed of fun, and adventure, and woke up with bittersweet emotions swirling around in an anxious messy hole in his stomach.

Dream didn’t know if he believed in ‘signs’ or anything, (and maybe this next decision was impulsive and stupid and he'd regret it later), but he did know one thing.

He was going to sign up.

Chapter Text

The next few days passed in a blur, time itself seemingly sensing Dream’s excitement and nervousness, and deciding to speed up the process.

Everyone else who had applied spent most of their time screaming to each other about new things they had found out about the show, eventually Bad had suggested they make a new discord server to stop the spam, and they did just that. Now they had their new group, of everyone who had officially signed up so far.

Wii Dance (getit)
AweSamDude, Badboyhalo, Captain Puffy, Dream, FoolishG, GeorgeNotFound, Hannahxxrose, Jack Manifold, Sapnap, skeppy, Tommyinnit, Tubbo_, Wilbur Soot

Tommyinnit 11:32
tit LMAO

Captain Puffy 11:36
DUDE OH MY GOSH LOOK AT THIS
[9 second clip from a video of a couple from Strictly Come Dancing performing an extremely difficult lift, spinning around in the air]
HOW DO THEY EVEN DO THAT

Jack Manifold 11:37
CRACKED.

Badboyhalo 12:11
language

Jack Manifold 12:19
we can’t say the names of drugs now bad?

Badboyhalo 12:20
well… no o_O
but I was talking to tommy

Jack Manifold 12:20
ah

FoolishG 12:34
btw don’t we need 16 people ?? who else can we get?

Jack Manifold 12:35
yeah, niki is considering, but even then we still need two more. uhh

Tubbo_ 12:37
yoo dream boss man!!! on the email thing did it say it has to be dream smp members? I was talking with some other streamer friends about it and theyd be down if we need more members!

Dream 12:37
sure! I could always like temporarily add them just in case, who are they?

Tubbo_ 12:38
yeah okay!!! it’s aimseytv, you might have heard of her

Dream 12:38
oh yeah! I know of her, sure add them here

 

[Tubbo added aimseytv to Wii Dance(getit)]

 

aimseytv 12:46
hey !! :)

Captain Puffy 12:50
hi aimsey!

Sapnap 12:53
welcome

Tubbo_ 12:54
hello aimseytv.

aimseytv 12:54
hello tubbo underscore.

 

Dream honestly had a lot to do in the next few weeks.

He started doing workouts once a day, and frequent stretches, often leaving him out of breath and regretting not going outside more.

e needed to do some exercise to get his body ready to actually be doing straining physical activity for once, so he started doing two of the workouts (along with stretches) daily, leaving him out of breath and contemplating how difficult these next few weeks were going to be.

He also had to sort out a plane ticket and a visa, which was easy enough, and his friends were following the same steps. They had decided upon somewhat of a buddy system, most people had a partner they’d meet at the same airport, then take a plane together. Some even went in threes. It was just easier in terms of not getting lost, and definitely making things less awkward on a plane. People were paired up on the basis of how close they were or just who lived nearby, Dream was paired with Sapnap, and they’d be meeting at an airport in the south of Lousiana, about two hours for Sapnap, and three and a half for Dream (if they got lucky with traffic). Most people were in duos or trios, and if their flight schedules stayed true to their word, Dream and Sapnap would be second to last to arrive, with only Skeppy being after them. They had a good little system going on. And the people already in the UK were sorting themselves out.

Then he had to plan for his house, he organised arrangements for Patches to go live with his parents for the time being, which they were more than pleased about, and a trusted old friend who had been struggling for rent was staying in his house for the time being. Dream was quite nervous about that to be honest, and dedicated a good 4 hours to wandering around his house, writing lists and putting up sticky notes around certain objects explaining how they worked, he drew out a map of important landmarks around his local area for them, and wrote a to do list of things to be done every morning, and finally things that can not under any circumstances be messed with - namely his bedroom and monitor setup.

And finally of course, he himself had to pack, so he pulled out his suitcase from the downstairs closet and put it in his room, a gentle reminder for his future self, as he still had at least a week before he needed to worry.

In other words: he was pretty busy.

Not to mention most of the content creators participating were trying to stack up content to keep their youtube channels going, so Dream had done a video with George, Karl, Quackity, and one of his own, each of them were fairly chill.

‘Minecraft, but my friend is a Villager’ - this was really fun, he couldn’t do anything as he had no arms, but he had trade options he could choose and by the halfway mark was wheezing at george yelling at him for not choosing the trade for diamond leggings. They actually ended up losing though; Dream died in a ravine to a group of zombies.

Then Karl had decided to do a ‘You laugh you lose’, filled with generous doses of dumb ‘your mom’ jokes or dnf jokes, but funny nonetheless, though Karl would definitely have to blur out one of the images Sapnap placed on the wall at the start of the video; but we won’t get into that.

And then Quackity had recorded a video with the 5 of them, each playing on a custom minecraft map, which was a really bad adventure/escape room style sort of thing. It would’ve been super easy and they would’ve finished in probably 5 minutes, if George and Sapnap didn’t spend the whole time punching each other.

Then Dream did a ‘Minecraft, but we can’t jump’ with George and Sapnap, which they actually won! It wasn’t as stressful as a manhunt, but definitely annoying having to constantly make slabs. George had also jumped- well, walked into a desert temple despite Dream’s incessant refusal to the idea, so him and Sapnap has to painstakingly gather half a stack of slabs just to get him back up again.

So they each had a good video’s worth of footage ready for editing when they were away from their setups, to keep things afloat. They hadn’t told their fans yet because Strictly got to tweet out the pairings first, the same rules as MCC.

It was ironic to be honest, these next few weeks would probably be the most content they’d get from them in their lives, atleast twice a week on literal television, and they have everyone there, not to mention that they’re meeting up in real life, and most people (including Dream) are staying for a few extra weeks after the show ends.

And here they were, stacking up videos incase ‘things got dry’.

And so Dream woke each day, gradually changing his sleep schedule to get used to the UK timezone, and deal with a healthy amount of anticipation for the next week to come.

Him and his friends were enjoying sending secret tweets alluding to the meetup, that were next to impossible for anyone to work out, but seeing twitter in shambles was pretty funny, so it works out.

sapnap @sapnapalt
lol me [image of a dancing emoji wearing a purple suit]

Captain Puffy @CptPuffy
Replying to @sapnapalt
- vouch

Tubbo @TubboLive
Replying to @CptPuffy
-- ME TOO!!!

Wilbur Soot @WilburSoot
Replying to @TubboLive
--- yse me : )

Ranboo @Ranboosaysstuff
Replying to @WilburSoot
----I think 12 more people would find this relatable, not me, y’all stay safe tho <3

simping 4 dream @fruitblender_26
Replying to @TubboLive
--- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. WHAT.

blanketinnit @blanketenjoyer69420
Replying to @Ranboosaysstuff
----- THIS IS SO CRYPTIC?? AYO WHERE ARE THE WILBUR ARG DETECTIVES GET ON THIS GET ON THIS

sarahdraws @justanotherartnerdd
Replying to @sapnapalt
-- wait what does he mean by this? can someone explain /gen

Fork_Was_Taken @Fork_Was_Taken_
Replying to @justanotherartnerdd
--- idk i dont think anyone gets it so its not just you dw lol

Yeah, twitter is funny.

—————————

‘Wait so… oh wait isn’t there uhh… meant to be two more people or something?’ Phil’s voice rung through Dream’s phone speakers, he was currently in his kitchen getting a bottle of water, manually going on and off mute so as not to send sounds of kitchens through the voice call.

He was in a call with George, Phil, Wilbur, Sapnap, Aimsey, Tommy, and Tubbo, the latter 2 being in a post-stream mode, having recently ended a Tubbo alt channel stream, he hadn’t heard their voices in a while, they seemed pretty tired.

‘Oh wait I thought- oh I thought they had already got everyone ready, wait we like’ Wilbur cut himself off with a light hearted exhale ‘yeah I mean people are flying down in what… 4 days now? We need to like… get more people then don’t we?’

‘No no, it’s just one because uhh, yeah isn’t Niki joining? So we only need one more person now’

‘Oh I knew Niki was coming, I thought we still needed two though right? Yeah Aimsey, Sam, Bad, Puffy, uhh… Foolish, George, Hannah, Jack Manifold, Sapnap, Skeppy, Tommy, Tubbo, Niki too, then of course me.’ Wilbur muttered over the call as he counted ‘yeah, that’s 2 more?’

‘What about Dream?’ George pointed out.

‘Wait Dream? Is Dream joining?’

Dream jumped at suddenly being brought to attention and quickly dried his hands off and unmuted. ‘Yeah! I just realised we never told you guys, but um yeah I signed up!’

‘Oh that’s pog dude!’ Phil smiled, ‘you gonna do a face reveal soon then? Like I mean-‘

‘No Phil he’s doing every dance with a mask on’ Aimsey cackled, light heartedly sarcastic.

‘Hey, even better! Just don’t have a face’ Tubbo said ‘Well- don’t have a head, chop it clean off swoosh done’

Dream smiled at how high Tubbo’s voice had gone at the word ‘swoosh’, it had also reminded him of when George sent a video of some guy saying ‘my genre of dream is sports star, swish!’ to which George had been literally whacking his desk with hysteria, Dream didn’t think it was all that funny, but the state of George had him laughing along too.

Okay, and I was going to say that he wouldn’t be able to- oh whatever, but yeah when you gonna do be doing a face reveal?’ Phil asked him.

‘Well, I was talking about it with George and Sapnap’ (it was true, they had been calling most of the evenings and at least once an idea of how he’d face reveal was brought up - ranging from walking in on a camera stream and pretending it was an accident, to tweeting a picture of like 50 guys who looked similar to him, with his own face among them and seeing who could guess, to letting the first fan who met him post a tweet with his face in it and let the chaos begin on twitter or even officially face revealing to just going on Strictly Come Dancing and pretending everyone knew already) ‘We don’t really uhh… yeah don’t really have like a solid idea, but we were thinking we probably should do it pretty quickly once we’re there, I mean like we’re in a massive group so someone’s sure to recognise us and I’d rather do it on my own terms than it getting leaked over twitter or something, but yeah we’ll figure it out’

‘Man that’s awesome!’ Wilbur said, sounding genuinely proud, and Dream found himself smiling as he jumped up to sit on his counter, resting his elbows on his knees, with his phone resting in his left hand.

‘Yeah! Proud of you Dream, this is gonna be awesome!’ Dream felt a warm fuzzy feeling inside, he had made the decision of course but getting validation from his friends just made everything so… awesome.

‘You’re popping off Dream!’ George said in his stupid little high pitched voice, putting his hands up in an exaggerated gesture similar to jazz hands, Dream scoffed through a chuckle.

‘Kkhhgh.’ George imitated back at him, before repeating the same sound again twice, Dream rested his head in his right hand, a content smile on his face.

‘So wait who else are we asking? We still need someone right?’ Tubbo reminded them.

Dream had almost forgot they were there.

‘Yeah I don’t know, we’ll ask around.’ Sapnap

There were brief sounds of typing through someone’s mic and in the silence Dream hopped off the counter, grabbed his now filled up bottle, and took it upstairs.

‘Oh wait Quackity’s online, he’s not in the groupchat is he?’ Sapnap said, surprised.

‘Uhh no! Quackity told me he couldn’t come, busy with uhh freakin’… university stuff and all that’ Tubbo said.

‘Good thing too, if Quackity was here his partner would have to bend down the whole time he’s just that short’ Dream teased, laughing at George and Sapnap’s exaggerated ’OOooOOOhs’ in the background. ‘To be fair though I don’t know how’d he’d dance while keeping his beanie on, I mean maybe he’d do a hair reveal first I don’t know.’

‘Dream boss man-‘ Tubbo cut himself off with a laugh, ‘may I introduce you to Aimsey TV’

‘Yeah Dream… king…’ Aimsey responded, indignant, but clearly still having a good time.

‘What?’ Dream challenged, confused, sitting down on his desk chair.

‘I will not take this… this slander on the short community.’

‘Oh what’s that thing again, it’s like… physically cha- wait no vertically challenged! Ha ha let’s gooo!’ Dream heard George’s voice from the background, and rolled his eyes fondly.

‘Wait how tall are you Aimsey?’ He asked.

‘I’m- I’m 5”0’

Wh-

How?

‘What? Dream said, almost scoffing, only to be imitated by Tubbo and Tommy, continuously repeating ‘what’ and stressing the T sound.

‘That is just… ridiculous. That’s just… I don’t know’

‘And what… I’m guessing you wear a beanie right? Or a hat?’

‘Yeah!! I have my iconic red one and it is great!’

‘Wow’ Dream responded, not in a dry way, more of just he didn’t know what else to say. Well, that’s a complete lie actually, hold on.

‘Wait you’re 5”0-?’


—————————

 

[Dream added Karl Jacobs to Wii Dance(getit)]

Karl Jacobs 10:34
hi :)
I am now a dancer.

 

—————————

 

Dream held onto the handle of his grey suitcase as he dragged it down the stairs, hitting every other step and bashing into his leg on the way, but he couldn’t find himself caring.

He felt a mix of emotions.

On one hand, he was incredibly excited, tingling and buzzing with a healthy amount of worry and anticipation mixed with just exhilarating sparkles.

But then he also felt an odd feeling of… emptiness? He had been waiting for this moment for over 5 years, and now he was finally going to meet everyone, he’d be flying to the UK next to Sapnap, and it was fun to talk about it and imagine the scenario (it had repeated thousands of times in his head), buy knowing that it was within 24 hours, and he’d actually be experiencing it.

Well, that was scary.

He couldn’t help but think he wasn’t ready yet.

And the house felt unnaturally empty, the familiar comfortable clutter was lessened, some of it taken with him into either his suitcase or his travel bag, Patches was already with his parents, he had taken her yesterday, and he had woken up ridiculously early as to avoid traffic, and of course to get to the airport in time for their flight. So even his neighbourhood was quiet for once, everything felt still, waiting with bated breath for what would happen next.

He opened his door, soft wisps of oranges and pinks casting a legitimately heavenly light on the surrounding buildings, and he took a second to blink the phosphenes out of his eyes, and just breathe in the moment. Feather clouds that stretched as far as his vision could go across the sky, and it was odd to think that Dream himself would be up there in a few hours. The colours cast a soft glow across the roads and buildings, and it was the right time for shadows to appear extremely tall. He turned back to his house.

Dream was stupidly sentimental sometimes, and now was definitely one of those times, he was just stood there, one hand on the doorknob, the other gripping the handle of his suitcase, a backpack hoisted on his shoulder, feeling like a character from a cliché movie, just putting off the seconds until he’d have to close the door.

I mean, it was his home, everything about it screamed home for him, little dirt marks by the front door, the marks on the wall from dripping wet coats, the cat toys strewn over the floor in a cozy clutter, the carpet on the stairs sunken in slightly in the middle from footsteps, the random nail in the wall from who knows when, the assortment of photographs of himself with or without his family.

Not only was walking out the door leaving his home, but it was also fully embracing and accepting the wild ride he was about to go on, and he thought he was ready, but maybe he wasn’t.

Worries are normal, it’s okay to be nervous, but you’re going to miss your flight idiot so get a move on, he told himself, his grip tightening on the door knob, and he said a mental goodbye to his home, before packing his bags into the car.

One of his strategies for dealing with nerves was just solely imagining the positives, sometimes to an unhealthy or too risky degree, but here he wanted to do this, so the worries felt unnecessary.

So as he reversed out his driveway and began navigating the local roads, making his way towards the free way on the way to the airport, he thought of meeting his friends, he thought of being able to walk beside George and Sapnap, or hold his hand up against George to see how accurate that one twitter thread they talked about months ago was, or to be able to finally see Tommy, Tubbo, and Ranboo in person and congratulate them on everything, apart from Tommy, they didn’t speak much off stream and DMs often didn’t feel real enough. Part of him idly wondered about what Ranboo looked like, then laughed at himself for being such a hypocrite, it was natural to be curious he supposed, he wondered if Ranboo also had similar thoughts dwelling at the back of his mind.

He checked the time on his dashboard, 7:28, he worked his way back to UK time, fond memories of George setting a timer at stupid-o-clock in the morning to sing him happy birthday them immediately go back to sleep, his voice low and gravelly at the time, even if he left immediately, it still left Dream feeling warm and fuzzy inside, and he still remembered how funny and adorable George’s voice had been, it was sweet.

Anyway, the time. So in the UK it was 12:28, George was probably still asleep, if not just waking up. He frowned, having lost his train of thought, why did he even need the time? He was thinking about Tommy, Tubbo, and Ranboo, oh yeah and then Ranboo face reveaing, and then if Ranboo was worrying too, oh of course, he was thinking about what Ranboo was doing. so that means Ranboo’s probably awake now, he had flew down a week before Dream had recieved the email, and Ranboo had decided against taking part, Dream didn’t know the reason. Though the kid had many a time made jokes about it or shown support and excitement, even if it wasn’t for him himself, and he was still taking part in the meetup, Dream had heard he made plans to bunk with Tubbo at the estate, because obviously he wasn’t accounted for when getting rooms.

Other people like Phil who also weren’t taking part were still coming up for a few days to join the meet up, so it was essentially gonna be a massive DreamSMP meet up.

Dream’s attention was quickly brought back to the present by a neighbouring car honking, thought not at him, and the lyric ‘Foot on the brake, at the light I don't notice’ flashed to the forefront of his mind. So he remembered he should probably focus on the road. And so he did.

 

—————————

 

A playlist, many grumblings, three traffic jams, and a bathroom break later, Dream finally saw the sign of his airport, and his face broke out into a grin, excited tingles coursing through his body.

Because within a thousand-or-so metres of him, was Sapnap. The kid he met at the age of 13, and since then had became so close they were basically brothers, his only online friend who had seen face before, the person who had called him with worries of their friendship falling apart because of their rapidly growing server, and who Dream had consoled and reassured for half an hour, the kid who was there for every milestone, screaming with him and George every time.

He couldn’t wait.

He took his phone out of his bag, and sent him a text to check his whereabouts, but saw that Sapnap had already left a message.

Sapnap - Private Messages

Sapnap: yoo dream!! i’m at this bit with like trees and stuff to the left of the entrance, it’s near a cafe and this cool car with a flag on it, where you at?
Dream: wow very specific, I’m at car park I’ll walk to meet you there

Dream took a moment to collect himself and breathe, feeling the familiar tingles of anxiety, so trying to muster up the excitement he felt earlier.

He just sat in his car for a second, before getting out and giving the key to the worker there, he looked in a car’s reflection and neatened out his hair a bit, checking that he looked alright, luckily there was only a light breeze, so it was mostly fine - and that meant hopefully no flight delay.

Dream looked around for- what was it, left of the entrance, a cafe, and an odd car.

The entrance was as tall and imposing as the airport itself, lined with glass windows and filled to the brim with people talking, eating, rushing, just generally walking, and Dream was thankful he hadn’t done a face reveal, because he hadn’t been in crowds like this in a while.

Looking to the left, he noticed almost an ‘L’ shape of buildings, each could look like a cafe, and sure enough, there was a car with a flag on the side of it’s windshield, it looked familiar, but he couldn’t recognise it on the spot, he thought of how he should start playing geoguesser again with George, they were fun streams, as he started walking over, scanning the crowds somewhat frantically for a familiar face.

When he made it to the first shop he immediately saw multiple groups of people, and was fairly certain Sapnap was alone, so he skipped those, trying to look for the stray people, but none of them looked like Sapnap.

Dumbfounded at how he couldn’t find him, Dream began feeling slightly awkward when he realised one of the people he was looking at to check if they were Sapnap were making eyecontact, so he started walking around, trying to look nonchalant.

Someone with a big beard, someone with ginger hair, too tall, in a group, too long hair, in a pair.

But then he checked his left, and saw someone sitting a table, a black cap shielding their face from the barely risen sun, they were wearing a black hoodie with a simple green top underneath it, and some grey jeans. They were mid-laughter at something they had seen on their phone, and Dream’s heart almost plummeted.

Because sitting right infront of him, was Sapnap.

Dream’s face broke into a grin, and he was speed-walking through the gate.

‘Sapnap!’ He called, making his way through the maze of tables, and he saw Sapnap look up, then a look of shock on his face.

With complete disregard for his own bag and phone, Sapnap jumped up from the table and collapsed into Dream’s open arms.

It felt amazing, and Dream sighed into the embrace, before they pulled away and he just took the image of Sapnap in.

Finally seeing him in real life… 4K. Not just the pixels of a screen.

It sounded weird to say, but it was odd to see him… actually moving? It hadn’t quite settled in, but he felt so very in the movement, with Sapnap staring right back at him, namely his face, scrutinising every facial feature probably, and Dream felt awkward for a second, so did an awkward little laugh, before walking back to the table to get Sapnap’s bags.

It reminded him that meeting the rest of the SMP would probably be similar, if not more awkward, him and Sapnap facetimed occasionally, but with everyone else Dream had stayed true to his word and not showed them anything, not anything the fans didn’t see too atleast. Well, George had seen an extra photo they had taken for the merch photoshoot that was scrapped, Sapnap had too. An image of him just standing there as everyone else stared at him for like… a solid minute, while Sapnap just moved on and hugged their friends moved to the forefront of his mind, and he groaned. It wouldn’t be like that of course, but it had some semblance of truth to it.

Within the next hour they slipped into their usual dynamic, Dream had been worried things might be different, but after the initial 5 minutes, everything was how it always was. They made their way through long and winding queues of security - Sapnap’s scissors got confiscated (‘Why would you even bring scissors you little… muffinhead’), and once they made it out, Dream genuinely felt so comfortable and content.

There was something that just filled him with wonder every time he walked around an airport, it felt almost otherworldly, it was a maze to get here so he couldn’t visualise it from the outside, where were these gigantically tall ceilings and rectangular tinted glass windows coming from?

Another thing Dream loved was people watching, while chatting to Sapnap on a table outside a fast food place, he watched this one girl leaning on a wall, using her phone, she then looked up, looking around for something, until another girl practically jumped out of nowhere, and they were spinning around in each others arms, smiling and giggling. Dream smiled, and thought of that being him and George soon.

‘Alright well’, Sapnap checked his phone, and Dream was confused for a second because he could very clearly see a watch on Sapnap’s hand, must be muscle memory or something, ‘We have about 20 minutes until we need to get going, and I need to pee, so I’m gonna do that!’

‘What? You literally went like… an hour ago!’

‘I don’t wanna piss on the plane Dream, they’re nasty, it’s a long flight I need my hydration. So how ‘bout you shut up and either come too or I’ll leave my bags with you?’

Dream decided on the latter, and Sapnap headed off to the bathrooms. Dream took out his phone to check on everyone else.

George :D - Private Messages

Dream: hey :) me and sapnap are at the airport! can’t wait to see you

He wasn’t expecting a reply straight away but he immediately saw ‘George was typing. . .’ at the top of the screen.

George :D: thats awesome! :D be quick!
Dream: I’ll try :)

Dream grinned, and returned to people watching, seeing two kids running around, one of them with some kind of… box? toy? in their hands, as the other chased them, their shouts echoing in the expansive area.

When Sapnap came back, they packed up their stuff and began looking for their number, and eventually got onto the plane, they searched for their seats (Sapnap by the window, Dream in the middle, and some other person sitting next to him, they seemed pretty chill so he got lucky), then both stared out the window when they finally took off, watching buildings and roads become the size of ants, seeing cars driving past that looked so insignificant.

And there were two things Dream realised very quickly: it was very difficult to stay excited when you had a multiple hour flight ahead of you, the initial adrenaline and joy from meeting Sapnap and talking with him about any plans was slowly ebbing away at the anticlimactic adventure of… sitting on a chair. The second thing he realised, was waking up unnaturally early in the morning led to you feeling very tired, so after checking with Sapnap to make sure he was fine with it - he was - Dream decided to doze off to pass the time.

—————————

Dream’s eyes fluttered open, a crick in his neck and eyes filled with gunk, and he stretched the best he could in the confined space with a seatbelt on, while rubbing his eyes and simultaneously stifling a yawn. Looking to his right, he noticed Sapnap had fallen asleep too. Wondering how long he had pseudo time travelled (also known as - slept) he gently pulled up Sapnap’s sleeve to check his watch. They had 45 minutes to go. He had managed to sleep for over 5 hours, which was about the amount he would have got if he had a normal nights sleep, now he wasn’t exactly comfortable or feeling well-rested, but what can you expect when you’re sleeping on a chair, and better yet, he definitely wasn’t tired anymore. He rested his head back on the pillow, allowing himself to just think as he wasn’t gonna wake Sapnap up.

The minutes stretched on and Dream was just flooded with anticipation, fidgeting in his chair and darting his eyes out the window, to see a similar scene of otherworldly clouds. In the last 20 minutes Sapnap woke up, and they chatted amicably and excitedly about George, the UK, meeting everyone, Strictly Come Dancing, and even though they had discussed it almost every day for the past weeks, they still found more to talk about.

But all too soon the announcement rang through telling everyone to put their seatbelts on, and those that hadn’t already complied. Dream’s stomach had already been spinning when he felt a lurch as the plane descended and then hit the ground.

Him and Sapnap were just over the moon in excitement, and just stared at each other silently, but buzzing with happiness, then grabbed their flight bags.

When he stepped out the plane, the first thing he noticed was the difference in air quality, it felt… lighter? and definitely colder, the sky was a solid plain light grey, clouds covering the entirety of the sky, and they made their way into the airport, to the sounds of excited chatter and rolling wheels of suitcases.

Sapnap took out his phone, checking for something.

‘Oh okay so… uhh alright so we get our luggage from the, what’s it called? you know what I mean the spinny thing’ Dream smiled at the wording, ‘then George and everyone are literally just by thr exit doors of the airport but on the inside room, probably freezing , we got Wilbur’s and George’s cars, and then they’re gonna rent a cabs when we get there.’

Dream wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or annoyed that there was more time between meeting George, he knew he’d felt nervous when getting off the plane, and now he let out a breath of relief, but also he kind of wanted to get it over with, and he really wanted to see George.

‘Alright, that’s fine, how many people will be in each uhh… like how many people in the cars and how many are going in the cabs?’ He asked.

Sapnap took a second to finish texting George, then responded, ‘5 in each of the cars, and then 6 in a cab I’m guessing? I didn’t know you could fit that many, so maybe we’ll have to like squish in or something.’

Dream hummed in acknowledgment, before smiling as he remembered what Sapnap said earlier, ‘Oh yeah, and also, a ‘spinny thing’ is a baggage carousel

‘What, that’s- that’s so dumb, like this is an airport, not a stupid theme park, and how do you expect me to know that anyway? Why do you even know that?’ Sapnap said indignantly, and Dream found himself giggling, as he settled down leaning against a pillar for support as they waited for the suitcases to come out on ‘The Spinny Thing’ as Sapnap put it, and he took out his own phone, to see a few DMs from George, who had opted to use Discord this time instead of Messages for some reason.

GeorgeNotFound - DMs

GeorgeNotFound 8:44
ARE YOU ON YOUR FLIGHT YET?
DUDE
HELLO?

GeorgeNotFound 9:25
YOU SO ARE ITS BEEN AGES
AND YOU DIDNT EVEN TELL ME
WTH
HOPE YOU HAVE A SAFE FLIGHT :)
CYA SOON

Dream’s eyes widened, immediately feeling bad, and he rushed to send a message back, he had really forgotten to text George on the plane?

Dream 2:37
IM SORRU GEORGE
I FORGOT :(
WE JUSY GOT OFF PLANE WAITING FOR LUGGAGE RN

He was about to put his phone back in his pocket, when George sent a message back almost straight away, and a fond smile made it’s way onto his face.

GeorgeNotFound 2:37
FINALLY
you took so long :(
BUT I CANT BELIEVE YOURE HERE
ARE YOU COMING SOON?

Dream took the opportunity.

Dream 2:37
if you want me to bb

GeorgeNotFound 2:38
what
OH
you’re such an idiot
and that wasnt even good

Dream 2:39
LMAO
but also kinda, the suitcases haven’t started going round yet and we still have to do a final passport check in and stuff
hopefully won’t be too long :)

GeorgeNotFound 2:40
tell them to go quicker

Dream 2:40
who?

GeorgeNotFound 2:41
them.

Dream 2:42
I will alert the people.

GeorgeNotFound 2:42
nice

Dream put his phone back in his pocket to see Sapnap staring at him, a content and knowing expression on his face.

He had forgotten that Sapnap could do that now.

Heat rised to his cheeks at the feeling of being put on the spot, and he looked away to see the first of the suitcases coming through the curtains.

‘Oh, there they are,’ he said, grabbing Sapnap’s arm and tugging him over to the conveyor belt.

‘What does yours look like?’

‘Uhh, black and pretty big, it’s got a picture of GeorgeNotFound on it.’

‘Wait does it actually?’

Dream snorted, ‘Yes! I am committed to my bets Sapnap you should know this stuff. What does yours look like anyway?’

‘Grey with like a stripe of navy, and a keyring on the handle.’

‘Your mom’s a handle.’

They had a second of solid eye contact before they simultaneously looked away with a nod in solidarity, and Dream saw Sapnap’s mouth quirk up in the corner of his eye, and Dream raised his eyebrow, a silent ‘really’ at the fact that Sapnap found that funny.

Looking ahead again, he saw - sure enough - a decently sized suitcase, dark in colour, with a stripe of blue on one side, he pointed it out to Sapnap, who confirmed that that was it.

When it came round, they hoisted it off the conveyor belt together, and Sapnap leaned on the handlebar as he stifled a yawn.

This guy slept on the plane didn’t he?

While Sapnap’s suitcase was coming round, they had been making their way to the front of the crowd, and keeping an eye on it, so Dream hadn’t noticed his own was two suitcases behind, and by the time he looked back, it had passed them.

‘Oh-‘ Dream’s arms fell and he tapped them impatiently against the side of the conveyor belt as he watched it go round again, an annoyed huff escaping him at Sapnap’s chuckles behind him, that were probably a bit too loud, the people next to them had turned around with judging glares, but Dream had never cared about that.

When his suitcase finally came round, they grabbed it together, and made their way through the now more sparse crowd.

After another passport check, they walked through a revolving door (which Dream found particularly entertaining, and span round again just for the heck of it). They followed signs on walls and eventually felt a wave of cold air hit them, and realised about 30 metres ahead of them were open wide exit doors.

Dream felt very aware of everything, eyes darting around, expecting nearly everyone to be George. There should be a crowd of atleast 13 people here, and any second he would see them, and the moment he’d been waiting for for… years now he’d be experiencing.

He wasn’t ready yet.

And still his eyes darted around the room, he looked down at himself and smoothened a crease out of his hoodie, and brushed a hand through his hair. People were walking past the pair, each with their own respective suitcases trailing after them, completely unaware that Dream was about to have one of the most important moments of his life.

He had forgotten to breathe, and forced a shaky exhale, feeling tingles sparkling and weaving through his fingertips and he scanned the crowd for any sign of anything.

‘Oh my gosh-‘ Dream’s eyes widened, his mouth slightly parted, and he didn’t take his eyes off the sight as he blindly moved his hand to touch Sapnap’s shoulder just rapidly smacking his shoulder from excitement.

Because right in Dream’s like of sight, was undeniably a really tall person, wearing a black and white mask and some sunglasses.

And next to him, was undeniably Tubbo, wearing a large hoodie and laughing about something.

And behind him, was undeniably Wilbur, wearing a plaid light-green jacket, with a matching cap.

Dream’s eyes moved faster than they ever had before, when he saw him.

George.

He was wearing a black unzipped hoodie, a light-brown coloured top showing underneath it, with a pair of black jeans. He was grinning and practically bouncing where he was, constantly looking around. He was leaning against a pillar, his back to it with one of his shoes against it too.

With complete disregard for the crowd, Dream found himself almost sprinting over to him, and everything else had faded away, except Dream and his best friend.

‘George!’

He shouted, and George turned to his direction, a confused expression on his face, before Dream crashed into him, wrapping his arms around his sides.

He was grinning so much, and breathing deeply from the adrenaline high and his sprint. He heard a muffled ‘Dream?’ from his shoulder, and pulled away with his body, still keeping his hands on George’s forearms, and he beamed down at George, feeling tears form at the edges of his eyes.

And George looked ecstatic, beaming up at him with a wide grin, taking him in. And Dream just felt so so happy. Gold and sunlight coursing through his veins, sending little shakes through his legs and fingertips, and he gripped onto George’s sleeve even tighter as they hugged again, spinning around in a little circle and George buried his head in Dream’s shoulder.

Dream’s heart melted, and they both just laughed, absolutely giddy.

George looked up again at Dream shaking his head in disbelief? joy? He didn’t know, when suddenly a third presence joined the hug, and Dream felt another hand wrap around his side, and moved an arm to let Sapnap join in.

Here they were.

Finally united.

After hours upon hours of listening to each others voice, of laughing in harmony, miles upon miles apart. Here they were.

Sapnap was definitely crying.

Dream felt himself choke up on laughter through a sob, just relishing in the warmth of his best friends.

It felt right.

And gradually, the world faded back into place.

‘-No Tubbo, just some random guy came up to George and started hugging him, and Sapnap joined in too.’ He heard Ranboo’s voice, and noticed the differences when there wasn’t a mic between them. More… crisp?

‘Dang that was wholesome’ Tubbo said, nodding in approval and decidedly ignoring Ranboo’s words.

When the trio finally pulled apart, Dream quickly brought a hand up to rub at his eyes, writing it off as gunk from sleep, when he (and probably everyone else) knew it wasn’t. When he turned around to the group there were wide smiles and shocked faces, most of them looking at him, and he felt pretty self conscious, so turned around to grab his suitcase.

Oh wait- he forgot to take his suitcase.

He frantically looked back to where they ran from, only to be interrupted by Sapnap.

‘Dude… chill. I got it for you, you impressed?’ He then put on a ridiculously high pitched accent, that was possibly an extremely poor imitation of a british one, ‘Dream’s too desperate to see gogy’.

Dream rolled his eyes and made eye contact with George, originally to share a mutual look that’d probably annoy Sapnap, but just found himself smiling at the fact that George was right there.

Before he could grab his suitcase back from next to Sapnap he heard footsteps from behind him, and then Karl slung an arm around his shoulders, Dream blinked, not expecting it, before grinning and looking to the side.

‘Hello Dream!’ Karl’s voice was high-pitched and giggly with giddiness, before chanting at George and Sapnap to do a height check.

The two stood back to back, and despite Sapnap’s incessant complaining that George’s shoes were bigger (they were not), George was definitely taller. He clapped and cheered along with George at their victory.

Him and Sapnap went around the group, giving everyone either a hug or a hello, comparing heights, and receiving many comments on how odd it was to see him there and moving. Maybe he should’ve felt icky about that, but that’s exactly how he felt about everyone else, so he completely understood where they were coming from.

It was such a pleasant atmosphere, being around his people, seeing them all interact and have fun, and a few minutes later Bad was yelling that Skeppy had texted him saying he’d landed.

They all turned towards the exits, scanning every face that came through the doors, until Bad came racing forwards, crashing into a man who they soon realised was Skeppy. It made Dream grin just to watch, and he wondered if him and George had looked like that.

They were all together now, this was everyone.

After another round of hugs and greetings, they started walking outside, and it had always felt odd leaving an airport in the daylight.

Once again, the fresh and sharp air of England went through his system, and looking up was… well anticlimatic.

It wasn’t the best sight, littered with clouds like dust with a light chill in the air.

But nothing could ruin Dream’s mood at the moment, George was next to him, either just staring at Dream when he thought he didn’t notice, or rambling and laughing about literally everything.

He didn’t see George like this often, but it was really nice to see him so happy and excited, his emotions on full display, and even when he did see it, it wasn’t often in person.

Dream saw how he was almost skipping on the pavements, and had to physically stop him when they were crossing the road, after that George was clearly trying (and mostly succeeding) to stop his absolute ecstasy from showing, but Dream could see the way his fingers kept flexing and unflexing or bunching into fists, he later stuffed them in his hoodie pockets.

The group came to a stop outside a navy car, and Dream remembered that their walk actually had a destination.

They split off into groups and Dream wound up with Tubbo, Karl, Aimsey and Niki, despite his pleads to go with George.

‘Nope! Nuh-uh, you got to hug George first, and I stopped you from getting robbed, I’m going in the car with him.’ Sapnap said with a tone of finality, playfully smirking, then crouched down to get into the car, sat next to George. Dream sighed and glared at him through the tinted window, but when Sapnap burst out laughing, he grinned and waved goodbye, before being pulled into the other car by Karl.

The remaining people waited on the sidewalk for the cabs to come, and Karl turned the engine on, following the other car, not bothering to turn the satnav on.

‘Oh my gosh wait I have an idea, hold on a second.’ Karl said, and fiddled with his phone for a a but, before a certain song started playing.

Dream initially cringed, groaning while running a hand down his face at hearing his voice, but when the chorus came on, he began screaming the lyrics of ‘Roadtrip’ with everyone else while Tubbo and Aimsey made exaggerated shocked faces and kept pointing to him.

Eventually their throats became sore and Dream’s face was aching with how much he was grinning.

He let himself truly absorb the moment, knowing it’d be one he’d remember forever.

Chapter Text

As they rode through the streets of London, Dream let himself float away from the present and just think. He imagined himself sat at home, at his desk on a call with George or something, and he’d probably be thinking of this exact moment, and Dream was right here living in it. He was about to make a lifetime of memories in just a few months, and he couldn’t think of a better group of people to do it with. He truly soaked in this golden delightful feeling, imagined placing it in a little glass vial next to all of his happiest moments in life, because he was truly living and feeling and experiencing one right this second.

That thought was… odd to think about. It made him frown for a second. The idea that… maybe he should be enjoying this more than he was? He’d be envious of this moment when he’s thinking about his future self. Shouldn’t he be making the most out of every second? This very thought is… a waste of time right?

Wait, is he guilt tripping himself into changing his behaviour because his future self would’ve done it differently? He’s not his future self though, and his present self wants to stare at the window, he can have these few minutes in a car. What is he even thinking? He’s got months to make memories, he’s been on a stupidly long flight too, he doesn’t need to do anything. He can just… be .

He grins.

They pass a Tesco Express he could’ve sworn he’d seen like 10 minutes ago, and the same blue car was trundling along just in front of them, driven by someone in the other group that Karl was following.

When they came to a stop at some red lights, Dream realised one of the baseplates numbers was ‘69’ and pointed this out to the rest of the group.

‘Nice.’ Aimsey affirmed, and held a hand out for a high-five, having to put their hand infront of Tubbo to do so as Aimsey and Dream were both on respective window seats, with Tubbo in the middle. Dream took satisfaction in the way her expression dropped when he didn’t reciprocate for a solid few seconds, but eventually high-fived her back.

They spent the rest of the car drive singing along to various songs, making acronyms from the three letters at the end of a baseplate (ranging from ‘Huge Jungle Pig’ to ‘Extra Terrestrial Multi-war, and they even found a baseplate with the code ‘DNF’ which got a chuckle out of Dream), and as they wound through various roads and a… motorway? Who cares, as they wound through various roads and a freeway, Dream was really starting to believe the whole ‘All of England looks the same’ joke, in his hour and a half drive, the streets with houses they drove through looked pretty copy and paste.

It was really nice though, to see and experience something different, going to a different country had always had a certain feel to it for Dream, and though that same feeling was still there, it was muffled by the knowledge that he was experiencing everything with close friends.

This place felt peculiar, he had often imagined life if he and Sapnap were neighbours to George, or if they had went to school together. He felt so connected to the UK but so disconnected at the same time. An odd feeling of reverence maybe.

Aimsey, Tubbo, and Niki were in a rapt discussion about how they would feel if someone held open a door for them when Karl suddenly gasped.

 

‘I think this is it! Guys, guys, look- holy honk this is awesome.’

 

Dream leaned to the right to be able to see through the middle of the car to the view in front of them. Karl was pulling in to a plot, sounds of a pebbley rocky driveway underneath the wheels really hammered home the fact that they were really here now and this is the place they’d be living in for the next few months.

It was one of those places that had a driveway connecting to multiple houses, or... buildings, in this case there were 3, well- 4 if you included this little… shed? garage? And there was definitely a main building.

Straight ahead was the largest building, though it wasn’t imposing, it looked double floored but upon further inspection there was a window in the roof, so maybe it had an attic or something. It was a mix of some nice looking bricks as a foundation with some cream coloured plaster on the wall with tiny bumps like bubbles that would probably be rough if you ran your hand along it. There was an extension on the right side of the house, a pulled-out area with windows showing a room that looked like a living room, and there were… open doors? that lead to another room Dream couldn’t yet see.

It had that little thing by the front door that looked like a mix between a front door and a conservatory, just a little glass room with a glazed door, that lead to the actual front door.

Dream’s aunt had that when he grew up and went round to see her and he never understood them.

Overall, it looked like a really nice house, Dream had lowered his expectations in preparation for seeing the place so he wouldn’t be disappointed, but this looked really high quality, and honestly he was excited to see inside.

Then there were two other smaller buildings on the side, a similar style in terms of their colour palette and window layout, and both were double-floored too, though they looked almost akin to an apartment. He assumed they had neighbours, but couldn’t imagine himself getting too friendly with whoever they were.

Dream would be living with enough people as it is and was perfectly connect with his social life, and it’s not like he’s staying here permanently.

Karl parked next to the other group’s car, and Tubbo and Aimsey were already out the car, chatting excitedly to each other at the area, occasionally gasping or whispering drawn out ‘ woah ’s.

Dream heard two familiar sounding voices and a certain laugh and a low chuckle he knew and loved, and turned to the right to see George getting out of his car after Sapnap.

It was still insane to see George moving in front of him, and to hear his voice, though it was muffled by the car window Dream was looking through.

Dream opened the car door and hoisted his backpack over a shoulder before running over to the other two. Sapnap was talking to George, who was grabbing a bag from the car, meaning Sapnap had his back turned.

His first mistake .

Sprinting over to them, he jumped the last metre or so and smacked Sapnap’s shoulder, with a well-timed ‘BOO!’.

He felt Sapnap jump beneath him against his hand, before he turned around and shoved a wheezing Dream backwards, causing him to stumble a bit.

George was spluttering and leaning against the car door for support, until he raised a shaky finger pointing at Dream.

‘Oh my- Dream are you okay? That was- that was so funny oh my gosh .’ He took a moment to breathe in between giggles. ‘Sapnap’s face was so- it was so dumb, it was like-‘ he made an imitation of Sapnap that looked somewhat like a ‘Pog’ face, but scared, and waved his hands around in a shocked expression, that had Dream wheezing even harder.

George was so dumb .

It was kinda endearing to see it in person though.

Tommy came around from the front of the car and stood in front of Sapnap, an unnaturally solemn expression on his face.

’That was so offensive.’ Tommy deadpanned, shaking his head in disapproval.

Dream and George retrieved their suitcases from respective cars, and Dream noticed George had a little Ravenclaw sticker on his black case still, and was reminded of the other’s Harry Potter phase, recollections of Dream’s younger self listening to him rant about some theory while running around on a server. When George noticed him staring at it, he rolled his eyes and was clearly embarrassed, telling in his slightly more pink tinted cheeks, but Dream didn’t care.

It was great to be able to see his friends in real life like this.

He looked up to see Sapnap on his tip toes probably as some form of intimidation tactic against Tommy, though if it was it definitely wasn’t working as Tommy was laughing at him.

‘Oy Dream! My favourite guyy~ how are you king?’ Tommy asked, as him and George caught up.

‘Uhh, I’m doing pretty good! Kinda tired actually, but yeah!’ Dream replied.

‘Cool, I’ll be honest… don’t really care,’ Dream snorted at the bluntness, and found it even funnier how abruptly George turned to give him an alarmed look.

‘I’m kidding- it’s awesome to see you man, and well- to see you too, this is like exclusive Dream content.’

‘Yeah! You should… pay me or something’.

‘You’re not a bad lookin’ fella Dream, go get em king.’ Tommy wiggled his eyebrows and pointed towards George, obviously joking, and Dream let out a breathy laugh and rolled his eyes.

They walked up to the doorstep to see a group of people gathered around outside, and Wilbur was looking at his phone.

Dream was about to ask what they were doing when Wilbur said, ‘oh, okay they said there’s a windowsill above the bin, and it’s the plant on the left… it’s got a design that’s like-‘

‘Got it!’ Aimsey yelled, holding the key in the air, and they passed it to Wilbur, He heard a distinct sound of a high five in the background, Tubbo giving animated ‘WOO!’s to Aimsey. Wilbur fumbled with the lock a bit before opening the door to the porch.

He laughed awkwardly while opening the second lock, and finally they got in the house.

When Dream got in after about half their party, he was in a fairly sizeable room, and there were pegs and a few shelves people were already claiming with shoes and coats. On the left wall were stairs leading upstairs, and a closed door to another room.

Dream temporarily parked his suitcase on the floor to go explore with everyone else, and just wiped his shoes on a doormat, it hadn’t been muddy outside so he should be fine.

They walked into a kitchen that was to the back right of the house, with cabinets in an L shape along the back-right corner, and looked exactly like how he expected it to: very clean and tidy, polished surfaces, two plugs on the wall, and stray wires coming from an abundance of appliances like a kettle, a toaster, and some kind of box he didn’t recognise.

He now realised that Jack had been carrying a bag, and he emptied the contents of it onto the counter, and began putting some of them in the fridge or in various counters.

There was a dining table with plenty of chairs - 9 he counted, and a bench on one of the ends - but it definitely wouldn’t sit them all.

Connecting to the kitchen was the house extension, there were no doors in between the rooms, just a hole in the wall, and it led to a living room.

There was a TV stood on a wooden unit on the right wall, and three comfortable looking grey sofas around it.

The walls were lined with bookshelves and some paintings of… Peter Rabbit scenes? And when they turned on a lampshade it looked like a really nice place.

After wandering around in the living room and staring through the windows, he returned to the kitchen to see there was a soft candle emitting a warm glow making the previously white walls a more pleasant and comfortable light brown-creamish colour.

Finally, (for the ground floor) he walked towards that closed door he had seen, and went to open it, before Jack stopped him, sounding alarmed.

‘Don’t go in don’t go in!’

‘What, why?’

‘That’s a bathroom.’

Ah.

‘Oh I see- uhh, sorry!’ he shouted to whoever was in there, staring decidedly at the floor.

‘Does it not have a lock or something?’ Dream asked, confused.

‘Well yeah- I mean it does , but like, uh- I- I don’t know!’ Jack shrugged, ‘bit weird innit?’

Sapnap and Karl were going upstairs, and he decided to join them to get away from Jack laughing at his rapidly reddening face, and he wanted to know how they’d be sleeping in this house.

Maybe they’d have bunk beds or something, or just smaller rooms? Karl and Sapnap apparently had similar concerns, when he joined their conversation Sapnap was making a joke about sharing a bed.

‘I mean hey- I’m not opposed to it.’ Karl said nonchalantly, and Dream and Sapnap immediately knew what to do.

‘Woahhhh~!’

‘Karl???’

‘That’s kinda sus.’

‘Sheeesh!’

‘You’re both actually so dumb, you’re actually dumb, you’re falling off.’

‘You’ll be falling off the stairs any second now when I shove you down.’

‘When you what -‘

They were cut off by Tubbo meeting them on the stairs, trying to go back down, and all moved to the left so he could pass through.

When they reached the top, there was a small hallway with wooden floors, that creaked when they walked on them.

There were 3 doors on the two sides leading to bedrooms, and another bathroom at the end of a hallway. There was also a spiral staircase leading to 5 more bedrooms on a third floor.

Having explored the house, which overall was really nice, Dream went back downstairs to ask about sleeping arrangements, because there were only 11 bedrooms, and 16 people.

He paused, they weren’t actually sharing beds right? I mean… most of them were double beds. He grimaced.

When he made it downstairs, there seemed to be a 10 person search for something, Sam explained to him they were looking for the Wifi password while rifling through a cabinet, and Dream joined in on the hunt.

After searching every cabinet in the kitchen, most being empty apart from a couple of plates and a few glasses, mugs, and cutlery, eventually Aimsey called from the main hallway that she’d found it, and they gathered round the front door, where a sticky note was taped with the wifi passcode.

There was an outburst of ‘I was going to check there!’ ‘How does Aimsey find everything?’ ‘I’m just a lucky guy what can I say?’ ‘You said you looked there what?’ ‘Why didn’t we check the front door!’, and they each entered the code on their phones.

‘I don’t even know who I’ll be texting, like I’m living with nearly everyone I’d normally talk to.’ Jack laughed.

‘It’s handy for emergencies I guess?’ Puffy mentioned, typing the code in to her phone.

‘I mean I’ll be texting people here anyway.’ Tommy argued.

‘What- you gonna text me daily goodnights still when I’m like- the next room to you?’ Tubbo snorted.

Dream wondered if him and George would still sleep on call like they did often, probably not right? They were sleeping in the same house after all. Oh! That reminded him, he reverted to his original plan of finding out sleeping arrangements, he wasn’t entirely sure who to ask, but Wilbur had information on where the house key was, so he was probably a safe bet, he didn’t seem to be around though.

He couldn’t find him in the living room, or the kitchen, or by the front door, so, feeling exasperated, he asked Tommy, who now was sat up on a countertop, showing Tubbo and Aimsey a video on his phone, and had to wait for them to calm down from hysterics before asking his question.

‘Hey, do you know where Wilbur went?’

‘Oh he said he was going to the garden.’

Dream’s eyes widened, ‘We have a garden?’

‘Yeah! You get there by a little side gate around the front of the house, uhh- left side, so you gotta go back outside again, really weird layout choice I don’t know why they did it.’

Dream internally groaned, he just wanted to crash on a bed and sleep for a while, and outside it was cold .

‘Ugh, okay well do you know anything about sleeping arrangements? I get bad jet lag and want to collapse , but I don’t know where we can go.’

‘Oh Skeppy’s already crashed.’ Tubbo piped in, ‘I don’t know anything for sure but if you’re tired then you can sleep king. We’ll sort stuff out while you do, you need help taking your suitcase up or something?’

‘Uhh no I’ll be fine thanks.’ Dream smiled gratefully, before dragging his suitcase upstairs.

Maybe it was selfish to choose the room next to the bathroom, but it wasn’t taken so…

Upon walking in Dream really wanted to just lie on the bed and sleep straight away, having gone up and down the stairs so many times, but he decided to at least close the curtains, and walked over to the bathroom, getting smells of washing detergent that had him scrunching his nose in disdain while washing his hands and scrubbing his face.

When he looked up in the mirror above the sink he stopped. He forgot that all this time his friends had been… actually seeing him, it was so easy to forget his physical presence when he was just talking to people, he could pretend it was a vc or that he was… watching a vlog or something.

But seeing himself with the background of the bathroom made everything feel a lot more real, and he wanted to dwell on his discomfort and sort out his thoughts and feelings but his legs were aching with the effort of standing up, and his head felt just a little too heavy, so he went back to his claimed room and closed the door behind him.

He set a quick alarm for two hours time on his phone, he only wanted to nap and it was barely 4 o’ clock, he pulled himself under duvets that felt a bit too heavy, his head resting on a pillowcase a bit too thick, with the faint smell of dust and some… lavender spray? Not the best of circumstances, but he couldn’t be happier.

 

—————————

 

He was awoken by a wary hand on his shoulder, and he wriggled away from it in discomfort, nuzzling his head into the comfort of a peculiar pillow and attempting to pull a duvet over his head. He heard a stifled giggle and furrowed his eyebrows. Who was that?

He turned over and rubbed his eyes, before opening them, ready to grumble at whoever this was.

Then screamed when he saw George, raising the duvet sheets to cover himself.

‘George! What- what are you doing?’

Only to look down and see he was still wearing clothes he wore on the plane yesterday- today? Oh of course, he lived with George now .

Almost instantly his face lit up at the realisation, little rushes of dopamine flying around his fuzzy sleepy head. He looked up at George, in shock that he was right in front of him, breathing and existing, as if experiencing their meet up again for the first time.

George was right there, stood at the foot of his bed, posture relaxed and hair looking fluffy, a hand on the bed frame for support, and George was looking at him .

George eyes instinctually flickered downwards for a second, before he smacked a hand over his eyes.

‘Did you not sleep with clothes on? What’s wrong with you?’ He squealed through an awkward chuckle, blindly reaching for the doorknob.

‘No, no! I- you just scared me, I don’t know,’ and Dream lowered his protective stance, the duvet falling with a heavy ‘thud’. ‘Trust me George, I’m literally still in my hoodie.’ George cautiously removed his hand, and it left a slight red spot on his face from how hard he must’ve slapped it, Dream frowned in concern, but then George leaned against the wall with his arms folded.

‘Why didn’t you knock?’ Dream protested, feeling defensive, and tried rubbing his eyes to tempt tiredness away, suddenly aware of how low and gravelly his voice was, and cleared his throat.

‘I literally tried that!’ George said, ‘I knocked on your door, no answer, so I tried literally banging on your door-‘

Dream snorted, ‘You were banging on my door George?’

George froze for a second, glaring playfully at him with a look that screamed ‘ seriously? ’, before grumbling, ‘You’re actually dumb, why did I agree to this, to living with- idiots . Anyway, I was asked to wake you because they’re going through like the rules… well not the rules just like the info on living here, and they don’t want to repeat it because apparently it’s a long list. So come downstairs, pay attention, then you can sleep again if you want.’

At that, George rushed to leave the room, pulling the door closed behind him, leaving Dream to think with an incredulously baffled expression, can’t they just write them down? Eventually, he groaned, pulling himself out of the warmth of the sheets.

He felt like he was in a weird place in life at the moment, a great one nonetheless, don’t get him wrong, but within 24 hours he was in a different country, waking up to George in the same room as him, and the knowledge that most of his friends were a few doors away.

This is so cool .

Although, he felt gross, to be honest, his clothes felt hot, he had slept in multiple layers, one of which being a thick hoodie, and he hadn’t had a shower first or anything, and that was after getting off a plane .

Feeling like an idiot, he hauled himself out of bed, feeling weird just walking outside instead of getting changed, as he was already fully clothed.

He was about to walk downstairs when he heard quiet chatter from downstairs, a reminder of the presences of his friends, and a wave of anxiety and self consciousness slammed over him, and he  immediately turned around, locking himself in the bathroom to just stare at the mirror.

He looked at his reflection, unsatisfied, this was the second time everyone would see him, he wanted to put his best foot forward. He tried ruffling his hand through his hair to get the back to go up a bit more, and it… kind of worked? He then ran his hand through the front like he does as just… a thing throughout the day, hoping it’d look normal again.

Those couple hours of sleep he definitely didn’t regret, but it had just completed flattened his hair. It looked better now, not exactly how he would like to present himself, but he gave up.

He padded down the stairs, hoping the others wouldn’t be irritated that he took too long or something, and was surprised to see them sat in the kitchen, he was expecting everyone in the lounge.

Speaking of everyone, literally like everyone was there, and they were all staring at him, some of them looking like they were about to laugh, and Dream froze.

No one was saying anything, and he was beginning to feel really uncomfortable.

He looked to George for reassurance, trying to convey his confusion, but George said nothing. He looked to Sapnap, who was staring at him, biting his lip to stop amusement seeping through, but Dream saw right through it.

Dream looked down at himself expecting to see who knows what, and didn’t see anything abnormal. This was strangely drawn out now, and he could feel hot embarrassment from something he wasn’t even aware of forming on his face.

He opened his mouth to ask what the hell was going on, when suddenly there was pressure on his shoulders and someone was yelling in his ear.

BOO!

AH!

Dream jumped and whipped around to see Ranboo was  directly behind him , he almost crashed into the guy from spinning so quickly, and he had to crane his neck to look up at him from the angle.

He spluttered indignantly as boisterous laughter erupted around him and stepped back.

What the hell is wrong with you! Wh- why did you? What the-?’ He laughed around it, but scoffed nonetheless.

He turned around to the group for an explanation, only to see them burst into laughter again. He raised an eyebrow, waiting for them to stop, and when they didn’t, he mentally grinned, turning around to pretend to go back upstairs again.

‘Wait no! Dream- don’t no- I’m sorry! I’m sorry man!’ Ranboo said, between laughter, and Dream turned around and solemnly shook his head at him.

‘Dude this is literally what I told y’all- Dream would get angry.’ Sapnap said from the back, looking specifically at Punz with an ‘ I told you so ’ tilt of his head, as he said so.

‘I’m not angry ,’ Dream reassured, waving Sapnap off, who visibly relaxed, and Dream remembered they’d never seen his physical body language, ‘George really woke me up to get information on the house ’ (He put up air quotes as he said this, as obviously, there was no more information on the house and it was a ploy to get him scared by Ranboo) ‘and I come downstairs for this? I’m not even a morning person, so… George is an idiot’ Dream ended simply.

‘Dream, it is not the morning.’ Jack mentioned, and Dream groaned and rolled his eyes.

‘Also don’t go back to sleep yet, there actually is information we got.’ Wilbur said, which piqued his interest.

‘What? Wait so- what was all that about?’ He gestured to Ranboo, now feeling confused.

‘That was just a dumb thing-‘

‘Yeah, it’s just a prank bro.’

‘Okay, okay, let me explain it,’ Ranboo cut everyone off, ‘so, I arrived here, right? And everyone was chillin’ as normal then I realised, oh wait- Dream isn’t here-‘

Dream suddenly remembered something and interrupted him, ‘Wait! What are you even doing here? You didn’t sign up right? I thought you were meeting us at the airport then- I don’t know, are you staying with us?’

Everyone sat at the kitchen burst out laughing again, and when Dream heard ‘that was the whole point of the joke’ amidst hollers and hilarity, he realised and let his gaze drop to the floor, heat rising to his cheeks.

Sensing a lot of information incoming, he decided to join the group and sit down, the two barstools on the counter were taken, as were all the seats on the table, Punz and Sapnap were on the bench at the end, so he made the universal ‘scooch’ gesture, and they shuffled to the side a bit to make room.

When he sat down, he immediately rested his head on his hand, rubbing his eyes again, and saw Ranboo had taken a spot leaning against the counter, and was taking his mask off, and Dream almost looked away.

‘Do you want a coffee Dream?’ George asked, already delving through the fridge. Dream didn’t drink coffee and when he said so George continued searching through the fridge, eventually pouring himself a glass of orange juice.

‘Okay I’m just skim reading through the info so Ranboo you explain to Dream how you got here then I’ll explain our home living situation.’ Wilbur said, pouring over some papers.

‘Alright, so- um, yeah okay well I’ll start from the airport I guess. So I was there, which you knew, and I planned on staying with Phil and Kristen and everything for a few days, because well like I’m down in the UK anyway, so might as well meet people right? So I waited with the guys taking the taxi because Phil-‘

‘The taxi took like- ages too!’

‘Yeah! Well basically Phil and Kristen said they’re not completely ready yet so I had organised um, like a… hotel and everything a few days ago to stay the night right? But when I got to the hotel the guys there were like- they said- okay so I had to put in my details and stuff in this form in advance right? And I said , like I full on ticked the underage box on their thing, and when I got to the front desk they said you need an adult to sign in? I was like… huh , and I showed them like- the form I signed and stuff, but they were all policy is policy so I used my genius acting skills and tried to do like… puppy eyes in human form, but I mean, I literally didn’t have anywhere else to sleep so?’ He waved his hands around in the air, ‘I think it’s justified, but it didn’t work.’

‘See Ranboo can’t be baby and wholesome, they see your height and simply cower,’ Tubbo teased.

Ranboo scoffed before continuing, ‘Yeah so anyway, that didn’t work, I literally offered to call my mom , but they were all ‘ you need a physical adult here ’, luckily one of the people were chill and when I explained the situation they said the most they could do was give me a refund, so yeah! That just… sucked? Anyway so I was out on the streets and like… kinda panicking, because I just didn’t know where to go, uh- didn’t have anywhere to go, so I called Tubbo and everything, then um- Wilbur took a car and drove to pick me up.’

‘Oh yeah I never told you guys!’ Wilbur butt in, looking up from his reading for a second, ’It was kinda cool because you know where we went round that roundabout for ages? Yeah Ranboo was right there! His hotel was down one of those streets, like the place where we had to get Sapnap to give us the instructions.’

Dream didn’t really know this place, nor did he see said roundabout out the window, so the most unbelievable part of that was they trusted Sapnap of all people with the car directions. When he mentioned this, Wilbur laughed, ‘Oh, not actually Sapnap, we just named our satnav that, so we could get out our frustration, it was not my brightest moments I’ll be honest Dream.’

Dream accepted that, and Ranboo continued.

‘It was so scary though- yeah like it was so scary because by the end of it my phone- my phone was on like 4% and I legitimately did not know what to do like- if it had died and stuff. But yeah, I’m here now, probably until Phil and Kristen’s room for me is sorted out and everything. I won’t be taking a room though, I’ll probably sleep on the couch or something, but yeah, we’re having a good time.’ He finished.

‘That’s freakin’ dumb though dude like, how can they get away with that stuff?’ Tubbo complained, an annoyed expression on his face.

Dream agreed, ‘Yeah, I’m sorry Ranboo, that… sucks,’ Dream finished, rather lamely, but he didn’t know what else to say.

They were discussing whether you could sue the hotel place for something like that, when Wilbur said he had read through the whole paper.

He explained that there were were 11 bedrooms in the house, but the other buildings next to them were actually spaces for them too. Apparently, they were almost an apartment type of thing? There were two buildings, each with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

‘Okay so Skeppy were did you sleep just then?’

‘The room like- if you go up the stairs it’s on the side the stairs are and it’s the furthest on the left.’

‘Alright, and Dream where did you sleep?’

‘The one next to the bathroom, on the right of the stairs.’ Dream answered, and mouthed ‘sucks to suck’ to George when he saw the man glaring at him. Though he wasn’t the only one, as he caught Tommy whispering obscenities under his breath, shaking his head solemnly at Dream, maintaining constant eye contact.

After a fair amount of yelling and rearranging, Dream, Skeppy, Sapnap, Karl, and Wilbur were on the second floor of the house, and on the third floor - or the roof level - were George, Tommy, Tubbo, Aimsey, and Jack.

Everyone else were in the other buildings, and they would sort out the arrangement later.

Niki took one of the keys, and Sam took the other, and they had a spare key in a drawer.

Wilbur explained some other things to remember, mostly little inconveniences like how the first-floor toilet can’t flush twice within 5 minutes of each other, how the floors could creak but they’re completely safe, or things like how the shower worked and how much hot water they could use, and how they would get food (at this point Tommy had said ‘ I don’t eat protein Wilbur, I am pure asparagus ’ which Dream didn’t (and probably never would) understand) and that was all Dream caught before he admittedly zoned out.

His mind flickered back to attention when streaming was brought up, apparently the original plan was to bring three set ups that they’d just alternate between themselves, switching accounts when needed, and Tubbo had also brought his streamer backpack, but now they were considering making a room specifically for streaming, though Dream didn’t worry about it too much.

See it all started when he just tapped Sapnap’s leg, and then he felt a little tap of a shoe on his ankle. They went back and forth, going from a little tap on the other’s leg, until it was a kick that was actually beginning to sting a bit.

The equivalent of him, George, and Sapnap punching each other in Minecraft just for the heck of it, though fortunately this version didn’t end with one of them dying.

The sun went down to discussions on the correct temperature to set a shower at, setting a washing up rota, plans for vlogs, they even released a little teaser on twitter alluding to their meet up.

‘Guys, I just wanna say how awesome this is.’ Aimsey declared, and when they took a little took long to continue they all burst into sarcastic applause.

‘Good statement Aimsey!’

So true AimseyTV’

‘No shush- shush! I’m not done yet.’ She laughed, ‘Right, well, I think it hasn’t even fully sunk in yet, but this is so nice, that we can have everyone together here and just- all he chilling you know? And I want to take a moment to appreciate that.’

‘Thanks king,’ Wilbur said, tipping a non-existent hat. ‘And yeah! I agree, I think it’s… it’s just so awesome to be able to do this and we’ve been waiting for it for so long. Also like, I don’t know about you guys but I still look over at Dream and go who is this random guy ?’

Dream snorted, ‘Yeah I look at myself sometimes and go who is that random guy?

‘Guys, guys, guys.’ Tommy held his hands up in an attention grabbing gesture. ‘You know I’m not one for wholesomeness, I’m like- I’m like a squid, with the heart of a lion.’

‘And a lot less legs?’ Tubbo quipped, pointing finger guns.

‘Also- just a lifetime ban from the zoo.’ Ranboo added. And it took a second for everyone to get it before they reacted, bursting into laughter.

‘Anyway- as I was saying, I think this is awesome, dropping the bit, I just have like- like- have like really high energy right now for some reason.’

Yeah , you do ,’ Dream cut him off, with a playfully sarcastic tone.

‘Ohh okay Dream, of course you can’t take my incredible aroma of energy, of course Dream was tired, me me me, my name’s Dream and I am so tired because I had uncomfy seats when flying to gogy, Dream, you are the kind of guy to go to security with your metal fork so you can eat your… dumb American pasta or something, and when the metal detector goes IR ERR you simply move on. You say no no, I will not.’

Jack threw his head back in laughter, before continuing on from Tommy, ‘Yeah- ha! Dream says, guys do you not know how many subscribers I have?

Looking around as everyone burst into laughter really made Dream smile, he felt so truly connected with everyone in this moment. Surrounded by people he’d spoken to for hours upon hours, people he’d traded pieces of himself with, and not through them snapping his heart into shards and taking the remains, instead through gentle words and time together, people he’d given it to, with careful consideration yet without a second thought. People who made up a part of him, who had developed his sense of self and view of the world. The people he first thought of when anything important or special ever happened. The people who he wouldn’t be surprised if his very soul was connected to theirs. Interlocked through meticulous and heartfelt loops of strings of lifelong friendship and memories.

But that was admittedly, a select few.

There were also the people he didn’t even know well, the people he’d spoken to in brief conversations or through simple words in a text. Those he hadn’t poured out the fibres of his being to, but still he had brought these people together.

Dream, himself had brought these people together, he may not have sowed the seeds of the blossoming friendships, but he had certainly given them the farmland, and that was such a thought. Pride and happiness coursed through his veins, buzzing and bright.

It was great to feel like you were content in the people surrounding you, and since the DreamSMP took off, he had felt like this, but the feeling only grew in their presence.

He found himself smiling at seeing two people next to each other just sitting in a chair, at people not even there in the conversation, just typing on their phone. Just the fact that were all here, able to just… be.

‘…oh and look, now he’s smiling just thinking about those metal forks… that’s kind of sus dream’

And there, the Tommyinnit Whiplash , he wasn’t exactly in the right mood for one of his rambles, nor could he understand any of it, but he laughed nonetheless.

‘Not to mention thinking ‘bout those subscribers, the rich get richer what can I say.’ Tommy stated, before dramatically taking a sip of his drink.

‘We do live in a society.’ Tubbo confirmed, ‘I’m a lot like joker… from the movie… joker.’

He made eye contact with George, who wordlessly pointed at him, then put up an ‘okay’ sign with a questioning glance.

You okay?

Dream grinned, it was nice to know someone was asking.

He nodded.

 

—————————

 

They had three days to settle in before they would be going in to the studio, and Dream definitely made the most of it.

Well, looking back on it now, as he waited for the people fetching the groceries to get back so he can start cooking, maybe he actually wasn’t making the most of it.

He was having a wonderful time, don’t get him wrong, experiencing memories he’d reflect on and treasure for the rest of his life.

But there were definitely some… predicaments they’d have to tackle regarding their current circumstances.

Dream couldn’t go outside.

Well, he could , but it’d almost undoubtedly leak his face reveal, which he wasn’t ready for just yet.

They had discussed what they were planning on telling twitter, because if they said nothing the meetup would immediately be leaked any time they go outside. But also, part of the Strictly Come Dancing contract was they couldn’t release information or teasers to the show before the official Twitter page did.

So it was really difficult not explaining the meet up. But when your careers were based around streaming and interacting with an audience, and you also had to leave the house to live , they didn’t really have a choice.

They went for the story of they just thought it was about time for a meet up, and Tubbo did a stream once they sorted out a setup, they had built a desk in the corner of the living room, as there wasn’t much space anywhere else, and it allowed room for people to chat and hang out in the background. Expectantly, their community was in shambles, and they didn’t even have the full story yet.

By Dream’s request, they hadn’t announced that he was there too, partly for privacy reasons, and partly for more of a shock factor when he did face reveal, thought most other people were fine with everyone knowing.

Though instead of being normal people and explaining their situation on stream, they decided to answer literally no questions, and at random points in the stream have other people walk in nonchalantly and just start talking, while trying not to laugh. Which was a great method actually! It could be passed off as a funny bit and meant they didn’t have to answer any questions, though many were donated.

( The traditional American robot voice of text to speech interrupted Tubbo, mid ramble about some new instrument he learnt of while Sapnap, Ranboo, Tommy, Aimsey, Sam, Niki, Karl, Skeppy and Puffy just sat in the background, purposely being extremely chill, each having made their own dramatic yet anticlimactic entrances, chat blowing up everytime another person entered.

‘GUYS. WHAT. IM SHAKING. WHEN DID YOU MEET?’

‘Uhh, yeah candles are cool!’ Tubbo responded, posture curled in on the chair like some kind of gremlin, and he began to rapidly tap his fingers against his leg, a peculiar method of trying not to laugh, but if it worked it worked.

Various donations attempted to ask questions, but to no avail as, yet again, candles were awesome.

‘Three months pog. Can we get a height check Tubbo?’

‘Thanks for the sub! Dude yeah candles are freakin’ awesome man.’

‘Tell Sapnap I said hi, and ask him how the plane journey was please?’

‘Hey Sapnap uhh…. green… swirl… eater… gan? wait no green swirlee Teagan says hi, thanks for the sub, and yeah! To answer your question, I think candles are pretty cool.

‘Hello Tubbo! My friend was the person who posted the model on reddit! She said thank you :) also could you explain that twitter thread from a while ago? Does it relate to this?’

‘Aww you’re welcome! Of course, also uhh… twitter thread? The one about candles being awesome?’)

 

By the end of the stream, the viewers began to find it funny instead of annoying, and ‘CANDLES’ was trending on Twitter. It even leaked into their off-stream conversation, replacing ‘any askers’. Dream had literally asked George which coffee he normally had, only to get ‘I don’t know, but candles are cool.’ in response, before hearing his actual answer.

Dream paused, what was he thinking about? Oh yeah, so other than what they had seen on stream, the viewers knew next to nothing, though scrolling on twitter now was really entertaining.

 

katherine._._ @katherine._._

BRO I AM SO… WHAT. WHEN DID THEY GET HERE. IM SO HAPPY AAHKSHJS

 

leafandtea @leafandtea662233

WOT.

 

nbchameleon @thenbchameleonn

[Fanart of Tubbo, Ranboo, Tommy, and Aimsey arm in arm, smiling, with Niki and Sapnap waving in the background]

Not the meetup we expected, nor the meetup we deserved, but the meetup we needed.

 

lemonnap @sapnapfanlemonsss

Replying to @thenbchameleonn

- THATS SO COOL!!! I LOVE HOW AIMSEYS ON A STOOL TO BE THE SAME HEIGHT AS RANBOO. THAT IT SO AWESOME (AND VERY ACCURATE)

 

HarryStyles1Fan @harrystylebiggestfan10101

Yo where are they btw? did they buy a new place for the meetup? bc thats not tubbos house lol

 

Ikinsapnap @dreamteamsapnap_

GEORGE AND SAPNAP HAVE MOST LIKELY MET UP RIGHT?? OH MAN THATS SO BRBRBR

 

hellocartrtwtat @ hellocartrtwtat

Replying to @dreamteamsapnap_

Imagining dream sitting in his room sobbing his eyes out lmao

 

Oh little did they know .

 

He was interrupted by the sound of a front door opening, and a ruckus of conversation and rustling bags.

‘-prepared from milk fermented by added bacteria, often sweetened and flavoured.'

'...What? Why- why did you get the definition of yoghurt?'

'You asked for it king.'

'No- I was talking about the saturated fats?? I know what a yoghurt is you child, here- look google the nutrition values.'

'No, Wilbur, I don't believe in numbers, we don't agree with each other, they’re not good for my mental health. That’s what Dream told me! He did Wilbur! He said- oh, ohhh, I’m Dream, hello Tommyinnit! Leader of men and all things good, you should not equate your worth to numbers Tommy! No, no! You are already valuable, the most valuable may I say , and I said Oh Dream, oh Dream, well thank you . And now I know Wilbur!’

‘…you’re actually such a- I’m not even- Dream! You here?’ Wilbur eventually broke away from their conversation, and he heard Tommy cackling in the background.

‘Yeah! In the kitchen, you need help with bags?’

‘Uhh, yeah, thanks man.’

They hauled multiple hefty bags into the kitchen, Dream taking out what he needed for a meal, so he could start cooking as early as possible, it was already getting late.

As he fumbled with the oven, trying to figure out the buttons for the first time, the others danced around him, putting the groceries away.

When it was ready, they served dinner for about half their group - the other half having gone out for the night - meaning almost everyone could sit at the table. The takeaway Jack had ordered for about half their group had arrived (Dream’s dish would not feed that many people) and steam was rushing and swirling throughout the kitchen, and smells of warm curry filled the room.

When settled, before digging in Ranboo smacked his hand on a spot to the left of his plate, causing nearly everyone to jump.

‘You good?’

Ranboo was just staring incredulously at his head, before a squark-like laugh rang out.

‘I was- oh my gosh that’s so funny, I was like- I’m used to muting when I’m eating right? And that’s where my mute keybind thing is, so I just-‘ He coughed, ‘I just tried to mute in real life.’

Dream let out a breathy chuckle, and the table delved into their meals.

Jack, someone who was having Dream’s dish, hummed in satisfaction, and once he swallowed, he said: ‘Dream what, this is actually like- really good!’

‘Thanks!’ Dream grinned, ‘I wasn’t sure to be honest I’ve only ever made it for my mom and my sister, my mom said it was great, but… I don’t know.’ He shrugged, noncommittally, his cooking was decent, but whatever they had put in that curry smelled great.

‘Okay so we go in to the place how soon…?’ Tommy asked.

'Three days now! It’s not bad though right, just a tour and like the.. interview things? Intros? That kinda stuff.’ There were murmurs of ascent through the table.

‘Okay, Dream, I really don’t wanna rush you man but… we have three days left, are you gonna face reveal anytime soon? If so, what are you gonna do? Wilbur asked.

Dream pondered for a second, ‘Okay well, I really wanna do something… I don’t know something interesting, I don’t wanna just go live then be like ‘hey it’s me’ or whatever, but, well there is this one idea I have, and I’m thinking of doing it in two days, I need to like… prepare.’ The last part sounded really stupid, but it’s true.

Dream was usually a pretty relaxed and confident guy, but when it came to big stuff like this sometimes just… everything crumbled. He’d get ill, he’d sit in his room all day and not come out for hours, he’d just feel generally… bad. So you’d think you’d want to get it done and over with right? Dream thought this too, but he also wanted some time to prepare himself and get excited, he had some ideas in mind but he’d probably discuss them with George and Sapnap and see what they thought.

‘Alright, great!’

‘Yeah cool, just let us know if we need to do anything.’

‘Oh also, I was wondering how they pair us?’ Aimsey asked.

‘On Strictly?’

‘No, in a fruit basket.'

Aimsey found that one particularly funny.

‘Uhh, I think it’s by height and gender right?’ George said, admittedly unsure.

‘Well there’s a huge imbalance on that last one,’ Aimsey laughed.

‘but yeah, I’m guessing… me, Niki, Hannah, and uh- Puffy won’t be with each other.’

‘I really wanna know who my pair will be to be honest, also by the way- are we actually gonna try at this and like… tryhard to win? Or just try to have fun?’

‘I mean I’m just in it for a good time, I’m not a dancer,’ Tommy shrugged.

‘Well true, but to be fair like… half of the voting thing is public votes, you got a huge audience that’ll probably vote for you!’ Dream reasoned.

‘Well says you Dream , Mr… however many subscribers.’

No, no that’s not what I’m saying, yeah I’ll get that advantage too, which really isn’t fair, but as in like you were saying you’re not a dancer but like- you’ll probably get pretty far in the competition I think.’

‘I mean I wanna try, but I’m not gonna like do 12 hours a day or some crazy hours, I mean I did trampolining for a while I guess?’

Tommy snorted. ‘Little Tub, bouncing across the dance floor.’

‘Guys.’ George interjected, smacking a hand down on the desk, clearly creating a louder noise than anticipated, as George flinched, and Dream burst out laughing at his shocked expression, it also reminded him of Ranboo smacking the table before too.

‘Shut up!’ George blurted out, staring at Dream, cheeks ablaze.

‘Anyway, guys, I think it’s time… we talk about how embarrassingly short Sapnap is.’

‘No! No! Dude, I’m literally not even that much-‘

‘Some people legitimately thought this guy was taller than me? That’s insulti-‘

‘NO! You, you were wearing taller shoes than I-‘

‘And honestly, I think this is a problem, and we should try and solve this-‘

‘Literally- stand next to me.’

They both pulled their chairs out and when stood next to each other, George was taller by those few inches, and Dream began whooping.

‘We should do a height check photo when the others get back and Dream’s done a face reveal and stuff, that’d be fun!’ Wilbur suggested.

‘Like all of us in just one huge line.’ Ranboo laughed.

Dream had been rapidly drumming his fingers on the table and kinda zoning out as he ate, originally when he came to the UK, his face reveal was something exciting, but before he thought too hard, he decided to put it to the side, something to save for later.

He hadn’t truly confronted himself on it, and now it was the only thing on his mind, clouding over the joy of a meetup and a dance show with a hazy fog of worries and doubt, someone else had the key to his privacy, and the only thing he was in control of was how it’d look when it came out of the cage.

That was terrifying.

‘George… Sapnap, can I uhh- talk to you guys after dinner?’

‘Sure dude,’ Sapnap smiled, ‘you good though?’

‘Uhh, kinda. Don’t really wanna talk about it here though.’

Sapnap nodded in understanding.

‘George?’

‘What? Oh, yeah of course!’

They finished their meals, and as everyone else settled into the lounge to watch an episode of last years Strictly Come Dancing, Dream, George, and Sapnap stayed in the kitchen.

‘This about the face reveal?’ George prompted, immediately hitting the nail on the head, and Dream gave a feeble nod, feeling stupid about it.

‘What do you need?’ George asked, an utmost genuine expression that Dream hadn’t ever seen on his face in real life, he barely saw it through a screen either.

Though he had heard that tone before, usually at 3AM when he was in the mood to spill out some secrets, lay out nearly everything on the table for George to pick at and dissect, look at angles Dream himself couldn’t see. He was one of the lucky few to know George off-stream, as he was legitimately one of the most caring people he knew, something about his presence was just so safe and comforting, and maybe he should feel scrutinised at the way George was looking directly into his eyes right now, but he didn’t.

At his lack if response George stuttered awkwardly, ‘Like- as in- you know do you want like, a distraction, a solution, or comfort… y’know?’

Dream laughed at the both of them, how he simply just hadn’t answered the question, and with a fondness at George becoming so awkward all of a sudden, and George was rolling his eyes but grinning along with him.

‘Hmm, I mean, we don’t really need a solution, like there’s a deadline and it’s happening anyway right? I just… keep worrying about it. Comfort then distraction?’ He asked, perking up in a way that hopefully George wouldn’t refuse.

George scoffed but stepped into Dream’s open arms, rubbing little circles on his back which Dream’s mind quickly latched onto, it was something his dad used to do when he was younger.

He heard Sapnap sigh behind him, ‘You only did that as an excuse to hug George didn’t you?’ and Dream shamelessly hummed in ascent, before extending a hand out to Sapnap, who joined in on their hug.

‘Trust me dude, you’re gonna be fine, and even if you’re not you have us with you, and we’ll help you through anything alright?’ Sapnap mumbled into his shoulder.

‘I think it’s time we talk about how short Sapnap is,’ George decided, and Dream burst out laughing at the sudden whiplash.

‘You’re actually stupid, you literally said this at dinner, what- do you want a medal George, you think you’re better than me? I could still beat you up in a fight you know.’ Sapnap said, voice gradually getting louder as he ranted. ‘I’ll whoops your a-‘

‘Okay Sapnap, okay Sapnap, okay Sapnap, speak to me again when you’re like 8 inches taller.’

‘I will kick you.’ Sapnap deadpanned, then abruptly moved on, ‘before we move on, I don’t know… I feel like this should be fun, we should make this exciting and awesome, it’s a huge moment in your life dude and you deserve to enjoy it, it shouldn’t be something you have to panic and stress over. You’re worth more than that, Dream, and knowing you you’ve probably thought about this already, so please let us know what you’re planning on doing.’

Dream briefly held his head in his hands, as his idea was inherently stupid, but when he explained it to George and Sapnap they liked it.

They returned to the lounge, ready to see a taster of what they’d be seeing and doing for the next few weeks only to see… Say Yes To The Dress? and Tubbo had strong opinions on the bride’s mothers and how everyone wanted ‘sweetheart necklines’ which Dream originally listened to, and he tried , he really did, but he instead entertained himself with a game of Rock Paper Scissors with George, something they hadn’t done before in real life.

Overall, it was a successful evening.

 

—————————

 

It was currently 9PM, and Dream couldn’t control his excitement, from the second he woke up he hadn’t been able to relax.

He ate breakfast while pacing around the kitchen, trying to burn off energy, his thoughts trained on the evening’s plan as if nearly everything else didn’t exist.

He made a checklist of everything needed, washed his hair, and checked a mirror so many times that his reflection was pretty much memorised.

In the morning, his excitement was reflected back at him in varying degrees through the others, through questions, encouragement and bright smiles, or hugs and words of kindness or wisdom.

Like, not using twitter for a while after.

And Dream definitely won’t use Twitter…

And Dream may or may not use Twitter.

Though by the afternoon, people were telling him to calm down and relax, a good-natured expression on their face nonetheless, but Dream didn’t relent and eventually they confined him (metaphorically of course) to a game of Mario Kart.

A peculiar strategy, but it worked (and he won of course).

 

—————————

 

Tommy was entertaining a stream chat, that was pointedly facing forward at all times, held by Tubbo with his stream backpack, as they walked through streets about half an hour from their living place (they weren’t asking to be doxxed), and Dream made an effort to not say a word.

The only noise was Tommy advertising subs to chat, and Dream would’ve loved a normal conversation right now, because all he heard was the thousands of viewers staring at their screen under the pretence of an ‘outdoor stream’, a community he loved and cherished and appreciated beyond belief, but he was also about to show a secret to.

His heart was beating a little bit faster, his breathing a little louder, and the steps beneath his feet felt too loud, like the mere sound of them would give away his presence.

A cold hand slotted into his own and gave it a reassuring squeeze, and Dream looked up in silence to see George nodding at him, gesturing to the street that was part of their plan.

Dream bit his lip, feeling unnaturally tense, and George made a wafting hand motion near his face. After a second of confusion, Dream tried to take slow deep breaths to control his breathing, sending George a grateful smile.

Sapnap walked over to his other side and nodded at him, grinning, and Dream nodded back in affirmation.

He waved goodbye to the rest of the group, and those not on camera gave him waves back, thumbs up, smiles, or a cheering action, and the stream stopped moving as Tommy and Tubbo began acting out a bit about a special sign that was blessed by Wilbur’s non-existent royal heritage.

Dream began taking a short-cut through a different street to the planned street path, walking at a brisk pace, muttering reassurances to himself, hyperaware of his surroundings.

In every reflection he saw himself, the car doors and windows, the house windows, a stray puddle, and he tried to follow Sapnap’s advice and turn his panic into excitement, he decided to smile and see if that would work, and… think happy.

He could be on streams.

He’s gonna be on a dance show.

He can be in vlogs.

He can make in real life content.

This won’t change anything.

I’m okay.

 

Sighting his landmark (a pub), he turned back on to the previous road, and before stepping out on the street braced himself.

This will be the first time his physical self has been on a stream before, that the world will see his face and physical presence on a livestream.

These next few seconds will probably be clipped and he’d see them for possibly years to come.

He took a deep breath, looking at the road ahead of him, a few metres wide probably, but looking like miles long, a dark grey concrete with a puddle reflecting a street light.

In the distance he saw the huge crowd of people, and made eye contact with George, who nodded at him, smiling.

Tubbo was talking with his hands as much as his mouth animatedly to the stream, and Dream took a breath in.

The end of an era.

Here we go.

 

He stood a little taller, perfecting his posture, and stepped out on the street, and walked across the road, every second and step feeling painfully long. Just so it wouldn’t look too awkward, he ruffled a hand through his hair.

…that probably looked really stupid.

He’s screwed it up.

He payed it no mind, and kept walking, surprised such a simple and mundane task felt like such a huge deal, almost laughing as the quote ‘ That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind rung through his mind.

He was getting closer to the group now, though decidedly staying near the sidewalk, and he looked up for a second to see the behind-the-scenes group silently cheering and beaming at him.

This was probably like what the olympics would feel like, Dream was so happy he was able to do this with so many people around him.

He kept walking still, hands now in his pocket, and when he reached the camera…

He walked straight past it.

The second he was sure he was out of sight he immediately ran to George and Sapnap, and they hugged him, Sapnap whisper-yelling a ‘woo!!! that was awesome!’ in his ear, and George was positively grinning. Dream felt such utter relief, and sighed, feeling tension leave his body he hadn’t even realised was there.

Though they weren’t done yet of course.

This was the first step and there was a bit more to go.

(‘I think it’d be really funny if like- I face revealed… before actually face revealing…?’ George and Sapnap stared at Dream with confused looks.

‘So like, if I can figure out a way to be on camera without them knowing it’s me, I was thinking if you guys do an outdoor stream then I can just walk past the camera at a random point acting like a random stranger just… walking around, and see how many times I can do it while getting away with it. Then at the end I go to the actual camera and everyone’s like ‘woahhh what!!’. I don’t know, I just think that’d be really funny.’

‘That’s actually pretty cool!’ George affirmed, ‘You could even wear like- different coats or jackets or something to make you even less recognisable each time.’

‘That’s a good idea!’)

 

(‘…so that’s the plan, would you mind streaming and just talking about stuff?’ Dream finished explaining the plan to rest of the group, and directed his question at Tommy.

‘The Dream face reveal on my channel??? Of course king, but seriously that sounds awesome, good luck man!’

Jack had been pondering silently, ‘Dream… I have one problem.’

Dream turned to him, confused.

‘See in your plan… I see a lot of parallels… to the Impostor from Among Us.’)

 

Dream took off his coat, grabbing the jacket Sapnap was holding in his arm and pulling it through his arms and over his shoulders, before taking off in a different direction, feeling excitement and adrenaline this time instead of fear.

There was definitely thrill in walking within the views of a camera, and he flapped his hands to get out some of the pent-up energy in between going down that street, and after enough walking, he turned, stepped out onto the street… and crossed the road.

Dream had always not enjoyed the ridiculous amounts of adrenaline and fear he got from non-life-threatening situations, in his rational, logical, and emotional mind he knew that he wasn’t scared, nor did he have reasons to be, but his body completely disagreed. Though, this was not one of those times. The stress and fear but pure excitement whirring through him was absolutely thrilling. And all that combined with him having to keep that to a minimum so the stream wouldn’t notice anything abnormal.

Repeating the process for a solid half an hour was actually really entertaining and fun, he had no clue if anyone in the chat were saying anything, even if they knew it was the same person, they might not make the connection to who exactly said person was, and Dream was having the time of his life.

Maybe he got a little too bold when he made finger guns at the stream camera, just a discreet little hand movement that you’d really have to look for to notice, and another time he made a heart sign directed towards them, other than that he mostly just crossed a road or walked down a sidewalk, feeling more confident as the time passed.

Those streaming were absolute legends, and Dream was thanking their naturally ability to just ramble for hours. Kinda ironic considering that when he first met them he found the rambles and constant talking overbearing and irritating, but now it was great.

Most people find me annoying at first.’ Dream laughed to himself at the thought.

They kept up the process until Dream stopped crossing the road, instead creeping along the sidewalk out of view of the camera.

His nerves had settled, in fact his lack of nervousness was unnerving him.

Did that even make sense?

Everything else before had been dumb little stuff, like an easter egg for… himself. A fun little joke that he could hold over chat’s head and they’d kick themselves for not realising they’d already got a face reveal, a funny way to distill his tension and worries.

And it had completely worked.

As planned, the conversation steered towards him.

‘If anyone could do it, Dream could.’ Tommy said to Tubbo, a determined expression on his face, and Dream snapped to attention, almost everyone behind the camera’s eyes were on him, giving encouraging nods, and he swallowed.

‘I actually don’t think Dream could boat clutch off the Eiffel tower, but hey, maybe I’m wrong.’ Tubbo said, throwing his hands in the air as a gesture of surrender.

‘I wish Dream were here with us, he would know what to do.’ Tommy clicked his fingers.

His cue.

Not allowing himself to think about it, his legs pretty much carried him without a second thought, and Dream walked around Tommy so he was in between him and Tubbo, right in front of the camera.

‘Yeah.’

 

His expression dropped.

He instantly flushed.

Oh my gosh.

How.

How could this happen.

One chance.

And he got a voice crack.

 

He smacked his hand over his eyes, spinning around in a little circle, feeling extremely embarrassed, as Tommy and Tubbo each immediately cracked up, imitating his voice.

Remembering the stakes of every movement he was doing, Dream removed his hand from the face and smiled at the camera with a wave, as everyone behind the camera erupted into cheers, and each walked around to be in the background of the camera.

Though George and Sapnap slammed full force into him, each still recovering from laughter, and gave him a brief hug.

‘It’s Dream lore!!’ George pulled a shocked face, staring right at the camera then to Dream and back to the camera, like something from a cartoon and in a way that was kinda endearing, and Dream beamed at him.

‘Well boyss, that’s gonna be the stream for tonight, kinda uneventful I’ll be honest,’ Tommy stared pointedly at Dream as he said this, ‘I’ll try and make the next ones more interesting.’ He chuckled.

‘Have a good day chat!!’

‘Bye guys!’

‘Have a good day!’

Everyone waved at the camera and Dream put up a heart sign again, and waved too, and after a few seconds Tubbo announced the stream had definitely ended.

And it was like a wave of relief crashed over Dream.

Another round of applause and cheering congratulated him as George and Sapnap pulled him in for another hug, which he melted into, not realising how much he had needed it. He could be in this moment for years.

And they began walking back home.

Chapter Text

Safe to say Dream endured a lot of jeers and light-hearted ridicule after the stream ended. Which, in their defence, was completely justified.

Though Dream definitely enjoyed making Tommy feel bad when he had spent about 5 minutes doing a crude impression of Dream’s… wording, and Dream proceeded to shower him with compliments and gratitude on his efforts of keeping a fun stream on the go.

Tommy stopped insulting him after that.

 

(‘YeAh… my name is Dream and I go yEAh, that’s actually just hilarious, how was that… how was that even real, man.’ Tommy laughed, ‘Dream, you are so stupid.’

Dream rolled his eyes, ‘Oh yeah, by the way thanks Tommy for streaming that I really appreciate the hard work and effort you put in to make sure I feel comfortable and have a good experience, I think you’re great at talking and entertaining chat consistently even with little to do, and I really admire and respect that about you.’

Tommy stared at him. ‘Well… thanks.’ Tommy said sarcastically, with a flick of his head. Dream grinned.

‘Admittedly,’ Tubbo began, ‘we popped off there, that was great, the amount of times I wanted to speak to Jack Manifold yet managed to resist was… astronomical. All for Dream to throw it all away with a yeaH.’)

 

Of course Dream didn’t actually care, it kept his mind off the more… unpleasant side of his thoughts. The existential identity-relating future-crushing kind of thoughts, and after the initial ten minutes of just… constant insults, they had a lot of fun sharing each other’s side of the story, turns out Sam had tripped at one point causing Tommy and Tubbo to pause in their conversations to concentrate their efforts on stifling their laughter, and the first time Dream walked past the camera Tubbo nearly commented on it. They also passed a pile of dog poo.

He was in a really good mood honestly, it felt really freeing to finally do a face reveal. Over a year had been working up to this moment, a gradual thought in the back of his mind, starting off as some tiny granules of dust, before rocks and pebbles were added to the pile, at every reminder of things he couldn’t do, ways he was held back, until it had became a mountain. Not a towering and intimidating one per se, instead a strong mountain that was a shield of protection, a cover blocking away the real him, and he wasn’t aware that these waves of relief would come cascading through him as he broke it down, and now the rocks and debris had settled, leaving a stunning view of the sun, promising future days of big opportunities, a new chapter of life.

And for once he didn’t care what everyone was saying online, he didn’t have the strong urge to check twitter, he didn’t mind if people were screaming or crying or freaking out right now. Because in his life, at this moment, he was truly content and happy, and walking along the streets of London with those he loved, laughing, joking, and just living.

By the time they saw their rented house, it was only the dull glow of street lamps guiding the way, a few tiny flickers of colour from faraway stars making themselves clear among wispy clouds stretching across the sky, a gentle breeze in the air, stray leaves brushing across the floor.

Dream was so happy, literally buzzing on the way back. Instead of shivers of a concoction of fear, excitement, anticipation, and nerves, now it was just pure unfiltered happiness, doing running motions with his hands to relieve some of his energy, hands bunched into fists and arms just shaking up and down as he smiled.

When returning back to the house, a lot of people retired to their rooms, but Dream and some others went into the lounge and collapsed on the seats.

Him, George, Sapnap, and Karl were sharing one of the sofas (a bit of a squeeze but they made it work), Niki, Puffy, Skeppy, and Bad on another, and Aimsey and Wilbur were sharing the last sofa, Tommy and Tubbo settled cross-legged on the floor.

They stuck to the plan of the previous night, and put on last years week 1 episode of Strictly Come Dancing, Dream had seen a lot of it from his week of research, but seeing everyone else’s reaction was fun, and it was some nice downtime.

Like Dream had thought, they commented on the excessive amounts of one liners.

‘I gotta start thinking of like- things to say man, I didn’t realise they talked like this.’ Wilbur chuckled, ruffling a hand through his hair.

‘Just pretend it’s a SAD-ist animatic,’ Tommy snickered, and Dream imagined how cool that would look. If all else failed, the fanart from the next few weeks would be incredible, Dream was so excited to see it.

‘Well to be fair it’s like- it’s like a template, just add so we’ve gotta make it count, or I’m here to win, or showtime to the end of everything you say.’ Tubbo said, making jazz hands and another dramatic gestures at every quote.

‘I had eggs for breakfast, so we’ve gotta make it count.’ Sapnap joked, and Dream scoffed.

‘Just saw my first edit, and it’s literally of you just walking,’ George said, laughing, before angling his phone so Dream could see. It was some funky audio and they had edited it so Dream’s steps were in time with the beat, a light vignette around the edges. Aimsey began absentmindedly humming the tune of it, which would definitely get stuck in Dream’s head.

‘That’s so fast what? It’s been like- it’s been an hour what the hell? That’s so cool!’ He said.

When Dream checked twitter himself, he was flooded with support and love, heartfelt messages and shocked and happy people, which made him smile, and he looked up to see George grinning back at him, a knowing look on his face. There were all sorts of shocked or happy images, some of them sounding like proud parents or even making the comparisons themselves. There was a little comic style art of a really cute and simplistic art style of a little Dream, and a little Tommy and Tubbo, in the first scene it was Dream infront of a camera saying the iconic ‘yeah’, and the second was Tommy and Tubbo laughing, and Dream’s character had furiously red cheeks.

He didn’t blush that much did he? He hadn’t actually seen the clip yet, he’d have to find that.

He quickly liked the image on his fanart account, before searching ‘dream face reveal clip’, only to see a list of them, he clicked the first.

It was a familiar street, Tommy and Tubbo standing on other sides of the screen, the sky still fairly light, street lamps not yet turned on.

‘We have to spy on them somehow Tubbo, and If anyone could do it, Dream could.’ Tommy had said to Tubbo solemnly, and seeing it from an after perspective, he could see Tubbo’s eyes briefly flicker towards where Dream had stood before, at that current moment frozen and on edge.

‘I actually don’t think Dream could boat clutch off the Eiffel tower,’ Tubbo had replied, laughing, ‘but hey, maybe I’m wrong.’ He put his hands up in shrug gesture.

‘I wish Dream were here with us, he would know what to do.’ Tommy had sighed, and Dream braced himself to see himself walk in.

From the right side of the screen there he was, rushing in and ending up nearly in the middle, quite panicked but only if you were looking for it, just the subtle widening of his eyes and shuddery intake of breath. In terms of how he looked, Dream was very much satisfied. He wasn’t insecure or anything, don’t get him wrong, but for a first impression and the creation of a wide-spread clip he really wanted it to be good, and… well it was.

Despite his nerves, he was smiling at the camera, one of his hands was stuffed in his coat pocket, then he said:

‘Yeah.’

Dream snorted, watching as the anxious smile immediately fell from his past-self, that really did sound stupid. Everyone else on his sofa leaned in to see what it was, and Sapnap clearly pushed too far. ‘Sapnap!’ George protested indignantly, his forehead knocking on Dream’s shoulder.

Dream raised an eyebrow and shuffled over, extending his arm forward so they could all see the clip. He rewound a couple seconds as they had missed some of it.

Dream’s face went bright red as Tommy and Tubbo bent over clutching at their stomach with hysteria. Dream groaned, hiding his head in his hands as he turned around.

‘I loved the little spin,’ George commented, eyes fixed on the screen, a fond smile on his face.

When Dream removed his hands from the face there was a shy little smile replacing it as he waved at the camera, and suddenly a huge noise came from somewhere they couldn’t see on screen. Then George and Sapnap came barreling into Dream’s side, both laughing, wrapping him in a quick hug as more and more people filed into the background from the side of the camera.

‘Kinda cringe not gonna lie,’ Karl goaded, and Sapnap scoffed.

‘It’s Dream lore!’ Past-George said, feigning shock, jumping about excitedly.

It was nice to see himself standing next to George for the first time, after years of waiting for it, of watching Tommy’s vlogs with a feeling of misplaced nostalgia, always a little something missing. But everything slotted into place.

 

dream @dreamwastaken

its been awesome meeting up with george and sapnap and everyone else, im sure we’ll talk about it on stream sometime, and we’ve got something big coming soon :) thank you guys so much for all the love I appreciate u all <3

 

—————————

 

‘Can you pay for a huge amount of people with like… a twenty pound note?’ Tubbo asked out of the blue.

‘Pay for what?’

‘The bus fare for later.’

Instead of taxis they decided that those who couldn’t fit in the cars could go on a bus that was almost the perfect route, something about ‘ the tourist experience ’.

‘Hmm, I’ve never tried.’ Wilbur mused, ‘probably not? I mean you pay separately because you’re on the- well you’re paying for yourself to travel right? I don’t know man but I wouldn’t risk it.’

Tubbo shrugged and and produced a handful of coins from his pocket, dividing them amongst some people.

‘I’m pretty sure you can pay with card right?’ Dream asked.

‘Oh yeah you’ll be fine with that,’ George confirmed, shutting a cabinet with a satisfying ‘bonk’.

‘See I’ve never had that problem, because I don’t pay for anything ever. They see the Jack Manifold Charm and just let me go.’ Jack bragged.

Tommy scoffed ‘…just… shut up Jack.’

 

—————————

 

They walked down the street, their fairly large party probably looking very out of place on the narrow sidewalk… or pavement , as Tommy corrected.

Dream was chatting amicably with George, Tommy, and Tubbo, the four following after the rest of the group, fortunately not having to pay attention to the road unless they were crossing one.

Eventually they made it to the bus stop, and after another quick consideration on whether they could pay with a £20 note, they decided against it. Upon getting on the bus they received some irritated looks from the bus driver, clearly annoyed at the huge party and the bus filling up, but even then some of them managed to get seats!

At their stop, they got off the bus to see bustling crowds and six-way crossroads. It had a pleasant atmosphere though, busy enough to be exciting, but not too much to be loud and overbearing.

Elstree studios itself was a huge towering building, not looking exactly grand on the outside, but upon finding the entrance (which took surprisingly long), there were some impressive pillars framing the front doors with steps leading towards it, and someone in a dark grey shirt with the Strictly Come Dancing logo on it welcomed them into the building with a friendly smile.

Their loud chatter dulled down into reverent whispers, as if they were walking into a cinema or something. The walls were a dark velvet red with a wall trim of dark wood, it looked very theatrical, but with a peculiar atmosphere from the unusual emptiness. Like a cinema at the end of the movie, or in the theatre when everyone’s walking out and the lights come back on again.

It didn’t feel right that was empty, quiet, too quiet, but it was cool to see one of the opening rooms when it wasn’t bustling with large crowds, stressed parents and hyperactive kids you had to actively avoid tripping over.

There was a counter with a cash register in the corner, and those fences with red ropes you could disconnect set up for a queue, probably for tickets or something.

Their guide (her name was Diana) led them through some doors and suddenly there was the a huge expansive space in front of them.

Rows upon rows of seats with walkways lined three of the sides of the room, with pillars supporting a second floor. Copious amounts of spotlights shone from the ceiling and even the floor, all pointing towards four dancers on the ballroom, with graceful and elegant movements in a contemporary dance style, each in figure hugging black outfits, perhaps they were practicing, or perhaps it was to add to the overall experience.

At the focal point on the back wall of the ballroom was the logo of the show, lights shining outwards like sparkles, and two curved staircases curled around on the right and left side of the walls, their entrances being somewhere backstage.

There were gasps and whistles behind and beside him, people pointing at various things, and Dream took the moment to look up.

Of course on shows they wouldn’t show all the behind the scenes, they didn’t show the mess of wires and the camera rig, criss-crossing over the ceiling in what could only be described as an unkempt mess. It made him almost feel some vertigo, which was strange as he usually got that the opposite way round, but you don’t normally see a ceiling this high.

The lights lining nearly every surface (they were even on the steps in between seats, casting long shadows of their shoes along their sides at every step) were set to a dull yet warm orange, but the ballroom overall was in darkness, the background lights Dream knew could come to life were off, and the bubbly and adrenaline-induced atmosphere born from busy crowds and the knowledge of something about to happen was starkly absent.

Diana smiled at them, a pair of headphones sitting snugly on her shoulders. ‘I’ve done the tours for a good six years, but I never get tired of people’s reactions to the ballroom. It’s really something isn’t it?’, and they walked around an aisle behind the seats to make it to the back.

On the way there one of the dancers, someone with incredibly red hair (not even ginger hair, literally solid red, shiny and silky and going into curls at the bottom) flashed a smile at George, who seemed confused but waved back, Dream laughed at him.

At the back they moved around the sides of the structure with the stairs, and it felt very behind-the-scenes-esque. The glitter and sparkles and symmetry was abandoned, in favour of practicality, the way to the entrance of the top of the stairs looked like some metal scaffolding, and on the floors wires or stray props were shoved haphazardly to the side, leaving a clear walkway nonetheless.

Diana led them through to a separate door, and they were met with winding hallways, adorned with doors and paintings of medals and trophies, dancers in elaborate poses and positions, and the judges themselves. It felt like something out of the TV.

Oh yeah , it was .

Dream had been so wrapped up with the face reveal and meeting his friends he had managed to forget he’d be on live TV, and so engaged in his conversation with George that even on the way he didn’t consider it.

‘This is so awesome,’ he marvelled out loud.

They were shown different rooms with half set-up stations for makeup, or places with racks of random outfits and shelves of accessories, places with changing rooms, toilets, and Dream honestly didn’t have a clue how he’d remember where to go.

Looking around everywhere was really exciting, he was seeing this place for the first of many many times, eventually these hallways would become second nature (if he stayed in the competition long enough, that is).

After milling around for about an hour, (that went by surprisingly fast) familiarising themselves with the area or just sitting around and talking, Diana led them down another few hallways that Dream stopped trying to memorise after the second turn.

Of course, the main reason they were here.

It was a fairly sizeable room, a couple chairs against one of the walls, and on the opposite side some pastel coloured sparkly photoshoot rooms. In one of the corners looked like just a box, but Dream knew it was a voice recording station, he had been briefed on today's tasks of course.

On the earlier episodes of Strictly Come Dancing, they did introductions, just a couple minutes of stating some information about yourself for those who didn’t know you well, of course involving stating the infamous dramatic one liners.

They were divided into groups alphabetically, not their legal names, the ones they submitted on a form with various information from things like emergency contacts to how much skin they were comfortable with showing, and ‘Dream’, beginning with D, was lined up by the rooms.

They were instructed by a yawning yet bubbly man to just do things in the room like dancing, pointing, spinning, gazing dramatically into the distance, their group laughed good-naturedly, but were relieved to see they had example clips.

Luckily, the footage would be slow-moed, so they wouldn’t be standing around awkwardly for ages.

After Puffy, (who was C for Captain) he went into a silver room with sequins and sparkles lining the walls, and some modern light made of glowing triangles in the centre. And two minutes of awkward bouncing around (regardless of any help the example video could’ve given), and some smiling and waving at a camera, Dream left the room to see Karl going in after him.

He joined the queue with George and Foolish, and George had a look of intense concentration as he scribbled on a piece of paper resting on his arm. Probably making up a script or something.

The voice recording was actually extremely quick, it took Dream two takes (the person there told him to slow down because he was talking to quick the first time), and they really didn’t mess around.

‘My name is Dream, I’m from Florida, and I’m a content creator. I’m here to learn something new, to enjoy a great experience, and to have fun! But I’d love to win.’

It wasn’t a good introduction, didn’t resemble himself in many ways, but it was short, sweet, to the point, and exactly what the show wanted. The audience would probably forget about him after two minutes, so either they’d get to know him through questions throughout the show, or they already knew him. And he didn’t really care what a bunch of random strangers thought anyway. The judges rated based on talent, and they went into this knowing the audience votes would be ridiculously unbalanced, conveniently in Dream’s favour. He had nothing to prove.

He leaned against the wall, absent-mindedly chatting with George and Sapnap as he fiddled with the hem of his smart jacket, while Wilbur and Tubbo finished off in respective purple and orange rooms.

One of the staff members clapped their hands together, ‘Alright! That’s a wrap! We now have a special performance from our professional dancers so you can get a taste of the strictly magic. Before we go there, I want to remind you all to be back here in three days time, 11 in the morning, and be prepared for a pre-recording, I’d look smart, but I wouldn’t do hair or makeup yourself, that’s what we’re for.’ They chuckled, ‘after the dance performance you can stick around, but that’s it for the tour, hope you’ve enjoyed it folks, follow Diane back to the ballroom and have a good time!’

The performance from the professional dancers was incredible. They had a powerful instrumental playing in the background, and men and women in airy long skirts or half-unbuttoned shirts were thundering around the floor, movements practiced, precise, and nearly perfectly synchronised despise their large number. It was compelling, ending with a fixed stare towards a ‘dead’ couple on the floor, and if there had been a plot Dream hadn’t been following along.

They applauded wholeheartedly, receiving bows or waves of gratitude, before they were running off stage.

The professionals reminded him of the ‘cool kids’ in traditional high school movies. They all moved in packs with confidence and seeming so self-assured, most of their bodies were muscular from the physical exertion, and just the way they moved was so graceful and powerful, strutting around the place with immaculate posture and swinging arms. Dream wondered which one would be his teacher.

 

—————————

 

Dream spent the evening having felt very productive, and talking excitedly with everyone else about partners. They thought the most reliable method was probably height based, so made a line in height order. Someone was setting up a phone to take a picture to post, and after a moment of consideration, Dream turned around and pulled his hood up, which just so happened to be a green comfortable hoodie he had changed into, fitting for his brand.

Anyway, according to their not completely reliable height check, Dream was most likely to be paired with Tommy or Eret, or perhaps Wilbur or Jack.

Dream went to bed earlier that night, to the sound of the yells of Tubbo and Ranboo, and quiet mumblings of other people muffled through the floor (or ceiling? Depends which way you look at it), he had no reason to stay up anymore. Usually he’d leave after ages on a discord call and after an extra hour earned by persuading a tired George to stay online, but instead it was just walking upstairs, taking a shower (and no, Dream didn’t even dip his toe into the debate of whether night showers were better than day showers, if he didn’t have one in the morning, he’d have one at night, simple as that).

He checked the time, 12:08, and saw some notifications on his phone.

 

TubboLIVE is live!

HANGING OUT WITH THE BOYSS

 

GeorgeNotFound 11:56

I got the wordle in three rows!! also you left your mug downstairs so it's in the cupboard now. sleep well :)

 

Twitter was also literally combusting, Strictly Come Dancing had tweeting their announcement on who the professionals were, and everyone was in utter shock, Dream had decided to leave it alone for a while, he can always look at it later. He clicked on George’s notification.

 

Dream 12:09

nice! sorry abt the mug

also not sleeping yet, I can hear tommy from downstairs lol

 

He sat up on his elbows as he got an idea.

 

He clicked on Tubbo’s stream notification, and after a couple seconds of waiting, he saw Tubbo and Aimsey doing the high low jack-a-low thing, in the living room, Sam in the background laughing about something, Ranboo and Tommy sat on the floor cheering Aimsey and Tubbo along, claps far too enthusiastic for the mundane activity, and George was at the left corner of the screen, lying down while on his phone, and Dream smugly thought of how he knew more than the viewers. He knew who George was texting right now. And it’s Dream . Dream who’s taking up his attention.

 

Dream 12:09

I can see you on the stream :)

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:10

hello!

 

Dream stared at the screen, waiting for stream delay to catch up, then George’s eyebrows furrowed before he looked up in recognition, and waved, a bright expression on his face, at the camera. Dream smiled fondly, as George started typing a short message.

George started saying something to Tubbo, so Dream turned his volume up, but didn’t catch it in time.

Tubbo said in response to whatever it was: ‘-he went to bed though? Hi Dream! Hope you’re doing good king.’

‘Oy Dream!’ Tommy yelled from the background, and he paused, ‘I’ll… fight you.’

Dream rolled his eyes, then said goodnight to George.

 

Dream 12:12

goodnight george!! sleep well sweet dreamsss :)

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:12

goodnight sweet dream!!

 

Dream rolled his eyes, a warm feeling in his chest at the pun, then put his phone down and snuggled down into the covers.

After a couple days he was mostly used to the house. He wasn’t necessarily settled, but it didn’t feel so alien anymore. The duvet was originally too hot and was like a heavy blanket, and Dream liked to move around in his sleep, and it just generally wasn’t comfortable, so he had taken out the main sheet, and it was currently folded in the bottom of the closet, and he was sleeping with just the duvet cover.

He sighed, content, lying on his left side, a pillow cuddled around his arm, and his eyelids fluttered to a close.

 

—————————

 

They spent the two days in between trying to cram streams in, two cooking streams that went surprisingly well, Tommy, Jack, and Niki both filmed respective vlogs, and there were some random just chatting streams every here and there.

The lounge was almost a complete no-go spot for Dream, someone was constantly broadcasting their life in there that Dream hadn’t actually been in the room for a while. Since the face reveal and the height check photo, he hadn’t had his physical self on stream, apart from waving once from the side of the camera.

And until he was more comfortable he didn’t want to just randomly walk in on a stream, he often lurked behind the camera or popped in for a few minutes to chime in on conversations where he couldn’t be seen, but other than that he’d been keeping himself to himself.

Tomorrow they were finding out who their partners were, Dream had been hanging out with Eret and Jack more often, as they were pretty close to his height and he didn’t speak to the two all that much, if he was gonna have to break a physical touch barrier with someone he’d like to know them well beforehand.

The day after finding out their partners, the dance  training course would begin, and after a good few years of barely leaving the house and sitting in front of a computer moving two hands, he felt vastly underprepared.

Though he was ridiculously excited, he didn’t have a clue how they’d learn a dance in like… 5 days, but dozens of previous celebrities had managed it, and that was to be left up to the professionals anyway, he’d just put the effort in and not worry about strategy.

Apart from streamers, the house was actually pretty quiet, usually people went outside to go to a nearby gym or hang out, enjoying the days of being with friends. Dream didn’t go out much, and he was kinda getting sick of staying in the same place for so long. Sure, he did that at his normal house, but there he had minecraft and discord and Patches and all this stuff. Now he was familiar with every painting in the house, and had taken a liking to sitting in the kitchen or an occasional wander in the garden. The only thing stopping him from going outside was the idea that he could now definitely be recognised. People knew what he looked like now, and that was a little scary.

One plus side though was incredible fanart, he’d seen some hyper realistic one yesterday, an imitation of a vogue cover, which he stared at for like a solid five minutes. He thought fanart might scare him, but honestly it didn’t, that was just incredibly cool. He didn’t understand how people could be so talented, and to see that of himself? Incredible. Dream liked and retweeted it on his fanart account.

‘Wilbur and Niki are back!!’ Someone yelled from the kitchen, and Dream padded down the stairs with some others not far behind.

The aforementioned pair were passing around some pot noodles and ready meals, having just been out to the shop, while Jack tried to fit a many into the microwave at the same time as possible. A small group were sat the table digging in to last nights left overs.

‘How is this real?’ Tommy said, laughing in amazement, ‘we’re like- some of the most successful streamers and we’re like- in line to use a microwave.’

‘The streamer life.’ Tubbo mused, nodding.

‘Okay also, remember like don’t drink too much or have like- milk or something. When do we leave? Also Jack it says two minutes, not three’ Wilbur said. Jack cursed under his breath and reset the microwave, before entering the applicable time.

‘If we’re out the house in like, an hour we should make it fine.’

‘Alright nice, is Ranboo gonna be there?’ Wilbur asked, not looking up from fiddling with a cardboard covering.

‘He’s not allowed to be before the event, but he’s bought a ticket so he’ll be front row audience for the actual show.’

‘He had to buy the ticket? Did he not get a discount or something?’

Tubbo’s eyes widened, and he made a ‘shh’ motion with a finger over his lips, before laughing, ‘Nah yeah, he payed. It’s chill though. I called him earlier he was so freakin’ excited. Him, Phil, and Kristen have been binge-watching last years show they’re on like- the seventh episode already.’

‘It’s crazy that literally in like… three hours we’ll be getting ready to be on live TV.’ Aimsey said, searching for a glass.

‘Don’t remind me,’ Dream murmured.

Sapnap let out a humourless laugh, ‘Honestly I keep forgetting, it hasn’t sunk in at all.’

‘Do we dress smart or do they give us clothes we have to wear?’ Sam asked.

‘Uhh, I don’t know actually, I’m guessing it’ll be on the thing though.’

‘The… thing?’

‘Like, the email.’

‘Yeah, Jack are you gonna get changed?’ Tommy asked, grinning.

‘What why?’ Jack looked down at his outfit indignantly.

‘You’re really gonna go to a professional dance studio in Karl Jacobs merch?’ Tommy laughed, ‘POV: you are Karl Jacobs.’ Tubbo said in a robotic voice.

‘POV: Jack Manifold.’ Jack corrected, ‘also I love this hoodie! They won’t even know who it is, it’s just a cool hoodie man!’

‘They literally called up the DreamSMP for this show, I think they’d recognise it. I don’t think they just chose some random minecraft people.’

Jack laughed at something, ‘imagine like- the big business people are all sat there like ‘who do we choose for this years Strictly Come Dancing’, and there’s just this undercover dream stan, seizing their moment like ‘guys guys, I have an idea.’ Dream laughed at the way Jack did like a low gravelly voice for his impressions.

‘Me when second word of Strictly Come Dancing.’ Tommy joked, pulling a ‘pog’ face.

‘Are uhh… Niki and Puffy eating out by the way?’

Aimsey choked midway through taking a sip of water. ‘Yeah, I-‘ he coughed, ‘they went to the gym and said they’re going to this cat cafe after, Niki sent me a picture look at this.’

They took out their phone and after some fiddling turned it around and everyone immediately started cooing. Dream moved to get a better view and there was this gorgeous little cat sat on a windowsill, pawing at the wall, with beautiful brown and black fur.

It reminded him of Patches honestly.

He should probably text his mom about that.

 

Mom :) - Private Messages

Clay: hey! how’s patches doing? is she alright? hope you guys are okay too :)

 

She wasn’t online at the moment, so he put his phone away and took one of the pot noodles from George.

‘Dream can you put this in the recycling bin for me?’ Wilbur asked, reaching over the table to hand Dream a shopping list, he grabbed it and saw a blue pen standing out compared to the black ink.

‘…a single lemon… we hate relationships?’ He said slowly, looking back up to Wilbur, seeing Niki shaking her head while laughing at the table.

‘Pun!’ Tubbo shouted, and proceeded to growl the word ‘yeah!’. Dream decided not to question it and shoved the paper into the recycling.

They finished their lunches, and were just chatting in either the kitchen or the living room, eventually welcoming Niki and Puffy back home. The time was quickly ticking by, and before he knew it, three taxis were pulling up outside their door.

Dream piled into a taxi with George, Sapnap, and Karl, he got to sit in the seats facing the opposite way, which Dream had loved since he was a child. It made looking out the window really trippy and cool.

‘I’m actually getting kinda nervous now,’ George laughed, fidgeting with his fingers.

‘Honestly it hasn’t fully sunk in yet.’ Sapnap said nonchalantly, and Dream agreed there. He was just going with the flow, it was easy to forget about the cameras in their faces or the dozens of lights or all the audience members and how in a couple of hours he’d have been on TV and have an official dancer partner and have to start a training plan.

He shuddered.

Okay, it was not easy to forget about that. He stared out the window at the passing buildings, idly bopping his head to whatever quiet radio music the taxi driver had put on.

He was itching to find out who his partner was, and to see who everyone else got too. He looked back at the group in the car, George was grinning while gazing out the window, his unzipped light brown coat looked really good with his hair here, Dream wondered how many more simps George would get from this dance competition, an image of Sapnap in a nearly shirtless outfit came to mind and he snorted.

‘Who was next to you guys in the height check by the way?’ Dream asked, interested in who they’d probably be with.

‘Umm, Bad… Sapnap - bleurgh - and Jack.’ George replied, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly at Sapnap’s name.

‘I’m actually really close to Sapnap,’ Karl chirped, ‘which’d be like- really cool if we were paired together.’

‘Thank you Karl!’ Sapnap yelled passive aggressively, ‘people don’t appreciate me round here it’s a problem.’

‘I mean, well to be honest when we watched that episode like the couples had kinda- like they all were different heights in their pairs. I think for us like- Ponk wouldn’t go with Wilbur-‘

‘Yeah! Because realistically I could probably dance with like, anyone here except Wilbur, Ranboo, Sam-‘

‘Well Ranboo’s not in it.’ Karl said.

‘Oh yeah, well you know what I mean anyway.’

‘Jack’s like right in the middle right? I wonder who he’ll get.’

They slowed into a comfortable silence for the rest of the journey, occasionally pointing out things outside and Dream and Sapnap did the wordle together (it was quite difficult across a car but they managed) all the while George was either groaning at their stupidity or making smug little giggles at already knowing the word.

The taxi came to a stop outside the familiar Elstree Studios, and they were greeted by a group of staff and most of their party, and after a couple of minutes everyone was there.

Dream was now tingling in excitement as they walked into the studio, staring at the dance floor and imagining his future self right there .

Someone was clapping for their attention, and he turned to see what they were saying.

‘Alright guys, we’re on a tight schedule today, I’ll give you a quick run through but we’ve got to get going.’

‘We’ll be sending you to some interview rooms, luckily we can have 10 at a time there, hopefully that’ll take around 15 minutes, then you have about a ten minute inbetween period because we don’t fully know how long it’ll take. We have some refreshments backstage and the judges and professionals should be arriving so you can meet them. Then you’ll go to hair and makeup and we have outfits for you, they should be suited to your measurements but we have the extra hour because hair and makeup, and any alterations if needed.’ Dream’s eyes widened as they listed off the items on their fingers, it was gonna be busy. ‘Then you’ll be briefed on the live show, but we’re running a tight ship and we don’t have time to go through it twice so we’ll leave that for later. Right!’ They clapped their hands decisively, and the group made their way up a set of stairs and through another clump of hallways. Dream had no clue how they fit everything in here, and that’s not even considering how everyone seemed to know where everything was.

Walking past plush velvet carpets and golden-framed paintings, they each strolled in to separate rooms, the walls were a garnet red, and yellow lights casts a shimmer over the carpets.

It felt so strange like this, to be whisked around from room to room to do things in front of a camera while others were sat there doing the real work. A different version of content creation, sure, but it made Dream feel so… otherly, like he was more important than all the people operating the show itself. Part of the reason Dream didn’t like it was he felt bad for the others, he didn’t want to come off as pretentious flaunting around in front of a spotlight, but, as the other person had said, they are on a tight schedule, so he didn’t really have time to connect or awkwardly apologise. And the other half was Dream actually liked doing the editing or planning himself, he liked choosing just how much of himself he could show, he didn’t realise how strange it’d be to not feel in control. Even in his friend’s videos they’d run the finished product by the others just in case, or at least tell the others if there was anything they didn’t want in it. It took a lot to put your entire reputation in the hands of someone else, for them to capture and edit a perception of you that would be shown to thousands.

It wasn’t like he had a choice though, so he sat in his chair and answered the questions honestly, but with a bit of theatrics and extra enthusiasm, making sure to smile and appear layed-back in his mannerisms. The interviewers sent him off with a relatively bored ‘you can go now,’ and he made his way to a set of dressing rooms.

Dream was surprised to see one of them had his name on it, fully capitalised in a sparkly gold imprint. After receiving confirmation to do so, he walked through the door, leading to around a two metre square room, with a rung of metal housing empty hangers, but one of them had something on it.

Dream gaped in awe, it was a golden outfit, ever so slightly shimmering in the light, and upon further inspection, it had intricate embellishments, akin to swirls and branches, expertly crafted with diligent hands. It was beautiful, it wasn’t a bright gold, more of a slightly duller vintage shade, melded together with an umber brown. But the gold really shone as the patterns were imbued with a golden reflective glitter, giving the entire look a subtle (but there nonetheless) sparkle.

He traced his finger along a tiny trail of swirled lines, surprised at the overall softness of the fabric, the glitter giving a slight texture.

Looking away from the full-wall mirror, Dream got changed out of his shirt and jacket into the ensemble, and when he turned around his eyes lit up.

He looked great. It complimented his hair extremely well that’s for sure, they were similar shades actually. It felt professional and… pretty, but not overwhelmingly so. It was simple enough to feel comfortable. And speaking of comfortable, it actually felt great, pleasantly smooth on his skin.

It was plain, sure, no fancy layering or even extra colours, but it worked surprisingly well. A fresh clean slate to symbolise the beginning of their journey, something that didn’t have fake vibrancy and popping pigments.

He felt really confident in this, the outfits were one of his biggest worries and he was so glad that it wasn’t overbearing, filled to the brim with colour and fanciness and the extraness this show was known for.

He wondered if everyone got a different colour, or if they were all in this golden masterpiece.

There was a pair of simple black yet eloquent shoes on the floor, and Dream quickly replaced his own with those, and it definitely completed the look.

Doing a final once over of himself and the room (his old clothes now folded on a chair in the corner as instructed), he stepped outside and felt like he blended in more with the overall aesthetic in the hallways.

He was directed into a room at the end of the passage, a large expanse with various sofas and chairs lining one of the walls, and along another were makeup stations that sat unused.

Dream turned to the seats and saw a few people sat having conversations, Tubbo waved a ‘hi!’ to him and Dream smiled back. It seemed that half of them where wearing the same golden Dream was, and the other half had the same design but in black.

They contrasted incredibly, a warm tone with a cool tone, looking like the sun and moon, for the golden glitter had been replaced with a silvery shine. Their outfit wasn’t a perfect black, there was a slight navy tint to it making it easier for the eyes to digest, but they worked extremely well together. More and more people came through that door, coming to the same realisation Dream did, each looking a little too professional for their normal selves.

Tommy was literally sat cross legged on a fold up chair, head in his hands as he talked with Foolish, in a stunning black outfit, a stark contrast to his overall demeanour that made Dream wheeze.

Niki was gushing dramatically about how hot Hannah was, obviously joking but she was in awe of the black outfit as opposed to her golden one. Niki had been wearing black a lot, but the golden one worked really well with her pink-tinted hair, giving a rose-gold type of aesthetic.

George looked great, he did in almost anything but like wow, Dream was already expecting to see tons of edits on his timeline, feeling so excited to see fanart of this (fanart Dream would probably be featured in!).

George ruffled a hand through his fluffy hair like he knew how pretty he was (he probably did). George looked great in dark colours, they complimented his skin tone, his entrancingly dark eyes. Come to think of it, George’s eyes looked very similar to the colour of his attire, George had some of the darkest eyes he’d ever seen, a starless sky or black coffee, a dark mist or the ink of a pen, delicate with a hint of a shine.

Sapnap just looked (as Tubbo put it) ‘swag’, gold really suited him, and he was leaning back in his chair laughing with Bad and Sam, seeming just so carefree and happy.

Once everyone arrived, some directors explained how the night was going to go, using past year’s clips for reference. Dream’s brain had a light static just buzzing around and before he knew it the tutorial was over, and he felt unprepared, having not taken too much in. As far as he knew the partners would consist of one golden outfit and one black outfit, which gave much more hints to who’d be with who. They had a lot of fun discussing afterwards (for the millionth time) their theories on partners. Dream was really hoping Sapnap and George would go together, it’d be great for them and really fun to laugh about, and it seemed probable.

Their hair was touched up, Dream’s looking a little shinier with more defined waves and curls, before being swamped with some nice-spelling spray, making it reflect a silky shine. Faces were touched up with makeup if asked, and a new pair of black shoes came in for Eret, who’s previous ones didn’t fit.

It felt perfectly busy, time ticking by steadily as they filled the space with mindless talk, a distraction from the slightly quicker heartbeats and jittery habits.

He could hear gradually loudening chatter and creaks of chairs through the wall, an audience filling up the ballroom, ‘Starting in 15 minutes folks!’ became ‘10 minutes everyone!’ and eventually ‘5 minutes!’, the entire time Dream was sat down, tracing the meticulous details of his golden outfit, aware of the cameramen constantly moving around the room.

‘They’re filming,’ the announcer popped their head in, and instantly the room fell silent, save for a few nervous or excited whispers. The announcer beckoned them to follow, and they came out of the room, footsteps light in an attempt to be quiet, then going up one of the two stairs depending on the colour of their attire. Dream gave George a reassuring smile and a thumbs up as they parted, feeling lucky that he at least had Sapnap beside him.

Until they had to line up in alphabetical order.

Aimsey was first in line, standing on the highest step, jittering about and shifting their weight from one leg to another. Then it was Bad and Dream, listening intently to the hosts. Foolish was behind Dream, Niki and Puffy behind him, and finally, Sapnap and Tommy, each on their own step.

From this angle Dream could only just about see Wilbur on the other pair of stairs right at the bottom, he turned his gaze back to the screen broadcasting the show.

‘Are we excited for tonight everyone?’ Tess, one of the hosts, asked the crowd, throwing her arms in the air for a dramatic stance, and the crowd responding with enthusiastic claps and whoops, it was strange to hear it on the screen but also hear it louder yet slightly muffled through a door and a curtain.

‘Perfect, well, I think it’s time to meet:

Our Strictly Stars!

The dramatic music of the Strictly Come Dancing theme tune began, and he heard Aimsey curse under his breath, fixing his posture and the red beanie, a stark contrast to the golden outfit, but they made it work somehow.

The deep voice of a commentator rang over the ballroom. It was all happening so suddenly, but maybe that was better, no time to worry about it.

Content creator, Aimsey.’

Aimsey stepped through the curtain with a final inhale, and Dream saw them doing a two-handed wave at the crowd with a big smile through the screen, looking awed as they surveyed the many faces of the audience, lights reflecting back in his eyes.

She began descending the staircase as the camera perspective switched to the other side.

Content creator, George.’

George walked out the door, breathing deeply and grinning at the crowd, and Dream hoped he’d look as photogenic as George did in that moment, his black outfit looking perfect wit h his styled dark hair and entire body bathed in that brilliant light, forming twinkles in his eyes, responding to the crowds excited cheering. He almost looked like he was laughing, George often did that when happy, and Dream was glad he was feeling okay.

Content creator, Bad.’

Hearing the word ‘Bad’ be said in such a deep booming voice made Dream snort despise his nerves, and he saw Bad walk out in front of him.

He was proud of Bad, he usually didn’t show his face online and definitely not without filters, yet here he was, Dream could definitely relate to that, and was so happy that Bad taken this chance.

Though there was now nothing in the space between Dream and the door to the stage. He breathed a little deeper and shook his hands to try and regulate.

Content creator, Hannah.’

Kinda strange how they keep saying content creator, I’m sure the audience get it by now.

Hannah walked out with a big smile, temporarily stunned at the large audience, her hair cascading down her shoulders in long brown curls.

Dream took a deep breath and steeled himself for the next few seconds, walking forward to the topmost step.

Content creator, Dream.’

It felt so similar to his face reveal, he brushed the black curtain aside with his hand and was met with blinding spotlights and a wave of noise hitting him, he could feel it thrumming and vibrating through the floor, a wave of volume hitting his face like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Dozens of faces came into focus as his eyes adjusted to the light, and he waved back at them, feeling his face melt into a jovial smile.

Using a hand to grasp at the hand rail (if he tripped over he would legitimately never live that down), he made his way down the lit-up stairs, slightly relieved as he heard the name of the next person, knowing the camera wasn’t on him anymore.

He exhaled a sigh of relief, those few seconds had been such a huge step to take, and here he was now, on the other side of it.

The walk over to his place in the line felt like a long one, Jack Manifold’s name being called out as he came to a stop.

Everyone else in the line was clapping on beat and in time with the crowd, and Dream joined in, euphoria buzzing through his veins at how overwhelmingly incredible this was. He still could barely look up from how bright the billions of spotlights were, each a warm white colour, and the music roaring in his ears.

He looked around at the crowd, seeing some people literally jumping in their seats, waving and screaming excitedly, particularly the younger looking. Most of the older people were still smiling but just clapping to the music.

Gradually more and more people filed out, the list seeming endless, but eventually, Wilbur had taken his place in the line, and they let the music come to a halt.

‘Well wasn’t that amazing,’ Claudia, the other host, said, ‘got a lovely bunch this year haven’t we?’

‘Indeed we do, and two of these people in a few weeks time will be receiving the Strictly Glitter Ball Trophy!’

The crowd reacted with exaggerated ‘ooo’s.

‘Now it’s partly the audience who decides who win, but there’s four other people who contribute!’

‘Let’s say a big hello to:

The Judges.

The music started up again as they introduced the four they met earlier, each coming on with expressions perfectly suited for the TV and a short yet elaborate dance sequence. As the music stopped they ended in an elaborate pose, laughing, before walking round to sit in their seats.

Dream felt so truly in the moment here, he was existing, directly here in this moment surrounded by well-known celebrities and an audience ecstatic at his presence.

What timeline is this.

After a brief talk with the judges, in which Dream and his friends just sort of stood in the same spot awkwardly, feeling so many eyes on them yet not quite sure what to do.

It all felt so surreal, so many eyes gazing intently at him, sat in chairs submerged in mostly darkness, just watching.

‘And you, Bruno, what are you looking for in this years tournament?’

‘Well darling,’ and he stood up, smacking a fist onto the table, Dream saw Bad jump next to him. One thing he had definitely confirmed about Bruno was he was extremely theatrical, doing everything slightly extra and with an air of mystery, it was definitely entertaining, great for content too, they had a real variety of personality in the judges. ‘I’m looking for excitement, for some fun! For spiciness!’ Dream didn’t know if that was a word or not, ‘I want to see elegance, some power and passion! I want to be able to feel some emotions through the floor.’

With that he sat down, and Dream was stunned to realise the other three judges had already said their pieces, now he didn’t know what to work on. He’d have to watch the episode.

‘Right! Well wasn’t that great,’ Claudia said, looking straight at the camera, ‘now, we know that there are two winners among our lovely contestants,’ Dream saw Jack and Niki abruptly turn to each other and scoffed, ‘but I think it’s time to find out who they’ll win with, ay?’

Tess gave a nod of affirmation, ‘Now remember this year our celebrities aren’t being paired with a professional, they’re being paired with another celebrity! Something we’ve never done as a show before, though the pairs will still each have a professional dancer to teach them the ropes.’

‘They’re probably backstage crying together about how much more work they have to do now.’ Claudia joked, flashing a smile, and the audience laughed accordingly.

‘Right, well I say we get right to it, what do you think?’ Tess gestured to the audience, who immediately burst into enthusiastic whoops and applause. They did that a lot.

 

The music changed drastically, and Dream felt suddenly panicked and put on the spot, that was their cue to get into a lined formation. With the rest of the people wearing gold, he moved to the right of the stage, and the people wearing black walked to the left.

Dream was barely three feet away from the audience now, and gave a shy little grin to someone wearing George’s merch, and their face literally melted into a shock as they gripped the person’s hand next to them, before excitedly waving back.

It was so easy to forget there are actual people who’s lives Dream has changed, they’re not just a number or kind words in a comment, it warmed his heart into a golden goop, and he was completely beaming when he turned around again.

He was almost perfectly in the middle of his line, Sapnap on his right and Niki on his left, the music booming and thrumming through the floor, as once again they began clapping on the beat, Dream lightly bobbing his head.

All of a sudden the professional dancers were running out in grey and blue outfits, silvery tassels sent flying at the slightest movement in a mesmerising way, and dark blue sequins winding up in spiral patterns, occasionally catching the light, they performed a short half-minute routine with three impressive lifts, each looking powerful and intimidating, a stoic glare on their face all the while to the point of fear at standing so close, but Dream cheered all the same.

They ended up in a horizontal line, freezing in a pose as the audience bursted into somehow louder applause.

Then the lights were dimming into a striking dark saphire blue, covering everywhere but the stage in a dark shadow.

‘Right, well our first professional getting their pair is… Dianne Buswell!’

A woman with the bright red hair he had seen earlier strutted onto the centre of the stage, surveying each of the lines. The music turned to a single drum beat.

‘Our first pair is… Tubbo and Aimsey!

He heard Aimsey shout from his side, and then Tubbo and Aimsey were barreling towards each other whooping and jumping about clapping, before in turn giving Dianne a hug, smiling, looking happy. Then they walked to the back of the stage, following Dianne into a spot topmost on the stairs, leaning on some railings for safety in the balcony, quietly whispering to Dianne.

As each of the pairs were assigned, Dream found himself more on edge, wishing he was one of the first ones.

‘With Johannes… Sam and Foolish!’ They clapped their hands together, Sam shouting something in the other’s ear, both pulling Johannes into a hug.

‘With Amy Dowden… Bad and Skeppy!’ Those two looked looked absolutely ecstatic, jumping into a hug with each other and their screaming distinctly heard even over the audience.

‘With Graziano Di Prima… Tommy and Wilbur!’ That ticked one person off Dream’s potential pairing list. The two ran up to each other, looking extremely happy, and did a high-five then a fist bump, before exchanging one with Graziano too.

‘With Nancy Xu… Captain Puffy and Hannah!’ The two were evidently surprised but they hugged nonetheless, almost everyone assumed none of the girls would be paired together based on the past years of the competition. Puffy was saying something in Nancy’s ear, who nodded excitedly, and they took their place next to the other trios.

‘With Oti Mabuse… George-‘ Dream’s breath hitched, watching as George’s eyes widened slightly, hoping that he’d get Sapnap so George could at least go with a friend.

-and Dream!

 

Wait what?

 

Dream was shocked, just frozen there until he saw George laughing in surprise while grinning and running towards the centre, Dream snapped himself out of his stupor and met George in the middle to pull him into a hug, spinning in a little circle while jumping up and down. When they broke apart George looked completely lit up (both literally and metaphorically, these lights were bright), a wide grin on his face that Dream couldn’t help but reciprocate, and repeatedly shouting ‘Let’s go!! No way!!’

Dream was still stuck in a state of astonishment, he hadn’t even considered George as a dance partner since his initial reaction to the email, he had assumed they just wouldn’t accept the height difference, but here he was, in the spotlight with George, jubilated responses from their audience shown in thunderous applause and screaming, the fate of his next few weeks officially locked in, and he’d be able to spend them with his best friend.

He looked down at George with a soft smile on his face, that turned into a giggle at just how happy George looked. This may have been the best thing that could have happened.

They turned to Oti, each wrapping an arm around her as she shouted a ‘woo!’, a big smile on her face.

They followed Oti to their place at the bottom of the left stairs, Dream and George standing next to each other and Oti a step higher behind them. There was definitely a wave of relief at finally knowing who he was dancing with, and knowing it was George made it even better. Now they were able to just watch from the sidelines as the last two were paired up.

‘With Alijaž Škorjanec… Karl and Sapnap!’ Dream and George clapped enthusiastically as their two friends ran to the middle, it was difficult to see from this angle as Alijaž was stood between them, but they’d be sure to talk about it after.

He could see Jack and Niki on their separate sides both looking pleased and waving at each other, beaming smiles on their faces.

‘And now with Janette Manrana, that leaves Niki and Jack Manifold!’

The two jogged over in front of Janette, exchanging a few words that couldn’t be heard over the final clap of the audience, they were pulled into a quick embraced by Janette, before walking over to the back to join the other groups.

Looking around, Dream assumed their pairing was more based on their relationships with each other than height or other physical factors, which made sense, every other year had been random celebrities but here they all knew each other.

Maybe Jack’s undercover dream stan theory wasn’t so far off, they’d definitely done their research.

The clapping of the audience mulled down into somewhat of a silence, and Dream and the rest of the people on stage gave a final wave, the lights around them turning into a colourful blur of vibrant pigments temporarily blinding them, the music swelling into a triumphant happy tune, before they all ascended the stairs and left the way they came in.

The hosts closed the show with a final chat with the judges, and then some band Dream didn’t know came on to sing, and when the group were finally out of earshot they went back into that little hangout room. The hair and makeup stands had their lights switched off, and the kits and supplies were tucked away neatly, no longer in use.

Dream immediately turned to ‘George!! Oh my gosh this is gonna be- awesome! I don’t even- I guessed Sapnap or Niki would prolly be with you but no!’

‘Yeah me too!’ George exclaimed, grabbing his arm, ‘and if I got Sapnap I’d kill him!’ George grinned, ‘I’d go, hello Sapnap! Hello Sapnap! Then BAM! Dead!’ Dream laughed (in mild confusion), and they tried to move through the small crowd to get to Sapnap and Karl.

‘Oh wait Oti!’ Dream suddenly realised, but turned around to see her chatting in a group with some of the other professionals and judges.

‘You know what oh sounds like? Oh-ti,’ George joked, and Dream rolled his eyes fondly, stood on his tip toes to try and find Karl and Sapnap.

‘Dream! George!’ Sapnap shrieked, and the two appeared right next to them, ‘that was the like- the longest half an hour of my life oh my gosh, but honestly I’m happy with this,’ Sapnap gestured to the two pairs. ‘Rather be with Karl then George anyway, this is so much better.’

‘Better? I hardly know her!’ Karl joked, ‘but actually I’d rather be with George then you,’ Karl muttered, and at Sapnap’s shocked face of betrayal he burst into giggles, ‘I’m kidding I’m kidding I’m kidding!’

Sapnap playfully punched him on the arm and Karl ducked his head using his arms to protect himself, and he ended up whacking one of the staff members behind him.

Karl quickly turned around and began apologising profusely, as Dream, George, and Sapnap shared a glance, Sapnap descending into cackles, and the edge of George’s mouth itching upwards.

As crowds packed out of Elstree Studios to continue with their lives, probably animatedly discussing the events that occurred with smiles and excitement for the future, Dream sat with George, Sapnap, and Karl just because he could. Breathing in the moment and able to just relish in the time spent with his friends. Moments like this were when he wishes Quackity could’ve made it, they’d been calling him since they got here, but it still felt like a little piece was missing from their dynamic. But degrees exist, and education is more important, Quackity still seemed a little upset that he couldn’t come, and promised to be watching all the episodes.

George and him spoke to Oti before she left, getting to know her a little better, but still barely breaching the line of small talk and genuine conversation before she left with a shiny smile out some doors. She seemed very enthusiastic, in a school coach type of way, but the ones who were alright. Dream was sure she’d be great. It also turned out Oti’s sister was one of the judges, Motsi Mabuse. He could see the resemblance when he thought about it, they both smiled nearly the exact same way, had similar noses (which was strange to think about), the same dark skin, and just the way they seemed so comfortable around each other, when they went to find Oti she had literally been speaking to Motsi anyway. Though she assured them there’d be no favouritism, to which they feigned sadness, before laughing.

Oti had also won the trophy with a partner twice, which was apparently rare to do, and she seemed confident and excited to start training, they wished her well as she walked out the room.

‘She seems alright!’ George commented, ‘I hope she’s not strict though, I am not fit at all.’

Dream let out a little wheeze, ‘it’s not gonna be like gymn in high school George,’ he stared at him for an explanation, but with fondness in his expression.

‘Okay well- yeah! But like, ugh I don’t know shut up.’ George spluttered, before laughing.

‘You been going to the gym?’ George asked.

‘Uhh, not recently, before I came to the UK I was going like once a week- well pff no that’s a lie, maybe not that often… well my point is I was going, and since after the face reveal I just… haven’t went outside. I brought a pair of weights though so, that’s something, I’ve been doing that like, in the background of other stuff. You go out a bit right? Do you go the gym?’

‘Uhh no, I’ve been on runs a lot though, good thing you’re… ridiculously tall, now I won’t have to do any lifts.’ George bragged flippantly.

‘George even if you went to the gym every day this week you probably couldn’t lift me.’ Dream teased, and George had a retort on his lips before he paused.

‘You know what, sure, I probably couldn’t, your problem though, and I bet you can’t lift me either.’

‘Well we’ll see about that in a couple of weeks.’

‘And we’ll see who’s laughing when one of us has to lift an entire human being.’ George quipped back, and Dream scoffed.

'And we'll see who's laughing when I can pick you up and... kill you.'

'...What?' George spluttered incredulously, and Dream shrugged.

‘When we leave, people won’t be like… waiting for us outside right?’ Dream asked, an edge of anxiety creeping into his tone.

George contemplated for a minute, ‘I wouldn’t think so, they had good security didn’t they? Did you see the lines outside? Also it’s been like an hour or something, so I don’t think so.’

Dream checked his wrist, only to see he was not wearing a watch, and George laughed beside him.

They continued chatting, letting time slip away in turn for simple words. George recounted his entire emotional journey on the steps before, whilst, and after his name was called, and they both related to the feeling of awkwardness just standing on the stage.

It all had the feeling of an after after party, their adrenaline ebbing away quickly into easy downtime as they all waited for what would happen next.

Eventually people started leaving the room, and Dream looked up, confused, then remembered of course they can’t go home in clothes like this.

They went back to their respective changing rooms, and wearing his familiar normal clothes brought a soothing comfort he’d missed. He rolled his shoulders to release some tension and sighed in satisfaction.

Balancing on the chair as he redid his laces, he admired the golden outfit he’d probably never see in person again, a piece of material worth half an hour of memories.

But golden memories nonetheless, a golden glittery sparkling memory in a bright spotlight.

Memories Dream would cherish.

Chapter Text

Finally the house was quiet. The silence was loud at first, but eventually it felt comfortable and normal again, Dream idly tapping away at the keyboard (on the setup that was free for the first time in forever) editing the ‘Minecraft, But’ video and hearing George potter around upstairs, creaks from the floor emphasising every step.

At first it was a jump scare every time he heard the sound, but now it was a pleasant reminder of another familiar presence.

Looking back at the screen, he smiled at the memories, that was one of the nice parts about editing, looking back on records of a fun time, a very light brush up of their true selves for enthusiasm and content but authentic joy and fun there nonetheless.

He was cutting out a part where George had sworn in frustration (he kept dying because he was a stubborn idiot who turned on auto jump. How else did he expect that to work out?) when the man himself walked in, looking smug about something.

‘Hello Dream!’ George grinned, collapsing onto one of the sofas in a way that literally looked like a rag doll, and George began giggling.

Dream turned around in his chair to stare at him, just making incoherent sounds of confusion. ‘Why are you acting like this?’ He smiled as George sat back up again, his hair flopping around on his head. It was times like these where Dream found himself just staring at George. At the way he moved, his eyes, his hair, hearing his voice. After years of getting none of it it felt so strange to see it all. George was right in front of him. Every time he thought about it he just found himself beaming in happiness. Mentally waving at every past self who had thought about this for so long.

‘It’s cold!’ George mentioned out of the blue, ‘and it’s quiet.’

‘Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?’

George turned to him. ‘Wanna do something?’

‘…are you drunk or something?’

‘What? No!’ Dream raised an eyebrow.

‘High?’

‘Dream- stop, no. You wanna do something?’

‘Like what?’

He shrugged, ‘we gotta unload the dishwasher sometime today. Well- we have the dance clip actually right? We could just do some now. Like just learn it.’

As pairs they’d organised time tables with their professional dancer, and made sure it worked out that they had at least one of the groups home each day, just in case. Right now, Dream and George were the only pair still at the house. Ranboo wasn’t gonna be staying for most of the time, he said he’s thinking of hanging out some evenings but wanted to visit some other relatives and would be staying at Phil’s. He planned on coming over on Sunday and staying the night, there was a note on the fridge to sort out a blow-up mattress some time.

Dream and George were doing no training whatsoever on Mondays, though they were sent a stitched-up clip of the song they’d be doing, and the foundations of their dance. Oti told them they often made changes, especially at the start, to work around ability, so it wasn’t for sure like how it was in the video.

They’d all went in to this recording studio with a small crew and a green screen yesterday, put on an outfit and and asked to come up with a little five second motif with their partner. Him and George adorned matching black trousers, Dream was wearing this goldeny-brown shirt with shimmery black lines in a vertical zebra pattern, George’s was the same just with the colours inverted. When it was their turn, Dream did the classic ‘hold-the-other-persons-arm-up-and-they-spin’ move, (yes, that was his official name for it), and then put his arm around George’s shoulder and they smiled at the camera. Others did things like finger guns, other spins, that thing where you fall into someone’s arms, Tubbo and Aimsey even made an elaborate handshake. It was done and dusted pretty quickly, they explained that this would be part of the intro where they’d display their names.

So the house felt peculiarly quiet, just him and George alone until around 3:00, when some of the other pairs said they’d be getting back.

Other than some basic household duties it was pretty much a free day, and Dream considered him and George lucky, because after the competition they’d have two days off, which was great!

Some peace and quiet away from the havoc of so many people was always welcome. After about a week of living with everyone the ‘honeymoon phase’ was ebbing away, of course they still loved living with each other and were having fun, but people became more irritated in the mornings, retiring to bedrooms or frequenting morning strolls and trips to the gym. Though it was more relaxed, eventually everyone’s remnants of their more hyper internet personas (if they had one) was gone, coming out again at every stream, but just able to be when nothing was happening.

Dream decided to follow George’s idea, they were doing the Cha Cha Cha to ‘Shut Up and Dance’ - which was fitting - and he pulled up the video Oti had sent him. Dances were meant to be around two minutes, so they couldn’t do the full song, usually the music producers opted to mix some lines and verses around, but for this song they just cut the rest of it off after the second chorus, giving them a good one minute forty-eight to dance to. It was a bit of a shame, they shaved off the funky electronic part of the song that Dream liked. It sounded really cool, but it didn’t exactly fit.

George had stood up and moved over to Dream’s right, leaning over resting his elbows on the desk for support as there wasn’t another chair, still strangely grinning as they waited for the clip to load.

They watched through the first few seconds, taking note off the prominent beat in the background, it was just louder than the actual music in the background.

At the beginning the dancers were just frozen in place, facing away from each other a metre or so apart. Then the music began, a fast and upbeat tune, and the dancers proceeded to perform such elaborate footwork turning and then moving towards each other that Dream couldn’t even keep up.

Him and George just gawked as the dancers continued like it was nothing, before sharing a glance.

We will not have a clue how to do this on our own .

They nodded in mutual understanding, and wordlessly Dream typed into the search bar ‘how to dance beginners’, as George snickered.

Most of the videos that popped up where how to learn specific dance moves, which didn’t really seem like what they wanted.

‘Try searching the Cha Cha Cha dance instead maybe?’ George suggested, shrugging.

When typing in ‘how to dance beginners cha cha cha’ immediately a video popped up of a… couple maybe? Well, two dancers there with big text on the side of ‘How To Cha Cha For Beginners.’ Perfect.

Dream clicked on the video and spam-clicked the mouse to skip the ad. The intro was extremely loud and he quickly pressed the side arrow to get to the actual video.

The people on screen began doing some interesting footwork, slowly dragging one of their legs in front and behind the other, in time with swaying their hips, before swapping legs, commentating all the while.

Dream turned to George, expecting exactly the reaction he got. When they made eye contact, George finally snorted and was a little red at the more… suggestive movements.

‘Hmm, I don’t know about this Dream,’ George giggled awkwardly, staring at the video warily, yet still laughing. Looking more embarrassed than anything.

‘Yeah that’s what I thought, we’ll wait for Oti to do some… magic or something I don’t know.’

‘Whelp.’ George brushed a hand through his hair as Dream closed the tab.

‘I’m so cold.’ George complained.

‘Well get a blanket then idiot.’

‘No… idiot.’

‘… why?’

‘We don’t have any.’

Dream blinked. Really?

‘Oh, well… we should go get some then.’

George shrugged, they put coats on and walked outside, taking a left turn down the street.

About a minute had passed and both their bodies were wracked with shivers, harsh wind whipping their hair around, George sniffling in tandem with every few steps.

‘I feel like this was counterproductive.’ George’s shakey voice said, accompanied with another sniffle, Dream fiddled with his pocket, and held out a tissue to George, who thanked him and blew his nose. ‘I’m just even colder now.’

They came to a busy road, and Dream realised he’d like to know where they’re going.

‘So where are we going?’

George looked up, alarmed, ‘wait what? I was following you!’

Dream stumbled over his words, incoherent incomplete syllables that had George laughing.

‘You literally live here! Why the hell would I know where we’re going?’

George, still laughing, pulled out his phone and went onto google maps.

‘What’s the house address? I don’t even know where we are.’

‘Just zoom out then you see.’

‘No, okay I- I- I need to know the address.’

‘What? No you don’t- just do it.’

‘I can’t do it if you’re not telling me how! You’re not telling me how!’ George yelled, and Dream wheezed, shushing him as they were outside.

George gave him a look, before exaggeratedly whispering in his ear ‘fine then, I don’t need you, I guess I’ll just go then!’ His warm breath left a tickling sensation on Dream’s ear that had him shivering still, and Dream rolled his eyes as George turned around and went back the way they came, shouting behind his ear, ‘I’m going! I’m actually going! I’m actually just leaving.’

He jogged to catch up, ‘George- George!’

‘What?’

‘There’s probably like- charity shops or something right? Why are we even looking for a specific place, like we don’t know the area?’

With that, George once again span around, and they looked down the street to try and find something that looked like it could sell blankets.

George was suddenly tapping his arm and Dream turned to him, confused, George pointed a little across the road where there were a group of teenagers, clearly looking at them but trying to be discreet about it. They were a group of five, and eventually one of them started walking closer.

Oh my gosh they’re fans.

George gave his arm a reassuring squeeze, which surprised him, George was smiling encouragingly and visibly relaxed when Dream smiled back.

‘What do you do in this situation.’ He whispered, half-joking.

‘They’ll be awkward too don’t worry.’ George whispered back.

This was gonna be his first time meeting a fan- fans in real life.

The group walked up to be next to the two, and Dream and George turned to them, waiting for them to say something.

‘Hi- hey um- I’m… I’m really sorry if you’re busy or something but… are you GeorgeNotFound?’ One of them asked meekly, their eyes constantly moving from George to the ground or the surrounding buildings.

George smiled and responded, ‘yeah I am! Do you want a picture or something?’

He clearly knew what to do for this.

The person looked up in surprise, happy, ‘that’d be- that’d be awesome thank you, and uhh- are you Dream?’

Dream nodded, ‘I am!’ Their eyes widened, face breaking into an excited grin. That is so wholesome.

‘Can we… get a photo with you too? If not that’s totally fine and stuff I get you only just face revealed and you don’t have to at all-‘ they rushed to reassure, but Dream waved their concerns away.

‘Oh no it’s fine! Thanks for asking.’ They grinned at him, taking out their phone, and Dream moved closer to George to get in the photo, the rest of their group crowding around them, Dream panicked not sure if he should pose or wave or do a peace sign, he settled for just smiling as they took three photos, fumbling awkwardly with their phone afterwards.

One of the other kids smiled gratefully, ‘thank you so so much. You guys are just- I think you’re really awesome and you’ve helped me a lot.’

The one who took the photo bit their lip, ‘are you alright with me putting this on twitter? Don’t wanna overstep a boundary or anything.’

George immediately looked to Dream, who thought for a second. Happy that they cared.

‘Yeah, I’m okay with it.’ He said, not exactly confident, but he’d literally been on a live TV show so this wouldn’t hurt.

‘Okay, thank you again, we love you guys!’ They smiled and gave a little wave, about to scurry off when Dream remembered something.

‘You guys are actually the first fans who’ve recognised me.’ Dream mentioned, grinning as they exchanged a look of surprise.

‘Wow what? That’s so cool!’

Dream remembered something suddenly, and put a hand in his pocket, producing a bunch of coins.

‘I promised the first few people I’d meet the spare coins that the merch company gave to me, so you can have them if you want.’ He offered, slightly shy, but they seemed ecstatic.

They each took one of the coins, each from a different subscriber milestone, and a handful from the 20 million subscribers. They thanked him profusely and him and George told them to have a good day, before they took off their separate ways.

When Dream and George were further away, they heard the group launch into enthusiastic conversation, gaping at the tiny circles in their hands.

George smiled up at him, ‘that was awesome Dream, and your first one too.’ Dream grinned back, genuinely grateful for George’s approval.

‘It was great and all, but kinda  awkward, are they all like that?’

George nodded, ‘yeah, usually I take the initiative and ask them if they want a photo, me, Tommy, and Wilbur discussed a whole strategy for it about a year ago.’ George pressed a button on the traffic lights, waiting for it to go green.

‘If separate people who met us talked about it, they’d realise we almost always say the same thing.’ He laughed.

‘I guess there’s only so much you can say though right? Like you’ve got stuff to do and they probably have too, they’re not here for some… exclusive podcast or something I don’t know.’

George hummed, ‘yeah, and usually we’re both so awkward that we can’t keep up a normal conversation anyway.’

‘Wouldn’t wanna get parasocial George.’ Dream joked, but George nodded.

Eventually they found a little shop with some bits and bobs in the window view. Coats, jackets, shoes, plants, even a toolkit, and they walked in, both sighing in relief from the warmth.

They bought three blankets, regretting not bringing a bag, and grimaced when returning to the cold outside, George holding two of the blankets, and Dream holding one.

The wind had really messed up George’s hair, Dream noticed, it reminded him of that time he walked around with Wilbur.

Oh wow, he’s next to George in real life.

Purely on impulse, he just patted George’s hair lightly, it was really soft and fluffy, and the man looked up at him quizzically.

‘Why did you do that?’

Dream shrugged, with no answer, and George gave him a look but kept walking.

‘I’m kinda scared for tomorrow.’ Dream admitted, and George nodded.

‘At least we can ask the others how it was and what they did.’

‘That’s true, but to be fair we might do different stuff. None of our dances are the same right?’

‘Yeah, but- well I mean they’ll follow the same… thing. Oh my gosh it’s so cold.’

By chance, as they were about to walk up the driveway a car pulled up, with Niki and Jack in the front, and Tommy and Wilbur in the back, Tommy waving enthusiastically at the pair, nose pressed against the window before being dragged away by Wilbur. The two stumbled out of the car doubled over with laughter.

They greeted them as they walked down the driveway, commenting on the perfect timing.

‘Dude I am so tired man, and I think I have a blister or something.’ Jack groaned, and Wilbur was rubbing his arms, ‘that was like- so much work.’

Niki nodded in agreement, ‘who has a key? I just wanna shower.’ Dream unlocked the door and the four literally collapsed onto the sofas when they reached the living room, Dream and George shared an alarmed look as they placed the blankets on the foot stool.

‘Was it that bad?’ George questioned, a concerned look on his face. Dream grinned when he picked the blanket (he’d just put down) up again, draping it around himself.

‘I mean- nah it was fine, well like it was fun and all that just- I don’t know, it hurts your arms so bad to stay in frame the whole time. Like- look let me show you.’

Jack stood up, his posture perfect in a slightly unnatural way.

‘So this wasn’t everything of course, we had other stuff and stretched and all that but like, this is the form thing we’re meant to have while dancing around. They say do a high-five,’ he put one of his arms directly up at a ninety degree angle, looking like one half of a high-five, ‘and then you hold a beach ball with your other one.’ He put his other hand out in such a way that it looked like a large beach ball was hugged to his chest.

‘Ayy! We did the beach ball thing too!’ Wilbur chuckled, also putting his hands up in the same way.

Dream was confused, ‘why does that hurt so much?’

‘You have to keep it like that for like… hours. So you’re focusing on keeping that exact position for ages but then you also have to do footwork. Like this is enough! It’s so much to do it all at once, I do one or the other then Niki ends up stomping on my foot.’ Jack complained, taking a seat again.

‘Not to mention the posture, that’s worse I think.’ Niki said.

‘Yeah! That was like one of the first things they mentioned when we started,’ Tommy snickered, ‘it’s not even the slouching, it’s just your neck. I’m actually aching.’

Wilbur laughed, ‘they were gonna get Tommy in like… this metal thing-‘

Jack and Niki faces turned so quick to Wilbur with frightened expressions that it was almost comical.

‘Oh no no- don’t worry they’re not like… torturing him or something.’ He leaned back giggling, ‘you thought they’d just grab Tommy like- how dare you, you’re bad, bam.’ He mimed smacking a contraption onto Tommy’s head, and Tommy played along, startling backwards and accidentally hitting the arm rest.

‘Oh gosh you alright?’ Wilbur chuckled nervously, but his tone serious.

‘Yeah no- I’m fine.’ Tommy reassured, ‘but yeah- they suggested this huge metal thing it’s meant to like- keep your arms in place and stuff. I tried it for a second-‘

‘It looked so stupid.’

‘-and it was really uncomfortable, so I went without it. I’m just gonna be practicing at home.’ Tommy visibly straightened up at that, gaining a good inch or so in height.

‘We got stretches to do too!’ Niki piped in, ‘they told us to stand next to the door or the wall with your legs like directly on it, and just general stretching everyday.’

‘We do enough in training.’ Jack scoffed.

‘Any advice?’ Dream asked nervously.

‘Bring lots of water!’ Niki said, and Jack nodded.

‘And ask for breaks if you need to, the professionals are actually pretty cool. They make you work hard, sure, but they gave us a lot of breaks. Do we have plasters by the way?’

‘Yeah! They’re in the cabinet next to the dishwasher,’ Jack then left the room to get some, walking over to the kitchen.

‘Also don’t necessarily listen to our advice on this stuff, like me and Wilbur are doing the Waltz, and Jack and Niki are doing the Viennese Waltz, so we might just be kinda similar and stuff. What dance are you guys doing again?’

‘The Cha Cha Cha.’ Dream said.

Tommy thought for a second then shrugged, they didn’t expect him to know anyway. Dream knew what a Waltz was roughly, but he had no clue what the Viennese Waltz part of it meant or what the difference between the two was.

Tommy brushed a hand through his hair, ‘it’s kinda worrying we have to perform that dance in like… 5 days? We’ve just done a basic overview of the steps so far, we’ve ran through the whole routine but I only remember like… the first half.’

‘Me and Jack only learnt the first three quarters, and we have some lifts in there to learn too.’ Niki reassured, ‘I’m sure everyone else will be the same.’

‘Do we know when they get back?’ Wilbur asked, pulling out his phone.

No one spoke up and Wilbur laughed, ‘I’ll take that as a no then.’

Jack came back two minutes later, ‘guys I’ll be honest-‘ he huffed a laugh, ‘I couldn’t find it.’

Wilbur rolled his eyes and jumped out of his seat to grab it for him.

 

—————————

 

Dream and George stopped at the door of the building, looking around for Oti feeling a little out of place.

They both had a bag slung over their shoulder, fairly light from the weight of baggy shirts and shorts, and a water bottle each, donning trainers and coats to handle the cold weather until they get changed in the building.

‘This is it right?’ George asked, craning his neck to look at the top of the building.

‘…Should be? You wanna call Oti?’

As George pulled out his phone someone was fumbling with the door handle, and when it opened it revealed Oti, already in the building.

‘Hey guys!’ She smiled at them, giving the two a quick side-hug before gesturing for them to come in.

‘It’s freezing out there,’ she mentioned, Dream and George agreed.

‘Right, we’re on the second floor, but changing rooms are that way,’ she pointed to a hallway on the left, ‘there’s some rooms on the right near the table with the plant, I’ll go get changed myself and I’ll meet you back here alright?’

‘Okay!’

Oti went off a different way and Dream and George walked in silence to the changing rooms. Dream scrunched his nose at the smell, it felt like dust, but… clean dust? Like a hoover type of smell, it wasn’t exactly a good one.

When they emerged from their respective rooms, Oti was already there in the hallway, wearing black yoga pants and a long-sleeved neon orange hoodie. George was wearing a slightly oversized navy T-shirt, and black shorts, Dream in a grey top and some thin pants, each with their now-heavier bags hoisted over their shoulders again, and George carrying his coat in his other arm.

‘Alright, so this way.’ Oti directed, and they followed her up some stairs.

‘I’m not gonna bite guys, you can talk you know?’ Oti joked after a minute, and they laughed.

‘Sorry, this place is huge!’ George commented, looking above him at some modern lights, straight lines hanging down in patterns.

‘Yeah! I think it has offices here, but also huge spaces for dancing or other training. We couldn’t use it last year it was all booked up for a festival or something. Most of the pairs have something like this, but others- I’ll wait until you see the inside first.’

At the top of the stairs they took a right turn, and Oti took a key out of her pocket, opening the door to their training room.

 

It had white walls, one of them with a good few windows, filling the room with natural light and reflecting off a mirror that covered the entirety of one of the walks. There were wooden planks on the floor, and benches lining a wall.

Various motivational quotes were sprinkled around the wall, and a stand with a few mats on it was tucked away in the corner, next to some empty shelves.

The room itself was slightly smaller than the actual dance floor from when Dream had seen it, and he watched the three of them in the mirror.

Oti was jogging over to the bench, putting her bag down and taking out a little speaker. She looked comfortable, she was in her element of course, having done this for years. Compared to George and Dream, who still followed suit, but without the enthusiastic energy Oti carried around her. Then he looked at George, sighing in annoyance before retying his laces. Dream grinned at him, and George muttered a ‘shut up’ amidst a laugh.

‘Have you guys listened to the track yet?’ Oti asked, plugging a wire in to the speaker connecting to her phone.

‘Yeah we have! We heard like a really loud beat in the background… it is meant to be like that right?’ George asked.

‘Yes, that’s what it’s meant to do. It’s so you can familiarise yourself with the counts, you want to be doing the moves based on the counts, not the music.’ Oti explained, before jogging over to the centre of the room.

‘Right, we ready to start?’ Oti asked, already hopping around from foot to foot.

‘Yeah! Kinda scared not gonna lie, but I think I’m ready.’ Dream responded, and at George’s silence he turned to him, to see him taking a final swig of water but doing a thumbs-up gesture.

‘Okay, so first we start with mobilising the joints.’

They went through a good five minutes of stretching, sending Dream right back to high school, a lot of the stretches were the same.

One thing that was odd is online friends had always been an escape from the real world, his content creation career had blurred the lines a bit, consuming a lot of what he thought about and dictating his actions in the real world, and of course his online friends were tied straight into that.

But having George next to him and something that felt like a high school memory was breaching what felt normal.

George was playing minecraft and late-night discord calls and editing a video and fanart on twitter and hour-lasting talking.

George was not someone sat on the floor next to him, both of them trying to reach the tip of their shoe, Oti grabbing it effortlessly.

They learnt some basic skills as well, such as transferring weight from different parts of your body to another, adding emotion to dance moves, and controlling your facial expressions.

By the end Dream swore every bone is his body had moved as much as it could, and they did some running on the spot, and a final little shake of everything, before Oti decided they were ready to start on the actual dance.

‘Alright, first thing’s first-‘

‘I’m the realest.’

‘I’m the realest.’

Dream and George turned to each other immediately bursting out laughing.

‘How did we coordinate that what?’

‘That was so- wow!’

They recollected themselves before turning back to a confused Oti. She shook her head in exasperation and continued.

‘First things first,’ the corner of George’s mouth twitched, and Dream’s broke into a grin at the sight, ‘you wanna know we do almost everything in counts of eight.’ Oti explained, ‘in all of your dances you’ll refer to this pattern, though some songs may have a quicker count than others.’

They nodded.

‘I wanna do a little practice activity so we’re all on the same page here. Just clap in time with me and say the counts on the claps.’

She began clapping at a steady pace and they begrudgingly joined in.

‘One, two, three, four, five, six, se-ven, eight. One, three, four, five…’

It felt a little patronising. Counting to eight like they were back in kindergarten. Oti was throwing in occasional ‘yeah!’s and ‘woo!’s to raise the mood - it wasn’t really working but Dream applauded her for trying. Literally! He was clapping right now.

His attention came back to the present when it got a little quieter, Oti had stopped counting so his and George’s voice faltered, but she gestured for them to continue.

Dream turned to George, who looked a little awkward, and Dream never realised they clap differently.

George clapped more like he was clasping something, his hands came together at an angle so one hand’s fingers went over the back of the other hand’s palm. Like he was repetitively trying to catch something in the air.

Whereas Dream didn’t tilt his hands, they met with almost perfect symmetry, though occasionally one hand moved further down, so one hand’s fingers would go against the other hand’s palm. But they still stayed aligned.

A weird thing to think about, but something to distract from the mundane activity. They’d went through the counts like six times now.

‘Okay, okay, you can stop.’

Dream dramatically sighed in relief, to which George giggled, rubbing his (now red) hands together.

‘Great! Now the hard part, starting the routine. I personally like to go through all the steps on a basic beginner level first, before we add some pizazz and lean more towards the technical side. Of course we can adapt to your learning styles but for the most part we’ll follow the plan.’ She clapped her hands together decisively.

‘Alright! I’ll be honest, I’ve never done this show when teaching people to dance with each other.’ She laughed awkwardly, and Dream felt the natural urge to distill any worries in her mind.

‘Well, we haven’t ever done it either, so no need to worry.’

‘If you mess anything up we wouldn’t know,’ George affirmed.

‘That’s… true actually. Okay, so first of all we wanna know what the Cha Cha Cha’s all about right? So this particular dance is Latin American, and it’s meant to be fun, spicy, and sexy.’

Dream’s cheeks instantly went red and he shared a glance with George, who was giggling awkwardly at her bluntness. An image of George in some skimpy outfit flashed to the forefront of his mind and a Dream tried to stop his laughter, ending up with a low rumble from his throat.

This was gonna be really funny. Or awkward.

Probably both.

‘It’s a flirty fast-paced type of dance, you really wanna feel the music with this one, and we want a lot of hip action going on.’

Dream had no clue what ‘hip action’ was, but he hoped it wasn’t what he thought it was.

‘Synchronisation is also very important! So make sure we’re stepping to the counts, the aim is for those eight numbers to be drilled into your brain by the end of this. ‘

‘Before we start, usually there’s a man and a woman, and the man would lead here,’ ( progressive , his mind supplied sarcastically.), but you’re both men, so who would prefer leading? I’d recommend… Dream, because of the height, but it could work the other way.’

‘Umm, I mean… I’m fine with Dream leading.’ George shrugged, they didn’t really have experience with either role so he didn’t have a preference.

‘Yeah! I’m good with that.’ Dream said, and Oti nodded.

‘Okay, we can always switch it up next week if we want to. So here’s the basic steps at the start of the routine, you’ll be starting a couple metres away on the stage before you come together, so this is good to practice.’

She showed them the footwork, a series of steps that were quite stompy and snappy, when one leg stepped forward, the other would twist (on the ball of their foot, not your heel, as Oti hammered into their memory). It was light and tappy, with two steps to every count. It looked ridiculously complex on the video yesterday, but when they broke it down it was more digestible, though still took a while to get the hang of. After some coaxing to ‘get into it’ they added some hand movements and the aforementioned ‘hip action’, which thankfully wasn’t weird. Just, as Oti said, feeling the music and moving your hips side to side depending on the step.

It was the kind of the thing where it wasn’t that embarrassing, but Dream didn’t want to throw himself into it in case he was really bad, because then it would be embarrassing. At the start Dream and George had little effort and enthusiasm, but they built up towards the level Oti was at together, a push-and-pull of gradually letting loose and going for it, and once you did, gosh was it exhilarating.

Dream had never been particularly into dance, but when they added the music to the steps, there was something so incredibly satisfying about it matching perfectly with the beat, art in the form of the movements of your body. Something Dream never thought he’d enjoy, but the feeling of his muscles working and on fire was both adrenaline-inducing and tiring. He felt good! Healthy even. They said exercise made you happy but the pretence of a short deadline and the presence of George was the push he needed to actually experience that. When they got something right both Dream and George were bouncing around like they’d won the lottery, something was so inherently pleasing about getting this right. Of course, Oti mentioned that his hand flicks were ‘awful’ (as if he knew any better), and had a lot to correct in terms of posture, but they were definitely making progress. Her criticism was tiny in proportion to compliments, keeping their morale high while still working towards improvement.

He was finally feeling comfortable, they’d practiced some variations of the steps that would be used later in the dance, but now they were moving on to the second section.

‘Now Dream, we want your hand on his waist.’

Dream and George’s heads turned to her abruptly, alarmed, a dusting of pink on their cheeks and she burst out laughing.

‘You were gonna have to do it eventually? What did you expect? It’s nothing!’ At their distinct reluctancy she threw her hands in the air in exasperation.

‘Fine, for now we’ll forget the steps. Just get comfortable being in close proximity. We’ll get nothing done otherwise. Dream, just a hand on his waist, and George, put your arms on his shoulders.

Dream hesitantly turned to George again, his newfound confidence snuffed out, but his body wanted to go and move again, so he thought he’d better get it over with.

His hand hovered just over George’s waist, not yet touching, and he made eye contact with George, raising an eyebrow.

George giggled despite himself, but shrugged anyway, and with much more confidence put his hand on Dream’s shoulder. The end of his thumb just about went to where the material of Dream’s shirt ended to make way for his neck, and the nerves on his skin immediately brought that to his attention.

George’s hand was slightly warm from their dancing and the general temperature, also surprisingly soft, before he noticed his mistake and quickly moved them to the side, muttering an apology.

Dream placed his hand on George’s waist, conscious of how… intimate (for lack of a better word) their positioning was.

‘Hello Dream.’ George mumbled, bordering on a laugh, voice soft and quiet but Dream could hear it perfectly, George was looking up at him and grinning like an idiot, like he was holding back from bursting out laughing, as he brought his other hand onto Dream’s shoulder.

‘Hey George.’ Dream whispered, a glint of something in his eye, he went to the end of the world to flirt with George and this was no exception. The other times were clearly jokes, and this time felt a little different because of their circumstances, much less clear, but George would clearly get it.

And he did, because he was scoffing and rolling his eyes a second later. Dream smiled down at him, his right hand coming up naturally, his elbow resting on his shoulder, the rest of his arm slung on George’s back. At least if he had to do stuff like this it’s with someone he knew, instead of a random professional dancer.

‘Woahh, Dream.’ George joked suggestively, tilting his head to the side and smirking.

‘You’re such an idiot.’ He wheezed, and from here he was able to literally feel George’s voice on his face when the other spoke.

‘See? It’s fine!’

Dream had almost forgotten Oti was here at this point, she had been oddly quiet for the past thirty seconds, usually being the one steering the conversations.

‘Keep everything exactly where it is-‘ Oti rushed to say as Dream and George began pulling away.

‘Okay, check your posture.’ They groaned and straightened up their backs, necks going up and faces looking straight ahead.

‘Come on, George you look… clunky, just relax! Look, move your hand so it’s like this.’

She moved closer to them and at her request George removed his left hand, letting it hang down at his side.

Oti put her own hand there, talking him through the placing and grip, and all Dream could think about is how strange this was.

Standing there in a way that felt unnatural, different hands resting on his shoulders, and his own hands on either side of George’s waist, just standing like a statue as Oti used his shoulder like a mannequin. He wasn’t really sure what he should be doing at the moment as George seemed engrossed with whatever Oti was saying.

Then George’s hand went back on his shoulder as they finished with whatever they were doing.

‘Now Dream, you’re leading this dance, so be firmer, take control.’

‘How do I… do that?’ He questioned, just tightening his grip on George’s waist to see if that was what she meant.

Ow! What? Don’t do that!’ George winced, with a huff of a laugh.

‘Yeah don’t-‘ Oti laughed, ‘don’t grab him… just move your hands a bit further back around his- yeah like that, perfect actually! And his waist shouldn’t be moving your hands, your hands should be moving his waist.’

‘Right, remember this where you’re at now, then get out frame and go back into it. Ready?’

‘Out!’

They removed their hands from each other, taking a little step back.

‘Back in!’

In their scramble to return to before, George’s hand whacked Dream’s neck. Dream recoiled, instinctively putting his hand where George had hit, an unrestrained wheeze causing him to double over with laughter.

‘Oh my gosh- are you okay?’ George asked, laughing, a hesitant hand hovering near his shoulder like he didn’t know what to do with it.

‘Yeah! Yeah, I’m fine.’ Dream assured, and they put their hands in the proper places this time.

‘Okay, now you’re both gonna try those steps at the same time, Dream start on first count, but George start on count five, so when Dream’s going forward, you’re going backwards.’

They spent the next three or so hours going through the choreography. And by the time they took a break for lunch they had a whole minute of the routine memorised, and were able to perform the basic steps both with and without music. Minus the extremely difficult parts of course, just standing there as a placeholder was always really funny though.

Oti was especially impressed with their synchronisation, after given the counts that the steps should be done on, him and George just did it perfectly in time with each other, so that was awesome.

When they ran through the entire routine a final time, Oti applauded them, showering them with compliments and minor critiques - they didn’t really hear, just running over to grab their water bottles.

George fumbled with the lid before chugging half the bottle, out of breath and face red. When he put his bottle back away, his head flopped down to land on his lap, hair reflecting the light from a meager glazing of sweat.

He was literally curled up in a ball like a baby.

Dream would’ve laughed - and he attempted to - but he was very out of breath himself. He took his own water bottle out and relished in the feeling of it going down his throat, groaning in satisfaction.

George’s head whipped up abruptly, fixing a stare on Dream, an eyebrow raised.

‘Shut up you idiot,’ Dream chuckled, shaking his head.

‘You guys good to be back in an hour?’ Oti asked, pulling out a plastic tub and a fork from her own bag, she was probably having lunch here then.

‘Yeah! That should be fine.’ George replied.

‘Do they have showers here or something?’ Dream asked, putting his waterbottle away.

‘You’re gonna have a shower than dance again for like… I don’t know three hours or something and get all gross again?’ George said, scrunching his nose up at the idea.

‘Well- you can’t go out like that! That’s disgusting, you’re stinky and gross.’

‘Dream thinks I’m stinky.' He scrunched his nose, 'Let’s go!!’

‘That doesn’t even make sense.’ He mumbled, rolling his eyes.

Oti was looking between them, an odd expression on her face, probably confused. ‘To answer your question yes there are. I would’ve thought you’d seen them already. They’re in the same section as the changing rooms, at least our ones are. Just go the opposite way from the changing stalls and you should find them?’

They padded down the stairs, Dream giving a quick ‘hello!’ to a cleaner scrubbing at the handlebar, to which George gave him an odd look.

‘Shower arc,’ George said, as they walked into separate cubicles, when Dream was behind the door he had a confused expression on his face, shaking his head but a bright smile on his face.

They took brisk showers, racing the other to who could be ready first, rushing to separate cubicles and getting changed back in to their normal clothes, partly for the bet, but they were also aware of their one hour deadline.

When Dream finally left, George was already outside, fidgeting with the sleeve of his blue hoodie, undoubtedly boiling, coat and bag slung over his shoulder, and hair wet, unkempt and a little curly from the shower.

‘Oh what? That was so quick!’ Dream exclaimed, aware of the obnoxious wetness on his back from water dripping down from his hair.

He had that familiar sense of feeling like his clothes were wrong on his body, or like he’d forgotten something. He hadn’t dried properly in his rush, and just in general felt a little… odd.

 

Nonetheless, they walked out the building, George leading the way down a street. The sky was bright, but that was because it was completely covered in light grey clouds, a sheet of white that hurt to look at for too long. A decent wind was brushing through the air, helping to dry their hair off but also inconvenient temperature-wise.

After walking straight for so long, Dream jumped when George grabbed his arm and they abruptly turned right.

The cafe was fairly small, eight or so tables packed in to a space with a place to order at the back.

It was on the corner of a street and they had taken advantage by that by having one of the walls nearly entirely covered in windows, allowing some a lot of light to come in. The other walls were decorated with peculiar paintings or frames of things like fish and medals.

They sat down at a table, salt and pepper, cutlery wrapped in napkins, and a three-sided menu stood up like a folded brochure tucked to one side. George’s head was ducked to read it better, and Dream grinned as he started slowly spinning it round.

George fixed him with a glare, but he was smiling, nonetheless swatting Dream’s hand away.

‘They do breakfast until three!’ George exclaimed, looking oddly happy about that. Dream grinned at him, despite knowing he would not be getting a breakfast, something about George’s smile was just infectious.

‘Just remember you’ll be dancing again in like half an hour George,’ Dream reprimanded, ‘we can always have something at home when we’re done.’

George grimaced, flipping the menu around.

‘All the more reason to have more, I’ll have literally no energy otherwise.’

Eventually they ordered - George got juice with his food, holding onto the breakfast element for dear life - and they talked to the sounds of cutlery.

‘One thing I noticed-‘ George began, before taking a bite of some lettuce.

Dream wheezed, ‘why would you start talking if you’re just gonna eat something? Why did you do that?’

George nodded aggressively, before swallowing, ‘I don’t know! Shut up! As I was saying, I think seven is quite an inconvenient number.’

At Dream’s questioning look, he continued.

‘Like all the other numbers in the counts of eight have one syllable, then seven comes along with two. Two! How selfish? It messes me up.’

‘We should start calling it ‘sev’ instead then,‘ Dream joked, but George seemed to be considering.

‘That’s actually not bad, one, two, three, four, five, six, sev, eight. It has a ring to it. Can we actually do that?’

‘I mean no one can stop us-‘

‘The seven police start running-‘

‘I think seven is kinda cool though, it’s like… swingy? Also it like signifies the end of the count… lap? Round? I don’t know. It shows you what’s coming and makes eight snappy and finishing.’

'Signifies the end of the count shut up Shakespeare.’

Dream spluttered, ‘wh- I’m not Shakespeare! Those are normal words what?’

‘Yeah, yeah… you’re stepping on my foot by the way.’

Dream turned to look under the table, confused, ‘I am?’

‘No I lied to you,’ George said sarcastically, mimicking his own accent.

Wow okay, guess my foot isn’t on yours then.’

At that Dream smirked and jabbed his foot down hard, and George’s immediately slipped out from under his, eyes widening.

‘Ow what the- why would you do that?’

‘I don’t know,’ Dream admitted, ‘…felt like it, also you were mean.’

‘I wasn’t mean to you! I was being… epic.’

‘Sure.’

Dream checked his phone, it’d been forty minutes already?

‘Oh heck- George we have like twenty minutes we gotta go.’

George made an incoherent sound amongst bubbles as he tried to speak while drinking.

‘…I literally have no idea what you expected to happen from that.’

George shook his head and just continued drinking, Dream just staring at him all the while, head resting on his hands.

Eventually he finished his apple juice, smacking it down on the table like a shot glass, jumping at the noise.

They froze at the sound, the head of one of the waiters turned towards them. But nothing smashed, so they relaxed, George’s face a little red and gaze resolutely drilling into the table, Dream chuckled at him, receiving a mumbled ‘shut up,’ in response. They payed the bill and grabbed all their stuff, speed walking back to the building.

They spent the remainder of the afternoon learning the rest of the routine, and they’d gone through the entirety of it, but a few moves were skipped and left out as it was their first day. Not all of it was memorised either, this one bit near the end had a lot of complicated spins and different steps that was so difficult to remember.

It was one of the longest six and a half hours he’d ever experienced, and it ended with a three-way high five and high praise from Oti.

‘You guys are doing great! Really progressing well, I’m very proud of you both! I hope you’re getting good sleep and eating well, I recommend frequent stretching throughout the day but we’ll always do that and warm-ups here too.’

‘We’ve been doing arm and leg stretches, do we need to do more than that?’

Oti thought for a second, ‘those are the main ones, but for this dance specifically, hip twists and stretching your arm around to your leg. It’s important to stretch your neck joints with simple side rotations. But it’s important to relax! You boys have done enough.’

Dream grinned, ‘thanks Oti, you’re a great teacher. Have a good day!’

She smiled back at him, ‘thank you! Enjoy your afternoon guys! See you tomorrow.’

With that she left the room, steps echoing along the hallway as Dream and George sat down for a while.

George looked out of breath, yet happy. Taking slow sips on his nearly empty water bottle. The adrenaline was ebbing away, but both their muscles still felt absolutely dead. Everything felt on fire, but not in a bad way. Exercise always made you feel great afterwards, your head clear and no haze of sleepiness. Like dunking your head in cold water. It felt rewarding after all their practice, but they were still dying to get home.

 

—————————

 

They rang on the doorbell, leaning on the wall for support, and it opened to reveal Tubbo.

‘Hey guys! You’re the last ones back I think… oh no Bad and Skeppy aren’t yet either. Never mind, but come in!’ He stepped to the side and they walked in.

‘George you wanna shower first?’ Dream asked, hesitating before walking into the kitchen.

‘Yeah, thank you so much.’

George bolted up the stairs, and Dream and Tubbo wandered into the kitchen.

‘Dream!’ Wilbur greeted, ‘how was it?’

‘It was pretty good! It’s hard work though oh my gosh.’

Wilbur hummed in agreement, ‘a lot to remember and focus on. My arms still hurt and I’ve been home like four hours.’

Wait what?

‘Four hours?’ He spluttered incredulously.

‘Yeah! Well you and George aren’t in at all Mondays innit?’ Tommy piped up.

‘We all get the same hours, so me and Tommy have a half day on Tuesdays and Mondays. We were home earlier than everyone else yesterday remember?’

Oh that made sense.

He went upstairs to get his towel ready, and eventually he heard the shower turn off, and a minute or so later George’s footsteps padding up the stairs to his room on the topmost floor.

Dream stepped into the bathroom, after searching for a chair or a shelf or… anything, he dropped his towel on the floor.

He sighed in contentment at the cool water on his skin, feeling the day’s efforts be washed away.

It was a little colder than he was used to, but he felt hot and gross so didn’t change the temperature.

George likes his showers cold then? Dream mused, unless he had the same thought process as Dream. He imagined George in the shower-

Woah .

What.

Okay . He paused that thought process, focusing instead on hurrying up to wash himself, his cheeks still feeling hot despite him washing his face.

Let’s not think about that anymore .

They all spent the evening discussing the contents of their days, or showing off various bruises like they were earned from fighting lions, instead of falling on the floor of a gym.

Dream also made sure to ask about lunch and what everyone else was doing, and apparently a lot of people were leaving a couple minutes early to buy lunches or meal deals, and then they’d just eat it where they rehearsed, so they didn’t lose time taking shower breaks or running through the streets. Dream and George both felt like idiots when they heard that.

 

—————————

 

‘Okay, this is one of the ones we skipped yesterday because we didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable on your first day. This one is one of the more suggestive moves.’

Dream and George turned to each other uneasily.

They were in their second day of training now, and hail was hammering heavily on the roof. Woah! Alliteration, heavy hail hammering.

Oh right, the dance.

‘I’m sure it’ll be fine.’ George itched his nose.

‘Yeah! I’m comfortable with you George,’ Dream leaned towards him teasingly.

‘Well that’s good, okay George put your back to Dream’s chest.’

George moved to that position, both of them holding their hands in the air a bit as they awaited further instruction.

‘George, you want your hand on your own front- bit higher, resting on your tummy. Now Dream, put your hand over George’s.’

She circled them as they did so, ‘move forward a bit Dream, you want to be snug against each other here.’

Dream inched forward a little, so they were literally pressed against each other, and at George’s face he chuckled.

‘Ew what, don’t do that so close to my ear, I can feel it that’s disgusting.’ George groaned, using his free hand to rub at his ear.

‘Alright, now George, you want your other hand on the back of Dream’s head.

‘…what?’ George’s arm came up behind him, and Oti nodded.

Then he patted Dream’s forehead.

‘Okay- no like-‘

She moved towards them and grabbed George’s hand, moving it backwards.

‘Dream move your head forward, it should be resting on George’s arm right now.’

Dream did exactly that, moving his head to nestle into George’s shoulder.

It was kind of awkward, this was the kind of things couples did or something. It felt a little too… he didn’t know the word for it.

And then George’s hand landed in the tufts of Dream’s hair, and they both giggled a bit.

‘Alright, now Dream using your other hand you want to put it in… like the crevice of his hip?’

What?’ Both him and George were turning a little pink, this was enough as it was.

‘Okay put your hand on his hip first.’

Dream moved his hand there.

‘Okay just move it in more… and down a bit.’

This is really strange, Dream moved his hand a little, and kept moving it until Oti said it was enough.

It wasn’t too bad, it was resting on the dip between George’s thigh and his hip, but George was grimacing a bit.

Attempting to quell any discomfort, Dream got really close to his ear and whispered, ‘sexy’, and George immediately burst out laughing, half-heartedly moving his head away from Dream one of his curls brushing against Dream’s cheek. He hadn’t really felt that before, it was soft after drying from the shower.

‘This is really strange,’ George commented, both of them not moving.

‘Mhm,’ Dream responded, laughter tempting on his throat, but they had to be serious if they wanted to get anything done, so he shoved it down.

‘Good, now in terms of footwork you want to just pivot around, keeping your left leg on the floor. Dream, your legs should be right behind George’s all the while, so we want synchronised steps. Just follow what I’m doing for now.’

Dream craned his neck a little to see Oti, and they began spinning slowly while saying the counts.

This is such a strange situation.

Eventually, they got the footwork down, and George was complaining about his arm hurting, so Oti told them they can get out of the position.

‘Alright, just stand behind each other without your arms- yeah, now repeat that footwork but moving your hips as well. You wanna be rolling them back and forth against each other.’

A low rumble of a laugh that turned into spluttered giggling escaped George, who hid his face in his hands. He was all red and Dream laughed with him, a warm smile on his face. Oti scolded them good-naturedly for their immaturity, so they performed the steps in tandem with each other, in time with Oti.

After a couple more spins they combined their arms with the lower body work, both their faces a furious red, and trying not to think.

It was feeling really hot as well- not in a sexual way! Just they were literally right next to each other, Dream’s head against George’s arm and his hair, and even the back of his head had George’s hand on it.

He didn’t exactly feel trapped, more of… enclosed? He wasn’t really sure what the difference between those was. George probably felt exactly the same, if not worse. Dream had tried to have his hand hovering over George’s thigh, but Oti corrected that immediately.

She really just didn’t experience discomfort.

Oti mentioned ‘caressing their hands’ along the others body, and Dream just sat there contemplating life.

He didn’t expect to be caressing George’s thigh while their hips rolled against each other, and when they were done, they immediately broke apart like repelling magnets.

George had his head in his hands, clearly flustered, and Dream would’ve made fun of him if he wasn’t the exact same. And he kinda felt bad for the guy. It was probably worse for George.

Dream wrapped an arm around himself, laughing awkwardly to move on.

‘You hate each other that much?’ Oti jokes, hands on her hips and staring between the two of them.

‘No what- we don’t…’ George fumbled, before groaning and rolling his eyes, spinning around in a circle.

‘I love the little spin,’ Dream said in a British accent, a callback to when George said the exact same thing to him.

‘…anyway- the transition to the next step is just George exploding your arms out like a bird-'

 

—————————

 

The days were absolutely whizzing by, the second they were out of rehearsal it felt like the hours just depleted. By the time they were home they had an hour and a bit before dinner, then three hours later they needed to sleep to keep a healthy schedule.

The week was exhausting and busy but satisfying. There was something about actually having a solid schedule filled with healthy diets, exercise, and a good sleep schedule, not to mention it being with a best friend and a great coach. They’d been getting to know Oti more, especially in lunch breaks, eating together on the bench or sometimes on the floor, and she was honestly really great.

And it wasn’t like they were lacking in content creation, Dream popped in behind the camera of a few streams occasionally, and all of this was working towards Saturday, where they’d be giving a good two hours worth of content. Some camera crew came in on Thursday, giving them an extremely quick interview (and he means ridiculously quick, it was literally two questions each, they filmed some training, and were out in ten minutes).

And he couldn’t even do anything about it or worry about his schedule because it was all mandatory! It would be nice to be in control a bit more, but Oti’s coaching combined with the pressure of an audience gave him the motivation he needed. Other times that had pushed him too far, hours upon hours and sleepless nights of working to be better and better, but this wasn’t like that.

The hours were monitored, they didn’t have access to their rehearsal room outside of their schedule, and as for practicing at home, George simply did not care. That man cared about sleep and if he wasn’t sleeping he was hanging out with their friends or enjoying alone time, and of course Dream would never take that away from him in good conscience, so he simply didn’t.

He was learning to live with the constant strain on his muscles in the background of daily activity. It was annoying, but a reminder to stay on schedule and a ‘good job!’ in the forefront of his mind, gently letting him know that in his free time he didn’t need to be editing, exercising, thinking of video ideas, or doing anything interesting.

Times like when he just scrolled through twitter for an hour, enjoying people screaming over the pairings, dozens of incredible fanart, people raving about him using the word ‘soon’ correctly.

He was just feeling really happy with life at the moment. It was great.

 

—————————

 

‘Me and Aimsey are just… cracked. Like dude we have a whole ‘nother day and we already know our whole routine and learnt two lifts.’ Tubbo bragged.

‘Let’s go!’ Aimsey cheered in response, giving Tubbo a high five. Tubbo went in for a fist bump, and they had a second of just betrayed glaring at each other, before turning away shaking their heads.

Dream and Sapnap turned to each other with mutually exasperated yet confused expressions on their faces.

‘Dude! I totally forgot we have to like… go against each other in the dance off don’t we? Four of us here right now are gonna be fightin’, that’s awesome.’ Foolish said.

‘It’ll be like those high school movie dance battles,’ Sapnap snorted.

‘Honestly Sapnap, I’m kinda worried… we’re not doing that great I feel like.’ Karl said, sighing.

‘I’d fail for you Karl,’ Bad beamed, and Dream rolled his eyes.

Skeppy turned to him, protesting, ‘Bad- we literally can’t, we’re doing bad enough as it is.’

Bad is doing bad enough as it is. Get it?’ Tommy joked, wiggling his eyebrows.

‘Won’t win with that attitude Skeppy,’ Bad pouted, ‘maybe try harder in training instead of being a muffin and sitting on the bench every five minutes.

‘Woah!!’

‘Burn!’

‘Sassboyhalo arc,’

‘No one’s streaming Bad, you don’t have to say muffin all the time.’

‘Yeah!! Drop a swear bad!’

‘No- no! You’re all jerks!’ Bad covered his ears as profanities were screamed around the room.

‘Surprised Bad and Skeppy haven’t fallen in love yet,’ Puffy joked, and the two glared at her.

‘We couldn’t even if we tried, we’re literally doing a quickstep. It’s just like running around, not romantic at all. It’s lame.’ Skeppy complained, and Dream and George snorted simultaneously.

‘Be grateful, it’s so embarrassing.’ George laughed, resting his forehead in his hands.

‘What is it you two are doing?’

‘The Cha Cha Cha.’

There were no faces of recognition, so George elaborated, ‘it was literally described to us as ‘flirty, fast-paced, and… sexy’.’

‘Yeah!’ Dream butt in, ‘there’s literally this one move where like- George’s back is right up to my front, his hand is on my head, and my hand is like… on his thigh.’

There were whistles from the group, and a few surprised faces.

‘Screw Bad and Skeppy, Dream and George are next.’ Someone joked.

‘Couldn’t be me,’ Tommy bragged, and at some raised eyebrows he explained ‘minor things.’ There were ‘oh’s and ‘ah’s in response.

‘Anyway I’m gonna head off now, we have a lot to work on and I need sleep.’ Sam stood up, looking strangely awake, but then headed outside to make his way to the building he was sleeping in.

Others began going to their own rooms soon after, wanting a good amount of sleep for their last training session. Dream was one of the final few awake as of course there was a shower rotation for people who showered in the evenings and of course people came back downstairs forgetting things or putting dirty mugs on the counter because the dishwasher was already on and of course Dream wouldn’t be able to sleep with all that noise.

When he finally went to bed he sunk into the covers, pulling them close, thoroughly sleepy after all that waiting, and happy that his tired muscles would (hopefully) feel the same as normal in the morning. He was a little nervous because it felt like they still had a bit to cover, but overall he was excited, stars in his eyes as dreams took over his unconscious mind.

Chapter Text

It was Saturday night, and Dream was dragging George by the arm across the backstage hallways that were now busy and bustling with staff, directors, makeup artists, people holding bags or long fabrics… and a skateboard?

The plan was to meet up with Oti at one of the first rooms, but some other staff member whisked them away to get their costumes on, they were reluctant but the worker was persistent. They’d have to find Oti later.

They followed Edgar (they had their name on a little sign on the uniform), Dream waved to Aimsey and Tubbo, then did a double take when he looked at what they were wearing.

They were in matching suits, white blazers and ties with a black shirt underneath, and a black top hat with a silver stripe on their heads, carrying themselves with confidence, practically strutting through the hallways rambling excitedly to each other, matching grins on their faces.

Dream actually had no clue what him and George were wearing, he had searched up other pairs doing the dance and looked at their outfits, so had a rough idea, but they hadn’t been told anything.

Dream and George went down a quieter hallway, most of the doors locked shut from other people getting changed, and the two went into their respective rooms.

The familiar tingles of anticipation and excitement were settling in under his skin, Dream was feeling jumpy like he needed to get some energy out, but also like he needed to calm down and barely move at all.

He locked the door behind him, turning to the rack, and there it was.

There were two hangers holding up different things, and he took the first one off the bar, holding it up in front of him.

It was a glamorous yet sophisticated purple long-sleeved shirt. The sleeves were see through, with the texture of a veil, it felt nice to rub between his fingers. It didn’t have buttons, but if it did, the top three would be undone, the fabric separating by a long V. He saw where the ‘sexy’ element was and felt his face tinting red.

This was probably a bad idea.

There was a light dusting of purple glitter, sparkling like stars upon the slightest movement. The material felt thin, definitely light and airy.

Then there were black trousers, not particularly special but they’d bring attention to everything above the waist. They hung to just above the ankle, letting their footwork be perfectly on display.

The shoes were just normal, black and polished, Dream wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same ones he’d worn last time.

He pulled the clothes on, the pants were particularly comfortable, not hugging his legs but brushing against them with a soft layer. The shoes were the same as the trainers he practiced in (Oti had mentioned the importance of this) and on a whim he practised the first few steps of their routine. Obviously the carpet made it a little awkward, but everything was movable.

He then stared at the shirt? Top? The… thing as if it had personally wronged him. Stalling for time he simply didn’t have, literally just frozen and staring at it.

He groaned, then pulled his own hoodie and top off, before taking the clothing with gentle hands and pulling it through his head. He shook his hair to get it back to normal.

The sleeves went up to just above his elbow, and felt fine. It was just his chest that made him grimace. He could literally feel the skin on his torso against the air, very conscious of what everyone could see.

He moved to the mirror and felt a surge of confidence fire up in him, a small one nonetheless, but he hung to it for dear life. Focusing on the positives, because this was what he was wearing no matter what, better to own it then go out feeling awful.

Because to be honest… it didn’t look bad. Definitely went down the… sexy element. It showed a bit of the muscle in his arms, the slightly see through material reaching just below his shoulders.

He turned to the side, it did his back justice. Nothing spectacular but he looked fine there, hopefully he’d be facing George enough the audience wouldn’t notice his chest.

Oh.

George would notice. George would definitely notice. Dream went red. Gosh this sucks. He didn’t show him his face for nearly 9 years . Now he’s seeing like… a third of his chest after seeing his face a mere three or so weeks ago. Big steps. If he was near George right now he’d make a joke about them having sex in a month, he didn’t say it out loud but it made Dream laugh anyway.

Would George be wearing the same thing? In the photos he’d seen the women wore vastly different things, usually skirts or dresses with tassels that were colourful and floaty. But well… George was a guy, but then again Dream was leading. He wasn’t really sure what to expect.

He scrunched his nose again when he saw his chest peaking through, and pulled the fabric from the back, and the V went up quite far.

That worked surprisingly well.

He folded his normal clothes up, putting them down on the chair, taking deep breaths.

It was fine, this was alright. It’s clothes after all. If he really wanted to, he can just pretend he’s not wearing them. Wait no, not not wearing any clothes. Yeah, he’s just doing the dance in one of his normal baggy tops he wears when rehearsing. Nothing abnormal, just another rehearsal.

After a final once-over in the mirror, he walked out of the changing room, wandering somewhat anxiously to the room with the chairs and hair and makeup stands (he wasn’t sure if it had an official name).

When he opened and walked through the door, it was far busier than last time. Makeup artists and people with hair products and brushes were tending to the dancers, everyone in different outfits. Some were colourful and vibrant, others fancy, sophisticated, or stylish, but almost all of them had an element of sparkle, embellishments of sequins or dazzling with glitter, catching the light off the mirror in a way that was almost overwhelming to the eye when they were all in one place.

He moved to sit in a chair, not really sure what to do for now, maybe there was a queue or something, Wilbur was sat there, and when they met eyes he whistled.

‘Woah-ho  Dream . Looking good my man.’

Dream grinned, relaxing into a chair next to him, flushing slightly with… pride? Embarrassment? He wasn’t sure.

‘Not so bad yourself,’ Dream complimented, and Wilbur exaggeratively waved him away, ‘oh- stop, stop… you don’t really mean that,’ to really nail the joke into the ground be twirled some of his hair around his finger, Dream scoffed.

Wilbur was wearing a smart grey waistcoat, poofy white sleeves on the arms going all the way down to his wrists. It looked sophisticated, yet casual, if that made any sense. Didn’t exactly stick out in the room, but the simplicity made it different to the rest.

‘You’re doing the… vee-nees waltz? What was it?’

Wilbur chuckled, ‘it’s the vee-a-nees waltz, the Viennese Waltz. But no, Jack and Niki are doing that one, me and Tommy are just doing the Waltz.’

‘These names are so confusing,’ Dream shook his head, scanning the heads sat in the chairs for anyone he knew.

‘Is George here?’ He asked, turning to Wilbur, who nodded and pointed at one of the chairs.

There George was, sat on one of the chairs talking to someone who was combing through his hair artfully. It was mesmerising, hair that was usually bouncy and soft had had some kind of gel used on it, putting it into a sleek side parting, and making it shiny. It looked… incredible, and really good on him.

Dream couldn’t believe that was George.

He couldn’t see much from here, but the material on his shoulders was the same as Dream’s, but he wanted to see the rest of the fit. He got up and walked over, not entirely sure if that was allowed but there didn’t seem to be strict rules, people bumbling about reaching across desks to grab various items or bottles or sprays. They probably wouldn’t even notice another guy walking over.

He got up to George, who made eye contact with him through the mirror, raising his eyebrows.

‘Hello Dream!’ George beamed at him, eyes briefly flickering downwards at his neck and Dream went a little pink.

‘You do that a lot, you know.’

‘Huh? Do what?’

‘Your cheeks, you get embarrassed really easily.’

At that they only went redder, and Dream scoffed, ‘yeah- I don’t know, they’ve always been like that.’ He shrugged, ‘bedding- uh blessing and a curse really.’

‘How is it a blessing?’

‘Well,’ he drawled, not really wanting to get into it. Instead he leaned over George’s chair, there wasn’t enough space between him and the next person over to go between the seats, so he settled for oddly peering over him to look at his outfit.

Instead when he got closer his shoe felt slightly slippery on a soft material, and he immediately lifted it up, looking down in confusion.

There, draping across the floor, was a sparkling silver dress, when he followed it upwards his eyes landed on Niki. She was facing her stylist as they used a brush on her forehead, applying who knows what, her hair straight and light at the top, descending into big spiralling curls the further it went down.

The dress reminded him of wispy clouds, it had some layers, probably accentuating spins, she was doing a Viennese Waltz right?

Niki opened her eyes when the brush left her face, and jumped when she saw Dream infront of her.

‘Oh! Dream, hi!’ She smiled at him.

‘Hey! Sorry for just like- staring at you,’ he laughed awkwardly, ‘that’s an incredible dress.’ He marvelled, and Niki nodded in agreement.

‘Honestly it’s beautiful, I’d show you it spinning, but a little busy at the moment. You’ll see on the dance floor anyway.’

‘We’re gonna destroy you.’ George deadpanned abruptly, smug, and Dream turned to him, laughing.

‘George! You- what’s wrong with you.’

‘Niki- we’re actually gonna kill you. Like this is it. You and… Jack right? Yeah. Dead. Gone. That’s it! Bye bye Niki and Jack Manifold! Bye!! Dream just won’t admit it, he’s in his… gentleman arc.’

Niki spluttered indignantly and Dream snorted.

‘It’s not an arc George, I’ve always been a gentleman, you’ve just never noticed,’ he said in an imitation of George’s accent. On a whim, Dream grabbed George’s hand and went to kiss it, before George pulled it away, a scandalised expression on his face.

‘Dream! What’s- you’re an idiot, why did you do that.’

‘I’m a gentleman George.’ Dream responded nonchalantly, giggling. George just rolled his eyes, looking at his lap as he fidgeted with his fingernails.

Oh my gosh his nails are painted.

‘Woah what! George- your nails are painted!’

A laugh forced itself out of George’s mouth, ‘wow! No way! Thanks for telling me Dream, that was really a 1000 IQ play right there.’

Dream ignored him, just looking at his hands. They had a dark purple nail varnish on, and it looked really cool! It was darker than what they were wearing, but added a little spice and completed the look. George’s hands were a little smaller than Dream’s, though he knew that already from the dancing rehearsals. They just looked really pretty.

George beamed, looking up to meet Dream's eyes, confidence and pride looks good on him , Dream thought, and so did what he was wearing.

Dream leaned forward a little more, and saw him and George were wearing pretty much the same thing. His eyes instantly looked towards his chest, which he felt guilty for immediately after, but George had the little V-shaped thing too. A good bit of his chest exposed, and from the upper angle Dream could see a lot more than intended. He quickly looked away, coughing in embarrassment.

‘Uhh Dream… sorry, your shoe.’

Dream looked down in astonishment, to see his shoe was pinning down the edge of Niki’s dress again, and he hastily moved it, profusely apologising. Niki forgave him, getting up from the seat and walking away out the door. This is not a good moment for him.

Niki’s stylist turned to him expectantly, fixing him with a stare, ‘you’re Dream right?’ They asked, applying hand sanitiser then sorting out their brushes back into a box.

‘Uhh yeah! I’m Dream.’

They nodded, then looked around, spotted someone and called out, ‘Nathan! Dream’s here you idiot… yeah!’

Despite the wording they seemed light-hearted and joking, not like Dream could judge, him and George said the same thing all the time.

Nathan came over, a tall guy wearing a beanie, looking reserved but not unfriendly.

‘Hey Dream!’ They smiled at him, and Dream smiled back.

‘I’ll be sorting you out today, ah, you’re partners with George right?’ They asked, gesturing to George, and the two nodded.

‘Wonderful, so the plan was to do your hair in the same way, have the nails painted the same, and then we can touch up anything you want on your face.’

Dream spoke his agreements, and Nathan got busy working some gel into his hair, smoothing it to one side with practised quick motions. It was impressive, it felt like no time had passed and his hair looked akin to George’s. Slightly darker than it’s normal shade from the wetness of the gel, and feeling a little unnatural on his scalp. Unbalanced was too strong a word… out of place maybe? It was just different to how it normally felt.

When that was done Dream settled his hands on the table in front of him, he hadn’t had his nails done ever in his life, apart from the one time he lost a bet with his sister. He’d thought about painting them and talked about it a little, that was what the internet wanted after all, they were going to literally go crazy after all this.

Dream and George, dancing together, involving sexy dance moves, with their nails painted, and like… half shirtless. They may as well be pandering at this rate. It even sounded like something a clickbait clip channel would twist.

Nathan made some basic small talk as he expertly painted the nails, talking about his kids and how his car had broken down that day so he had to bike to work. Dream had to stop himself from drumming his fingers against the table, as those were the only things he couldn’t move at the moment.

When they were done, he was instructed to leave them sitting there for a while, so that explained why George was still in the chair when his stylist wasn’t around.

Him and George went over the moves in their seats, feeling like students cramming in before a test again, eventually evolving into simple chatter, bonding over mutual anxiety. Dream played up his confidence for George, being a rock he could lean on, because they couldn’t have both of them a scared mess. Sharing reassurances that George barely acknowledged, but Dream knew he appreciated them in the little smiles he directed Dream’s way, despite George waving them off.

‘Everyone! Quiet please! Guys!’ An employee dressed in navy popped their head in through the door. ‘We need you all in 2D in ten minutes.’

Dream had no clue what or where 2D was, but a few minutes later they were led out of the room, everyone ready and dressed up.

They went down a few hallways and up some stairs, eventually hearing some rumbling yet muffled music, and when walking through a door, they were on the upper floor of the audience seats. Their section looked more like a party area, a few circular tables with four or five surrounding seats dotted around. The space closest to the railing with a view of the dance floor was void of any obstructions, so they’d probably be standing up to watch the performances. Next to a bright LED sign labelled ‘D’ was a different staircase, and one of the workers showed them the route to take for when it was their turn on the dance floor.

They did a quick mock trial of what the pairs should do throughout the show; before, during, and after the dance. They showed them exactly where to stand when talking to Tess and the judges, the stairs they go up afterwards, where they stand when getting their scores, and then where they go when their turn is over. There were also instructions on how long they should talk and how much they can say, little social etiquettes that weren’t a disaster if you broke, more of just the way the show had always been.

Now they had about half an hour before the guests were coming in. They were being called up one by one to practice their dance on the floor in their outfits, with a camera moving around them, and of course all the lights flashing around everywhere. A dress rehearsal if you will.

Dream’s name took priority as D was before G in the alphabet, so him and George would be practicing third, after Aimsey and Tubbo and Skeppy and Bad.

In the meantime, they were offered some fancy mocktails that swirled with all sorts of different colours, and him, George, and Sapnap sipped happily on them while talking about their dances. Sapnap had been wandering around like a lost puppy because Karl had went to the bathroom, most other people were sticking to their pairs doing half-hearted practices of their routines while staying in the same spot.

You got a gorgeous view of the ballroom from here, the railings he leaned on had lights in them, currently a forest green to match Bad and Skeppy’s routine. It was awesome to see all the cameras in action, there was someone down there running around Bad and Skeppy with a camera, zooming around to keep up with their pace, and other cameras on some kind of rigg on the ceiling, not to mention some in the corners of the ballroom on little stands, one of the professionals dancers was guiding them and shouting encouragement. It felt so surreal to see the others actually dancing, they were all going on their own journeys too, and of course he’d heard stories from all of them, recounts of rehearsals, but seeing all their progress made him feel so connected.

Eventually Dream and George were called, coincidentally passing Karl on the way down the stairs, letting him know where Sapnap was (not like you could get lost in their little space but you never know).

They met Oti at the bottom, and she did well to help their excitement take over nerves, hyping them up in their outfits and leading the conversation by listing the positives. She was in an outfit herself, dark black with little star patterns made of bright glitter, her hair pulled in a painfully-tight looking ponytail, and at the back bouncing around in shiny curls, swinging side to side when she moved her head. Black heels made her nearly Dream’s height now, and she was just owning it. Dream hoped he’d get used to all this a few weeks in, if they lasted long enough that is. Just everything looked beautiful.

She guided them to their spots, opposite side of the floor, and they went over their routine again. The new presence of the camera operator wasn’t exactly unpleasant, more of just a little unnerving. He liked to focus on George when dancing and just forget that others were looking at them, just him and George doing their own thing. Luckily they never got in the way but still. The lights were really cool, they were set to a deep purple that looked nice, not all of the lights were set, but it was enough. The music was really loud, without the singers it was just an instrumental for now, which had them relying on the counts a lot more. At the chorus, he could feel the beat through the floor, which was really something.

At some of the more suggestive moves he heard whistles and applause from some of their friends, and he flickered his eyes up to see a lot of them watching.

Dream went red, rolling his eyes, and George burst into hysterical giggles, soon having Dream joining in. They continued nonetheless, and at Oti’s insistence they evened out their faces, all the while performing their routine, though Dream combined the middle finger into his hand work at one point which the others cackled at, and when they finished, Dream pulled George in for a hug.

‘That actually wasn’t so bad,’ George commented, light on his feet as they jogged towards Oti for any last minute feedback.

‘That was great guys!’ She said, smiling brightly at the two of them, ‘great synchronisations, the steps were good, just focus on your facial expressions, you’re not just dancing, you’re  performing.  George, make sure at the end there your pivot starts on your  left  leg, you faltered there.’ Dream turned to him in surprise, he hadn’t even noticed, ‘and you’re holding back guys! We got past this in rehearsals, go for it! They want the fire, the passion! So go for it!’

They laughed, thanked her, and ran back up the stairs, the lights igniting to a fiery orange as Sam and Foolish took to the floor.

They collapsed down onto chairs as Sapnap and Karl came over and joined them, Karl blowing bubbles obnoxiously with his straw on an iced drink. Others came over and teased Dream and George about their dance, and George groaned, hiding his head in his hands, but Dream took the ‘I told you so!’ approach from when Bad and Skeppy complained about their Quickstep.

They enjoyed just sitting down, not even talking much, comfortable with watching their friends, and Sapnap  definitely  had a concentrated face.

When all the pairs were done doing their run through, there were last minute bathroom breaks as people started filing in through the doors taking their seats, loud chatter filling the room, accompanied by gentle music in the background.

He was watching Foolish and Sam practice one of their steps when abruptly there was a scream of his name from the crowd.

‘DREAM WE LOVE YOU!!’ Squealed multiple voices, and Dream froze, looking over the balcony to see a group of people waving at him, shrieking incoherent noises, getting a few stares but somewhat blending in with the overall noise.

He wasn’t really sure if he should encourage that, so he just smiled at them, regretting it as their squealing grew even louder. He put a finger to his lips, thankful when one of the staff members started walking over to them, and moved away from the eye of the public.  That  had never happened before.

Familiar nerves were settling in, quickly traded for giddy excitement, then nerves again. At least pick a side . Eventually the show started and he zoned out, listening to the hosts banter, and a screen came down from the ceiling showing the professional dancers performing a pre-recorded routine.

Halfway through (right when Dream was invested), they started going down the stairs, quiet yet excited whispers over shoulders, leading them towards those familiar scaffolding stairs from last time.

Him and George were on the left staircase, different to the one Dream was on last time. They were going down together, which made sense. He looked around for the screen to watch, to see it was above the door, partially covered by the tall head of Wilbur. The alphabetical idea was abandoned, and if there was another pattern to their order, Dream was too preoccupied to figure it out.

At the words, ‘ Our Strictly Stars !’, the music swelled again, and the couples began descending the stairs with smiles and waves to a whooping and happy crowd.

They watched on the obscured screen as Hannah and Puffy descended the stairs, followed by Sam and Foolish, Sapnap and Karl, then Wilbur and Tommy, each with their names being called out by the deep-voiced commentator with the dramatic music in the background, many waving, others doing specific poses to show off their outfit.

Dream breathed in, as they stepped up so they were now in front of the door, cameras and an audience a step away.

He pulled the back of his shirt down a bit, meaning he’d be showing less skin, then linked arms with George.

His other hand was fidgeting about, as he watched the screen attentively waiting for their go, then he felt a warm presence stopping the movement.

George had grabbed his hand, and squeezed it comfortingly, ‘it’s fine,’ he said gently, before letting go and looking ahead, straightening up. Dream’s eyebrows furrowed, but he smiled and looked forward too, as he heard their names through booming speakers.

They stepped out through the curtain together, arms connected and giving waves to the crowd.

George and Dream .’

Dream took the initiative, unlinking their arms and instead just holding hands as they took cautious footsteps down the stairs, careful not to fall, as Tubbo and Aimsey were called after them.

At the bottom of the stairs, they walked to the forming line on the stage, scanning the audience of dozens of faces, many beaming and clapping, excited. So close yet so far away. It felt a little overwhelming.

They clapped accordingly as the rest of the pairs walked down the stairs, giddily laughing on pure euphoria, the blaring spotlights and ringing yells from every direction, not to mention the booming music.

After they were all introduced to the crowd, he hastily dragged George off the stage, whispering a quick ‘good luck’ to Hannah and Puffy, who had the unfortunate job of going first, the two waited around the side as the names of the judges were called. They padded up the stairs with everyone else, eager to watch the show and get away from the public.

After the judges introductions, they finally got to it.

Laughing at some joke someone made (that honestly probably wasn’t funny), Tess tossed her long blonde hair back behind her shoulder. ‘Now, we have our first dance of this year’s Strictly, with the scary job of opening the show. Let’s welcome: Hannah and Puffy.’

There were some ripples of applause as the two took to the stage, Hannah behind a prop-wall, and Puffy leaning against it infront.

Dancing the Charleston, Hannah and Puffy .’

Pair by pair, they performed, each group a little clunky or unsure, receiving scores ranging from 21 to a 27 so far. A wild variety of dance moves and simple lifts were shown, songs that brought back memories from a few years ago bringing pleasant nostalgia to Dream’s mind.

Tubbo and Aimsey were currently dancing, they’d had a funny gag where they took off their hats to chuck them to the side in preparation for dancing, and Aimsey had  another  hat underneath it (in place of the beanie probably), kept on their face by a strap under her chin, and Dream wished he could be fully present and truly appreciate the incredible work of everyone, but the thought that it was his and George’s turn next was sitting stubbornly at the forefront or his mind.

Almost like it was planned, at that moment someone tapped Dream and George on the shoulder, they turned around and were beckoned downstairs silently as to not distract. Dream swallowed, then walked downstairs as Tubbo and Aimsey spoke to the judges.

They waited on the side of the stage, staring at the floor in fear.

In about a minute or so he’d be dancing.

‘This is scary Dream,’ George whispered, an anxious smile on his face, hands crossed over his chest and slouching slightly, hopping from foot to foot.

It was darker back here and Dream could’ve sworn he’d seen fanart of George looking like this. He was jealous of George’s ability to look good in everything, the glittery purple worked so well with his slicked-back brown hair and those dark eyes. On the other hand, purple, blonde, and green? Not really what you want.

The sleeves were confusing Dream a little, from George’s position the long pellucid sleeves were hanging down off of his arms, going nearly up to his wrists. Dream’s went above his elbows. Was that a design flaw? Or was that intentional? Maybe they got sizing wrong or something. He hoped that wouldn’t be an issue when dancing. He tried to recap the choreography in his head to see if he ever would be touching George’s lower arms but found that he couldn’t remember any of it.

Oh gosh. What was the first step? His eyes widened. He’s forgotten the whole dance. How has this happened. They had nailed it like an hour before.

He shook himself, imagining rehearsals. Just say the counts.

5, 6, 7, 8, 1 left, 2, 3 turn 4.

That’s it.

He sighed in relief.

Suddenly the lights dimmed: Dream and George’s cue. He gave George a final smile and a nod as they took the floor, facing away from each other a few steps away.

Dancing the Cha Cha Cha, George and Dream.’

The warbled intro music faded out, and the lights began to glow to a deep magenta shade.

Dream kept his eyes locked firmly on the floor, briefly closing them and willing his mind into a calmer head space. The people of the crowd faded away into darkness, the cameras were distant and far away, their friends on the upper floor dwindled into wisps.

Just Dream, George, and the floor, illuminated by that glowing purple light. Truly in the moment.

Upbeat music thrummed to life, Dream whispering the counts in his head over the song he’d grown to know everything about over the past week.

He stomped his foot for eight counts, face breaking into a smile as on-beat claps started surrounding them. Littles bubbled of excitement and exhilaration were popping in his chest, bursts of energy leaving him on edge.

When the lyrics began he swivelled around facing George, stunned at seeing him in this brilliant spotlight,  they performed the foot work, arms out at their sides, keeping constant locked eye contact.

Oh don’t you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me.

Hearing a different singer to the one on the track surprised him for a second, but he continued onwards, face almost stern in concentration, but then he saw George with a smile (bordering on a smirk) on his face, and Dream remembered they had to act as much as dance.

When close enough, he grabbed George’s hand, twisting to the side and spinning him into frame, George’s hands landing on his shoulders, Dream placing his hands on George’s waist, moving his hips from side to side as they travelled across the floor.

He was getting into it now, completely immersed in this otherworldly place. Just Dream and George’s bodies performing on the floor. Their faces inches apart and a warm hand on his neck, every flick of a hand, drop of a hip, twist of a foot, every  everything  performed with coordination and precision. A combination of muscle memory and physical exertion, mixed with feeling the music and bouncing off of each other like two hearts beating as one. Their legs skimmed against each other as they combined circular motions with steps, breaking apart and pointing a hand outwards, fingers still interlocked between them.

George twirled away and Dream grabbed his arm (perfectly timed with the lyric: ‘she took my arm’,) and George gazed into his eyes, a wide grin on his face as the music picked up. It felt electric.

They pivoted around the outskirts of the floor, staying in that constant position, eyes fixed on each other but attention focused on their footwork, energy high and bouncing around.

 

His eyes briefly flickered to George’s mouth as he saw him began to tire, out of breath, due to their closeness the faint sound of panting and his lips moving around the counts, barely whispering the numbers, could be heard to no one but Dream. His eyes were wide and piercing, yet somewhat glazed over as if unfocused and not really looking. The light sent a purple hue over George’s face, submerging him in that stunning violet light.

He felt conscious of how George was staring at him too, and wondered how he looked right now.

He realised he himself had been subconsciously lip-syncing to the lyrics of the song, but it helped him focus and stay ‘in character’ so he continued.

Changing his stance to be more balanced and firm, he tensed his arms as George fell back into them, the loose fabric on his arms brushing against Dream’s bare skin that sent odd little tingles up his arm, only to be pulled up immediately after and pressed into Dream’s back.

He braced himself, over most of the embarrassment now, he put a hand over George’s own on his front, finger tracing over the smooth feeling of the nail varnish (not part of their routine but he was sure no one would notice), and his other hand on George’s upper thigh.

George’s hand was placed gently on the side of his face, slipping into his hair with accidental ease from the gel. They rolled their hips in tandem with each other, pivoting on the spot as a camera ran around them. This was the last verse of their routine, only one more chorus to go and they’d be done.

George broke away, arms outstretched upwards sending that silky fabric pooling down at his shoulders.

They ran opposite ways, ‘ skipping about with class ’ as Oti had put it, clicking in the direction they were moving, hopping about and doing every step with a bounce.

They sprinted towards each other, intentionally missing and he felt a grip on his wrist, forcefully turned and meeting George in the eye at the second ‘ she took my arm ’ spinning around each other, exhilaration and euphoria making him feel all fuzzy inside and practically buzzing, spotting by constantly looking at one of the foundation poles on the side as they twirled.

With a grin on his face, he turned to George, doing the little ‘come-over-here’ finger thing, and he bounded on over, slotting his hand into Dream’s and when he fell back Dream caught him, the music cutting out with a tone of finality.

The audience burst into applause, Dream and George frozen in place for a second, chests contracting and relaxing from the force of their deep breaths. George’s mouth slightly parted and face morphing into a grin, hair falling back a bit.

He pulled George back up again, slinging his arms around his shoulders as they embraced, leaning on each other for support, tired but happy.

‘We did so good!’ George yelled in his ear, sounding legitimately happy, giddy with giggles and stimming, his arms repeatedly smacking against Dream’s back in their embrace but Dream couldn’t find himself caring. He was happy George was happy.

‘We did!’ Dream yelled, warm pride shining in his stomach.

They pulled away, beaming with happiness, and Dream was about to walk to the stairs when George slotted their hands together and pulled him over to Tess, Oti was stood there too, clapping and jumping about.

Dream looked down at their interlocked hands in brief confusion, but mentally shrugged, allowing himself to be tugged over by George. Good thing he remembered where they were going.

The lights returned to their normal colour (bright enough to illuminate the entire room and allow you to easily make out the judges faces, but tinted slightly blue to go with the Strictly colour scheme), and George’s face returned to normal, though his forehead was shiny with sweat, face a little pink from the fast-paced routine.

‘That was incredible!’ Tess said, fanning herself with the card in her hand. Dream placed his free hand on his own hip, leaning over slightly and still making an effort to control his breathing again.

‘How was it to do your first dance?’ She asked, holding the mic out in front of their faces.

‘Fun, but tiring,’ George answered with a laugh, and Tess nodded, moving it over to Dream.

‘Uhh- it’s been cool! A lot of fun… like learning stuff with George, but yeah definitely… a lot of work.’ He said, gesturing to both him and George at the end.

‘Let’s see what the judges think shall we? Shirley.’

They turned to Shirley, ‘Well I thought that was great!’ There were some whoops from the background, ‘especially for a first dance! You two have done well, you have excellent synchronisation, you kept that high energy, just a little work on maintaining that frame. Make sure your hand work isn’t messy, keep that neat and tidy. But overall, you’ve started well, great job!’ She smiled at them, and Dream nodded at the feedback.

He wasn’t really in the right mindframe to take in any advice at the moment. Tired out and off the adrenaline-high, but feeling incredibly proud and happy having put hours work into those two minutes. He let the comments from the other judges wash over him a bit, just absentmindedly nodding or laughing when the crowd did. Not like he needed advice to improve on the dance for the moment anyway, the first week didn’t have a dance off, so him and George were done now. Maybe he’d go back and watch the episode at home to see though.

They were dismissed after Oti spoke some kind words, running up the stairs ready for their scores.

As they ran up the other pairs were already there, cheering for them and Sam clapped him on the back. Claudia was grinning at them brightly.

There were some footprint marks on the floor that they stood at immediately, Dream’s attention caught by the interesting area.

It was almost cave-like, a little cove area where it was sectioned off. One of the sides had a camera that was facing them, a screen with an overlay ready to display the judge’s scores, crew were there and wires were running along the floor. On the opposite side was this golden wall that looked like it was submerged in glitter, but with decorations that seemed like stuck-on hanging sequins in what looked like an illusion. It took a minute for him to decipher what it truly was. And the final side was a balcony with a view of the ballroom.

It was a nice cozy little area. He stood next to George as the clapping died down.

‘Wow well wasn’t that wonderful! You’ve done your first dance now, how does it feel now that it’s over?’ Claudia asked.

‘Well, definitely relief,’ Dream answered, thinking for a second, ‘also kinda sad… you put in all this work for a week just to perform it once and then move on.’

Claudia nodded in understanding, ‘How’s it been practicing with each other? I know you two were really good friends before this, how has the change been from being friends to doing a dance like that?’

Dream turned to George, who turned to him, and they both laughed. It was George who spoke first.

‘Yeah I mean, it’s been a little weird I guess, some of the dance moves are kinda strange, and we’d never done anything like this before.’

Dream hummed, and nodded, just wanting to hurry up and see the scores. But then Claudia turned to him and asked the same question.

‘Well… more of the same as what George said, though I think it’s been good for our relationsh- uh friendship-‘ George snorted beside him, and Dream rolled his eyes, ‘it’s been good for that because we’ve been able to hang out more and be doing new things. Like, we’re learning how to dance with each other, and doing a bunch of exercise and all this stuff. That’s awesome! Technically we owe a lot to Oti too she’s incredible. She’s a great teacher.’

George mumbled a ‘yeah!’, and they turned to Claudia expectantly, hoping the scores would be revealed.

‘That’s great! I’m glad you two already have such a strong connection, we all enjoyed your performance back here.’ There was an audible whoop from Tubbo, and Dream smiled at him. ‘I think it’s time to find out the scores.’

Dream wholeheartedly agreed. Claudia turned to the screen, silky black hair flying behind her as she tossed her head.

Dream turned to George, pulling an exaggeratedly anxious face, and George gave him a happy little nod in reassurance.

‘Craig Revel Horwood.’ Dream unconsciously held his breath.

‘6.’

Dream and George nodded, grinning at each other, Craig was strict and a little annoying to Dream. It was almost like his bit was being nonchalant or just plain rude, and Dream had actively not listened to him when getting feedback. Petty, sure, but he did not need that negative energy in this household. Anyway, a 6 from Craig was solid. He was happy with that.

‘Shirley Ballas’

‘7’

George looked ecstatic, grabbing onto Dream’s arm as they cheered, before immediately looking back at the screen as to not miss the next person. He was completely happy with a 7.

‘Motsi Mabuse’

‘6'

They turned to each other again, an excited expression on both of their faces.

‘Bruno Tonioli’

‘…7!’

Dream pulled George in for another hug, both of them yelling with the rest of the people up there, as the number ‘26’ flashed on the screen in gold.

George was yelling ‘let’s go!!’ repetitively, Dream just jumping around basking in this proud happy feeling. It all payed off. This put them near the top of the leaderboard!

The lights dimmed, and the next pair were announced to be dancing. Dream and George calmed down, and walked over to the railing to watch.

It was nice to have finished their dance, they were now able to truly relax and enjoy the show, buzzing from their great score. George looked so pleased too, there was a sense of burning satisfaction and pride just shooting out of him. Their dance took a lot of effort, and it had went incredibly well.

He watched Sapnap and Karl dance, coming on with nervous faces and Dream and George clapped loudly when they finished, talking in whispered voices as the last dance of the evening performed.

At the end of the show, Aimsey and Tubbo were at the top of the leaderboard with 31, Dream and George in third. Bad and Skeppy, and Hannah and Puffy were in the bottom two, though it didn’t matter for this week.

Tess closed the show with the classic ‘keep dancing! ’, and eventually they were told they weren’t on air anymore.

Him, George, Karl, and Sapnap went back to 2D, sitting down at a table after paying for some drinks.

They discussed every second of those two minutes, Dream enjoying the satisfying taste of iced lemonade. Him and George were high up the score board too, which felt great, they’d probably do well in the overall competition, as one of the most popular pairings they’d most likely control the vote.

They had discussed at the house that it was really unfair, which Dream agreed with, but felt a little awkward talking about it. Him and George and Tommy and Wilbur got the most benefits in terms of popularity, the votes would be in their favour for the competition if they guessed correctly. There was definitely some guilt there, but it wasn’t like Dream and George wouldn’t be trying. They weren’t manipulating the audience to win, he intended to have fun, and the whole voting thing invalidates all the effort him and George were putting into this whole process.

That was a thought for later, for now he was enjoying the post-performance high and hanging out with his friends.

And he intended to enjoy this feeling the most he could. He still wasn’t used to these spotlights. The contrast of 2D being in almost complete darkness save for the LEDs, in contrast to looking out at the ballroom was actually startling to the eye. Every flash of a spotlight or abrupt change of colour still made him blink in surprise.

There was much more of a ruckus on the lower floor, people flocking out of the building, loud chatter echoing off the walls as workers patrolled the aisles.

They were ushered down the stairs again and told to take a seat in some black fold-up chairs.

They talked while they waited for the changing rooms to be available to use, Dream fiddled with the collar of his shirt, just feeling the material between his fingers, George was leaning back in his chair, arms crossed, both of their energetic social batteries waning. Whatever water-gargling contest the others were taking across from them was just not the mood Dream was in right now.

Maybe this was like caffeine, a mixture of adrenaline rush and dopamine keeping them on a high, before souring into tiredness. He just couldn’t be asked anymore.

‘I wanna sleep,’ George mumbled, leaning his head back on the chair, before scrunching his nose up and rubbing the back of his (now hurt) neck.

‘Well… you could , I can wake you up in like… ten minutes if you want to.’

‘You know what?’ George declared, abruptly standing up, ‘I need some hype- I’m gonna- I don’t even care anymore I’m getting my energy back.’ He started wriggling around and shaking his arms, tossing his head side to side.

‘Get up Dream, c’mon, you’re so dumb. You’re tired and dumb. Get up! Go! Do it! Gooooo-’

‘What the-‘ Dream questioned, baffled, but to put an end to George’s incessant screaming he stood up too.

‘Come on Dream, I’m getting our energy up, let’s go. We got this. Yes! Let’s go!’ George exclaimed, gesturing for Dream to join in with his jig.

Dream raised an eyebrow, then turned to Sapnap. Without ever breaking eye contact he pointed to George and slowly shook his head, Sapnap nodded, before cheering on Bad, who was taking a sip of water.

Dream sighed and reluctantly joined in with George, shaking his arms up and down.

‘Can we do a little spin?’ George asked, maybe rhetorically, maybe not, but he didn’t wait for permission, he threw his arms out and span in circles, giggles escaping him.

Dream raised his eyebrows, but willingly joined in, though much more cautiously as to not disturb the surrounding chairs.

‘Okay, okay. I’m in it now. This is like- I don’t know, it’s like minecraft. I’m in the game now. I’m ready.’  George bounced up and down, exaggeratedly cracking his neck and knuckles.

‘You’re actually an idiot,’ Dream said, ‘what do you even need to be ready for? We’re going home soon, you can sleep in the taxi too then we’ll just take you up to bed.’

‘You’re gonna carry me to bed or something?’ George grinned, and Dream rolled his eyes.

‘Undress me into my pyjamas?’

Okay that’s it.

‘Shut up you idiot,’ Dream sighed, ‘answer the question, what are you waking up for?’

‘Me, Sapnap, and Karl are doing a stream tonight.’

‘You are?’ There was a thinly veiled twinge of hurt at that statement, he hadn’t been told anything about that.

‘Yeah! It’s gonna be a competition, we’ve got like- okay you know mug cakes?’

Dream came up blank, and shook his head.

‘Well, they’re like a cake in a mug and super easy to make, they usually take about ten minutes from the start ‘till the end, it’s… epic. So yeah, we’re doing one of those, but half the words on the recipe are blurred, so we don’t know all of the measurements, some of the ingredients we might not know, and like- the actual- like the baking thing.’

‘The baking thing?’ Dream laughed.

‘The method! The process, you know what I mean.’

‘Sure.’

‘Can you join us?’ George asked out of the blue, and Dream lit up.

‘Really?’

‘No.’ George deadpanned sarcastically, ‘we had a tripod for the camera but you could actually like hold it and stuff, that’d be epic.’

‘You’re using me.’ Dream joked, sniffling.

‘No I’m not! Just, it’ll be funner when you’re there.’

Wait that’s so sweet. ‘Really?’ Dream beamed, wanting the other to elaborate.

George hummed, ‘and I don’t wanna deal with Sapnap. I hate him.’ His tone was serious, but Dream knew he was joking.

‘Alright, sure.’

‘Do we have five minutes now?’ Dream asked, turning around to no one in particular, Skeppy answered him.

‘Four actually.’

Wow , well thanks for the specifics.’

‘Can’t wait to get out of this.’

Dream agreed, the clothes had definitely become more comfortable as time passed and felt more normal, but he couldn’t wait to just have a normal hoodie on again.

When the minutes passed they were allowed into the hallway with the changing rooms, but were advised to go to the sinks first. There, there were makeup wipes and taps and towels, Dream washed his face, feeling the day’s work cleansed off of him. It was nice.

He got changed quickly but carefully, as to not mess up anything with the stunning outfit. He hung it back up with an air of reverence, bittersweet, he might never see it again.

He put his old clothes back on again, then met the others outside.

After a good half an hour of waiting for a taxi (buses barely came at this late time), they were on their way home.

Back at the house he enjoyed a hearty glass of water, washing his hands and face again, then helped some others set up the kitchen for a stream, mostly moving any bits and bobs out the way and getting things like measuring cups ready.

Dream enjoyed his evening hanging out with friends, filming their stream, it was really fun. By the end, each of the mug cakes looked considerably different, some dryer than others, some bubbly, slightly different colours, which was to be expected. Only half a recipe and while streaming, it’s not like they’d be fully focused on baking. It took them forty five minutes to finish a ten minute cake.

Not to say the stream was high energy though, it had been a busy day. When they ended, Dream felt extremely productive, happy with the results of his and George’s first dance, and just feeling like he was in a warm fuzzy bubble after spending time with his friends.

It had been a good day.

Chapter Text

‘Nah though honestly dude,’ Sapnap began, shaking his head and pausing to take a sip of his drink, ‘my sleep schedule has been whack. I should’ve listened to Karl man, he was all ‘Sapnap you should have a good sleep schedule when you’re changing timezones so you’re ready for it without changing it twice, and… I don’t know dude I didn’t listen to him.’

It was a Sunday afternoon, him and Sapnap were walking around a local park, coddling drinks from a nearby coffee place close to their chests for the merest semblance of warmth.

Dream rolled his eyes, responding smugly, ‘I agreed with Karl from the start, you should’ve been doing that. You stay up with George sometimes right? But then I know he takes naps after rehearsals so that works for him. So he’s still  catching up on sleep. You’re not.’

Sapnap nodded, a humourless laugh escaping him, more of a puff of air, showing itself in the form of mist floating through the bitingly cold breeze. There was a lapse of silence, and Dream turned to him.

‘You alright?’ Dream asked, and Sapnap took a long sip of his coffee.

‘I don’t know, I think I just… I miss you guys.’

Oh.

‘…Me and George?’ Dream frowned, and Sapnap nodded.

‘Like, sure we see each other every day and stuff, and Karl’s awesome don’t get me wrong, we have a lotta fun.’ A fond smile grew on his face, looking at the ground in front of him, ‘and I’m fine with you and George spending more time with each other than me,’ Dream saved that thought for later, ‘but… it’s-‘

He groaned in frustration, gesturing wildly with his hands. Dream smiled softly, and tried to understand what he was saying.

‘I think that- I think… I’d get it if you felt left out honestly, I’m seeing George far more than you, we can try and make an effort to…’ he faded out when Sapnap shook his head.

‘I don’t think it’s that… it’s more of like, this whole… strictly thing, it’s a new episode in all of our lives and stuff. We’ve never done anything like this before.’

Dream hummed to show he was listening.

‘And… I’m going through that with… Karl and Aljaž, not you two.’

‘Is that your… professional dancer?’ Dream guessed.

‘Mhm, and we’re all doing great, it just feels like a push away from you guys. In every other… step of our lives, y’know starting our channels, making the videos, streaming, MCC, even meeting up. All of this we’ve done as a three, we’ve went through the stuff together. You and George still get that, and this time I don’t. That’s okay! I’m not… I’m not unhappy or anything, okay well. Like- I have a good time when I’m rehearsing, doing the dance with Karl yesterday was awesome, and Aljaž is really cool. Just when I think about all the other stuff I’ve done with you and George, just… it kinda sucks you know? I miss you two. When rehearsing and discovering all this new stuff it just feels like I should be learning it with you. When I don’t get something, I’m not used to… to not asking you or George about it. Or there’s jokes I have that you guys would find funny but you’re not there to hear them.’

Dream felt a tug at his heart strings, of course that made sense. Dream had done nearly everything with Sapnap, even meeting George. He had quickly introduced the two and since then they’d been on the same path. Maybe path was the wrong word, maybe it’s more like the same river but in different boats, occasional changes of trajectory, or pulling up to land to enjoy the nature and fruits of different trees to suit their liking. But always going the same way. If they pulled up to land they explored it together, but this time, him and George got off on a different dock.

Though in a way, they were still exploring the same land. They were finding the same things, just in different orders. They were admiring the beauty of the same views, enjoying the taste of the same fruits, overcoming similar challenges, each making similar rope ladders, swinging from the same trees, only tying the knots with different people.

‘I mean, I think- if you look at it this way, we’re not all that separate are we? This whole thing is like… a huge new… thing.’ Sapnap snorted, and Dream glared playfully at him, before continuing, ‘like not even with just me, you and George, everyone in the house is going towards the same goal. We’re all experiencing the same stuff. Maybe it’s not with you, but we can still talk to you about the same stuff we’re doing. You and Karl are both as tired as me and George are-‘

‘Nah you and George are crazy, me and Karl spend half the time just being stupid, you and George are actually trying.’

‘Ah, well whatever. But we’re both learning these dance moves, both having to dance with someone else, probably feeling awkward about it,’ Sapnap turned to him about to say something but Dream was tired of dumb interruptions, ‘both getting nerves before Saturday, both wearing these outfits. It’s the same thing right? I know it’s not with me and George physically, but it is the same step in life you know?’

He stopped to open the gate by the fence surrounding the park, and him and Sapnap took a left as they exited the park.

‘So in a way, we are doing this together right?’

Sapnap thought for a second, closing the gate behind him.

‘Hmm, that makes sense actually.’

Dream glowed a little on the inside at that, glad to have helped. Sapnap had always been quite a logical person, preferring solutions to emotional comfort, Dream knew the guy well after all these years, but nonetheless, the knowledge that Dream had given him a new perspective that had given him peace of mind made him happy.

‘I think… it’d be nice if you and George could talk with me about it more then. I don’t know if George sometimes avoids it because he feels bad for me or something? I mean, I don’t think so-‘

‘Yeah, I think George doesn’t like it to consume his days, we do enough in training and stuff and he likes his alone time.’

Dream grimaced at a particularly harsh gust of wind, quickening his pace, Sapnap hurrying along after him.

‘Sure, I just wanna know what you’re up to and stuff. Then it really feels like we’re doing this together.’

Sapnap thought for a second, ‘you think we can call during our lessons?’ He grinned like an idiot, not sounding entirely serious.

‘Hmm, well- prolly not during like the uhh- the…’

‘Rehearsal?’ Sapnap suggested.

‘The rehearsal! But on lunch break- when do you usually have lunch?’

‘Depends on what we’re doing but usually twelve to one, give or take.’ Sapnap answered, pressing the button at a crossing and they waited for the lights.

‘Great! We’re the same, I’m sure we could call then. Also- Mondays! Me and George aren’t busy so you can text us and stuff if you want.’

‘It’d be cool if you could come one time.’

‘Yeah but- whole point is we stay to look after the house.’

‘Ah, that is true.’

They crossed the road quickly, and were close to the house now, Sapnap grinned, before grabbing Dream’s arm and taking a detour.

‘Where are we going?’ Dream asked, curious and confused.

‘You’ll see.’

Dream’s eyes narrowed, him and Sapnap had only just been complaining about the cold, and the wind was still going strong, this better be worth it.

His eyebrows furrowed in confusion at a familiar looking pub, and Sapnap turned to him, smiling expectantly.

Confused, Dream looked back at the street to see rows of houses, pretty normal looking.

Wait… was that that pub?

‘You know where this is right?’ Sapnap asked, chuckling.

Dream’s face lit up in recognition, ‘Is this… is this the street we did the face reveal on?’

‘Yep!’ Sapnap popped the ‘p’ as he said it, and Dream nodded in understanding.

They scurried down the pavement, all the while Dream pointing out landmarks of where he was, or just random thoughts that popped into his head.

‘And that was exactly where it happened right?’ Sapnap said, pointing in the middle of a street.

Dream remembered standing there, at a time much darker than now of course, the light made it look completely different, and an entirely different atmosphere hung in the air this time.

‘Mhm, and got that dumb voice crack.’ He smiled, reminiscing, it wasn’t even all that long ago, but with how much he’d done since then it felt like a lifetime ago.

‘You must’ve been so scared,’ Sapnap laughed, and they continued walking on, ‘I saw you like- freeze at first, I don’t even know how you got the courage to go on in the first place.’

Dream shrugged, thinking, ‘I don’t know- I think like…’ he cast his mind back to that night, imagined clutching at his coat, shivers wracking his body (and unlike now, it wasn’t from the cold), he remembered his thought process, his mental pep-talk. ‘It was definitely easier because I had been on camera before, y’know, just walking in the background.’

Sapnap barked out a laugh, shaking his head.

‘And then I also just like… tried to focus on the positives, I was thinking like, once this is over with I can go on strictly… and be in vlogs… be on streams, all that stuff. Guess I didn’t really end up doing that stuff though huh?’ He chuckled.

‘You should y’know.’ Sapnap said, looking up at him. Dream grimaced.

‘I’m sure it’d be fun and all… just everytime I think about being on camera it’s… scary, everyone just watching you, once I’ve done it once it’d be better, just for a first real life stream - not including the face reveal of course - I feel like they’re expecting something of me.’

‘Haven’t you been on camera a bunch for strictly though?’

‘That’s different.’

Sapnap looked like he probably disagreed, but if he did he didn’t say anything about it.

‘I still think you should… this afternoon. Do something with George.’ Sapnap suggested.

‘Can’t,’ Dream refuted, and he wasn’t even making up an excuse (though he still didn’t exactly want to), ‘he gets back from the uh… the… Tommy’s vlog what were they doing again? Oh yeah, escape room, and they’re having dinner out after. No way will George wanna do anything.’

‘Whatever you say dude,’ He elbowed Sapnap. ‘Hey! No, that’s not what I’m saying, I believe you, Tommy was talking about it in the morning. Just… do something on Monday okay? Atleast chill in the background if you don’t wanna be on one, alright?’

Dream paused, and at Sapnap’s stern tilt of his head, Dream begrudgingly agreed.

‘Alright.’

 

—————————

 

‘Wait, is it up yet?’ George asked to no one in particular, switching tabs to type in his own twitch. When it loaded, his stream appeared, a second or so of delay as George cheered.

‘Let’s go! We’re live! Hi chat! It’s me, George.’

Dream smiled from his spot on one of the sofas, firmly out of frame, as George grinned and waved (with two hands) at the camera.

‘Guys! Welcome to the stream, this gonna be epic. Dream’s here with us-‘

‘Hello!’

‘Hi Dream.’ George span in his chair, ‘and everyone else is away training, this house is literally empty so we can do whatever.’

‘You should scream George,’ Dream said, a teasing lilt to his voice, the corner of his mouth tugging up uncontrollably, ‘like… really loud.’

‘Hmm, I don’t know,’ George muttered, as he started checking the wires of the headset.

They had planned to do a VR stream, using Tubbo’s headset (with his consent of course), only George was playing but his viewpoint was broadcasted on the TV, so Dream could watch and commentate, while George was still the main focus of the stream.

‘It might take a while to set up right? So I’ll do that now while we wait for everyone to join.’ George said decisively.

‘So chat! Today I’m gonna be playing FNAF… in VR. This is gonna be epic.’

George grabbed the headset and smoothed his hair away from his forehead, before plonking the headset over his eyes. Just a huge box over his face. I bet chat finds that cute.

He looked at the monitor to see what they thought, and was surprised to see mostly his own name, amongst people screaming about the category.

‘Oh, George, you’re in the wrong category,’ he mentioned, and George sighed.

‘Can you change it for me? I’m setting this up.’

Dream rolled his eyes, before grimacing. He didn’t exactly want to be in the view of the camera.

First time for everything.

Didn’t mean he wasn’t gonna stick to the side of the screen though. He ruffled his hair as he got up, leaning over the desk and grabbing the mouse ( left handed idiot ) then searched through the categories for FNAF.

‘Which one is it George?’

‘Uhh- FNAF?’

‘No- like the specific version.’

‘Oh, uhh… chat, do you know which one this is?’

Dream scoffed, watching as various answers flew by, eventually he hummed in acknowledgement, changing what was previously ‘Minecraft’ to the appropriate category.

‘You didn’t even change the stream title. I thought you were a professional streamer George.’

Dream tsked at George’s silence, wondering if the other was intentionally ignoring him, and as payback he changed the title to ‘I AM AN IDIOT PLAYING VR’ and after brief consideration, he grinned and added ‘AND I LOVE DREAM’.

With a quick flicker of his eyes to the side where chat resides he saw people freaking out over his presence, laughing at the title, spamming his name or heart emotes, and he laughed, a warm feeling in his chest.

Hello , yes, I am a real person.’ He stood back from the monitor and waved (he did that a lot in front of cameras) then got an idea.

He walked over to George, stood directly infront of him, George just carried on as normal, turning around as he drew the guardian zone. Dream hesitantly reached out his hand, hovering over George’s shoulder, who was none the wiser, before tapping it.

George gave a full-body flinch, stumbling backwards, and Dream heard a sharp intake of breath.

‘Dream?!’ George called out, a nervous laugh bordering on unease, he turned his head to the left away from Dream, who couldn’t stop a little giggle escaping him.

This is a surprise tool will help us later.

He took a seat again on the couch, and cheered George on as he made his way through the game. A healthy dose of jump-scares and screaming (even though George had refused to do so willingly earlier). After a particularly shrill shriek Dream covered his ears wheezing.

‘George you- you’re such a scaredy cat what?’

‘Wh- says you? You stopped when playing on a computer, I’m like- in it. Do you know how much scarier they are?’

‘Yeah, yeah, sure.’

George turned to him, indignant, even though he couldn’t see Dream from the headset, it got the effect across.

George returned to playing, sighing and shaking his head, idly talking to chat. When he got to a similar spot to the same hallway he just got jumpscared on, Dream stood up, moving closer to George, footsteps soft and quiet.

He was now directly behind George, a bit of space between them incase George were to move back.

He watched the TV screen, watching as George turned a corner.

‘Okay,’ George said, and Dream nearly jumped out how loud his voice was, ‘I don’t wanna get jumpscared again… but I don’t know how to get past this guy… hmm maybe if I…’

Dream held his hands out, ready, and as George took a step closer Dream took his chance.

As the screen exploded with a screaming animatronic, George shrieked and recoiled backwards, the same time Dream grabbed his sides, making George only scream louder, flailing wildly.

He pulled the headset of his face, leaving harsh red marks over his cheeks and forehead, like goggles, and his hair was a little messy and flattened at the top.

‘What- Dream! What’s wrong with you?’ He snapped, blinking a lot from the light, breathing heavily and just frozen in his spot against Dream’s front.

George looked up to meet his eyes, glaring, and Dream grinned down at him, a low rumble erupting in his throat from him trying to hold back giggles. His efforts were futile.

‘That’s actually- what’s wrong with you Dream.’ George sighed, grabbing Dream’s hands to pull them off his waist, then pushing Dream (with a decent amount of force, but enough to resist) backwards. Obediently, Dream let himself fall onto one of the other sofas, smirking defiantly up at George’s triumphant grin.

‘Now stay sat down you idiot,’ George gave a final resounding push to Dream’s shoulders, which took him by surprise, sending him reeling back until he hit the back of the sofa. George snickered, placing the headset back atop his head.

The monitors in his peripheral brought him back down to reality, and he remembered again that everyone can see everything him and George are doing.

He stood up, about to walk over to his old spot that wasn’t in view of a camera.

‘Dream.’ A stern voice, a warning.

‘What?’ Dream’s tone had a lilt of unmissable mirth in it, but also confusion.

‘Sit back down.’

Dream raised an eyebrow, George made it sound like he was talking to a dog or something. ‘Wowww, okay George .’ He sat back down on the sofa. After a second he came back to his senses.

‘Wait, what the hell? Why did I just do that, I was moving so I wouldn’t be in the camera.’

George giggled, ‘you really sat down again just because I told you to? Dream, you’d do anything for me.’

Dream laughed, ‘you’re such an idiot.’

The next time a jumpscare was around the bend, Dream did not hesitate to race to George’s side, use the momentum from running and with a final jump crashed onto his shoulders.

George screamed, stumbling backwards, and Dream grabbed his arms to steady him, giggles bordering on hysteria. George had always been fun to annoy, but now to be here, physically in his presence, and able to contribute in making him that scared was just hilarious.

‘I don’t know if I wanna play this anymore,’ George said, though he wasn’t serious (hopefully).

‘If I had known how much of an… idiot you were gonna be, I wouldn’t have met up with you.’

‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ Dream responded in a disbelieving tone.

 

—————————

 

‘Who made dinner today?’ Bad asked slowly, staring down at the mess that barely passed as a meal in front of him with unease.

‘I did.’ Ranboo admitted, and had the decency to not look proud.

On the recipe book there was chicken with potatoes, chorizo, and rice with salad on the side. The salad was plain, just simple chopped cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, and celery. The rest of the meal was a tray bake, but whatever sauce Ranboo had attempted to add just made it look incredibly unappetising.

Most people were eyeing the basket of garlic bread in the middle of the table, the only normal looking thing, and Ranboo turned red as Tubbo cackled at his poor attempt on cooking.

‘Oh come on, it can’t be that bad, I’m sure you did great Ranboo. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it,’ Phil reprimanded, bravely picking up his fork to try some. He hesitated before putting it in his mouth, betraying his façade of confidence in Ranboo, and Tubbo only laughed harder.

There was a silence fuelled with anticipation as they waited for Phil’s verdict, as if Ranboo had been presenting to Gordon Ramsey. There was a visible swallow, and Phil hummed in mediocre satisfaction, Ranboo cheered enthusiastically.

‘Honestly, it’s not that bad, tastes alright, looks absolutely awful mate I won’t lie. It’s literally cursed dude, how did you even mess it up so bad?’

‘I literally- okay, hear me out.’ Ranboo paused, and whether it was for comedic timing or because he legitimately didn’t know where to begin was up for interpretation.

‘I think… okay the recipe book was dumb. The sauce like… you have to add water, but it didn’t like specify the perfect- like the measurement thing- the ratio of the water to the actual sauce and everything. It just said ‘put it in by teaspoon until the mixture is…’ I can’t remember the exact words, like creamy or something? Whatever, but teaspoons kept spilling and took ages so I put the tap on the lowest uhh- setting, and when I put it with the sauce it didn’t look like anything was happening, so I kept going. Turns out, the water was filling up from the bottom of the bowl, so when I tried mixing it around it was like- sloshing everywhere.’

‘Creds to me I helped clean the sink!’ Tubbo butt in, and Ranboo snorted.

‘No you didn’t, you found the scrubbing brush. I cleaned the sink.’

‘Same thing,’ Tubbo murmured brightly, reaching for the basket of garlic bread. He hesitated, face twisted in confusion.

‘Tommy… you alright?’

Heads turned to Tommy’s side of the table, and those words seemed to flip a switch in him. With a defeated croaky laugh, he rubbed at his eyes.

‘Honestly… no,’ he sighed, ‘Wilbur… can I… talk to you?’

‘Of course man,’ Wilbur said, voice softer than usual, and he immediately stood up, ‘can I… take my plate too?’

‘Yeah, course.’ Tommy assured, and the two walked upstairs, the sound of cutlery clinking against plates at every step and a sniffle, leaving silence behind them.

‘...He alright?’

No response.

‘Well,’ Tubbo began, looking uneasy, but not overly worried or anxious, ‘he’s talking it through with Wilbur though, they’ll be okay, and if he’s not he’ll let us know.’

‘Wil’s good at this stuff,’ Niki agreed.

Surpringly, the table wasn’t all that quieter after the - arguably loudest - two left, Tommy hadn’t spoken for the first half of dinner much, and Wilbur tended to meld into other conversations. Things kicked back up after a couple of minutes, and as Dream was rifling through one of the cabinets to find some washing up liquid, Tommy and Wilbur came down, the former a little puffy eyed, but the both of them were smiling and joking like normal. Dream grinned at Tommy, and he reciprocated, and later the sound of a scrubbing brush and soapy water was accompanied by the dramatic arguments from some show that was on in the living room.

Tommy was still quieter, a blanket over his legs and a tissue box handy, Dream still had no clue what the issue was, but his help wasn’t wanted nor needed, and Wilbur could probably understand and be there for Tommy in ways he couldn’t himself, he was just glad he was okay.

Once Dream finished with the washing up, he took a seat on the sofa, and the two filled him in on the plot of the show.

‘Oh yeah Dream, where did you or George put that toothpaste?’

Dream frowned in confusion, wondering what on earth Wilbur was talking about, before he remembered Puffy mentioning how they had ran out.

‘Oh- I’m so sorry we totally forgot to get it. Unless George did- but, well no, we were streaming in the morning and he hasn’t left the house after that. Yeah, I’m sorry.’

‘Gleeblegorp moment.’ Tommy said in a funky voice, laughing at a joke Dream clearly wasn’t apart of.

‘Gleeblegorp?’ Dream repeated in confusion.

‘Gleeblegorp.’ Tommy reiterated, nodding, then proceeded to explain, ‘me and Wilbur were talking about the word sorry. It feels like it can lose it’s meaning because you say it so often, like ‘sorry excuse me’ or ‘sorry I lost your pencil’, so when it actually matters and someone says sorry, with the weight of genuine empathy or guilt and stuff we don’t see it that way. So then we were like let’s make a new word for it, so now the ‘sorry’s that have less meaning are called ‘gleeblegorp’, we just decided.’

He had a point actually, the word ‘gleeblegorp’ was obviously used as a joke, but it’d be nice if there was another word that felt more genuine. There weren’t really any other words for sorry, well, there was ‘apologies’, but there was far too formal, another word would be nice.

It was similar to ‘I love you’, Dream mused, he had went through a phase of texting George those words every time they said goodnight to each other, but it felt like the weight of the phrase got lighter every time he said them. The thought behind it was never lost, every time he said it he meant it. He truly loved George, in a platonic way of course, but their connection was so strong. He loved how at ease he felt with him, he loved how George pushed him to go further, while making sure he never pushed himself too far. George was hidden behind a protective layer of jokes and apathy, and Dream had the joy of peering behind the curtains, to be able to see the real George. The George who was vulnerable and honest. Not that George was ever fake, just he avoided true and rich conversations. Instead opting to just put a bright smile on peoples faces. George was all smiles and fun and comfort, his years of life was filled with the others voice, his thoughts occupied with his name. Even at the mere mention of the UK, a mental image of George went straight to Dream’s mind.

He genuinely believed George was one of his soulmates. And at the words ‘I love you’ on a simply message, he thought of everything that was George every time, and if only he could say and convey just how much George had helped him and brought happiness and success and such joy into his life with such a small phrase, he would.

Now he saved those words for particular circumstances. Whether teasing and convincing George to say them back on stream, or moments when he just felt like he was bursting with glitter and stars, moments where he knew without George, life would feel incomplete. It couldn’t even be put into words. How can one encapsulate the entirety of a concept so large? So many words in the English language, yet this feeling was so…  intangible, and confusing to explain, difficult to grasp. Maybe he didn’t need to understand it, and he’d given up trying to a while ago.

It was the same thing with Sapnap, he loved the guy. He had been such a constant and comforting presence in Dream’s life, he’d been able to talk to him about literally anything. They grew up together. They’d changed with each other and went through life with each other. Something about Sapnap was just so normal, he fit perfectly in Dream’s life, without him it wouldn’t be the same. Dream and Sapnap were great together, something about them just worked, they’d joke and laugh with each other about nearly everything, both of their senses of humour melded together flawlessly. Something about Sapnap was just… reliable. Of course timezones were a hindrance for George, with Sapnap he was almost always there, and almost always willing to talk. Because of this their bond was so strong together, Sapnap was like a brother to him, and knew him more than most.

A sudden smash of a glass bottle made him jump, and on the TV screen the antagonist had just broken a bottle, and a thick maroon substance began spilling out onto the floor.

‘Wait, did you say ‘ we were on stream’? As in, you were too?’ Tommy asked, looking surprised.

Oh of course, he hadn’t mentioned it. ‘Oh, yeah I was! First time actually, I was off to the side for most of it though.’

‘I don’t usually have energy drinks,’ Wilbur said, ‘I’m a speedy boy today, feel all jumpy.’

Ranboo and Phil hugged everyone goodbye shortly afterwards, Ranboo had stayed the night, participating in a stream and general chatter, and Phil had came round just to pick him up. After obnoxious sounds of the deflating mattress, and something - or maybe someone - falling down the stairs, his traces were completely erased. They left at the same time as everyone who didn’t sleep in the house, but for Dream and everyone else who did, they had a great time trying out a mug cake recipe Tubbo found, finishing with a surprisingly clean kitchen, the only difference from the start was the note on the fridge for someone to buy more sugar.

 

—————————

 

‘Alright, now this time we’re doing the Charleston, it’s from the ‘specialty’ category, and is meant to be high-energy, fun, rebellious, and quick.’ Oti said, as they independently went through the stretches.

‘So… like last week’s then?’ George asked, confused, turning his head to look at Oti as he attempted to touch his toes from a stood-up position. George had pretty long legs, it wasn’t working well.

‘Mhm, difference is that one was more… it was more spicy and sexy, this one is more of just… that fun element, the Charleston is more bouncy on your feet, and we want a lot of personality. Very animated and cartoonish, you should just have a wide smile on your face the entire time, and then we can add other expressions in if need be. Though we can add that in later, for now we just want to be learning the steps.’ She somewhat rambled, stretching her legs via a lunge.

‘In this dance another thing to note is you don’t actually spend all that much time dancing in frame with each other, a lot of if is you two next to each other, so make sure that synchronisation is on point. However, there are some lifts we’ll have to get through, nothing awful, but they are speedy. Depending on our progress we’ll be going through those Thursday or late Wednesday.’

They nodded their confirmation, then Dream remembered something.

‘Oh and… isn’t it movie week or something?’

Oti’s face lit up, before answering excitedly, ‘yes it is! You two are doing Mamma Mia, from the movie… Mamma Mia.’

‘Mamma Mia from the movie Mamma Mia? How crazy!’ George joked, and Dream laughed.

‘Alright then, first step we want to learn is like this, watch first and take note of how my foot is twisting on the toe, 5, 6, 7, 8-‘

They went through step after step, surprisingly quickly getting the hang of most of them. Once again, Dream and George’s simultaneity was on point, which Oti had many a time expressed her relief over. They skipped the lifts in the routine, and they traded the animated personality the dance required for concentrated faces, all furrowed eyebrows and messy hair, face tinted red and muscles heavy from the vigorous exercise.

It was fun, sure, and the burn felt good and satisfying, but repeating section after section got so draining. They were taking much more breaks than last time, which was a little worrying, but Oti reassured them, saying that they’d be fine, and it was better to rest than not be able to dance from being in pain or pulling a muscle.

It was so high energy with a lot to remember. Hands were nearly always by their sides, yet held up in the air, footwork was complex and speedy and very reliant on synchronisation to avoid kicking each other. It was explosive and expressive, every movement expansive, energetic, and with a bounce. The kind that had you panting and refilling your water bottle every hour, it felt lie for every five minutes dancing, they were spending a minute on the bench or even sat on the floor.

They were making steady progress nonetheless, a little less than they did the first day of last week, but they spent a long time on honing in the skills of a specific motif, so by the time they were finished, they knew around a third of the routine, but two motifs were perfectly refined already.

And Dream can’t remember feeling more tired.

He really didn’t want to have to stand in a shower for a while when they got home, wanting nothing more than to flop down on his bed and just melt into the covers, but he cleaned himself, got dry, then changed into comfortable sweats and a shirt, going back downstairs.

‘Wait- 1 in the chat if you can hear me, 2 if you can’t.’

‘If they can’t hear you how are they gonna know you asked them to put 2 in the-‘

‘Shut up.’

Are they streaming again?

He wandered into the kitchen, planning on getting a glass of water.

‘Wait- stop! Stop! Stop!’ Multiple voices rushed to say. Dream froze, and Karl’s head swung round the side of the door.

‘Oh it is Dream!’ He called to the others, then turned to Dream, ‘hey! Good thing you didn't go any further, the camera can see the kitchen right now, we’ll move it. So uhh- don’t go in the kitchen yet’

‘Oh don’t worry about it- can you just get me a glass of water? I’ll go back upstairs anyway.’

Karl hummed and affirmative and took a glass out of the cabinet, then turned the tap on to fill it up.

‘How was training by the way? Also, iced?’

‘No thank you, and it was good! Really tiring, like- more than last time.’

‘Charleston right?’

‘Yep!’

Dream thanked Karl when he gave him the glass, then turned around to go back upstairs, browsing social media.

He gets that people like to stream and stuff, and of course it’s their only source of income at the moment, but sometimes he really just wanted to chill out. It felt like he was living in this bedroom and at rehearsals at the moment. The bedroom didn’t even feel like his yet, the air was different and the covers were different, the walls too bright and the blinds let too much light in at the corners.

The lounge was nice, the sofas were comfortable, the kind that when you sit on you just sink in as they accommodate your shape, it also had a sense of community, what with other people coexisting there.

Having just got back from vigorous training, the last thing he needed was screaming and high energy from a stream, he had no idea how the others could be up for it.

Dream could go out somewhere, but he’d already been out the whole day and didn’t really want to walk around, and the weather wasn’t exactly pleasant.

He groaned in frustration, if he was sat here in his bedroom then he was just wasting his time. He rifled through his bag and pulled out his phone, to text Karl.

 

karlmeister - Private Messages

Dream: when will the stream be done?

 

A minute or so passed before ‘karlmeister is typing…’ appeared.

 

karlmeister: idk we started it like 30 mins ago and sapnap is streaming it, it might be like an hour and a half long in total?

Dream: alright

 

Around an hour to kill then. This sucks.

Kinda ironic that going to training is the most fun he’s having lately, the time when he feels the most free. The house felt restrictive lately, too busy.

Sure, back in Florida he was alone in his house for months on end, besides family visiting, and that sucked, but this was bad in a different kind of way.

He used to think after his face reveal he’d be going out all the time, but surprisingly he wasn’t. Maybe he should.

He hauled himself out of bed, and put his trainers on, taking a key hung on the hook by the door and announced he was going for a walk as he zipped up his coat. He smiled at the shouts of ‘goodbye! ‘see you later! ‘bye Dream!’ ‘okay have fun!’ he received in return, then closed the door behind him.

Dream went back to the park he had walked around with Sapnap the other day, recently-fallen leaves crunching beneath his feet, tinted oranges at the edges.

There was a bench nearby and he stared at it cautiously, but there wasn’t any visible dirt or bird poo or anything, so he took a seat, curling up on himself to conserve body heat, shoving his hands in his pocket.

The trees were pretty here. Big and bushy, swaying in the wind, a dark shade of green with an occasional hint of orange. There was a nest at the top of one of them and a… bag? Maybe a balloon, stuck in another. It was relaxing here, a break from the hectic life he was living at the moment.

He took out his phone, pulling up Sapnap’s stream.

There was a fairly large group of people congregated around a game of Jenga on the floor, they were either sat on a sofa or on the carpet, taking turns on carefully pulling a piece out. Karl had his arms wrapped around Sapnap, and Niki was taking out one of the blankets Dream and George had bought last week and wrapping it around herself, while Tommy and Wilbur were having some argument. You could see someone milling around in the kitchen in the background.

‘No but Wilbur, it’s my special fork.’ Tommy whined.

‘Well- I spied it there so-‘

‘A spider turd?’

‘What? No, I saw it there.’

‘Isosceles triangle.’ George said, a dumb grin on his face, and Dream laughed in confusion. George really just said things sometimes.

This is so stupid, he really left the house because people were streaming and then now he’s out the house he’s watching the stream. Who cares? He relaxed into the bench seat, a small smile on his face.

 

—————————

 

‘Left foot! Left foot! You’re such an idiot!’ George shrieked, repeatedly smacking Dream on the shoulder.

Dream stumbled backwards, wheezing amidst rushed apologies, not exactly genuinely, but he wasn’t lying. A ‘gleeblegorp’ moment, if you will.

It was Thursday, and they were in rehearsals again, and Dream kept getting this one bit wrong. After a spin, they both separated, and George started on his right foot, Dream started on his left foot. But it just felt so unnatural to do that so he kept messing up. The momentum from the spin made it feel right to use his right, but he had to use his left for symmetry.

‘This idiot is actually dumb. I’m not even kidding. You’re stupid.’ George stared at him disapprovingly, and Dream flailed.

‘Well- sorry? You have the easier job. It’s not even fair. This is dumb.’ He flicked George on the forehead, and the other went crosseyed to watch it, before flinching backwards.

‘Again again again!’ Oti encouraged, ‘5… 6… 7, 8’

They span outwards, Dream used George’s head as a spot, and put all remaining focus on stopping on his left foot. He mentally screamed in joy when he did it correctly, and was able to perform the footwork without kicking George’s side now.

‘Yes!’ Oti jogged over, giving Dream a two-handed high five. ‘One more run through, then I wanna start on those lifts.’

They repeated that segment, and Dream got it again, appreciating the short applause he got from the other two when they were done, bowing dramatically.

‘Can one of you get the other side of this mat for me?’ Oti asked, walking towards the trolley they were kept on. Dream and George looked at each other, then George went over to get the other side. He followed her lead in dragging it to the middle of the room, while Oti started talking.

‘Okay, the Charleston has plenty of lifts we can pick and choose from in terms of your skill level. So to know what we’re working with, George can you do anything like a handstand or a kart wheel?’

‘Uhh, no.’ George admitted, somewhat shyly.

‘Are you willing to learn? I think we could teach you a handstand pretty easily.’

George looked uneasy, but relented.

‘If you don’t want to that’s fine, look- I’ll demonstrate with Dream so you can see what you’d be doing.’

Dream paled at that, suddenly put on the spot, and George giggled.

‘Okay, don’t worry Dream, I’m gonna do a handstand then hook my legs over your shoulders, then using that momentum push myself up, when I’m doing that just use your hands and put them on my back to help push me upwards. That good?’

‘What do we do when you’re up?’

‘Well, in the actual lift you’ll be doing something else, but for now I’ll just get down.’

Dream wasn’t exactly sure how she planned on doing that, but he wasn’t the professional here, and he trusted Oti by now.

He stood onto the mat, contemplating his life decisions. He’d never done anything like this before.

‘Stand up straight, legs shoulder-width apart, you need to be able to support the weight of a whole ‘nother human body.’ At the look on his face she laughed, ‘don’t worry, I’m still doing most of the work, worst-case scenario is you fall onto the mat and we try again.'

Dream moved his stature into the one requested, and Oti took a deep breath, bracing herself.

‘You ready?’ She asked, with a gentle nod that Dream found himself reciprocating.

She lunged forward into a handstand, legs swinging over Dream’s shoulders and he flailed a bit, but managed to not stumble back, instead putting his hand on her back to push her upwards. Eventually she was upright, and her hands came to grip the back of his neck, Dream’s hands still resting on her back for extra support. It was kind of an awkward position, it was the back of Oti’s knee that was on his shoulder, not the top of her leg, meaning she was sort of curled up like a gremlin.

‘George, you happy to try that?’ She nonchalantly moved her leg to the side, catching herself as she fell to the ground, and Dream staggered backwards in surprise. Oti stared at him, amused, before continuing to talk to George. ‘It’s easier than an actual handstand, you don’t have to hold the position or keep your legs straight. You’re basically just falling and pulling yourself up. Like a… stood up forward roll. Well- not really- actually never mind,’ she laughed, ‘you get the point.’

George thought for a second, then conceded, ‘yeah I’m alright with that.’

As Oti went through the specifics on how to do the handstand with George, and began to teach him practically, Dream was instructed to just go through the routine on his own.

He kept having to stop to laugh as it was so awkward to do it without a partner, especially when he was meant to hold George’s hand above his head so he spins, but on his own it was just held in the air. He looked over to George and Oti, then immediately turned away, face feeling hot.

George was doing a handstand against the wall - well, attempting to at least -  and his trousers had fallen and pooled halfway down his thighs. The image was burned into his mind when Dream turned away - not in a weird way of course. Just- well… you don’t expect to see that do you? This whole show was really changing their relationship, he had always known what George’s face looked like, having seen it countless times, or just on late night calls when George still had his face-cam on. He had seen George below the neck before of course, vlogs from Tommy’s channel or when George stood up, or an occasional photo of his outfit. But now Dream knew and had seen a lot more.

He had had his hands on George’s waist before, resting in the slightest curve there, a small one, but one nonetheless. Or his hand on George’s neck, a little set of spots- freckles maybe, tiny bumps on the back of it. George’s legs were fairly average sized, not adding much to his overall height (unlike Dream), and he now knew there was a small bit of muscle built up there, his thighs looked soft.

What the hell was he thinking.

He wasn’t thinking about any of this in a weird way, of course not. It was more of just… interesting, the impact signing up for this show had had on his life. Not that knowing what George’s body looked like would have an impact on his life. That would be weird. It was just cool to discover stuff about someone who had been so strictly through a screen. It was exciting, of course he knew George was a human and had body parts, but when you can’t see someone in person for so many years, even crumbs of something more he didn’t take for granted. George had always felt a little bit like an otherworldly being, an escape from his own reality in the form of a voice and a dumb cute little Minecraft skin, which eventually progressed to bright grins, always extending to his eyes.

He did the same with everyone else anyway. Like… he knew Sapnap’s hand was smaller than his, bigger than George’s though, and… Karl had arms, that’s for sure.

He snorted, going back to practicing the routine.

Hugs from Karl were very much frequent, Dream hadn’t realised how touch starved he was from living on his own and barely going outside, he still jumped a little every time Karl just held his arm or something.

Besides, Dream thought, he’s literally dancing with George and meant to touch him, that’s the whole point of this, of course he’d pick up stuff like this. George was probably doing the same thing for him, and all of the rest of their friends were thinking this stuff about each other.

Oti and George still weren’t done by the time Dream had ran through the routine, so he decided to sit on the bench and have a rest while he can. Take a swig of water, get some air, poke fun at George, the works. Oti turned to him in confusion when he stopped, but was immediately preoccupied by a shriek and flailing legs.

George was actually doing very well, he was still doing it off the wall and occasionally there was a screech and Oti would have to go in and grab his legs, but from being upright to going upside down, George was good at it. There was probably some technical word for it, Dream called it ‘take off’. There was a fair share of annoying George that Dream partook in, but honestly he spent more time showering him in compliments and cheering. He was drinking from his water bottle when, abruptly, there was no more liquid left, and he stared at it, disappointed, still thirsty and unsatisfied. Both Oti’s and George’s water bottles had less than half, and he might as well make himself useful.

‘Hey George, Oti, I’m gonna go fill up my water bottle, should I take yours too?’ He asked, and the two of them responded with an affirmative. He swiped them up and walked through the hallway to the water filter, appreciating the quiet out here. One by one, he filled the bottles, dawdling and feeling like a fish out of water. A baggy shirt, messy hair and probably sweaty forehead, ruffled trousers, baggy top, and trainers, in contrast with the recently hoovered carpet, uniform doors on every side, perfect enough to be a reflection of each other, and plant pots or shelves lining the walls - once again in perfect symmetry.

He drank from his own bottle, irritated once he acknowledged the minor need to go to the bathroom. They still had like two hours, but it’s such a hassle. He shoved the urge down ( metaphorically , of course), and grabbed the three bottles, making his way back. The sound of George’s and Oti’s laughter rippled across the walls, muffled, but there nonetheless, Dream smiled, content.

He considered knocking on the door, but decided against it, and entered the room instead. Placing the water bottles on the benches, he watched as George could now push off from the floor and hold himself against the wall surprisingly well for how short the time he had been practicing was. After a second or too, he collapsed on the floor, but based on George’s proud grin, and Oti’s compliments, that was probably what he was meant to do.

‘Dream!’ George shouted, exhilarated, ‘that was literally perfect timing when you came in, did you see that?’ He had the energy of an excited puppy, and a dopey grin found it’s way onto Dream’s face.

‘I did! That was epic! It’s been like- what? Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes?’

‘Mhm!’ George said, rubbing his eye and stretching with his other arm.

‘If there’s blood rushing to your head take a break and have some water.’ Oti advised, and George nodded and did just that.

‘Dream, while George gets himself ready I want to practice your form.’

‘Okay.’

Dream walked back over to the mat, feeling a little nervous, George gave him a wordless thumbs up, to which he scoffed fondly.

‘Do you remember how you stood before?’

‘Uhh- I think so?’ He demonstrated this by moving his feet shoulder-width apart, standing up a little taller, his arms out in front of him. Muscle memory nearly had him resort to a form as if he was catching a ball, old PE memories rushing back to him, but instead he let them sit there for Oti to comment on, because he wasn’t entirely sure on what he was doing.

‘Mhm, not bad.’ She said, surveying him. ‘Make sure your tension is in your knees and legs, it’s good for balance, you’ll need tension in your arms to stop them becoming weak and dropping the person, but in terms of balance, your weight should be in your legs.’

As she nitpicked little things, Dream adjusted his position, feeling clunky and unnatural, but this was literally George’s safety they were talking about, so he could handle some discomfort in favour of a lack of broken legs.

‘Alright, I’m gonna practice that lift with you again a couple more times, and George-‘

Dream turned to George, who’s eyes widened as he put his water bottle down on the table, looking like a kid with their hand caught in the cookie jar, if a bottle was a jar and water were cookies. Dream didn’t know why he seemed so guilty, water breaks were important.

‘I want you to watch.’ Oti finished, and George nodded, looking attentive, leaning forward and resting his head on one of his hands.

‘Alright, before we start, we’re changing the one from before a little bit. Instead of your hands on my- George’s-‘ she paused, considering her words, then decided ’ my back, you’ll have them almost wrapping around the top of my legs.’

Dream blinked, trying to visualise that, but came up blank, before he could say anything, Oti already understood his confusion.

‘It’s a little hard to explain- so my legs will hook over your shoulders, right?’

Dream nodded.

‘And then you’ll put your arms outwards to the side, and just wrap them around my legs. Like… uhh… you know the chicken dance? It’s like that, just higher up, so bent arms at the elbow, and hold their legs between that. As George- I, gosh this is so confusing. As… George gets up more, he’ll also be pulling his own weight - no pun intended - by using his arms on your back and the momentum from the handstand. That makes sense?’

Dream took a second to process that, before slowly nodding, ‘I… think so…? When I’m holding George’s legs do my own arms like… link in the middle if that makes sense? Like should I hold my own hand for extra support or is that not a good idea?’

‘Uhhh… I mean you could, but it’s probably better not to. Right after that, George is gonna swing his left leg over your head and fall so you can catch him in like… bridal-style, so your hands would be in the way.’

‘I’m gonna what now?’ George shouted, laughing as somewhat of a coping mechanism against those familiar nerves.

‘I’ll catch you George,’ Dream reassured, with a warm smile, promptly ruining it with a wink. As he quietly cackled - nothing more than huffs of breaths - George scoffed behind him.

‘You ready to try that then?’ Oti asked, ever on track.

‘Will we be doing the- like the bride carry thing when you’re up? Or just the first part? Not in the actual dance- I mean like when we practice it right now.’ It was always difficult to speculate when he was ready and comfortable, as this was all new territory. He knew he’d probably never be ready, but he also knew that taking the ‘toss a baby in the sea and they’ll learn to swim’ approach usually worked for him. That sounded too morbid, the phrase probably didn’t go exactly like that. But anyway, being thrown into things and learning it as he goes worked well for him, Dream did great under pressure.

The only difference was, it wasn’t just his performance he was risking here, he had the weight of entire human on his shoulders - pun intended - and if he didn’t get it right, he could actually cause severe injury. There was some responsibility here in knowing his limits, but he’s never really measured them before. He either did it or he didn’t, and then dealt with potential consequences. Oti, as skilled as she was, was still entrusting him with this all too quickly it felt, but he didn’t know how else he could practice. There was a huge mat below them, and both Oti and George weren’t wearing shoes, about as safe as you can get. So the best thing he could think of was taking it a step at a time.

‘We’ll go at whatever pace you’re comfortable with,’ Oti replied, her gaze kind and soft. ‘Would you prefer if we just did the first part again?’

Dream nodded sheepishly.

‘Alright! Great! That’s fine!’

As Oti gave herself a shake, whether for nerves or to stretch, and got into position, Dream acknowledged how much he appreciated Oti’s teaching methods.

She was just a good balance of everything, strict and brisk enough to keep them working and presentable for Saturday, but also kind underneath that, able to laugh at jokes and be personal and have conversations. Even if she cut off chats when they were meant to be doing something productive, she was never rude about it, but definitely wasn’t a doormat either. She ensured their comfort while gently pushing boundaries, just enough for them to discover their full potential. Instead of chucking them off a cliff to plummet and fall, she shoved them bit by bit, putting a parachute in their arms and waited for them to jump themselves. They never would’ve jumped if she hadn’t been there, but that doesn’t mean the jump wasn’t their own choice.

‘You’re slouching!’ Oti’s voice interrupted his train of thought, and he quickly regained his composure.

‘Alright, are we ready?’ She asked, with the excited air of a gameshow host, a tinge of exasperation in her tone.

‘Mhm- yeah! I’m ready.’ Dream nodded, taking a deep breath.

Oti counted to three, before going into a handstand, Dream had a moment of panic, then Oti’s legs landed on his shoulders, and he grabbed them from the sides to help haul her upwards. He blinked as the metal from the zip on her hoodie whacked against his forehead - not painfully, more of just surprising and cold - and her hands settled on his shoulder blades for extra support, and they maintained their balance.

‘That was good!’ She commented, looking down at him from her spot still above him, not sounding over the moon, but definitely not disappointed, ‘good for the start still, you need your arms to start higher-‘

‘I’m sorry, my arms are aching I don’t wanna drop you can you get down first?’ Dream said hastily, supporting nearly her entire body with just his biceps, and his shoulders were beginning to throb a little.

‘Oh- sorry, lean forward a little then I’ll let go.’

Dream did just that, arms almost screaming in desperation, and Oti removed her hands from his shoulders, and fell backwards of her own accord, landing on the mat. Dream massaged his arms for a second, but had the decency to give her a hand and help her up.

‘I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to keep dancing after that if my arms feel like this- what the actual hell is the-‘

‘Oh you won’t be! This lift is very quick, you’ll be holding George up for a little more than a second, then he’ll fall into the bride carry, which is much easier to manage, and then a second later he’ll be back on the floor again.’

On the floor?’ George asked, nose scrunched, and Dream imagined him just dropping George onto the floor, and stifled a snicker.

‘Well, not like- not on on the floor. On your feet, that works better. You know like… uhh, hmm. You know Camillo from Encanto? In that one scene he has Mirabel in the bridal carry and then lowers her to the ground. That’s exactly what this is like.’

George made an ‘ohhh’ sound in recognition, and Dream couldn’t recall whatever they were referring to. George noticed.

‘Dream, you’ve seen Encanto right?’

‘Yeah, course, we watched it together.’

‘Yeah, exactly, like it’s in the We Don’t Talk About Bruno song? How do you not remember? After she falls, Camillo catches her and lowers her to the ground.’

‘Ohhh, that bit- to be fair, you expect me to remember that from like an entire movie? And when you say ‘bridal carry’ I was like what- they didn’t get married or something.’

George scoffed, ‘they’re cousins Dream-’

‘No yeah exactly!’

‘And it’s like the most iconic song of the movie or something.’

‘So this lift right? Oti butt in, gesturing with her hands that they should get a move on. Dream nodded sheepishly.

Nonetheless, Dream now felt like he understood what was going on.

Once Dream was ready, he practiced it with Oti a couple more times, until he was confident. Oti mentioned how it was important they didn’t practice like this for too long, otherwise Dream would get used to the weight and body of Oti, and George would undoubtedly be different.

‘Honestly, I think you two are ready.’ Oti beamed, looking between the two. Both Dream and George were waiting for the other to say something, and neither did, so George just got up from the bench and walked on over.

‘So George, don’t panic, it’s just like the wall was, but Dream instead.’

‘Dream is wall.’ George said in a gruff voice, then burst into giggles. Oti rolled her eyes with a laugh, before continuing.

‘I’m here to grab your legs and steady you if needed, and worst case scenario, you fall on the mat. We probably won’t get it right first time so might as well accept it now.’

George nodded, eyes stuck to the floor like he was sizing up an enemy, in a way, he was.

‘Are you ready Dream?’ George looked up at him, showing a little bit of vulnerability Dream didn’t usually see.

He swallowed. ‘Yeah.’

George was launching towards him, less precision than Oti had. The start was more shakey, and his legs weren’t straight by any means. Dream realised he’d be off in terms of how far away they were, so he took a step forward to meet him in the middle.

Turns out, that was the wrong decision.

He stepped too close, and George’s legs went crashing into his shoulders, a sudden shooting pain there causing Dream to wince and stagger back, promptly falling onto the floor.

Both him and George let out various shrieks as they both lost balance, George depending on Dream for it of course, and with no one for George to hook onto, he ended up falling on top of Dream too.

Dream groaned, pain in his shoulders from George kicking him, an unpleasant but not too harsh sensation in his back from falling onto the mat, and a heavy weight on his stomach, restricting deep breaths.

He opened his eyes to see George sat there, his legs splayed out in front of him, one leg by either side of Dream’s neck, and he was absolutely giddy with giggles. Probably from the adrenaline of falling and vertigo of going upside down then the right way up again, whatever the reason, George had just the biggest toothy grin on his face Dream had seen in a while, and he found himself laughing too through the pain, though what would be cackles or even giggles were instead harsh wheezes from the pressure on his stomach. George just looked so happy.

Despite his laughter, he brought his own hand up to massage his shoulder gently, and George’s expression morphed from one of giddy joy to worry, a gentle nervousness on his face as his laughter subsided.

‘Are you alright? Did I hurt you Dream?’ George asked, a hand about to rest on his other shoulder. Then he hesitated.

It was at this moment they both were suddenly aware of the position they were in, and as their cheeks warmed, George’s tinting a lovely pink (Dream’s probably the same), their eyes flickered down, and up to meet each others, bursting into giggles again.

After taking a minute to compose himself (muttering ‘ this is so stupid ’), George picked a leg up and rolled to the side, careful to not kick Dream in the face, to which Dream appreciated.

There was a sudden spasm in his chest from the removal of that pressure, and Dream sucked a deep breath in before leaning up on his elbows, turning to Oti, a playful glare on his face. She shrugged skittishly, before smiling, then telling them to try again. They payed extra attention to how far away they are, Oti pointed out to George where he should stand, then reprimanded Dream for getting too used to Oti’s body. Of course, her and George had different leg lengths, so it’d be different for the both of them, and Dream made sure to remember that.

After a few more attempts, a healthy dose of frustration, and a healthier dose of laughter, they were able to do it well enough. They were taking baby steps, only working on George hooking his legs over Dream’s shoulders.

Now for getting him up.

They redid the handstand, the nerves long dissipated, as they’d already experienced the worst of the fall. Dream was mostly relying on George for the beginning, but once George’s legs were set on his shoulders, Dream leaned back a little to counter and make sure they stayed balanced, wrapping his arms around George’s legs to keep him steady.

Oti’s legs had been slimmer, and definitely more muscle, whereas George’s felt nicer on his shoulders, the light pudging effect on his thighs was like a protective layer between his shoulders and hard bone, warm and comfortable, though George clearly became anxious as his hands scrambled to grab Dream’s shoulder blades, bunching up the material of his shirt in the process, which didn’t give him any leverage.

He flailed a bit, and Dream tried not to move at all, and George’s head was about to fall backwards, and they both would’ve went tumbling had he not wrapped his arms around Dream’s head.

Dream scoffed, now completely blind, as George cried out for Oti. George’s hands were tugging a little on his hair in their efforts to resist gravity, so Dream leaned his head backwards a little, so George wasn’t on the verge of falling.

Suddenly George felt more stable, and the arms around his head were removed, light flooding back to his vision. Oti’s hands were on George’s back, pushing him upwards, and advising George on how to hold on. Nervous hands eventually found home on Dream’s shoulder blades, and Dream looked up, a reassuring smile on his face as George made eye contact. His eyes were widened, lips slightly parted as he steadied his breathing. This was like a trust exercise in a way, George was entirely depending on Dream here (Oti had now removed her arms and was backing away), and Dream was not going to let him fall.

Well, clearly his arms disagreed with him.

‘Uhh George- you gotta get down- I don’t know how much longer I can hold you.’

And George looked so scared about that that Dream’s heart melted, he turned to Oti, a helpless and panicked expression on his face, and she went to her spot behind George again.

‘Uhm, Dream- just bend your knees a little bit, and George fall backwards- I’m right behind you, yep! I’ve got you!’

George fell backwards into Oti’s waiting arms, and the second the weight was off his arms, Dream just crumbled and they both collapsed onto the mat.

This is gonna take a long time.

 

—————————

 

Dream couldn’t see George in the sea of people moving along the usually quiet hallway, whisked away into the changing room before he could say goodbye. A stupid thing to be concerned over, he’d see him in about five minutes, but it was still a shame.

He closed the door behind him, taking a deep breath at the sudden silence enveloping him, a break from the hectic chatter and general scramble of the mess of hallways.

He eyed the rack with the two hangers, having somewhat of an expectation of what he’d be wearing.

In the dance rehearsal, in the beginning Dream had had to mime taking something from George’s head and chucking it away, when they had asked about it Oti said their outfits this time would be like the workers at the hotel, and George would start wearing a straw hat, that Dream took off his head and threw elsewhere.

He spread the hangers apart from each other so he could see them separately, an unpleasant sound of metal on metal as it dragged along the rack making him grimace.

There were cream coloured trousers, a plain white tank top, and a folded up belt there. The shoes were very similar to the previous ones, except this time they were brown, still shined and comfortable and well-sized in a great way.

When he looked in the mirror, he honestly had no problems with the outfit, it was fine, it looked cool, the colours were pleasant and went well together, it wasn’t revealing, maybe a little on the cold side but that’d be handy when dancing, it had no sleeves on it which was… interesting, Dream had worn tank tops before, not his favourite, but they were alright, he hoped they didn’t gel his hair this time, having it somewhere between fluffy and curly, not to mention lighter, worked better with the overall aesthetic here.

He put his stuff tidily on the chair, as folded and neat as he could be bothered to care about, and his old shoes kicked under the chair.

The hallways were a little quieter, but he still had to meander through the many people going in either directions, some flashing him smiles that he returned, others too busy going about their day.

He closed the door behind him as he entered the hair and makeup room, to see he was one of the first few. Only Skeppy, Aimsey, and Tommy were already in the room (of the celebrities of course), and a stylist he didn’t recognised beckoned him over to a chair, so he followed.

‘Dream right?’ They asked, pulling out the chair so he could take a seat.

‘Yeah!’ Dream replied, tucking the chair in before turning side to side ( spinny chairs are epic ).

‘You’re partners with George right, dancing Charleston?’

‘Both correct.’ Dream wasn’t sure why he answered that like it was an interview, but his attention was quickly overtaken by them squirting a pea-sized blob of product onto their finger. They grabbed his arm, with little care for Dream’s personal space, and compared the colour to his skin tone, before shrugging.

They turned the chair around so Dream was facing them, then start putting little stripes of it on his face, they did this with a couple of different things, occasionally using a brush or this egg-shaped thing. Such close contact with his face had him instinctually blinking a lot, but the stylist was a speedy worker, murmuring to themself as they worked.

Gradually other people joined the room, some making comments on each others costumes, or just general chatter.

Hannah was on his left (well, on his right if he was facing the mirror), and he idly listened to her talking with Bad and Skeppy.

‘Honestly you’ll be fine, me and Puffy were first last week and it’s so much better! You get to actually enjoy the night! You can watch all the other dances when you’re doing, and because you’re shoved into it, you don’t get a build up of worry. I honestly would rather go first.’ Hannah admitted.

‘Wait- how do you know what order you’re going in?’ Dream asked, and his stylist grimaced as he moved his face, he whispered a ‘sorry’, which they shook their head at.

‘It’s on the wall on the other side of the door, there’s some in the hallways too.’ Bad answered.

‘I think you and George were… second, right?’ Hannah added, turning to Bad for confirmation, who nodded.

Dream raised his eyebrows, not sure how he felt about that. He decided to follow Hannah’s philosophy. Less time to worry and more time to enjoy everyone else’s dances.

His stylist instructed him to close his eyes and mouth as they took out a spray, and next thing he knew a peculiar cold and tickly sensation settled over his face, giving him chills all over and making him squint. He opened his eyes slowly, and was shown a mirror of what he looked like.

Not much had changed, just little minor details, slightly more defined cheekbones, the overall colours of his face blended together to be more pleasing. Softer? In a way.

Small hands ruffled artfully through his hair, creating a controlled messy look and adding some spray to certain parts of it with seemingly no rhyme nor reason, but by the end it definitely looked good!

They dismissed him, and he went to sit at the corner of the room, conveniently at the time George walked in the room, they noticed each others presence simultaneously with a surprised gasp, as they nearly bumped into each other.

George was wearing an entirely different outfit, which was surprising. He was wearing deep blue trousers, maybe jeans, with suspenders going over his shoulders and crossing at the back. He had a blue and white horizontally striped top on, with two buttons at the top, only one of them undone. It looked familiar, Dream remembered that from watching the movie, and his eyes flickered down to his own outfit, which didn’t ring a bell at all . He must be a Mamma Mia fake fan or something.

He was also carrying this huge straw hat under his arm, it had a simple white ribbon as a hatband, and no strap or string under it so they could take it off easily.

‘Can you put the hat on?’ Dream asked, excited.

‘Sure.’ George said, and plonked it on his head, adjusting the angle so his face was visible.

The hat absolutely dwarfed him, the brim going barely further than where his shoulders reached, fray pieces of straw not perfectly intwined stuck out, though - once again - artfully messy.

On a whim, Dream grabbed the front of the hat and shoved it downwards, so it covered George’s face, but still stayed on his head, and as he giggled George spluttered, attempting to readjust it before just taking it off, shooting him a playful glare.

‘Why would you do that?’ George asked indignantly, tilting his head to the side sternly, and swatting at Dream with the hat. Dream put his hands up in mock surrender, and George scoffed, walking over to a beckoning stylist by the mirrors, Dream grinned before skipping over to the chairs in the corner, deeply exhaling as he settled.

Usually there was someone to chat to, but at the moment no one else was here. He didn’t have his phone with him, and there was no one to talk to, so he settled for people watching, and saying hi to any new people who walked in, he also scared Sapnap by shouting ‘boo!’, making the other literally scream in surprise, cheeks blushing a furious red at the looks he got.

Dream got elbowed in the stomach for that.

He watched George go through a similar makeup process he did, and his friends walk through the door in striking outfits, dresses with embellishments, sharp suits or waistcoats, dustings of glitter or tassels and sequins, a whole rainbow of colour that would be so out of place in the normal world. But here it fit right in. He tried to guess what movies they were from, but for most of them he wasn’t sure, but Niki and Jack looked like something from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

He felt less anxious this time, definitely not calm, but he wasn’t fidgeting or jittery nearly as much as last time. More of drifting through the hour, performing the dress rehearsal again, and honestly, a whole lot of waiting, he was just following along with the people in charge, until suddenly he came to and they were waiting on those scaffolding stairs again.

A complete repeat of last time, their names being called out one by one, rapt and screaming applause from the audience. At Dream and George’s names being called, they walked out in the view of the audience, blinding spotlights making him squint, and music and claps so loud he could feel it thrumming in his chest and ear.

They hastily descended the staircase, George with his hat on, both waving and smiling at the masses.

After lining up and some words from the judges, they walked off stage, wishing Bad and Skeppy good luck courteously as the two would be going first. Dream and George couldn’t even enjoy the performance much, as they knew they’d be going next. From this little spot at the back Dream was practicing this box step that turned into a spin, with alternating arms. Opposite hand to opposite leg he kept repeating over an over again, making sure it was perfect.

Suddenly his vision went completely black, some kind of fuzzy and a little itchy object coming into contact with his head. He froze before taking it off, coming face to face with George, he was staring at Dream with a dumb grin on his face as if he had just made the most hilarious joke, his arms crossed in front of him. The hat was offered back, and George took it, running back over to Sapnap at the railings, probably talking about Bad and Skeppy’s dance to him, quiet enough not to disturb the performance. Tubbo was discreetly waving at Ranboo, who was sat in the audience but hadn’t yet noticed him.

Their music came to a halt, and the audience clapped accordingly. As they were getting feedback from the judges, he grabbed George’s shoulder, gently turning him around and pointing towards the staircase.

‘We can wait another few minutes.’ George justified. ‘They have to go up, talk to Claudia, get the scores, and even then the dumb training video has to show up. One of the worker people will come and get us when we need to go right?’

‘I don’t know George…’ Dream said uneasily, eyes flickering between the doors and George. Eventually he conceded. ‘Uhh fine.’

‘Dream thinks we’re bad? Dream actually thinks we’re gonna fail. Oh my gosh. No way. I’m gonna expose you Dream.’

‘What? What- what’s wrong with you? There’s nothing to expose.’

From the corner of his eye Dream saw one of the… ‘worker people’, walking up to them, and nudged George, smirking while inclining his head in their direction.

‘I knew I was right,’ Dream whispered triumphantly, before walking over to them, ever wanting to get the last word.

They padded down the stairs, coming to a stop at the same place as last week, around the corner of the stairs, the sounds of Claudia’s voice booming over speakers as she talked with Bad and Skeppy.

‘Oh gosh.’ George muttered, stretching his arms and hopping about from foot to foot.

‘Put the hat on, idiot.’

‘I’m gonna put it on later.’

‘There is no later.’

‘If the hat falls off when we walk in that’d be so embarrassing.’

They fell into a silence, and Dream scuttled out the way as someone ran past them.

‘I’m actually terrified of the lift parts.’ George admitted quietly, and Dream turned to him, face morphing into one of alarm when he saw George’s hands shaking. Only just, barely enough to notice, but Dream certainly did.

‘Holy- George, you’re shaking!’

‘I am?’ He said blindly, putting his hands in front of his face, watching the minor tremors with something between fascination, amusement, and fear. ‘They are!’ He confirmed.

‘Are you- are you feeling alright? We don’t have to do it if you don’t feel okay George.’ Dream said, tone serious.

‘No- I’m okay I promise! I genuinely don’t know why that’s happening!’ George laughed, and Dream narrowed his eyes. It was difficult to tell whether George was telling the truth, or just hiding any weakness and vulnerability behind humour. George seemed to notice his suspicions, and rushed to reassure.

‘Honestly Dream, I’m fine. Just.. pre-show nerves or something I don’t know.’

Bad and Skeppy got their scores, and Dream and George shared a half-anxious, half-excited glance.

‘Come on Dream, we’re meant to be happy.’

‘We’re not meant to be anything! If I’m nervous I’m nervous George.’

‘I mean when performing the dance.’

‘…oh!’

When the time came, Dream and George stepped onto the floor, Dream staying somewhat near the back, and George moving centre left, and Dream saw him putting the hat on, before adjusting it a little so he could see better.

The music began, throwing them into that light and bouncy atmosphere, the song of Mamma Mia playing in the background.

Repeating the counts in his head to the very distinguishable beat, at count five he ran over towards George, who turned to him with a bright animated smile on his face, reminding Dream to do the same.

Dream grabbed the hat, shoving it over George’s eyes, before picking it up entirely, as George staggered back in surprise. All acting of course, the overall cartoon-ness of every expression had caused a lot of laughter and embarrassment in the training rooms. Dream chucked the hat behind him, unable to see where it landed, then grabbed George’s arm, a firm grip on his wrist, pulling them towards each other, and spinning George around in the process.

With the watchful gazes of a few hundred on them, they went through their routine, fast-paced footwork performed with excellent synchronisation, hands out at their sides with extended yet perfected movements, legs kicking side to side, as tango, mango, and pumpkin-shaded spotlights lit up their every move, following them as they made their way across the floor.

George twirled around to face him, hands out at his sides, and Dream hooked his arms under his armpits, and they both dipped to the floor so George’s legs were splayed out in front of him, then quickly straightened to pick him up again.

They skipped away from each other along the perimeter of the floor, one arm tucked behind his back, and the other waving at the crowd. His body was straining against him, taking deep breaths and ignoring the ache inside of him, plastering a huge toothy smile on his face, though inside his entire body was preparing for the lift about to come, and when he turned he met George’s eyes, and could see the same worry behind that fake smile.

Dream decided in that moment he would do anything to make sure George didn’t fall.

With a particularly large jump, Dream got into position, feet in parallel and the perfect distance away from George. Before he could even think George was going down into a handstand, his legs hooking over Dream’s shoulders, and Dream grabbed his legs to help push him up. George was now properly situated on Dream’s shoulders, and Dream looked up at him, both of them temporarily abandoning those full-of-life facial expressions, favouring concentration, George was biting his gum, eyebrows furrowed in focus, and on the beat he swung his left leg over Dream’s head, so he could fall into a bridesmaids carry.

Dream caught George deftly, an arm under his back and the other on the underside of his knees.

George was grinning again, and this time it didn’t look fake, then Dream put George down on the floor again, as they continued the footwork, mindless and mostly just muscle memory, Dream silently rejoiced at them getting the lift right.

They each stopped a metre or so apart, pivoting on one leg and kicking with the other on every beat. He ended facing George, and they held hands, each with a strong grip. Dream parted his legs a little further apart, and George swung underneath them, the fabric of his trousers and flatness of the floor easy and smooth to glide on.

Dream briefly let go of George’s hands, turning around and grabbing them again, pulling George upwards to stand again.

As George did his own little solo piece, Dream jogged away to grab the hat from the worker holding it out to him, he took it from their arm and ran back over, hands behind his back, only barely concealing the hat.

With his free hand, he grabbed George’s arm and span him around to face him, then plonked the hat over his head, and he rested his elbow on the other shoulder as the music came to an abrupt halt.

Dream hadn’t realised how much effort that was, as they froze in place for a couple seconds Dream’s chest was visibly moving from the force of his breaths, his throat was hot and dry, and skin sticky and glazed with sweat, muscles tired and begging for rest, yet Dream had to deny them. He grinned, that familiar bursting feeling of pride in his chest at the sound of screaming and clapping and noise, after presenting their hours worth of work.

Dream moved his arm off of George’s shoulder, and took the hat off of him, to see George’s face red and lips parted, breathing like he’d never inhale again.

They pulled each other in for a hug, and in other circumstances it would be gross, where their arms made contact it was sticky from their sweat, and overall they were hot in general, but being able to lean on someone else made it worth it. He could hear how ridiculously fast both of their heart beats were from the dancing, a constant thump thump, thump thump, in his ear.

That was amazing .’

George replied with a muffled ‘mhm’ into his shoulder, probably too tired to even speak, and Dream chuckled, taking the hat back off his head, and letting George lean on him for as long as he needed.

Chapter Text

‘Wait wait- rewind like… a second.’

Tommy and Aimsey scrambled to grab the remote between them first, Tommy was victorious, and Aimsey crossed their arms, jokingly grumbling.

It was a Sunday morning, and they were packed into the lounge watching the episode from last night. They mourned the loss of Skeppy and Bad, the first pair out. They’d been in the dance off with Niki and Jack, and lost two votes to one, though when they asked head judge Shirley, she said she would’ve voted for Niki and Jack too.

Tommy pressed play again, and Jack jumped over to the TV, pointing.

‘Uhh, look! Look- ready… right there! Niki just kicked me in the balls.’

‘Look at his face!’ Tubbo laughed, pointing to the screen, and you could see Jack visibly suck a breath in, one of his footsteps fumbling. That was probably what got the pair in the dance off in the first place.

‘No- I’m sorry okay?’ Niki wheezed, ‘you can see me and Jack like… staring at each other.’

‘I thought my poker face was so much better than that.’ Jack mumbled, disappointed.

‘I was wondering if we could restart or something.’ Niki said, and Jack laughed.

‘Hey Tess, just got kicked in the balls, can we go again? Cheers.’ He mocked in a gruff voice, rolling his eyes.

‘Me and Wilbur are dancing to an Ed Sheeran song this week, if I tag him on twitter d’you think he’d respond?’ Tommy raised his eyebrows, taking out his phone.

‘Probably not.’ Wilbur said, honestly, in contrast to others egging him on.

Tommy fiddled with his phone for a second, before reading out the words as he typed.

‘It’s me- no… hello big Ed, Tommy here, me and big W- oh that’s cool, big W for Wilbur but it also sounds like big wins. Me and big W are gonna get big Ws while dancing to your song, please respond… there. I tagged him on the end too, the people will let him know.’

‘Imagine if he actually responds.’ Tubbo laughed, ‘another one on the list.’

‘Can you check the poll while you’re there Tommy?’ Aimsey asked, leaning over his shoulder to see.

For the third week of the show, considering it was a charity event, this one was special this time. They were learning a group dance, and because a certain milestone had been hit in terms of donations, it had changed what the dance would be like.

As far as Dream knew, there was a voting system for every pairing, in which people could pay in donations to vote for a song that the couple would dance to. It wouldn’t be the whole song, just a short snippet in the group dance. The poll had only been out for a couple hours, but it was ending at midnight that day so they had time to stitch all the clips together.

‘Speaking of that,’ Tubbo said, ‘we can totally rig the vote right? Like… I can just choose a song and tell everyone to vote for it, MCC style. I bet you they’d listen. Then we can dance to whatever we want!’

Aimsey tilted his head in surprise, then gave Tubbo a hand shake of approval, not one of those elaborate friendship handshakes, instead simply a solemn business-like one, a firm grip and a short shake up and down, then looked lost thought.

‘Oh you have to sign up with Spotify to view it.’ Tommy muttered, furiously jabbing in letters and numbers onto the screen, before eventually humming.

‘Okay, here they all are, they show it like a sideways graph or something, we can see the top three songs voted for everyone and every Spotify account can vote once, and depending on if you donate you can vote more times.’

‘If we dump like… a million pounds, can we just win?’ Jack asked, laughing incredulously.

‘I don’t think we want to dump a million pounds on this-'

‘Oh my gosh he hates charity! You heard it here first!’ Jack pointed an accusatory finger at Tommy, who scoffed and rolled his eyes.

‘No! No- that’s not what I’m saying. Anyway, I don’t even think a million pounds is enough to be more than all these votes. And how would you distribute them between… how many pairs are left?’

‘Seven.’ Skeppy said glumly, and Bad patted him on the head comfortingly.

‘L’ Jack said, and Bad responded with an indignant ‘what’s wrong with you!’

‘I mean hey, at least me and Niki aren’t bad.’

‘Didn’t she kick you in the balls?’ Tommy snickered.

‘And we still won!’ Jack shot back.

‘Okay shut up, I’m dropping a tweet early, Aimsey what song do we want?’

‘Oh my gosh can we do Moves Like Jagger  please .’ Aimsey said excitedly, jumping in her seat, ‘I’ve been listening to it recently it actually slaps.’

‘Which ones that?’

Aimsey imitated the tune by whistling, and Tubbo’s face lit up in recognition, ‘yeah that’d be cool! I’m good with that. Okay, wait- uhh what should I type?’

‘Just copy the link for our voting thing then just ask them to vote for the song.’

Tubbo hummed, fiddling with his phone, before muttering under his breath, ‘hello boss men… vote Moves Like Jagger please smile. Done.

‘Lucky, I’d be cancelled.’ Dream half-joked, but he did decide to leave it alone, didn’t wanna risk backlash for rigging the vote again.

‘You think I could ask?’ George mused, looking around for where his phone was. Dream rolled his eyes fondly and grabbed it from where it was sticking out of his pocket, and handed it to George.

He leaned over to see the screen, ‘click our link George, I wanna know what we’ll be doing it to.’

George logged on to twitter and searched the account, and once they searched the account, Heatwaves was winning by a mile.

‘Heatwaves.’ George read out, sounding completely unsurprised, but not exactly disappointed.

‘I mean, admittedly king I’d expect nothing less.’ Tubbo snorted.

‘What’s… Unchained Melody? Why do people care about that?’ George asked, his eyebrows furrowed.

‘Flowers from 1970.’ Puffy answered, and they turned to her in surprise.

‘What?’

‘It’s another fanfiction, and that was the song for it, you’ve probably heard it before.’

‘Why is fanfiction like… our brand. And why do they all have songs with them?’

‘Well, to be fair, what other song would we even want?’ Dream mused.

‘The speedrun music.’ George snickered, grinning, and Dream laughed, ‘besides Dream, you’re saying that you  want  to dance to our ship song? Kinda weird.’

‘Our top vote is Perfume from Lovejoy,’ Wilbur said before Dream could explain himself, ‘I don’t wanna do a dance to my own song? Guys!’ Wilbur hid his head in his hands.

‘This is so messed up, they’re just… pandering, like actually .’ Tubbo protested.

‘It’s for  charity  guys come on,’ George said dismissively, ‘and it’s like… ten seconds.’

‘Yeah true.’

‘No-  what ?’ Dream said indignantly, ‘George is such an idiot, he’s like- he’s sat here…  complaining  and like, wrecking people for the song they chose for us, then is all like ‘oh guys it’s for charity guys, stop complaining’, like you were just complaining about it! If you weren’t doing it yourself, it’d be like… well I guess he’s-‘

‘No well- that’s different!’ George mumbled.

‘It’s literally not?’

‘No no it is, and I’ll tell you why, I was just  asking  about it, then asking questions about why, never once did I complain!’ George justified, sitting up in his seat, Dream grinned, giggling, George was really getting into this.

‘Oh, so you’re not complaining about dancing to our ship song either then George? You were all on me about that-‘

‘No no-‘

‘So you were literally complaining-‘

‘No I wasn’t! You’re actually lying, Dream’s a liar. You guys were being all… whiny about it-‘

‘Whiny?’ Sapnap scoffed, suggestively glancing at George.

‘Shut up, whatever, yeah,  you  were complaining about it when it’s literally a couple of seconds.’

‘Oh, benevolent George, coming in here like  ohh oh, I’m Gogy, and I’m nice -‘ Wilbur began, using a weird squeaky voice for George, before being cut off by the guy himself.

‘Why are you guys making it such a big deal-‘

‘Really not that deep. It’s really not that deep.’ Jack referenced, making placating gestures with his hands.

‘We’re not! You are! We don’t actually hate charity George, who are you, the… no complaining police?’

‘No- ugh, just shut up.’

‘I have never hated anything ever.’ Jack finished, nodding solemnly.

‘Your mum definitely didn’t hate me in bed last night.’ Wilbur got up and left the room.

‘Mrs Manifold would hate you, thank you very much!’ Jack yelled after him, and Wilbur turned around and glared at him, arms crossed. Jack’s eyes widened and he sunk down in his chair, all the previous defiance flown out of him, and there were some quiet snickers of laughter.

 

—————————

 

Dream woke up on Monday to the scrambled rush that was the rest of the house. About a third of everyone had already walked out the door, the rest shoving cereal or toast down their throats or running up and down the stairs, finishing up showers.

As Tommy hopped about on one foot, trying to tie his laces while getting to the door as quickly and efficiently as possible, Dream just sat on the counter, a glass of juice in hand, basking in the bliss that was a rest day.

It got gradually quieter, until the last pair had left, and Dream scrolled through twitter and the like, he didn’t have anything to do today. And he was more than alright with that.

He frowned. Was he?

Before moving to the UK he was used to weeks of wondering in his house, and learned to live with it. Whether watching podcasts, finding regularly updating channels on Youtube, new movie genres, watching sports, having his family come round, playing with Patches, cleaning the house (though that last one he did considerably  less . Not like he was lazy or anything, but when you live in a house on your own it’s not like stuff gets all that messy). Nonetheless, he had stuff to do, and was content when he didn’t.

Now his body was itching to get up and do something, a little hollow pit settled low in his chest, perhaps he was lonely. The house was achingly quiet, as George probably lay sleeping upstairs. It’d be nice to do something with George. Today was the kind of day where he was in the mood for rehearsals, he could equate the feeling to when he used to say ‘today doesn’t feel like a Friday’ as mindless small talk, though now of course the day of the week has no real significance.

His body was just in the mood for some exercise, he had woken up energised and ready, even without an alarm! (Though maybe the thundering footsteps of everyone else running around the house to get ready counted as an alarm), there were no remnants of sleep tugging at his eyelids, and no force trying to pull his body back into the bed sheets. He got up relatively quickly, and now he was just strolling around the kitchen, literally aimlessly walking.

He stopped, looking down at his socks.

What am I doing?

Dream tried to recall if George was cranky when he woke up, but decided the pros outweighed the cons. Sure, the choice was primarily selfish, but he justified that by thinking George needed to keep a consistent sleep schedule too.

He crept upstairs, and up the stairs again, taking note of the topmost floor, he didn’t see it very often.

Dream also had no clue which room was George’s. He paused all movement, trying to make out any snoring or ruffling of a duvet, and the silence was a little creepy.

‘George?’ He called out softly, putting his ear right up to every door, which probably looked really creepy when he thought about it.

‘George!’ He said, a little louder this time, and was actually dumbfounded about having received no reaction.

He could’ve screamed or shouted, but he didn’t want George to panic or be annoyed at him, considering the whole point was for George to hang out when he was awake. So he walked over to the first door on the right, and eased the door open, peeking his head in.

Obviously, all of the rooms were inhabited by someone, so he tried to just quickly glance at the bed and nothing else, doing the bare minimum to check if George was there as to not invade anyones privacy.

Grey bedsheets had been hurriedly put together, but the bed was definitely made and there wasn’t anyone sleeping there, so he closed the door behind him.

He checked the next room, and got more of the same results, though he smiled a little when he saw a big fluffy teddy bear on a pillow.

Closing the door quietly, he went over to the next one, and when he opened it the room was almost completely submerged in darkness, two lines of light peeking through the sides of the blinds where it didn’t quite cover everything.

‘…George?’ He whispered, edging into the room bit by bit. The duvet was all bunched up, and he could just make out a curled up figure in the middle of the bed, fluffy brown hair peeking out over where the duvet covered it. He had pulled a blanket over the pillow, and was resting his head on the blanket, nearly resting on the mattress instead of the actual pillow. Dream grinned fondly, walking over to the bed and hesitating before actually doing anything.

Very slowly and gently, he pulled down the duvet a little bit, and shook George’s shoulder, whispering his name.

No response.

Dream frowned, and decided to flick his forehead.

George mumbled something incoherent, scrunching his nose up cutely, eyes squinting and burying his face in the pillow. Dream beamed, and this time when he whispered George’s name, he got a response.

‘…Dr’m? ‘S tha’ you?’ He stretched his arms above his head, remind Dream of Patches, and Dream beamed at the similarity, and George’s eyes were still closed.

‘Yeah, it’s me idiot.’ Dream said lowly, crouching down to look at George properly.

‘Do we have r’hrsals or s'm'thin'?’ 'm I late?’ He asked, voice groggy and a little raspy, considerably deeper from just waking up, and turned over to make eye contact.

‘No, no, it’s Monday,’ Dream assured, but George’s face twisted into a pout.

‘Why did y' wake me up then?’ He complained, wiping remnants of sleep from his weary eyes.

‘I wanted to talk to you!’ Dream justified, speaking in a gentle soft voice, George looked so fragile right now it just felt right. It felt like a whole different world in here, fuzzy duvets and darkness only letting you make out basic shapes, everything submerged in a dark blue, and a sleepy George all curled up.

‘Why’re you talking like tha’? George scoffed, yawning into his hand, then started getting up on his elbows, some comfy-looking pjamas now visible. They looked soft, like a nice sweater or something, the colour was indecipherable in the darkness of the room, but knowing George, it was probably grey, black, or blue. He was about to stroke it to gauge what it felt like when what George said finally registered in his mind, and he spluttered indignantly.

‘What- I did  not , you always-‘ He paused upon seeing George squint his eyes in discomfort, and lowered his voice again. George was such a baby when he just woke up, this was actually adorable.

‘Should I go back downstairs and wait for you?’ He whispered, and saw a little smile tugging on George’s lips, Dream grinned at the sight, though confused, and George shook his head.

‘I mean… you don’t  have  to. I don’t care, do what you want.’ George seemed to find that funny, and quietly giggled to himself. Dream thought for a second, this was really nice here, but it felt… a little too intimate for what they were to each other. And he needed George to get up and get changed and stuff so they could do something together. Also, this was all just really cute, and Dream didn’t wanna do or say anything stupid, so he bid George goodbye, despite his whining, and left him to himself, making his way downstairs and preparing a coffee the way George liked it.

That made it sound more special than it was really, ‘the way George liked it’ was just a normal coffee, but probably a bit less milky than normal, Dream didn’t drink coffee, so he wasn’t sure, but compared to everyone else at the house theirs was much more of a lighter colour.

He dawdled about, catching the end of the Strictly Come Dancing episode they never finished watching yesterday, reminiscing (not so fondly) on the memory of standing there waiting for the results of the dance off. It had lasted endlessly, and Dream and George’s results weren’t part of the first section. The hour was divided, they mixed results of the dance off with talks with the judges, singers, dumb little games, and chats with the audience, so the announcements of who’d be in the dance off were split into two halves of the show. Dream and George were second announced in the latter half, not that they had anything to worry about, what with being one of the most popular (if not the most popular couple on there), but it was still scary. Those drum beats were filled with so much tension, his heart beating almost twice as fast, as seemingly the whole room held their breath. The words ‘in no particular order’ haunted his dreams.

It was sad rewatching Bad and Skeppy’s last dance, just a minute at the end of the show to give tribute to the pair, no routine or anything, and in the two’s case they just held hands and swayed side to side, before all the other contestants gave them a group hug. Nonetheless, it sucked to see someone go. Though the votes were 3-0 for Jack and Niki, the only reason they were in the dance off was because when Niki accidentally kicked Jack the two of them faltered, but once that was corrected in the dance off, they exceeded.

Almost like it was perfect timing, just as the credits ran he heard quiet footsteps going down the stairs, and turned to see George, dressed and ready. He immediately started making some toast, clearly following some kind of mindless routine and submerged in some sleepy haze.

‘Good morning!’ Dream said brightly, and George groaned dramatically in response, to which Dream chuckled at.

While George ate jam on toast with a glass of orange juice, and coffee (‘At the same time? You’re actually so weird!’) they deliberated on what to do for the day after Dream mentioned his feelings of boredom, all the while George waked up a little more. After some food and caffeine, George was considerably more energised, and when he posed the idea of going to the gym, Dream agreed.

He hadn’t went in absolutely ages, what with being a faceless youtuber, and they thought the two of them going together might go badly, so they looked up a more private place, it was smaller and you had to pay to be a member, but the two quickly realised that it was a monthly pay, so they could use it whenever while training, then just cancel it when they were done.

With gear collected and appropriate attire, they called up a taxi to take them. Dream would’ve liked to drive, but what with being in a foreign country and having the wheel on the wrong side of the car, they decided against it.

They sat on the driveway, George with the taxi app on hand, glancing at his phone every few minutes and updating on progress. Dream was wearing shorts and a baggy tshirt, he had contemplated on a tank top but decided against it, and George was wearing more of the same.

When the taxi arrived they checked the license plate to make sure it was right, then clambered in, quietly murmuring to each other while looking out the window, seeing a whole new world of early risers going about their day, the colours of the sunrise had drained into the horizon, replaced by wispy clouds and a light blue sky, all golds and oranges and pinks long gone.

‘This the place?’ The driver asked, and when they responded with an affirmative, they payed and thanked them before getting out.

Dream took a deep breath as they regarded the building before them, it was on some kind of high street, the front wall connected with the shops either side, and it fit snugly in between a barber and a charity shop, and Dream decided to follow George’s lead here.

Good thing too, because he didn’t really know what he was doing. In terms of equipment, George had been to a gym before, apparently Niki had explained it to him a couple of weeks ago. Together they discovered which weights worked best for them, but spend most of the time on the treadmills, alternating between a walking, jogging, or running pace, able to just chat with each other.

After around half an hour Dream was beginning to notice how much more touchy George was. Just grabbing his arm as they moved or resting a hand on his shoulder, leaning on him for support, even little things like not moving away. It made Dream happy to know how much more comfortable George must be feeling around him, because he wasn’t doing that before (if you didn’t include dance rehearsals).

His mental image of George used to be pale skin, often remnants of eye bags, fluffy or curly hair, with a line of it flattened from headphones, usually wide brown eyes and a large grin on his face. Though now it was the George with messy brown hair, cheeks and face a little flushed from the heat, lips parted as he gasped for breath, the erratic rise and fall of his chest eventually melding  into slow yet deep breaths. George with baggy shorts, a bit of muscle on his legs, a hand ruffling through his hair, face happier and eyes bright, active and talkative.

They decided to chill out a bit more, barely faster then their normal walking pace on the treadmill, and Dream managed to sync his footsteps to the beat of some pop song in the background. It was epic.

George wrapped his arms around his own neck, stretching it by looking upwards, Dream saw his adams apple bob, hair falling back and eyes closing as he groaned, stretching it side to side. Dream’s eyes widened, and he looked away.

‘I’m gonna take my stuff to the launderette when we get back, you wanna come too?’ George asked.

‘Uhh, I mean I’ll come, yeah, but I’m not bringing my clothes yet, I washed them there recently.

George nodded, not wasting his breath on any more words. At the sound of the door opening, both Dream and George’s heads whipped to the side, to see some random person walking in - Dream wasn’t sure why he expected any different, maybe a group of fans or something who had found their locations, squealing in delight and taking photos of the two and the next minute they were trending on twitter - though it did give them the opportunity to look at the clock on the wall.

George called a taxi before anything else, so they had time to prepare while the driver arrived, and they packed up, both chugging about half their water bottles, and Dream felt incredibly self conscious about the sweat making his top cling to his shoulders and chest. When he got into the taxi he still felt sticky and sweaty, like he was dirtying those perfect leather seats.

George just seemed tired, and he was doing this weird thing where it looked like he was gonna lean his head on Dream’s shoulder, but every time he got close, he’d just bonk his forehead on his shoulder instead, then bounce back upwards, only to fall and do it all again.

Dream had given up on questioning glances that received no result, and merely sat there as George continued with whatever little game this was.

They payed the driver, and entered the house again, George running upstairs to take a brief shower, and Dream cleaning then refilling his water bottle.

They enjoyed pot noodles, apples, and some buttered crackers between them, joking and chatting, enjoying the silence of the house and their rest day, free from rehearsals.

 

—————————

 

Dream’s shoulders were aching as he collapsed onto the bench. And that wasn’t an understatement.

They legitimately were hurting.

Dream and George were dancing the Viennese Waltz this week, to ‘Everybody Hurts’. And holding the frame was awful. Dream was leading the dance again, and as such he had to make sure to maintain strong posture, to be able to guide George across the floor, one arm up and one arm in front, as if hugging a beach ball, their heads were supposed to be leaned back and titled on an angle, but Dream and George were stubborn idiots who wanted to learn the steps first.

Another thing about the Viennese Waltz is, it’s quite intimate and romantic, most of the dance is very close together, pressed nearly chest to chest, while a lot of it is footwork and rotations and moving across the floor, it’s all done with grace and a soft sweetness, gentle looks between them.

George was  not  an actor clearly, and would burst out laughing trying to do some solemn lovesick expression, that had them both doubling over with wheezes and giggles.

Then it made Dream  feel awkward, because honestly he could probably do it completely fine, but if Dream was staring at George with glitter and honey in his eyes and George was struggling with just making eye contact, Dream felt embarrassed on putting effort in it.

Though it was definitely indulging Dream’s touch starved side, there was this one part near the end of the routine where George’s hand would caress his cheek, all slow and gentle, and every single time he would get butterflies, and occasionally little shivers on his scalp and goosebumps on his legs.

Not even because it was George, he just hadn’t been touched on his face for ages and it was jarring, nerves that never lit up suddenly sprung to life, sending his whole body into surprise.

Come to think of it though, one time after George was legitimately told off by Oti (it was the first time they’d seen her actually seem frustrated, it was a little scary. Dream and George had been fooling around and not getting on with the routine, and George just was not making an effort with facial expressions, which would end up distracting Dream), George had to get his act together, he had walked back into position like a dog with a tail between their legs, eyes downcast, and Dream sent him a reassuring smile to try to cheer him up. After that, George made more of an effort, and once, when he did the hand-on-face thing he was looking up at Dream with this sweet little smile, head titled to the side a little, and honestly, it was…  wow .

Dream was not afraid to admit it made him stutter a little bit, his brain shut down and he had to remind himself they were dancing right now, and his cheeks began to feel hot, in general of course, but when George’s hand left his face it felt like there was a bright mark there, leaving warm tingles over his skin.

Luckily that was near the end of the routine, so after their ending motif, Dream hid his head in his hands, spinning around to release some energy.

Maybe this is why Karl hugs people a lot, Dream pondered, because this feels  amazing .

He heard George laughing behind him, ‘what are you doing Dream?’

‘Ugh- nothing.’ He mumbled.

‘Huh?’ George questioned, scrunching his nose up a little with a raised eyebrow.

‘Your  mother .’ Dream said instead, flashing George a triumphant grin as if he’d just made the best joke in the world.

‘Okay! That was… good ’ Oti began, and Dream did a double take because he thought she was referring to his joke, then realised she meant the routine, ‘but we need to practice our footwork. On the first segment, George, you start on your right foot for some reason, and Dream, when you do the ball change the second time you missed it. Luckily, it didn’t ruin the routine because you both separately messed up, so you accidentally got back in sync again, which is…’ She paused. ‘Baffling.’

‘We’re epic.’ George grinned, settling his hand on Dream’s shoulder and leaning against it a little. Dream rolled his eyes in amusement.

‘I think it’d be good to just go through that bit again, repeat and repeat and  repeat  until we get it right.’

Dream’s face fell, his arms were gonna be exhausted if they had to do it for that long.

‘Can we please forget the arm stuff for now?’ He whined, ‘they’re gonna hurt so bad.’

Oti put a hand on her hip, fixing him with a disapproving stare.

‘Well, no. The arm work is one of the most pivotal points of the routine. I’ll give you breaks, but you need to get used to it.’

He sighed, and George shared a sympathetic glance his way.

‘Do you two do better learning steps to the counts or to the music and the lyrics?’

‘Counts.’

‘Counts.’

Oti nodded, seeming pleased. ‘Right, so go back to the first section, natural turn, 1… 2… 3… 1, 2, 3-‘

Both him and George rushed over to their spot, getting into frame, posture upright and backs bent back a little, both heads tilted to the left facing away from each other. Dream’s right hand was placed on George’s back, and George’s arm rested just below his shoulder, and their other hands were connected outwards, in the traditional  two-person dancing pose you often saw.

Oti clicked her fingers in time with the counts, purposely going a little slower, and saying the steps out loud.

‘Right… side left,  close .’

Dream trailed his right foot across the floor, advancing on George and turning slightly, his left swept past his right, turning to face George, and finally his right joined right beside his left foot, so him and George were parallel, and had now done a half turn.

‘Good- and again, right… side left, close.’

They repeated the steps over and over, Oti explaining and demonstrating the parts they had got wrong last time. Dream and George were spinning around the room in each others arms, footwork that looked deceptively simple, but was actually intricate, legs entwining between the other’s, outwards then inwards combined with spins, yet everything above the waist staying perfectly solid, as they glide across the floor gracefully.

And  1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3, right, 2, 3, left, 2, 3, good!’ Oti continued the beat with a two-fingered clap, and Dream saw her beaming with pride out of the corner of his eye, and he smiled.

He guided George by his waist and they rotated, ending with a full three turns, every step making a resounding ‘clack’ against the wooden floors.

As they finished the final spin, Dream grinned down at George, who was looking up at him happily, yet a little tired, and then slumped against Dream’s chest.

Dream giggled, falling back a little before catching his balance. Dream fumbled a little with his hands, then patted George’s back twice, immediately going red because that was really awkward, hopefully George didn’t notice.

George definitely noticed.

George snickered, leaning back a little to look up at Dream in amusement, Dream decided he didn’t need to hear whatever George’s tease or joke was in that moment, and instead pushed George back into his chest again. The warmth was nice, George was nice.

Arms wrapped around his waist, surprisingly compliant and gentle, Dream was expecting a defiant push or at best for George to just wait it out, but instead he relaxed with a satisfied hum, a small sigh escaping his lips as he nuzzled into Dream’s chest.

Dream’s eyes widened at that, face tilting to the side a little, an awkward yet fond chuckle on his lips. George must be exhausted or something.

‘Okay, I’ve got the music up!’ Oti’s bright voice interrupted, and George pulled away strangely quickly, turning away and rubbing a hand on his neck, before cracking his knuckles.

‘I think you’re ready to practice with that, so I’ll connect the speaker, then we’ll run through it again, then sort out the ending.’

 

—————————

 

‘Dianne calls us darling and sweet heart, it’s actually adorable.’ Aimsey said, placing a hand dramatically over their heart and doing puppy eyes.

Tubbo snickered, ‘yeah she’s all like, ‘oh it’s alright darlings, you’ll get it next time sweetheart.’ Kinda weird.’

‘What?’ Aimsey exclaimed indignantly, ‘I think it’s wholesome! …you think it’s weird?’

Tubbo leaned back in his chair at the dining table, ‘well, not like  weird  weird. Not as in sus impostor from among us.’ He snorted, ‘I don’t know, I’m just not a strong enjoyer.’

‘That’s fair, you should tell her if it makes you uncomfortable or something.’ Aimsey reminded, and Tubbo rushed to reassure, ‘no no no! It doesn’t make me uncomfortable or anything, nah it’s not like that. I just don’t see the appeal.’

They were sat in the kitchen together eating dinner on a Thursday evening, Sapnap and Karl were out to do an episode of It Takes Two, which Dream was intrigued by and would definitely be asking the two questions about it, maybe even watch the episode if he had the time.

Anyway, this meant he was just sat next to George, they couldn’t exactly have a seating plan as there weren’t nearly enough chairs for everyone, it was more of a first come first serve type of thing. Usually the bench on one end was the least favourable, but some liked it. Luckily, Dream and George had been helping with dinner preparations, so they got two normal chairs on the side.

‘Are you guys learning like… lore?’ Jack asked, and Tommy snorted.

‘Lore?’ He exclaimed in bewilderment.

‘Like… what’s the word. Dude no- I know what I mean I just forgot the- theory! That’s it, theory. Yeah, are you learning theory and stuff? Like having to remember the types of dance moves and stuff?’

Dream and Tommy shared a glance, both shaking their heads, and Jack sighed knowingly.

‘Yeah, apparently no one else is. We gotta learn about freakin’ Suzie Qs. We’re doing the Charleston this week by the way. And last week it was all like the lifted pelvis or something.’

‘That a sex position or something?’

Jack spluttered mid-drink, ‘Captain Puffy!’ He hissed, but laughed. ‘And  no , it’s not.’

‘You really just called me by my gamertag in real life, that’s like… embarrassing.’ She laughed, shaking her head.

‘Well when you say things like that I feel we must be formal.’

‘Ah yes, Minecraft is very formal.’

Under the table, George’s leg suddenly tapped against his, making Dream jump. Assuming the other didn’t have enough space, he moved to the left a little to give him more room.

Then it happened again, another little brush against his thigh. Maybe he wanted to do the dumb kicking under the table game Dream often did with Sapnap.

Dream gently tapped his knee against George’s leg, gauging his reaction, bracing himself for a harsh budge backwards. But there wasn’t. George’s leg came in contact again, but there was no force behind it, just a warm thigh against his own resting there. Dream turned his head to George in confusion, only to see him intensely listening to a conversation- debate? The whatever on the other side of the table.

He shrugged, a little confused, but definitely not complaining. This was nice. It made a small but loud part of him squeal a little with this warm yellow gooey feeling knowing that George felt safe and comfortable with him. Dream was surprised to see him being so bold. Not that this was  bold  bold per se, more or just he wouldn’t expect this from  George  of all people. Dream had imagined George would be reversed and keep himself to himself, though he definitely didn't have a problem with this. He wasn’t entirely sure what this little gesture meant though, maybe he was making a huge deal of nothing. Maybe there just wasn’t enough space under the table.

He looked down to check, and George’s thigh was just against his, it was a warm and grounding presence, Dream wasn’t sure what he was expecting when he looked down.

Those are legs that’s for sure . He grinned a little at his own dumb joke, then noticed two pairs of heels across the table.

‘Are you two wearing heels?’ He exclaimed maybe a little too loudly, and looked up to see it was Tubbo and Aimsey who must be wearing them.

‘Uhh, Dream. We literally just talked about this.’ Tubbo laughed, and Dream responded with an ‘oh’, then assured them they didn’t have to explain again.

‘Nah it’s chill,’ Aimsey waved him off, ‘partly for height reasons but mostly style points. Not like… fashion, as in we’re learning a dance and the judges will go ‘wow! And they did it in heels!’ Then we’ll just win.’

‘Why are you wearing them now though?'

‘To get used to it.’ Tubbo responded, neither of us are used to wearing heels, so we gotta practice.’

‘The stairs were  crazy ,’ Aimsey said, and a few people laughed too, so Dream assumed there was some sort of story attached to that.

 

—————————

 

‘Hi chat!’ Wilbur exclaimed, leaning back in his chair, ‘short stream today, we’re about to go do something. I don’t know if I can say what it is.’ He turned around, ‘can we say it or not?’

‘Say what? About the St-‘

‘Shut up Tubbo!’ Tommy loudly cut him off, and Tubbo turned to him, blinking in offence, before shutting his mouth.

‘I don’t know, I wouldn’t though, just in case.’ Tommy said, and Wilbur nodded.

The thing they couldn’t say of course, was it was Saturday morning, and they were going in early to learn the group dance together. Dream was pretty excited about it, it’d be cool to see how everyone else learnt and to be able to dance with everyone there. Dream also hoped Sapnap would appreciate it, and was hoping (if they were allowed to choose) that he could be near Sapnap.

As far as he knew, the professional dancers wouldn’t be there, instead a few choreographers and general staff. The votes for their allocated song had been decided, so they’d each be learning their bit.

‘What you don’t know chat is the only reason I’m streaming is to pressure everyone who isn’t ready yet to get here quicker,’ Wilbur grinned, ‘I am  using  you twitch chat. It’s all part of my plan. I’ve got a  plan  twitch chat.’

Tommy snickered, ‘guys, so… Karl, Hannah, uhh… Niki, and Sam all aren’t ready. So go and unsubscribe from their channels.’

‘That’s a joke by the way.’ He clarified, and Wilbur laughed.

‘This feels weird man, I have no plan for the stream, we can get like…’ he trailed off, coming up blank.

‘QnA?’ Tubbo suggested, and Wilbur agreed.

‘Any updates on Lovejoy?’ Wilbur read out, ‘chat, I have… literally no time, I don’t know what you want from me. Me and Tommy are busy almost the whole week, so Lovejoy is on hold at the moment.’ He explained.

There was a brief pause as he tried to get another question, then Tommy started laughing.

‘Hey Wil, someone in chat said they’re gonna like… not vote for us so they get Lovejoy songs. Betrayal.’ He mimed getting stabbed in the heart and fell back on the sofa.

Sam and Niki stumbled into the room, and were met with applause.

‘Summarise the whole Strictly Come Dancing experience so far.’ Wilbur read out, then hummed in thought. ‘I think… I think it’s very  taxing . Like, I’m no longer in control of a lot of my life and stuff,’ he looked to Tommy when he said that, ‘and I think… it’s probably been good, but that part does kinda suck. The rehearsals are - eve street, thank you for the five - uhh… yeah the rehearsals are really fun, I’ve definitely gotten closer to Tommy because of it, we took some photos and videos and stuff, maybe I’ll post them actually. But, yeah! The actual part of the show itself is great, like Saturday evening, and the rehearsals, but the stuff outside of that is achey and annoying, the general living at home is just feeling exhausted.’

‘Yeah that makes sense,’ Tubbo agreed, ‘also, I think it’s really freakin’ awesome seeing and learning about all this new stuff. Like… we’re meeting so many people and learning actual dances.’

‘All while looking good doing it,’ Aimsey grinned.

‘Yeah, I think it’s cool.’ Wilbur finished somewhat lamely in comparison to his previous monologue, ‘oh, did you guys hear the windows noise? New update? Thank you windows.’

‘Someone said how do you not fall in love?’ Niki scoffed, and she and Jack turned to each other jokingly, doing that head tilt and finger guns combo, then laughing.

‘We actually discussed that!’ Dream said, then realised how that sounded, ‘wait no- not like. As in- I mean like we made the same joke, no one is  actually  in love.’

Well ’ Sapnap drawled, and Dream elbowed him.

‘What’s It Takes Two like?’ Wilbur read, ‘uhh, I actually haven’t done it yet. I know Sam and Foolish did, and Bad and Skeppy did too of course.’

Dream had forgotten about that, now remembering it was a thing.

‘Me and Sapnap went on last night!’ Karl said, popping his head in, ‘you should watch the episode!’

‘Dream, someone asked what your thoughts on face revealing were.’

‘That was ages ago!’

‘Oh, have you already talked about it?’ Wilbur asked, and Dream shook his head.

He hummed, thinking. Even being on this stream was a step for him. This was his third time being on a stream camera, the others being the face reveal, and that VR stream with George. He found himself sitting stiffly and very aware of all his movements. Little things like smoothing out his clothes or fixing his posture, brushing a hand through his hair and scrunching his nose more often, little scratches on the back of his neck, like every spot on his skin was scrutinised.

It was almost worse when Sapnap mentioned it, drawing more attention to him than he wanted, both from the people around them and the people from the stream.

 

(‘Yeah I don’t know what it does.’ Wilbur shrugged, then muttered ‘VGA… something…’

‘Vegas.’ George suggested jokingly, and Dream grinned at him.

Suddenly there was a sharp pressure on his shoulder and Dream flinched, whipping his head around to see Sapnap snickering behind him.

‘Dude you’re so jumpy, just chill.’

Dream stuttered indignantly, ‘wh- you literally become like… the physical form of a jumpscare and… sneak attack me then call me jumpy? What do you expect-‘

‘No no, not that. Like, you keep tugging on your hoodie and stuff.’ Dream shrugged Sapnap’s hand off of his shoulder, replacing it with his own to soothe the slightly painful feeling, Sapnap looked down apologetically but continued. ‘Or like… ruffling your hair I don’t know. Wanna look pretty for the camera?’ He teased, and Dream rolled his eyes with a snort.

‘I’m always pretty.’ He said to deflect, and when he looked down he did notice his hand absentmindedly toying with his hoodie, and his cheeks went a little red in embarrassment, firmly putting his hand on the sofa next to him.

They continued answering questions from chat, and Dream tried to make a conscious effort to not be so worried about his appearance and stuff. It was difficult to get used to though.

At one point George’s hand waved at him discreetly from the corners of his vision, and Dream turned to him with a questioning glance.

George gestured with his hand to something, and Dream shook his head blankly, as if to say ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ George rolled his eyes in frustration, and Dream waved his hands around a little, George’s eyes lit up, and he tapped his own shoulder.

Dream stared, confused, trying to figure out what George was talking about. Sapnap had jumped him using his shoulder before, to talk about Dream being weird on stream, was Sapnap alright? But George would just gesture to Sapnap. He was about to look towards the guy when he was conscious of his left hand scratching his neck, and his eyes widened in surprise. Oh, that’s what George was talking about. He dragged his hand away, sending George a thankful smile. George nodded at him, his own content look on his face.

It felt a little out of place, Dream hoped George was doing okay. He looked almost… gentler, he was being quieter than normal. George would often be screaming and bickering with Sapnap or Karl or Dream himself, but now he was just… observing. A soft little smile on his face and legs hugged to his chest, resting his chin on his knees and arms wrapped around his legs.

Dream frowned. Did George want a hug or something?

He hoped George wasn’t feeling touch starved, Dream was hoping that them dancing together had taken that away. If George still was, Dream would hug him a thousand times to take it away, but he also didn’t know if that was what George wanted, but if it was, George wouldn’t initiate it. Maybe-)

 

‘Dream?’

He jumped, blinking rapidly as he was shoved back in the present.

‘Sorry what?’ He mumbled, looking back up at Wilbur, who burst into giggles.

‘You went quiet for a bit, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, we can move on.’

Dream cast his mind back to what the question was. Why had he been thinking about George again? He mentally retraced his thought footsteps. George, the shoulder thing, Sapnap, Sapnap telling him he was jumpy, feeling awkward on a stream… right! The face reveal.

He was about to answer properly but Wilbur had already moved on, talking about an interaction with a lovely cashier at Subway when he went with Tommy after rehearsals on their half day.

Dream mentally slapped himself in the face, all this work to make sure he didn’t look bad on stream then he goes and does that. He looked to chat, but he was too far away to read the small obscure text on the monitor, partially obstructed by Wilbur’s head anyway. Whatever.

Once everyone was ready, Wilbur ended the stream, which had amounted to the better half of an hour.

Dream went in a car with George, Sapnap, Karl, and Sam. They talked about how strange it was being in this scenario, because usually it meant they’d be going to the actual show, to perform their dances then potentially be put in the dance off. But instead they were gonna go learn a whole extra dance, with hours until the actual show. Dream had no idea how they’d learn it so quickly.

Upon arrival, they were rushed to changing rooms to get into exercise gear, and everyone came out in various shorts, leggings, tops, sports bras, tank tops, some people even bought sweat bands, which Dream hadn’t even considered. They just reminded him of Sapnap.

They followed a group of people Dream couldn’t see very well (he was near the back) down a new route of hallways, and down some stairs, then a pair of double doors opened and they were in a huge hall.

Dream gaped in awe at the sheer size of it, spinning around in a circle to take it all in. It was bigger than Dream and George’s rehearsal room in terms of width, and nearly double the size in height, huge industrial lights hanging down from the ceiling to make up for no windows. Dream truly couldn’t comprehend how all of this could fit in to the studios from the outside. Was this underground or something?

‘Everyone! Can I have your attention please!’ An assertive but not unfriendly voice yelled, their loud voice echoing off the walls ominously, immediately shutting everyone up.

‘Hi! My name’s Dan, I’m one of the choregraphers working here at Strictly, along with Sophie,’ He gestured to the woman beside him, wearing a black top with the Strictly Come Dancing logo on it, she smiled and waved at them, ‘Danny isn’t here, I know, the names are confusing, I’m Dan, he’s Danny, anyway yeah, he isn’t here with us today, he’s sick. You might see him eventually… I’m not sure. And then we have Kara.’

Puffy made a drawn out ‘yo’ sound and waved enthusiastically.

‘I’m Cara too! Yours with a C or with a K?’ She shouted.

‘Mine’s spelt with a K.’ Kara responded, a surprised look on her face, her voice was nice, a tinge of an Italian accent in there.

‘Ah, I’m a C.’

They shared a sympathetic nod, and that was that.

‘Wow look at that, so many similar names here, I’m sure you two will get along great.’ Dan spoke very quickly, before Dream thought maybe he had been reading off of some sort of script that he’d committed to memory, but maybe that’s just how he was.

‘So, the fellas down in music development made this nice mashup of all of the most-voted songs, with their own hand-made funky beat thing in the background. You all know your songs?’ He asked, and there were general murmurs of ascent through the crowd.

‘Come on guys, you’re meant to be these loud fun exciting personalities. Give me energy! Let’s get excited! We’re all about to do some dancing together, where’s the fun?’

This Dan guy was very optimistic.

‘Give me a ‘woo!’ if you know your song.’ Dan then gestured to the crowd dramatically with his hand, and a few short-lived whoops responded.

‘This is like a pantomime or something.’ George giggled, and Dream turned to him in mild confusion.

‘A what?’

‘Pantomime.’ George repeated incredulously, ‘you’ve never been?’

‘No? What are they?’

‘You two!’ The booming voice of Dan yelled, and Dream and George jumped, realising Dan was pointing at  them . Dream went a little red, but they both laughed it off. But this awful embarrassment simmered low in his gut making him want to smash his head into a wall. Literally everyone had already moved on, why did he feel like this.

‘Alright, I’ll repeat, as  some of us. ’ Dan teasingly side-eyed Dream and George, who both had their eyes firmly on the ground, ‘weren’t listening. Get into your partners and run over your stretches, make sure you cover everything, neck, arms, legs, waist, hips etcetera.’

Once everyone were into their duos and voices filled the room as people stretched, Dream and George both burst into giggles.

‘Oh my gosh that was so awkward.’ George said, his head in his hands.

‘I feel like I’m back at high school again being singled out by the teacher or something.’

High  school.’ George mocked in a weird voice, maybe a really bad imitation of an American accent, and Dream did that little sharp exhale through his nose thing. Expressing appreciation of the humour, but not a full laugh.

They went through the stretches, waking both of their bodies up as they recalled the specific order Oti had done with them countless times. They made sure to get some pulse raisers in too, star jumps and jogging on the spot. They were reluctant to get on the floor, unsure of how clean in was, but upon inspection they couldn’t find any visible marks. When they finished, they talked to Sapnap and Karl who were a metre or so away from them, repeating some of the simple arm stretches to make sure it looked like they were doing something.

‘1 minute and then we’ll start everyone!’ A new voice said, but when Dream looked over he realised it was Sophie from earlier, her brown hair now tied in a firm high pony.

‘Alright! That’s enough now, gather round and we’ll explain what’s going on.’

‘Basically, the plan is to have this included on the episode that goes out on Sunday. So what this means for us, is once you’ve all performed your dances and got your scores, we’ll have the interval as normal of course, and that’s when you guys will get changed. This will almost be like a replacement for the professional dancer’s opening dance. They’ll come on and do their bit for about a minute, then you guys will come on and join for the remaining two minutes.’

‘We’ll start with you all just coming on from the sides, there won’t be any introductions here and stuff like that, just you coming on. Then we want to try making an aisle, so you’ll be in your partners stood on opposite sides so there’s an aisle to walk through between you. If you ever played the Here Comes Sally Walking Down the Alley game, it’s that kind of formation. You’ll get your introductions pair by pair, the ones at the top of the line furthest away from the audience will walk down, do a bit of dancing to your song from the poll, then you’ll join the end of the line. We’ll keep going until everyone has went down the line and had their introductions, then end doing a nice little motif with the professional dancers too. That sound alright?’

Dream looked around to see unsure faces, people shifting nervously, and was glad he wasn’t the only one that didn’t completely know what was going on.

‘You don’t have to remember all that, it’s just a brief of the plan. We’ll go through it with you we have like…’ Sophie checked her watch, ‘just under two hours, more than enough time.’

 

—————————

 

An hour and a half had passed quickly, but Sophie had been right. At this point they were just going over it despite having done every step perfectly.

‘I really like that aisle thing,’ Sapnap commented, ‘I think it’s fun.’

Dream and George were third to go down the aisle, their short motif was to the chorus of Heatwaves, the most iconic of course. They did a wave to the crowd to begin with, then George performed a succession of spins with his hand held above his head by Dream, following along by his side. Their final part was a dumb sarcastic suggestion by George, but was implemented anyway. It was that disco dance with one hand on your hip and the other hand pointing top right then bottom left, swaying your hips in time. This brought them to the bottom of the aisle, they finished with a high five and a final wave, before parting to join the aisle again, Sam and Foolish going down after them.

‘That last bit we do is so weird.’ George grumbled, but he was laughing. ‘Like… we do the disco thing to  Heatwaves . That is not what the song is suited for at all.’

‘What did you want us to do? Kiss or something?’ Dream teased, and George spluttered in denial.  He’s so easy to wind up .

‘My favourite bit is the thing at the end, it’s really satisfying.’ Karl said, and they noticed people had begun to walk out the doors, and scrambled to follow them.

‘What, the canon bit? Or the final posing thing?’ Sapnap held the door open for them, and Dream exaggeratively bowed his head, only to be swatted by George for taking too long. He giggled, walking through.

‘Both.’ Karl shrugged.

‘I wanna see the canon thing from like… an audience perspective, I think it’d look really cool.’ George mused, ‘like they said it’s meant to make a flower kind of shape. I didn’t really see that, more of like… an explosion or something.’

‘Wow George, they go all wholesome with a flower and you think of an explosion?’ Sapnap teased, but George waved his hands around unapologetically.

He was referring to when they all congregate in a circle in the middle of the stage, only to all explode outwards. The choreographers said it looked cool, even though Dream felt a little stupid just doing some big steps outwards.

The ending position was fun though, they did a move in canon (one after the other) starting from Wilbur - the tallest - at the back, he strode forward and struck a pose, then one by one going around the circle both left and right (ending with Aimsey at the front) they would move in and strike a pose, crouching or on their knees if necessary to be seen.

Dream went at the same time as Sam, each of them on either side of Wilbur, and had decided to do some symmetry by doing finger guns outwards, Foolish and Tommy went after them, and Tommy made an effort to be annoying by crashing into Dream every time he ran over, before crouching down a little in front of him, pulling a pog face and doing jazz hands.

Aimsey - the shortest of the group - had a lot of fun sliding backwards, then sat criss-crossed, with two thumbs up and a wide grin, Tubbo and Hannah leaning their backs against her arms.

It started off as just a huge scramble to get into position, occasionally people would fall or slip, and arms that flailed for balance would tug others down with them. But after repeated practice they had got it down.

Because the routine wasn’t for a competition or anything, they got to have much more fun with it and experiment with group stuff. It was interesting to have so many people, but they worked quite well as a team, everyone got their head down, probably all feeling a bit of the nerves knowing they only had two hours to perfect it. Which, like Sophie and Dan had said, had been more than enough time, as here they were, cutting it early.

‘Where’s everyone going?’ Dream asked, confused on what they were supposed to do or where they were supposed to go for the remaining half an hour or so.

Niki turned around from in front of them, ‘they’re showing us where the changing rooms are and the route we take to get there during the interval.’

‘Ah okay, thanks Niki.’

She smiled, then turned around, talking to Jack and Tommy again.

Dream made sure to pay attention to the route because George clearly wasn’t, and he knew the other would be whining and putting the responsibility on Dream again to figure out what was going on later in the night.

Left, left, straight, right, second door on the left.

There were all given simple navy suits, and hats were supplied if they were wanted, with a special one with a strap for Aimsey.

‘Okay, pretty sure that’s it now.’ Dan said, clapping his hands together. ‘Any questions?’

Silence.

‘Right,’ he chuckled, ‘okay, the gang want you at the normal changing rooms, if you take a right out that door and walk straight ahead you’ll recognise where you are, but you still have about twenty minutes until then.

At that they were left alone, and excitement was simmering in Dream’s gut. He was a little nervous about having two routines to remember, but none of them mattered all that much so that was relieving.

Because of the charity milestone, after the interval they weren’t even having a dance off, there were some games they’d be participating in, and of course performing the dance they’d just learnt, but that meant the stakes were much lower. For their dances in couples, they would still be scored, and it would be added on to next weeks scoring. So it did contribute to something, but nothing for tonight.

They busied themselves with simple chatter, going on their phones, or some people practiced steps from their dances, and then made their way to the changing rooms.

Uncovering his outfit was somewhat anticlimactic, he had grown to fear these moments, but it was a simple white shirt with a light grey waistcoat, and a darker grey colour for the trousers.

It fit well and looked good, he was pleasantly surprised to have something so simple, he wouldn’t even stick out from a crowd in this.

They did his hair similar to the first week, slicking it back with gel, it looked smart.

The room was busy by now, and Dream scanned the faces looking for his partner. Was partner the wrong word? Probably not.

When his eyes landed on George they made eye contact through one of the mirrors, then George quickly looked away. Dream’s eyebrows furrowed, confused, worried he’d done something wrong. Was George annoyed with him or something? He looked like he was smiling. That was… weird. He’ll have to ask about it later.

Anyway, George’s outfit was almost the same, just the waistcoat and trousers were darker than Dream’s wear, he was casually on his phone as someone worked at his hair, but eventually looked up and noticed Dream staring still. That made Dream notice  himself staring, and he shook his head and looked away.

George seemed to look good in everything, it was almost unfair. The dark colours of his outfit worked with the dark colours of his hair, and complimented his skin. George was all contrast, deep brown eyes and dark eyelashes to pale skin and a soft white shirt underneath. George wasn’t  awkward  but he wasn’t confident. Or maybe he was, just lounging back in his chair grinning to himself at something he saw. He was so confident he didn’t even need to show it. He wasn’t striding into every room demanding the attention of watchful eyes, but he got the attention anyway, by just walking in and being himself.

George was just someone  you notice .

Even if he isn’t the loudest in the room, and he usually never is, unless he’s squabbling and bickering with someone else, jokes escalating until he’s shrieking or laughter like bubbles in the air. But normally George will sit back and let others control conversations, his input a mere dumb joke or word associations, a little anecdote he remembered, but usually all dumb stuff. It was so… George , that Dream couldn’t help notice it.

When the time came, they walked down to the balcony of 2D, and Dream got a water - which was conveniently free. He sipped on it while they waited, fingers drumming on the table, him and George were first to perform this week.

It seemed to make time go even quicker, and before he knew it, he was on the topmost step of the scaffolding, muffled noise only blocked by a curtain, which was pulled to the side at the announcement of his and George’s name.

All blinding spotlights and uproar from an eager audience, and they descended the stairs holding hands, walking over to the imaginary line, clapping while looking back at everyone else, admiring outfits shown off in different poses, some just getting to the point and running down the stairs straight away.

‘Welcome back to Strictly Come Dancing! It is Week 3 and the competition is heating up…’ Tess exclaimed, and the crowd cheered accordingly, and Dream and George led everyone off stage.

‘Sadly it was Bad and Skeppy-‘ Dream still scoffed a little at how foreign the names sounded on Claudia’s tongue. ‘who are no longer with us.’

‘It’s like they died or something.’ George whispered over the 'aww'ing crowd, and Dream laughed.

‘But our remaining couples have been working just as hard for their new routines, which they will perform for us tonight!’

‘Good luck y’all.’ Sapnap nodded to them, slapping them both on the shoulder with a gloved hand.

Dream and George shared a confused glance, but shrugged it off, stretching in the little time they had.

‘We’re gonna pop off,’ George muttered under his breath, like he was trying to convince himself more than anyone else.

‘You look- like  really  good by the way.’ Dream blurted, then paused, wondering why he had said it like that.

George looked up in mild confusion, then giggled.

‘Thank you?’

‘You are welcome.’ Dream decided to just go with it.

‘And voting will  not  be open after the show, although judges votes  will  be combined with next week’s scores. And now, opening the show with a Viennese Waltz, we have… Dream and George!’

The audience applauded enthusiastically as they awaited their arrival, and Dream and George nodded decisively to each other before walking out.

Dream felt a little tap on his shoulder and whipped his head around to see George laughing at him.

‘You looked nervous,’ he justified, ‘relax.’

‘What, is this like… a thing now?’

‘I don’t know,’ George shrugged, ‘I find it funny.’

Dream shook his head in amusement as George grasped his hand, (he was becoming oddly clingy lately) and they walked onto the stage, the lights dimming to a grey, a spotlight on George at the beginning who was centre stage, while Dream was a little off to the side.

Then the deep booming voice rang out, signifying the beginning of the dance, ‘ Dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘Everybody Hurts’, George and Dream .’

The music began with soft repetitive piano keys, slow and quiet as Dream walked over to George, who had his hand outstretched in front of him.

Dream relaxed his face, getting into character, and when he reached George he spun around him slowly, his hand tracing along the other’s waist all slow and gentle, before stopping when he was stood in front of him.

He brought his hand up, clasping George’s in his own, and took a step closer, they swayed side to side, legs moving in symmetry and bodies led by their hips. They brought their linked arms upwards and George twirled, graceful and elegant.

George had really progressed here, if this was their first day of rehearsal this week George would be giggling and they’d have to restart because he didn’t take it seriously.

Not now Dream, we need to focus.

When George finished his spinning, he settled into Dream’s arms, wrapping cold fingers around his neck and Dream put his hands on George’s back.

They swayed again, but this time exploring the floor even further and the music picked up a little with them, all he could see was George, taking up all of his vision, they were almost nose to nose and the warmth was just radiating off of him. Dream scrunched his nose a little and nearly panicked at the idea of needing to sneeze.

The spotlights made everything around the two just look pure white, as if they were in the clouds, just the two of them. The rest of the world could just… fade away.

The steps were muscle memory by now, repetitive and mindless that Dream was just entranced in the moment.

Bright white spotlights casted shadows of them on the floor, spinning around each other as black silhouettes, facial features indistinguishable from how close they were.

They moved left and right, gliding around the floor, poised and perfect. Every breath George took was a light tinkle against his face, and when Dream smiled, it was true and genuine. Such intimacy that mere months prior would have him grimacing in discomfort, now came naturally, making him want to curl up in it and just sit there forever, just lose himself in George’s eyes, hands on his neck and a pretty boy in his arms.

George  was  pretty, he looked lovely right now, Dream wasn’t afraid to admit it. It’s normal to think that, everyone knows it, and it makes sense that he’d like being this close.

When they finally pull away it was cold, and Dream missed George’s presence beside him, he was still gently holding his hand, and when George stretched out with his free arm extended, Dream pulled him back again, and they both had an easy smile on their faces as they got into frame.

He pushed his shoulder back, stood up straight with an arm extended, one curling around to rest on George’s side, George’s hand settling on top of that arm, and in their free hand they interlocked, out to the side.

Whispers of 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, repeated in his head, but politely quietened themselves down, and Dream and George were spinning, a light bounce up and down from the length of their strides, turning clockwise and then anticlockwise, discovering every inch of the floor together, figures of the audience faded away, watchful eyes of the judges fizzled out of existence, as if Dream and George were suspended in the sky, only the soles of their shoes and hold on each other keeping them tethered to reality.

They slowed to a stop, holding eye contact and George’s hand curled around his ear, brushing down to cup his cheek and slithering down to his jaw, the contact burning and freezing at the same time, his hand dropped, and they leaned to the left, and with Dream holding George’s hand above his head, he guided him with artful spins across the floor. He stared in admiration at the speed, just following along with him making sure he didn’t go off course.

They went all the way to the centre of the floor, and Dream brought his right hand under George’s arm and resting by his neck, resisting the whim to curl into brown locks, probably smooth with gel.

He dropped to one knee and George fell backwards, holding onto Dream’s shoulders, who stayed strong to support the fall and catch him, and the music faded out, replaced by screams and applaud.

Dream blinked, frozen for a second as George just smiled up at him, he looked awfully pretty, and was giggling a little, probably giddy off of adrenaline. Dream reluctantly withdrew, feeling like he was descending from the clouds, as if he had just woken from a dream where everything was slow and gentle and lovely.

George tapped his shoulder impatiently, and Dream slowly released him so he wouldn’t fall too harshly, then pulled him up to stand, embracing him tightly.

He felt like he could cry, why was he so emotional right now?

‘We did great.’ George said, surprisingly quiet, but Dream hung on to every word to hear him over the roar of the audience.

‘Are you okay?’ He asked, a beaming smile on his face, but pulling back from the hug a little to truly look at George.

‘I’m great.’ George assured, a content dopey smile on his face, then looked a little worried but laughed, ‘are  you ? You look like you’re about to write also may.’

‘What?’ Dream yelled, sure he must’ve misheard.

‘You look like you’re about to cry or something!’ George yelled in his ear, chuckling.

‘Oh!’ Dream said back, then wiped his watery eyes, ‘I’m okay! Happy tears maybe? That was overwhelming.’

George made a babyish ‘aww’ sound, pulling him in for another hug, squeezing him tightly, and Dream felt himself fully relax.

He wanted to stay a little longer, but the applause was dying down and Tess was beckoning them over, so Dream pulled away, but was happy when George kept an arm on his side.

‘You alright there Dream?’ Tess asked, laughing.

‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ Dream waved her off, not wanting to talk about it.

‘Well that routine was wonderful! Do we agree?’ Tess looked to the audience, and they voiced their approval, George giggled in response, grinning.

‘I felt like I was right there with you two! The chemistry between you there was incredible!’

Dream turned to George, expecting some form of reaction, and it wasn’t surprising that George had a raised eyebrow, but they both laughed along anyway.

‘And what a way to open the show! It’s a tough job to do that but you guys blew everyone anyway!’

‘Thank you!’ Dream nodded, and Tess smiled, before turning to the judges, long shiny blonde hair flipping over her shoulder at the speed of her head turn.

‘Bruno, what were your thoughts?’

He glared at them dramatically, eyes squinted and chin resting on interlocked hands, and then he jumped out of his chair theatrically.

‘That was incredible!’ He exclaimed, and the crowd cheered, he sat down again and continued, ‘well, I mean you were irresistible, you’re adorable to watch, your connection with your partner is so caring, so gentle, so sweet, and I can- everybody must’ve been thinking ‘aww they’re just lovely ’, and it  was  lovely but! You have to be careful with the Viennese Waltz: no rise and fall.’

Dream grimaced and nodded.

‘It should be imperceptible, you know? And by emphasising the rise and fall you lose a bit of the smooth rotation but -’ he paused to turn the booing audience ‘excuse me’ which was met with laughter, then continued, ‘your posture and arm lines were immaculate, the emotional connection both your partner and the audience was strong, and it was beautiful to watch, a well-received performance my darlings.’ He nodded to show he was finished and there were quiet ripples of applause, and a singular shrill whistle from someone.

‘Well received performance,’ Tess repeated, ‘Craig.’

‘Yep,  way  too much rise and fall it almost appeared as a waltz-‘ boos immediately arose, ‘and at the start you were quite clunky and rigid.’ He finished, apathetic and unbothered.

Whelp. Thanks Craig Way to ruin the moment. Honestly people like that got on Dream’s nerves. Nothing constructive, no positives, no compliments. Dismissive of all their hard work and bringing the mood down immediately. It wasn’t Craig himself he was annoyed with, because this was obviously a persona. More akin to a cartoon villain than a human, something fun for the show, he was just annoyed at the idea of it. All that time and effort brushed aside just like that for some laughs.

George tapped his shoulder again and Dream came back to the present, consciously relaxing his shoulders and squeezing George’s side to show his gratitude.

‘He’s an idiot though.’ He whispered in a low voice that hopefully no one else could hear, and George smiled, discreetly nodding in agreement.

‘Shirley where do you stand?’ Tess asked, moving swiftly on.

‘I personally- you know how much I adore you two, but on your natural turns which were moving to the right; there was by far too much rise and fall, but actually your foot work was quite nice, your reverse turns when turning to the left were a little bit flatter, so you did quite well there. It didn’t have any flight, it didn’t have any glide, although! I really got all those emotions, your narrative was fantastic! Your acting skills, no wonder you’re known for your… storytelling is it? You brought all those skills together and some beautiful footwork, with a gorgeous frame, but I just loved the narrative and how you sold it, if you toned down that rise and fall we mentioned earlier that would be truly wonderful, but we can see how much passion you two have, and I think that’s the type of thing that makes this show truly magical.’

George was beaming up at him from the kind words, and Dream felt like he was buzzing with victory.

‘And Motsi?’

I have to say… I don’t think I need to say anything because your dance spoke for itself. This now, for me was the dance with the it factor today, now of course, I haven’t seen the rest of them,’ Dream laughed at that, as did some of the audience, ‘but this must be hard to beat. This is the dance, this is the moment, that was magical! I have to agree with my fellow judges, a little too much rise and fall-‘

‘A little?’ Craig interrupted with a raised eyebrow, but Motsi continued.

‘Though I think even despite that, you felt so… connected, you worked with each other the whole dance and we could really see that. Us and the audience were right there with you the whole way, the connection you have is something special, so the dance doesn’t even matter. For that I applaud you.’ She bowed her head to them, and the audience responded enthusiastically.

Dream appreciated the words, but saying ‘the dance doesn’t even matter’ was definitely too far, this was a dance competition after all, but getting some positives was better than nothing,  looking at you Craig .

Tess sent them off up the stairs, they had a short chat with Claudia, trading banter and laughing politely at puns, and they received their score of 32, a seven, two eights, and a nine from Motsi.

George seemed absolutely ecstatic, jumping about with a huge grin on his face and pulling Dream into another hug, Dream felt this warm buzzing feeling inside, finding it crazy that four numbers could bring someone this much happiness, but he held George in his arms, squeezing him, just happy that George was happy.

They got to enjoy the rest of the evening watching every other pair, without the stress of waiting for their turn, just leaning over the balcony and whispering any jokes or compliments to each other, both still giddy on the high of such a dance. They saw Oti on a separate balcony, and she gave them a proud thumbs up, exaggeratively mouthing the words ‘good job!’ and they responded with smiles and whispered ‘thank you!’s.

It felt like something out of a movie, watching wonderful dances leaning over a balcony, dressed in fancy outfits and this fuzzy content feeling just simmering in his heart and his head, and George hopefully felt the same because he saw him stimming, shaking his hands. Dream decided to copy him, he usually went for full arm stims, but after trying out George’s, he could see the appeal. It felt nice.

Later they were congratulated on getting top of the leaderboard (Tubbo and Aimsey blamed the heels, not that they were salty, the two mimed handing over first-place crowns and were laughing and joking with everyone else), the normal imposing figure of the dance off, casting a looming spooky darkness over them was firmly somewhere else, so they were able to enjoy the evening. Though Dream did find it a little frustrating that the week they got top of the leaderboard was the one that didn’t matter.

They rushed to get changed for the rest of the night, performed that little group dance with no errors (as far as Dream knew) and took part in a few fun little games, things like holding up a paddle with either ‘ME’ or ‘THEM’ in response to a statement, they got up five audience members to teach a dance, they got all the judges, competitors, and even some of the singers and people on the orchestra to get up and do the Macarena, or other classics like the ‘I am a music man’ song. Bands came up and played their songs, various celebrities appearing and saying their bit, plenty of donations and even a speech or two.

It just had a really positive energy in the studio that night, and when they went home in their taxis, George was clearly tired, constantly stifling yawns with his hand or stretching like a cat, eventually his eyelids fluttered to a close, head falling onto Dream’s shoulder.

Dream smiled softly, bringing a hand protectively on George’s side and looking down at him endearingly.  He’s so scrunkly. Of course, George had to be woken up when they get home, and he was all mumbles and scrunched eyelids with confused questions, so Dream just guided him upstairs, and they brushed their teeth together, then Dream sent George into his bedroom.

George closed the door behind him with a sleepy ‘G’night Dr’m.’ and when it clicked shut Dream’s smile fell a bit. He’d spent almost the whole day with George, an absolutely incredible wonderful day that was amazing, leaving him buzzing and happy and wanting to go squeeze a pillow (which he later did) or just wrap himself in blankets and combust in happiness (which he did not do).

But now George was gone, and the day was over, the golden sun had fallen below the horizon, and Dream let out a heavy exhale, comforted by the knowledge that he could do it all again.

Chapter Text

Dream lied lazily on the sofa, head propped up with his right arm, using his left to scroll through twitter, some news channel in the background playing on the TV. It was still dark outside despite it being around 8:00 in the morning, so he had a lamp turned on, casting the room in a moody glow, and there was this huge shadow from a plant pot on the wall.

 

hugs for inniters @hugsforinniters

I AM SCREAMING I’ve rewatched the episodes like eight times I’m not even kidding I’m so happy abdjhsjs

 

tappingandjazz @tappingandjazz

dancer of six and a half years here! I have some in depth analysis of each of the dances on my page take a look if you’re interested :>

 

jamie @nikiapologistxoxo

Did anyone else see jack’s face at 0:46 in this clip? He looks injured I’m worried :(

 

soren @realmellohi

friendly reminder not to ship the streamers if it’s against their boundaries! it doesn’t matter if they’re doing romantic dances or holding hands or ANYTHING, and no speculating on possible relationships either. how do people not realise how weird that is??? I’ve seen people do it with MINORS, some of you guys are sick.

 

LUVJ0Y @LUVJ0Y

Replying to @realmellohi

this ^^ omg some people are crazy. do your research before writing/drawing anything. boundaries are extremely important

 

cricket crew enjoyer @aimseysrightpinkie

I wanna make fanart of aimsey and tubbo’s dance bc their outfits were so cool but I don’t want it to come off as romantic, any advice?

 

katie @delectableham

BROO IMAGINE IF LIKE NIKI AND JACK DID A DANCE IN ROCKETDUO OUTFITS I’D LOVE THAT PDJSKSJDKE /POS

 

maxdoesart :) @maxdoesartxx

new art challenge! :} decided to try and do at least two of the dances as fanart every week before the next episode is out. only starting now so skipping the first two weeks, but doing the third week now! might stream some of them o_O keep an eye out

 

Tommyinnit @tommyinnit

@edsheeran you didnt respond to me last week and im nto sure how to feel about it. Change this Ed. Be better. ty

 

jedlowee @theminecraftocelotabc

hot take and don’t wanna take away from all the awesome things going on, and the new stuff is really cool but I miss the old content a little :(( they don’t stream as much anymore and when they do everyone just seems a little tired and miserable. kinda sucks

 

disco @discosn0tf0und

Replying to @theminecraftocelotabc

stop complaining

 

both a gay and a they @radisheshater

Replying to @theminecraftocelotabc

I know what you mean! I kinda agree with you tbf I miss the ylyls and origins and stuff, we haven’t had a dream disc podcast in AGES. and then now we only get like half an hour of content, but for an individual cc it’s literally like six minutes each. like they hyped all this up but now it’s worse than before

 

potentialfordestruction @potentialfordestruction

Replying to @theminecraftocelotabc

sure! I get where you’re coming from, but we gotta remember this thing could be for the streamers not for us :D they mention they’re having a lot of fun and are making new friendships! (peep aimsey and foolish the stream a couple days ago was so funny lmao) it’s okay to miss them but just remember how much fun they’re having. I look forward to the story times when they talk about everything going on, and the weekend evenings feel more fun now, it’s getting me through the week ngl

 

localskatergirl @localskatergirl

Replying to @potentialfordestruction

THIS LMAO. dt+k have a more consistent stream schedule now let's go?? even if it's only a couple minutes at least it's weekly KEKW

 

cactustime @cactustime1234

au where phil and kristen are in mcc

 

cactustime @cactustime1234

Replying to @cactustime1234

I MEANT STRICTLY COME DANCING* WHAT. i mean im all for kristen in mcc that would be great

 

sbiangstproducer @sbiangstproducer

Replying to @cactustime1234

LMDPAJSOS but also yes that is so cute I’m drawing them in jack and nikis viennese waltz outfits right now and no one can stop me, but instead of white jewels it’s gonna be like the philza minecraft hardcore hearts :)))

 

ryan @shamelessdnfshipper

here’s some fanart of dream and george’s last dance they were literally angels idc what y’all say the way dream looks at george at 1:26 makes me want to cry. sleeping on the highway tonight who’s with me :’)

 

kwwivenus @ifyouseethiscommentrock

Replying to @shamelessdnfshipper

me too -grabs sleeping bag-

 

virgosincebirth @virgosincebirth

Replying to @shamelessdnfshipper

and me -grabs hot chocolate-

 

hugsforinniters @hugsforinniters

Replying to @shamelessdnfshipper

the way dream looks at george? the way GEORGE looks at DREAM. DO YOU SEE THIS MAN.

 

purpleemeraldee @purpleemeralder

Replying to @hugsforinniters

your honour they’re in love /j (/hj????)

 

Dream’s shook his head in amusement, but clicked the link and skipped to the timestamp. They were referring to when they were spinning around the floor together. Dream looked at his face, occasionally obscured from this camera angle when either he was facing the opposite way or when George was in front of him.

An odd feeling settled in his stomach looking at the likes and views of the videos. Something about those special moments not being private was… weird. That was him and George, they put the effort in, they prepared together, they dealt with the nerves, they did the dance together. And the whole world gets to see? Of course that’s the point, it just… didn’t sit right.

He looked back up to the video, and there was his past self, and sure… maybe he was looking down at George with a stupid grin on his face, in fact he looked happier than Dream had ever seen himself. But of course it was being manipulated. His hands were by George’s waist, the dance is meant to be romantic, they were told to act, what did everyone expect? For them to seem like they hate each other?

Of course he looked like that.

He was about to go back to twitter when he remembered the other tweet, and sent the clip back ten seconds or so to look at George’s face.

Dream found a soft smile creeping onto his face, he wasn’t sure what he was expecting because he had seen George in the moment on the night. This was nothing he hadn't seen before. Their eyes were locked, relying on memory to take them on a journey. George was looking up at him with those familiar wide eyes, all dark and void like, something you could stare at for hours and maybe not find anything in, yet find so much all at once.

Because that was it, wasn’t it? Everyone is exaggerating, him and George weren’t looking at each other like anything, it’s merely all the jokes of them being in a relationship combined with a romantic dance and beautiful music. They’re seeing things that aren’t even there.

He went back to twitter and scrolled further, seeing absolutely stunning fanart, even some edits, a bit of discourse, and eventually switched to his fanart account so he could like dozens of them. After a while he filtered his searches to just be fanart of him and George, and was amazed by what he saw.

Two figures, black silhouettes against striking white spotlights, mist curling and licking at their shoes, arms linked and moving. A close up of their faces, nose to nose, their cheeks dusted with red and sparkles in their eyes. A simplistic style of the two hugging after their dance, George’s head thrown back in laughter, Dream beaming as he spun George around. George falling backwards into Dream’s arms for their ending motif, then lurching upwards to meet Dream in a passionate kiss. The judges holding up their paddles with their scores, Dream and George hugging each other while others cheered around them.

He liked a lot of them, getting entranced and excited just scrolling through hashtags, beautiful colours, often bright or vibrant colourful spotlights, dazzling in contrast to the dark shadows of the audience. Animated and bright facial expressions, dustings of pink on cheeks, physical closeness, grins and smiles.

Dream had always loved fanart. Different glimpses of visions and interpretations, stunning designs and a real insight into the community. Potential hours of work compiled onto a piece of art for him to admire.

It felt less invasive than discussion and videos too, though he wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe fanart just felt special, in the same way that George was special or the dances were special. Fanart was a solid statement of appreciation, just something beautiful to look at. Not something that filled his brain with questions or opinions or complaints that talk did. Fanart was simple, yet lovely.

He looked up upon the sound of low thumps on the stairs, and then George appeared.

‘Hi George!’ Dream grinned, ‘just woke up?’

George was wearing a comfortable looking sweater - brown and blue - with a collar of a shirt sticking out from underneath. He looked down at his own baggy top with some sports team logo and grey sweats. Either George was spending too much time with Wilbur or Dream was underdressed. Maybe both. Well, underdressed for what? He’s in a house.

‘Hmm, I’ve been up about half an hour I don’t know. I was on my phone.’ He ruffled his hair then turned the kettle on, ‘Tommy posted that vlog we filmed a while back.’

‘Which one?’ Dream asked, confused.

‘The escape room one.’ George clarified.

‘Oh! When did he even have the time to edit?’

‘I don’t know, but it’s up there. Doesn’t he have editors?’

‘Oh, yeah maybe. That’s probably it actually yeah.’

George took out a mug from a cabinet, grabbed a tea bag, then fetching the milk from the fridge.

‘You’re going back to your British roots.’ Dream joked, and George rolled his eyes.

‘We should go get milk today, it’s running out.’

‘I’m not a dad.’

‘Shut up! Oh my- you’re actually just being dumb today. Why are you so annoying?’

‘I don’t know, I got it from you.’

‘Can I see your room?’ George asked unexpectedly, and Dream blinked.

‘Uhh… why?’

George shrugged, ‘I don’t know, I was thinking this morning that like… okay well here’s the thing: I feel like… so. I’ve met you now right? And that’s cool! That’s awesome and epic, I know what you look like now and stuff but I feel like I don’t know you. I mean-' he waved his hands around in frustration, 'I know you, but like… a part of you... I don't. Like your real life self or something… I dunno. Ugh this is so annoying to explain. Just can I see?’

Dream considered the question, and George quickly blurted, ‘you don’t have to if you don’t wanna.’

‘No, I mean- sure. I just want to say… do you feel like you don’t know me or something?’ That statement confused him… stung a little even.

‘No! No- it’s not like that. As in… okay so. I had always used you and Sapnap as like an escape from the real world, you already knew that right?’

Dream hummed in agreement, they’d talked about it before.

‘Yeah, so then I guess I’ve always seen it as a disconnect from like… the actual you, because I’ve always assumed you see me as an escape from your real world too, does that make sense?’

‘Oh!’ Dream blinked, ‘okay…’

‘So then it’s like, of course I know you so much now just because… I dunno I’ve known you for years. But like… I know your personality and your thoughts and your… dreams’ he giggled, and Dream rolled his eyes in amusement, ‘and all this stuff. And like… yeah that is the real you. But I-‘ he faltered, thinking. Dream gave him time.

‘I want to know like- the real life you stuff. What is Dream the human, and like… your body and stuff. Okay- that’s weird. Like, the like… I dunno how you walk and all that, your posture when you’re relaxed or whether you use big spoons or little spoons, or at home do you keep medicine in the kitchen or in the bathroom or if when you’re alone you walk up the stairs on all fours or-‘

‘You walk up the stairs on all fours when you’re alone?’ Dream cut him off, a huge grin forming on his face at the mental image of that. George spluttered, waving his hands around.

‘I- I don’t know! Yeah. Yeah I do.’ He admitted defiantly, turning to Dream, arms crossed defensively. ‘You should try it, it’s fun.’

Sure .’ He drawled sarcastically, ‘I wanna see that though.’

‘No- what? That’s weird. It probably looks… dumb.’ George muttered, and Dream smiled.

‘That’s the whole point of why I want to see it.’

‘I see.’ George said, then his eyes lit up, ‘anyway yeah can I see your room?’

And how could Dream refuse?

 

—————————

 

They walked upstairs and Dream answered the rest of George’s questions, he talked about how most of the time he’d use tablespoons and not teaspoons, or... 'big' spoons instead of 'little' spoons as George called it, that was kinda cute. Back at home Dream kept his meds in either a cabinet in the bathroom, or just on his desk so he definitely wouldn’t forget to take it. Here he kept everything in his room, not wanting to lose it or get it mixed up with anyone else's. He didn’t know what his posture was like, or how he walked, he didn't really think about it. It’s odd to think George is still only recently seeing him as a person. Dream assumed he’d be over it and used to it by now, but clearly not.

When opening the door to his room, he felt a little self conscious, skittering inside to smoothen out the duvet, and the hoodie he wore yesterday was on the floor (and he could’ve sworn he hung it up on his chair last night, so it must’ve just fallen off or something), he pulled the curtains to the side fully, correcting his half-hearted tug in the morning from when he’d just woken up, then perched on the bed expectantly.

George was about a step in the room, he had giggled at Dream’s behaviour, then wandered around. His eyes scanned the sage green blanket Dream had brought with him, going over the duvet the house provided, it was a nice reminder of home, and definitely helped with the cold weather. On the bedside table was a family photo, framed and all, laying flat. When packing he had deliberated on bringing it, he didn’t look at it very often and wasn’t sure if he was a sentimental person, but thought he might regret it if he didn’t. There was also a stray pen there from who knows when, the end of a charger connecting to a plug behind the bed, a box of tissues, and a mug he hadn’t put away yet.

The floor was relatively clean, a couple pairs of shoes tucked away somewhat neatly in a corner, a makeshift washing up bag half filled with clothes, and the walls were empty apart from a framed photograph of some generic sunflower that had been there when he arrived. He wasn’t sure about putting blue tack or nails into the walls considering this was a temporary stay, and it wasn’t like he was particularly interested in posters or wall decor.

Showing this room to George felt easy, because it wasn’t really anything special. A little bit of himself tucked away in here to sleep every night, but it didn’t feel like his room.

His room back at home was a different story, that would feel like merging worlds or something. The idea of George seeing his spinny chair by his cluttered desk, able to see his set up, the same microphone he had used to speak to George this whole time. But for once George was on the other side of the screen.

That thought brought some weird kind of sadness, like nostalgia, even though he’d never really experienced it. Meeting George was wonderful, he had been waiting for it for so many years, but he found himself grieving that period when they hadn't met sometimes. When him and George would be excited and ramble or chat excitedly to each other about the prospect of finally meeting up, something seeming so far away, yet now it had happened. Being able to just exist and live together effortlessly was wonderful, it felt like their lives were integrated more now, and it was just so awesome to be able to see George everyday.

But he does miss the times when hanging out with George was special, a break from reality, somewhere he could be himself, with the barrier of an internet. George: the boy on the other end of the screen. He used to think of him as the internet stranger who lived in the UK, with his British accent and stupid jokes and knack for coding and colourblindness. Someone to take up Dream’s attention as he entered another world. One that isn’t reality.

‘This is epic!’ George beamed, hands on his hips like an idiot, giving a nod in satisfaction. As if he was a construction worker or something giving his consensus. Dream laughed, ‘thank you? I haven’t really done much with it, but… yeah.’

‘Yeah?’

‘Yeah, I don’t know.’

George scoffed, then sat down on Dream’s bed next to him. They just rested for a second before George spoke up.

‘Where’s Bad and Skeppy?’

‘Umm, I saw Bad having breakfast like an hour ago, I’m assuming they’re doing something together, maybe in one of the other houses... or they went out.’

‘We could go out!’ George suggested, sitting up, but Dream hummed, unsure if he was really in the mood right now.

‘Where do you wanna go?’ He asked.

George hummed in thought, ‘I don’t know! I’ll be honest I was just really in the mood for a milkshake so… yeah.’

‘You know we could like order one or something?’ Dream laughed, ‘I mean if you want one.’

‘Isn’t it kinda weird to like… just order a milkshake? Like not get in food or like… I don’t know.’

‘Do you want food too?’

‘No no! Just like… imagine the truck driver guy coming up and they just have a single drink in their hand. Isn’t that awkward?’

‘Hmm, I don’t think so no, if you want one then get it, I don’t think they’d care. Maybe that’s better, the bag isn’t as heavy?’

‘Well, they get paid less right? And surely they do multiple orders at the same time?’

‘That’s true... but also if they do multiple orders at the same time then they won't just have a drink in their hand. They have like... the box thing attached at the back. I’ll be honest: I don’t know, I never did delivery.'

‘Yeah I didn’t either.’ George shrugged, chugging the rest of his drink. Dream smiled and took his phone out, searching for milkshake places near them who did delivery.

‘So what one do you want?’ Dream asked, scrolling through the list, ‘they have… let’s see: chocolate, strawberry, caramel, oreo, mint… honeycomb? That’s epic. Umm, a coffee one...’

‘Wait are you actually getting one?’ George turned to him wide eyed.

‘Well I’m getting two .’ Dream pointed at himself, ‘but sure!’

‘You don’t have to though you know that right? Like I can go without.’

‘Yeah, yeah whatever. I can’t spoil you in Minecraft anymore so gotta do it in real life.’

‘You don’t spoil me.’

‘I’m getting you fish flavoured if you don’t tell me which one you got.’

‘They don’t even have that.’ George muttered incredulously, but leaned over Dream’s shoulder to see the screen. ‘Umm, caramel? Which one are you getting.’

‘Oreo I think. Do you want like… they do sprinkles and flakes-‘

‘Nah, I’m good. Thank you Dream!’ George gave a genuine smile and it warmed Dream’s heart a little.

‘Here in around fifteen minutes.’ Dream made a clicking sound with his tongue because why not, and George’s face scrunched weirdly, it made Dream laugh.

‘That is epic! I’m gonna pee while we wait.’

Dream blinked. ‘Don’t fall in!’

‘Thank-‘ he paused, ‘what?’

Dream wheezed, shaking his head.

When George came back they talked about some reddit post Dream had seen with statistics for Strictly Come Dancing, similar to MCC in a way. Dream had always been a sucker for analytics and attempted to talk strategy, but George was just whining the whole time about how it was too early. And when the doorbell finally rang George hopped out of his seat and bounded over to the door. Dream rolled his eyes, then searched for his wallet, eyes widening when he remembered it was upstairs.

‘I’m gonna go to my room George I left cash up there.’ He called over his shoulder as he padded up the stairs, hearing George open the door and presumably talk to the delivery driver.

He scanned his room, panicking a little, not wanting the driver to think they were being robbed or something. It wasn’t on his desk or his bed, so he checked the pockets of his coat and there it was. He had to rifle through it to distinguish dollars from notes, luckily he had some from swapping it with Wilbur. Dream paused. Wasn't Wilbur talking about making some kind of money shrine in his room? With different types of coins or money? Oh wait, he needs to pay.

Money acquired, he ran back down the stairs, a little bit out of breath, and handed the money over in exchange for a neat little bag with two milkshakes inside of it. They thanked the delivery driver, then shut the door, George opening the bag hungrily - or maybe thirstily was a better word - and identified which was which.

George leaned over, resting his elbows on the counter, and took a sip, then hummed, pleased. He bobbed his head up and down a little, beaming, and Dream’s heart tugged with affection. Oh George.

‘Oh yeah also,’ George began, ‘while you were getting the um… oh yeah the money, I was talking to the person to stall for time a bit and like, the first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘oh don’t worry I’m not gonna rob you.’ Like I’m such an idiot! I dunno why I always do that.’

Dream chuckled, ‘that’s definitely uhh- definitely reassuring.’

‘To be fair you took a while.’

‘Yeah I know! I completely forgot about the fact that you have to pay-‘

‘So you were gonna rob them.’

‘Well- no, that’s not what I said at all.’

‘Did I tell you about this one time-‘

‘Yes you did.’ Dream interrupted.

‘Shut up,’ Dream grinned as George rolled his eyes, ‘it was like a year… sometime a year ago I don’t know I had some uhh… apple juice right? And I was sat down on these steps in like public and stuff. And I spilled some, so I was just hoping that no one would sit next to me. Like… why would you these steps were huge. There is so much more space that isn’t next to me. Anyway, so someone did come up near me, and they were about to sit down so I was like ‘oh um, someone spilled something there, so I wouldn’t sit there-‘

‘Wait, you didn’t say it was you who spilled it?’

‘Well no- why would I? That’s such an easy lie to get away with. Anyway- I said ‘so I wouldn’t sit there’ and then I said ‘they didn’t like… pee there or something’, and that was so dumb of me. I don’t know why I said that! And then they looked at me like I was really weird and did this awkward laugh and stuff, and then just walked away.’

Dream chuckled, ‘I’m not surprised honestly. You told them there was pee on the seat? Like what the hell-‘

‘No I told them there wasn’t pee on the seat.’

‘Well whatever, same thing.’

‘It is literally the opposite.’

George huffed, and took another long sip of his milkshake, Dream raised an eyebrow when he leaned his head down to use the straw instead of picking the drink up to bring it to his mouth, but he shrugged.

‘So yeah, moral of the story is I’m stupid at talking.’ George sighed, and Dream chuckled.

 

—————————

 

Dream tugged his dark blue top down his torso, then tied the laces on his trainers, before grabbing his stuff and walking out the changing room, waiting for George.

‘Hiya mate.’ Someone said, pushing a bunch of boxes on a mechanism with wheels, and Dream jumped in surprise.

‘Uhh, hi.’ He said to the stranger, and they simply kept walking. He wasn’t used to random people saying hello to him, no one had done that yet in his month or so of living here. He was still just stood in confusion when the sound of a lock met his ears and the door opened to reveal George.

The first thing Dream noticed was he was wearing a dark grey tank top, and the second thing he noticed is it looked really good on him. It showed broad shoulders, a bit of muscle on his arms, probably from all the dancing recently, and the dark grey in contrast to his skin looked really nice. It hugged his figure well and just in general looked great.

‘You’re wearing a tank top.’ Dream stammered in surprise.

George immediately crossed his arms over his chest, looking a little self conscious. ‘Yeah, I grabbed the first thing I could this morning and thought it was a normal top,’ he explained, scratching his arm and not meeting Dream's eyes. How could he be shy when he looked like that?

Dream snapped himself out of his admiration at the negative tone. ‘No- no! It looks good!’

‘Hot?’ George joked, but Dream shrugged and nodded a little. To hide the furious red on his cheeks he began walking up the stairs at a brisk pace, George giggled then followed after him. And maybe it was a little hot. He already knew George was pretty, so a pretty face combined with an attractive body, and clothing to show it off, but the confidence- he paused. Was this... incredibly weird? Is it weird to think about this?

Probably not.

Dream made it to the door of their rehearsal room and walked through it, seeing Oti tying her laces on the bench.

‘You’re late.’ She stared at them expectantly.

‘We are?’ George asked, looking at his wrist only to remember he took his watch off when getting changed.

‘Nah, I’m kidding.’ Oti admitted then burst out laughing.

‘Wh- you just lied to us for no reason at all.’

‘I did!’ She exclaimed proudly, ‘it’s really fun, you should try it. ‘I was writing an email to someone the other day and when my husband walked in and asked what I was doing, I said I was writing a letter of complaint for out of date food. Then a second later I told him I was lying, it’s useless but hilarious.’

Dream just made incoherent noises of confusion, and George laughed.

‘Speaking of that email!’ Oti began, getting up, ‘due to some issues I won’t discuss here, unfortunately this week I can’t do 11:00-12:00 on Thursday, I have an appointment then, so actually I’ll have to leave a little earlier. So that’d be 10:30. Because you get here at around 9:00 that’s only a little bit of time. Are we still wanting to do the rehearsal?’ We could still get a lot done.’

‘Well would you be coming back after your appointment?’ George asked, and Oti got out her phone, presumably to check details.

After a moment or so she responded, ‘I think so. I can get back at about 2:00? Maybe half one if traffic isn’t bad.’

‘If we did the rehearsal like normal- like did it in the morning and stuff, and then when you have the appointment could me and George just stay here and rehearse the dance? Normally we know most of it by then and are just perfecting.’

Oti hummed, considering, ‘that’s not a bad idea actually, the place is booked, just if you are making an error I don’t want you practicing for hours only to find out it’s a mistake.’

‘We could just have extended lunch, go out somewhere or something.’ George piped up, a pleading look in his eye. Of course George would say that.

‘Yeah okay. I think you can do that, practice the routine and have a longer lunch.’

George cheered, and Dream laughed.

‘I’ll try and get a video for you two in case there’s anything you’re unsure on. Anyway,’ she clapped her hands with a tone of finality, ending the conversation, ‘now we actually are late, so start your stretches.’

George groaned dramatically, and Oti didn’t give so much as a sympathetic glance, skipping over to a plug on the wall to connect her speaker.

‘Also the cameras would normally come when I’m out on Thursday, which is a bit of a problem,’ she added, ‘so they’re actually coming today.’

‘Wait what?’ George said, an alarmed look on his face while he was bent over trying to touch his toes. It was a funny image. Black shorts had ridden up a little too-

You know what? No.

Dream shook his head at himself, feeling a mild disgust at his thoughts. This was getting weird now. He actually needed to stop. He put his efforts and attention back onto the conversation and stretching

‘-only free space was today, so that’s what they’re doing.’

‘Oh what?’ Dream asked, ‘what time do they get here?’

‘Four hours Dream, I just said that.’

‘You did? Oh. Sorry.’ His cheeks went a little red, and he heard George giggling.

‘Anyway, because of this I want to try and get one motif really good for the cameras before just going through the choreography. Unless you don’t mind looking really bad on the cameras.

‘Umm, I mean I don’t really care.’ George shrugged, and Dream nodded in agreement.

‘Oh! Well, I guess we could just do things normally.’

‘I mean you’re the dance expert.’ Dream laughed, ‘whatever you think we should do, do that.’

‘True!’ Oti paused, ‘yeah true. George- what are you doing? Stretches.’

George jumped from where he was staring out the window, ‘sorry’ he muttered apologetically, putting an arm behind his head and pulling his elbow down as far as it could go with his free hand. Dream made eye contact with him, underlying amusement in his gaze, and George flushed, embarrassed.

‘Okay, keep doing that and I’m gonna start explaining. You’re dancing the Foxtrot to 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' ', George pointed at Dream with raised eyebrows, 'this dance is one of my favourites, I think it’s very useful, it’s a good one, you can do it at weddings or parties and gatherings, it’s one of the most social dances people say. It’s a ballroom dance! I know you did one of those last week, so we’re gonna make sure to pay attention to their feedback, which was…’ she gestured towards them to continue.

‘No rise and fall?’ Dream finished, a questioning lilt to his tone, but Oti nodded enthusiastically.

‘Exactly, so we’re really gonna try and work on keeping the smoothness of the steps here. And I have made the executive decision to learn a specific motif for the cameras later. So we’re actually gonna start around halfway through the routine, hopefully it won’t be too complicated.’

Dream and George nodded, and Oti began directing them to positioning, facing each other with mere inches between them.

‘Hello George.’ Dream said, looking down, at George huffed, forever annoyed by their height difference (he wasn’t actually, or Dream hoped he wasn’t).

‘Alright, Dream pop your left leg, George pop your right.’

‘Pop?’ Dream asked, confused.

‘Have I not ever said that? Oh well, it’s like, put your weight on your other foot and bend your left a bit, like it’s buckling or something.’ She clarified, and Dream hummed, replicating the action. George seemed to have known what to do, and mouthed to him ‘were you not listening last week?’. Dream’s eyes widened, casting his mind back to when she had mentioned it, he couldn’t for the life of him remember.

He was brought back to the present by a pinch on his arm, Dream startled a little, and George gestured with his eyes to Oti, who was demonstrating arm positioning, luckily her back was faced to them. Dream gave George a quick smile of gratitude, and it was reciprocated.

Dream liked this little silent communication thing they had got going lately. It made him feel so connected and warm. He thought he had a pretty good grasp of George’s emotions, even when it was just tone of voice, but now they could talk with physical cues, little nudged or glances, a raised eyebrow or head tilt.

‘-and it’s a similar hold to last week’s. Dream's left arm out to the side, George's right arm out, so just hold your hands together at your side.’

They did so, interlocked fingers feeling as natural as breathing, common now that Dream barely thought twice. Well, maybe that was a lie. He thought about it a bit. Mainly just that his hands were a lot bigger than George. This little - yet loud - protective urge awakening in his gut just at the sight of them. He could probably clasp George’s entire hand in his own if he really wanted to, pale and small, far from dainty though, and maybe Dream just had big hands. He’d been told that a lot. He wondered if George noticed the difference in their hand size, he must right? How could you not? What did George think of it-

‘Dream.’ George whispered, ‘why are you so distracted, move your arm.’

‘Oh what? Where?’ He needed to stop getting distracted.

‘Free hand on my back.’ George quickly responded, thank goodness for George.

Dream did so, putting his hand on George’s waist then curling it round a little to the back.

George blinked, his body going stiff.

‘Higher up,’ George giggled a little, and Dream mumbled an apology, moving his arm further up, and George only nodded when it was only just under his shoulder. George’s free hand now rested on Dream’s arm, and they turned to Oti waiting for the next instruction.

‘Okay great! There’s the form. Above the waist is gonna stay the same throughout the steps, we want good posture, which could potentially help eliminate that rise and fall. I’m gonna practice the steps with Dream first, then when George learns them you’re gonna do them with Dream, just an exercise on making sure you lead more. George, in the mean time you can go fill your water or just watch the steps I’m doing, not sure if it’ll help much.’

Twenty minutes went by quite slowly, corrections of forms and steps, from the exact tilt of the head to George needing to point his feet outwards a little bit. Constant reminders of how much to bend your legs, extra effort in getting rid of the rise and fall, that at the moment the dance felt clunky and unnatural. The movements and frame new, and because the camera crew were coming so soon, Oti was clearly a little stressed by the speed of their progress.

Eventually they got it, and Oti clapped her hands in place of counts, commentating keywords of ‘slow… slow… quick, quick, slow… head up, slow… and round.’ For Dream personally it didn’t really help, and was just an added thing to worry about, mixed signals because he had to worry about his body, leading George’s body, and every time Oti mentioned something whilst they were going through it he had to figure out if she was correcting him or George.

When they finally sat down for a break his mind felt really busy, and he grimaced, taking some water out.

‘You doing alright?’ George asked softly, sitting down next to him.

‘I… think so?’

‘You seemed distracted earlier, and now you seem a little stressed or something. If you don’t wanna talk about it that’s okay! No pressure or anything, just like… I don’t know I wanted to make sure you’re… doing okay I guess.’ George let out an awkward chuckle. Stuff like this meant more coming from George, the fact that he still put the effort in even if he barely ever willingly spoke about feelings. It just brought a smile to Dream’s face, and he watched George anxiously drum his fingers on the bench, eyes locked on the floor. Then he realised Dream was looking at him, and their eyes met.

George grinned himself, though confused, with some brief giggles. ‘What?’

‘You’re sweet.’ Dream said, and George’s eyes widened, then scrunched his nose, looking away again. Dream rolled his eyes, bemused.

‘Thank you George.’

 

—————————

 

‘Hey Dream,’

‘Tommy.’ Dream greeted with a nod of his head, still engrossed in this article he was reading.

‘Dream.’ Tommy said again, chuckling a little, and Dream saw him move in front of where he was sat in his peripheral.

‘Tommy.’ Dream replied.

‘… Dream

Dream rolled his eyes and finally looked up, ‘Tommy.’

‘So, I was wondering… now that you’ve face revealed, would you wanna be in a vlog?’

Dream head tipped to the side, and he hummed, intrigued.

‘Only if you want to, no pressure of course. I just thought it’d be something fun to do with the gang and if you’re in it, I’d get tons of views.’ He explained, half joking at the end.

‘What are you planning on doing?’ Dream asked, trying to figure out if there was any experience Tommy hadn’t done yet, flickering memories of childhood birthday experiences or parties from years and years ago flying across his mind.

‘Well, I wasn’t thinking of doing a set like… activity. So y’know not like a trampoline place or a water park, it’d be more like a ‘Week in the life of Tom Simons’ kinda thing. Because there’s so many people I want in it and this is the first vlog since moving here. I think it’d be fun if we went out, gave you guys a bit of a tour of England-‘

‘You didn’t even live here before? Do you know it?’

‘That is true, we can take the train down to Brighton or something. Also we’re in London, there’s so much to see. Dream you must understand, you’ve got places to go, things to see. When was the last time you went to the cinemas-‘

‘Well you can’t vlog that-‘

‘Or went to starbucks-‘

‘I hate coffee.’

‘Well.’ Tommy threw his hands in the air exaggeratively, ‘we can always walk around, get some ice cream…’ he trailed off expectantly, presumably waiting for Dream to cut in, but he didn’t. ‘Okay! Ice cream! I’ve appeased The Dream.’

Dream chuckled, ‘yeah! I’m good with that. Has George said yes?’

‘Always Gogy innit,’ Tommy muttered, ‘but yes! Uhh, he did. So you free Sunday?’

‘I am!’ Dream grinned, excited but a little nervous. ‘When are you gonna be up to go? If you’re getting a train do we need to be up early?’

‘Uhhh, I mean I dunno, I’ll sort it out though and tell you, but I don’t think it would be any earlier than you already wake up for rehearsals.’

Dream nodded.

‘Right, so that’s sorted then.’

‘Yep! Looking forward to it, should be a lot of fun.’ Tommy patted him on the shoulder, a lot slower than should be normal, and gave a condescending smile, Dream gave a somewhat uncomfortable nod, then Tommy looked behind him and brightened.

‘Wilbur!’ He shouted, ‘I’ve recruited Dream into vlogging, does this mean you’ll come too now?’

‘You were using me to get Wilbur to come?’

‘Hey, I’m a clever boy, and sometimes… you just gotta do what you gotta do. And I’m not just using you to get Wilbur, think of the subscribers. Anyway, so Wilbur we’ve got George, Dream, I’m gonna try and get Sapnap and Karl, all the new folk, Tubbo’s down, and Ranb-‘ his voice faded out as he ran up the stairs with Wilbur, begging him to come too. Dream was almost sure Wilbur would cave, but he respected the efforts.

‘Oh! Dream!’ George exclaimed in surprise, and Dream brightened as George walked through the front door.

‘Where were you? I’ve been looking for you for ages.’ Dream complained, offering George one of the sweets from a packet Tommy left downstairs. George grinned and popped it into his mouth, humming in approval, then scrunched his eyebrows.

‘Wait, what do you mean ‘ages’, I’ve been gone for twenty minutes? You literally saw me at rehearsals.'

‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. Twenty minutes too long idiot, I wanted to talk to you.’ He said softly, hoping George would take pity on him and they could hang out.

George rolled his eyes, but Dream saw underlying amusement glint in them, and he collapsed into a chair next to Dream.

‘I got milk, because we didn’t on Monday, and no one is going out and getting it.’

‘And you got it?’ Dream asked suspiciously, if he knew anything about George, it was that he’d whine and complain until someone else did something for him, especially if it was something he didn’t want to do. So unless George took up a hobby of… buying milk from the shop, Dream was surprised he’d done it himself. Unless he was getting a new work ethic what with the dancing rehearsals, maybe this was a good thing-

‘Sapnap said I wouldn’t do it.’ George explained nonchalantly, suddenly blinking in astonishment. ‘I just accidentally swallowed my sweet, guess I’ll have to have another one.’ He said the last part in this cute sing song voice, snatching the bag to grab a handful. The speed wasn’t necessary, Dream wasn’t gonna stop him.

‘Another one?’ Dream asked, grinning, ‘uh huh…’

‘They are yours right?’ George asked, suddenly a little worried.

‘No? I don’t know who they belong to, but I definitely didn’t buy them.’

‘Well, you never know.’

Dream scoffed in confusion. ‘I’d know if I bought it George.

‘Well,’ he drawled knowingly, ‘ someone may have stolen your wallet.’ He gave an innocent smile, then reached into his bag, Dream gasped, but George pulled out a stray tissue, aimed for the bin, and chucked it. He missed.

‘Wait… so you didn’t steal my wallet?’

‘Dream! How could you accuse me of such things?’

Dream rolled his eyes, ‘you’re stupid. Go pick that up, you just like… canonically littered.’

‘George lore, environment hater.’ George giggled like it was the funniest joke in the world, and Dream found himself laughing too, more of at the absurdity and George’s sweet mirth, than the actual joke itself.

‘Can you pick it up for me?’ George pleaded, whining and tilting his head to the side adorably, sprawling his arms out helplessly on the table as if he was exhausted.

If Dream couldn’t resist George over call, it was a million times harder in real life. But Dream was strong.

‘It’s a used tissue George. Pick it up yourself.’

‘Why does it matter if it’s used?’

‘Wh- why does it matter? I’m not touching… snot or something.’

‘Well why do I have to touch it and you don’t.’

‘It’s your germs.’

‘It’s not! It’s… Sapnap’s.’ That was probably a lie.

‘Well it was in your bag, and you missed when you threw it.’

Yeah, and you’re an idiot. Go get it.’

George crossed his arms defiantly, like an annoying little baby, tilting his head down and glaring at Dream. Dream gritted his teeth in a battle of eye contact. George won.

He can’t keep getting away with this . Dream thought, as he delicately grabbed a corner of the tissue, putting it in the bin, then thoroughly washing his hands, all to George’s amusement, giggles and cheers of triumph while Dream grumbled.

‘You really would do anything for me,’ George said through a laugh, a wide grin on his face.

‘You know maybe I don’t wanna hang out with you anymore.’ Dream smirked, slowly walking out the room as George’s face fell, and he scrambled out of his chair to grab Dream’s arm.

‘Nononono! No. Let’s do something… uhm, do you wanna uhhh go for a walk?’

‘Not really.’ Dream deadpanned, staying firm in his decision. George huffed.

‘We can watch that movie you recommended a while ago that I said no to?’

‘Really?’ Dream brightened, and tugged George over to the lounge, shoving him onto one of the sofas and grabbing the remote, falling down next to him as George laughed.

‘I need to put the milk in the fridge first.’ He dug through his bag, finding the milk.

‘Green milk? Interesting.’

‘I prefer red,’ George shrugged, ‘but green is in the middle, and most people here have green milk, so yeah.’

Dream found the movie, and waited for George to sit back down again before pressing play.

‘It’s really good.’ Dream assured, ‘you want a blanket or something?’

‘No! I mean… hmm. Actually yes.’

Dream stared at him for a second just because he could, then George swatted at him, so Dream leaned over to grab a blanket on the armrest of the neighbouring sofa, his hand skimming the side of it. But Dream was determined to not get up again, so he pulled it by the end, then draped it over George, who thanked him. George had his knees tucked to his chest, and wrapped the blanket around him, and rested his head on the blanket atop his knees. It was pretty cute.

Dream frowned.

He was thinking that a lot lately.

George is just a wholesome individual. He shook his head, looking back at the screen

 

—————————

 

‘No time for pleasantries, in in in.’ Oti practically shoved them through the door.

‘Stretches! Go! Go! Go!’

‘I thought you had like two hours?’ George asked incredulously, flapping about before sorting himself out, dumping his bag on the bench then walking over to the middle of the room. Dream took a last swig of water, then put his bag next to George’s, jogging over and starting to stretch his neck.

‘Exactly! And we still haven’t finished the end of the routine, and that’s what I want you to practice. So, plan is: we’re gonna do a run through of the routine you know so far, then I’ll teach you the ending motif. Now this part is a little uhh… unprofessional? I’ve got a recording of both of your parts at the end with perfect footwork and positioning, though obviously there is only one of me, so you can’t tell how you should look in relevancy to each other. Which might be a bit of a problem. That’s why I want to get through this quick, so you definitely know it and then you can just run through it again and again until I’m back.’

‘What will we do when you get back then?’ Dream questioned.

‘Perfecting the routine, I want the rise and fall to literally be gone by the time today is over. And there might be some stuff with your hand, George, that we need to sort out.’

‘Things with my hand?’ George held his hand in front of his face, as if there’d be something physically wrong with it, waving it about. Dream beamed with a silent wheeze.

‘You have a minute to finish stretching, we’re on a tight schedule today.’ She declared, and Dream and George hurried up a bit, exchanging a panicked glance.

‘Okay okay! Starting positions, from the top, all the way through no pauses. If you make a mistake; pretend you didn’t. Cover it up with some artistic flair.’

Oti pressed up a button, and the song started playing, Dream sauntering over to George, and the music was immediately stopped.

‘Okay what?’ Dream laughed, ‘I thought you said no pauses, and we haven’t even started yet.’

‘You have eight whole counts to get there. Why are you rushing? You want it to be graceful and smooth and you’re… sprinting across the dance floor.’

‘Wait, eight counts? Really? The lyrics start on the fifth what?’

‘Yeah but we don’t start when the lyrics start… idiot,’ George flicked him on the nose, and Dream blinked. ‘The lyrics start but like it starts swinging and the music has like… I dunno not a beat drop but like it gets more instruments on and stuff. Then we start.’

‘Fine fine fine, my bad. Redo?’ Dream was already going back to his original spot, a mere two strides because of how little of the dance they’d got into.

The music began again, and Dream took his time, abandoning the lunge-like skips from earlier in favour of a little steps, an occasional light skip in the mix. George turned around perfectly on the sixth count, holding his hand out, and Dream took it in his own, smiling down at George.

The vocals kicked in, soft and gentle in the beginning, and George stepped backwards as Dream moved forwards, advancing into his personal space, one of his hands moving to George’s back and lightly pushing him forward.

George smiled up at him, his free hand trailing down Dream’s shoulder to his arm, gentle and electric, and Dream’s eyes flickered downwards to watch it.

Eventually it nestled into place, and he takes a small step back to get properly into form, the hold a bit more natural now, common throughout most of their dances. A hand on George’s waist or back, his other hand holding George’s and out at their side. And George’s free hand on his shoulder or his arm.

With Dream leading the way, they begin to move, and George was biting his gum in concentration, face scrunched up adorably and his footsteps a little clunky. He follows Dream’s lead, and they make their way around, the world rotating around them, but each others bodies a grounding presence. If everything else went dizzy, there’d still be George in the centre of his vision, a firm grip on his arm, and a smaller hand holding his.

They’ve went back and forth, and if the floor was made of rocks there wouldn’t be a stone unturned. If one could unturn stones by simply standing on them. Yeah, that didn’t really make sense.

He saw new angles to the rehearsal room, from the corner it looked huge, the door small, and the bags and water bottles on the benches feeling so far away. Oti follows them the whole way, but keeping clear of their route. She speaks concise encouragement, not interrupting their focus and saving any feedback for the end.

It was really repetitive, the steps constant and mindless, but the movements entrancing nonetheless.

Looking at George was sweet too, they were making eye contact, but he could see as George went in and out of focus on his vision, eyes glossing over a little as if unseeing when he put his attention on his footwork. There was a routine to it, they fizzled out a bit every time they’d change direction, but it happened less and less as they neared the end of the dance.

The ending was quite unsatisfying, Dream sort of froze in hold, and George’s face broke into a delighted grin, and after a long second, he pulled apart to clap and cheer.

Dream’s weak heart melted, and he beamed, pulling George into a hug. Kind of wanting to squish him.

He didn’t squish him of course, maybe he squeezed a little bit with his arms, but instead just span around to get rid of some of the buzzing energy.

‘That was actually epic!’ George declared, yelling when he lost his balance a bit. Dream laughed, grabbing his arm for stability and finally not spinning.

‘I’m dizzy now,’ George complained, blinking rapidly and shaking his head, making a joke of not being able to walk in a straight line and waving his hands around like an idiot.

At least, Dream thinks it was a joke.

‘Weewooweewoo, I’m drunk !’

Yep, definitely a joke.

‘That was great guys!’ Oti smiled, and she began listing off compliment after compliment, little things they had done well. Of course it wasn’t perfect, she commented on George needing to put his foot outward a little more, and Dream’s hand looking too clunky at the start (he wasn’t even entirely sure what that meant), general tips on facial expressions, the list could go on. But for the most part, they had done incredibly well.

‘It’s a good thing too that you’ve got this part of the routine down so perfectly, good on you both for that! I’m loving this. Now, I’m gonna use the remainder of the session to teach the ending.’

‘Alright, get back in frame, and uhh…’ she walked over so she could see both of their faces, in between and to the side of them.

‘So when the lyrics say… what was it,’ she groaned, head in her hands, ‘what are the words you end on?’

‘Uhm, it’s something like ‘but in your dreams whatever they be’ I think,’ Dream supplied, and Oti pointed at him.

‘Yes! That! So on the next line ‘dream a little dream of me’, and count one, keep in mind you only have four counts to do this so it’s gotta be quite quick. You’re gonna want to break away from hold so you’re facing me, but still hold hands, so George just move your hand from his arm to his hand, and Dream move your hand from his waist to… holding his hand.’

‘So many hands.’ George whispered.

‘I mean, there’s only four,’ Dream quipped, and George rolled his eyes.

‘Then with your free hands… free arms? I don’t know, free whatever, you want to bring them up and outwards.’ She demonstrated, and it resembled somewhat of a butterfly wing flapping, ‘keep the fingers poised and the movement gentle and elegant, as everything is in this dance. In the video when they bring their arms up it briefly resembled a heart, I’m not sure if that’s what they were going for but I like it. So to recap, you’re in hold, move your arms furthest away from me to be holding hands, take a step outwards to break away from hold, use your free hand and bring it upwards, cup it slightly to make a heart with your partner, then bring it outwards. There is some minor footwork, just step out to face me, and then once you’ve made the heart, you want to shift your weight onto your other leg. Makes it all look nice and floaty you know?’

They attempted, and after many retries and some corrections, they understood and could do it well.

‘Perfect!’ Oti complimented, ‘and now, stay holding hands, Dream we want you to run around the front, still holding George’s hand, and go fully around him until you’re at the back, so you can wrap George’s arm around himself.’

Dream frowned, a little confused, but walked forward and around, George’s hand held up delicately at his side. He walked all the way until he was behind him, and George’s hand was now on his own shoulder so it could stay interlocked with Dream’s.

‘Ow,’ George winced, pulling his arm forward a bit, and Dream whispered an apology, accommodating the change by shifting to the side a little.

Oti ran a hand through her hair, and hummed in thought. They waited expectantly, and eventually she shrugged.

‘Alright, now George, turn over your right shoulder, Dream, lead this by pulling the arm you’re holding hands with, and once you’ve done that, Dream put your hand back on his waist.’

‘This is… complicated.’ George commented, and Dream chuckled. ‘So if Dream’s hands are on my waist and holding hands with my own hand, then what’s my other free hand doing? Once I’ve turned?’ George asked.

Oti leaned back, probably casting her mind back to the choreography. She then turned around, putting herself in George’s position with an imaginary partner. She turned, her left hand at her side as if holding someone else’s, and her right hand moved upwards as if telling someone to stop. Her eyes lit up in recognition.

‘It goes on Dream’s chest.’

George spluttered, flustered, ‘okay then.’

‘You need it to be sort of curled in though, like Dream is trapping you in a hug. It’s sort of… I don’t know squished? There isn’t much space, you can’t bend your elbow out because that’s where Dream’s arm would be.’

George nodded, and they tried that, Dream pulled George to face him, his other hand nestled on George’s waist, curling around a little protectively, and George scrunched his nose a little, then just lay his palm flat on Dream’s chest, right where his heart would be.

Dream laughed awkwardly, not sure why this felt embarrassing, compared to having George in his arms, or George’s thighs on his shoulder as they did a lift, or the very first week when he literal hand had trailed down George’s thigh. That felt like so long ago now.

George tapped with his hand, and Dream blinked, looking down to see George seemingly playing with his top, drawing out little circles or curling his hand into a fist.

When George eventually looked up to see Dream staring at him, (a stupid grin on his face because he just couldn’t help it) George made a weird squeaky noise from the back of his throat, a dusting of pink on his cheeks and his eyes averted.

‘What’s next?’ He asked, gaze firmly on the floor and Dream feels the corner of his mouth tugging upwards fondly, but brings his attention back to Oti, who was watching the exchange with a raised eyebrow. She shook her head with a laugh.

‘Alright, so are you familiar with like the shimmy thing? You know where one person leans forward and the other leans back and they do the shaking thing?’

Dream’s eyebrows furrowed, ‘we’re doing that in a Foxtrot?’ It had been really slow and graceful so far, intimate even. Maybe that’s weird. Regardless, a move like that seemed out of place.

‘Not exactly,’ Oti replied, ‘it’s more of… well you still do the leaning back and forth, but it’s more of… gradual, like you’re being pulling along by a string, instead of abrupt. And your hands stay the same, but I want you to like… exaggeratively roll your shoulders, and with your hand-holding hands those are gonna go back and forwards. So we start with Dream leaning forward, George backwards, alternate every two counts, and do this for eight.’

She clapped her hands and they began, Dream leaned forward, and George leaned back a bit, his grip on Dream’s top tightening and his eyes widened in alarm.

‘Okay wait stop,’ Oti interrupted, ‘you can’t do that on the night because of what you’d be wearing. Lean back a little less, and Dream, maybe grip his waist a bit tighter instead.’ She suggested.

They tried that, and it worked quite well, they moved back and forth, hands going in little circles at their sides.

‘Perfect!’ Oti said. ‘And now this is the last move of them all, and relatively simple, bring your hands up between you two, and Dream you’re gonna kiss George’s hand, and then-‘

George started giggling while Dream was rethinking his life decisions. And Oti looked up at them confused, as if what she just said was nothing.

‘You good?’ She asked, and George nodded weakly, still giggling.

‘You’re an idiot.’ Dream told him, exasperated but fond.

‘Okay…’ Oti dragged out the word, ‘and then right at the end just rest your foreheads on each other.’

‘Oh wow, thought we were gonna kiss or something, maybe next time.’ Dream joked, and George smiled, looking back at Oti.

‘So try that!’ She said, gesturing at the two with her hands.

‘Wait what? What’s the counts?’ Dream asked, feeling underprepared, and definitely not prolonging the inevitable.

‘Well… I mean it’s the ending it doesn’t matter too much, we could say, two counts to move your hands up, kiss it on the third and hold that ‘till the fourth, and the last part doesn’t have counts, just do it slowly so you don’t hurt yourself, yeah?’

‘Okay.’ Dream said, and George nodded. Oti clicked the counts, and they pulled their hands upwards, the next second happened all too quickly. He pulled George’s hand towards his mouth, kissing it lightly, it was soft… nice, little electric tingles buzzed when he did, and George’s eyes widened, breath hitching a little, and Dream managed a weak smile. Feeling weird relief for some reason, it might’ve been easier if George wasn’t looking into his eyes like that. He exhaled shakily.

He leaned his head down, having to bend at the knees a little, and he saw George going up on his tippy toes, which made him grin. He rested their foreheads together, George’s hair feeling a little ticklish, and the force of his exhale there on Dream’s skin.

There was a prominent moment when they just rested, it felt… separate from the Earth somehow, and Dream was about to consider it more when George broke apart, jumping about and clapping, spinning around.

Dream found the energy infectious, and gave a ‘woo!’ but also was a little confused. ‘Why are you cheering? We barely did anything!’

‘I don’t know!’ George shrugged, his head now bobbing side to side, ‘that was just… awesome… I dunno.’

Dream blushed a little, but was sure George wasn’t referring to what he thought he was.

George’s happy energy honestly was the main thing keeping moral up, it would be easy to not try, and just rely on fans to vote them up the leader board, but that felt unfair (and he’d probably be accused of rigging the system or something), but George just made rehearsals fun. They felt worth doing. All of the effort and energy and concentration worth it for that glowing moment at the end when George would grin and jump about like he just won the lottery. Dream wasn’t sure why he did it, but he didn’t want him to stop. It was sweet.

Eventually Oti left to go to her appointment, leaving Dream and George alone in the rehearsal room with instructions, a choreography video, and matching determination.

Well, maybe that last part was a lie.

Because once Oti’s footsteps had faded out and the door swung shut with a resounding slam, Dream and George were just stood still for a second. Waiting.

‘So-‘

‘Should we-‘

They both paused, waiting for the other to speak, and Dream huffed a laugh, and decided to take initiative.

‘Alright, well… do you wanna start from the start or go over the new bit?’

‘Why are you asking me?’ George scrunched his nose, turning to face him.

‘Wh- I don’t know! Fine, I’ll ask myself then,’ he put on a stupid voice, ‘Dream, do you wanna start from the start or go over the new bit? Oh thank you for asking Dream! I wanna go from the start.’

‘Wait- no what? I wanna do the end bit again?’ George protested, and Dream scoffed, already walking over to his starting position on the other side of the room.

‘Well, you had your chance George. I offered you- I offered you the decision and you said no, so I-‘

‘I didn’t say no, I was just wondering why you asked me.’

‘Who else would I ask?’ Dream grinned, gesturing wildly at the empty space, coming to a stop at his starting point.

George crossed his arms defiantly, and instead stayed over at the place they did the ending.

George .’ Dream drawled lowly.

‘Dream.’ He responded innocently with a smirk.

‘C’mon.’

‘No.’

Dream stared at George. George stared back. And it took three seconds for Dream to break. He jogged back over with a sigh, and George giggled giddily, making fun of him.

Dream swatted him on the head for good measure.

‘Okay, um…’ they got into frame, albeit a little more awkwardly now that they didn’t have an audience. It felt so much quieter now, and almost like they were stranded on their own without the guidance of Oti or music in the background.

‘5, 6, 7, 8,’ Dream began, and kept repeating the counts as they performed the steps, making the butterfly motion and leaning outwards.

‘1, 2, 3…’ He trailed off, feeling self conscious in the silence, hesitating for a short moment as his mind blanked, then George’s arm dragged him forwards and he remembered, walking around George until he was behind him.

‘Stop worrying.’ George mumbled from in front of him, and Dream blinked.

‘I’m not.’ He lightly tugged George’s arm, spinning him around so they faced each other, and George rolled his eyes at him. Dream’s free hand found it’s place on George’s waist. Dream widened his eyes to George, pointedly staring at George’s free hand. And he saw the moment when George remembered what he was meant to do with it, his eyebrows were furrowed in thought, and then he startled a little, putting his hand on Dream’s chest and red in embarrassment.

They leaned backwards then forwards, hands moving in circular motions at their side. George’s mouth was moving around the counts, not quite speaking them, but when Dream payed attention he could make out whispers of the numbers. Maybe he should’ve kept saying the counts after all.

They repeated and practiced, the hours passing with laughter and joy, eventually easing into dancing alone with each other. Dream would still feel nervous kissing George’s hand, and George would still laugh at him for it, at one point in the long footwork section George tripped over and they had a well-earned twenty minute bench break; consisting of Dream fussing over George, while the latter just sat there and looked pretty, whining about a bruise on his knee, and after twenty minutes was stubborn in his decision to stay sat down.

Dream’s mind just completely blanked a multitude of times, all the steps completely disappearing from his head, and best case scenario is he’d hesitate but have George remind him, worst case he’d get frustrated and they’d have to pause the music, watch the choreography to reassure his hassled mind, then potentially restart.

And you’d think the rehearsal room would be quieter with one less person, but really it wasn’t. It was comfortable and fun, filled with jokes and laughter, going off track then coming back on. Oti kept them both moving forward, and without her there would be no dance, for that Dream was incredibly grateful, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t treasure these few hours of just him and George. Dancing with George felt so refreshing and just… interesting and wonderful. And now when there was no one watching it felt as natural as breathing.

Hands on shoulders or chests snug together, guiding George through the floor with a gentle hand on his waist, a feeling of closeness, just being linked together. Hand in hand, lost in their own bubble of warmth, the rest of the world muffled and blurry if only for a few minutes.

Bright grins and twinkley eyes, a deep brown, a chin tilted slightly up to make eye contact and dark lashes, fluffy hair, and a laugh like bells in the air, maybe a bunch of them hanging on a string, tied with blue ribbons and floating around them in the air. George’s laugh was vibrant and free of self restraint after an hour or so, leaving Dream all fuzzy and warm, putting in extra effort to crack dumb jokes just so he can hear that sound again.

He was having more fun than he’d had in months, even going over their routine, when with George it felt like everything was incredible.

And that was the problem, wasn’t it?

Every bright glowing thought shone for a short while, then shrivelled up when it realised it shouldn’t exist. Dream wondered if George should be… this amazing. Which sounded really weird to say. But, he didn’t think this for other people. He frowned.

Am I...?

And he felt the same on Saturday night, artful spins around a luminous floor, blossoming with florid pinks, both wearing matching coral shirts and brown jackets, green trousers going with. The night was as good as any other, and Dream spent some of his time just… looking at George, trying to figure out his thoughts.

When sat on a chair in a group of people, just relaxing in the background, but a warm smile on his face, occasionally laughing at a joke, and feet kicking back and forth under the chair.

In the reflection of the mirror, eyes on his phone, expression neutral, and leaning back a little in his chair as someone ran through his hair with a comb, or brushing it through with their fingers. Dream would like to do that, he thinks.

When waiting on the stairs to be announced to go down, George smoothened out his brown jacket, overthinking to a ridiculous degree, but still hopping about in excitement, bobbing his head and grinning.

George pointing excitedly at Sapnap and Karl’s lift, which Dream did regret missing, he’s sure he would’ve seen something incredible if his eyes were on the stage. But his eyes weren’t on the stage, and he was seeing something incredible either way. One of them you could probably find on Youtube later, the other… you couldn't. So who's really winning here?

When dancing on the floor themselves, the world spinning and fading into a mess of black and pink and grey, George was there in front of him, a firm grip on his arms and a sweet smile on his face, he looked beautiful.

When they received their score of 33, George turned to Dream, exhilarated, and he literally jumped in the air.

The whole night, in what felt like every moment, every second, every time Dream found his eyes drawn back to George, he had the same thought.

I think I could fall in love with you.

Keyword: think.

Not know. There’s no certainty. Maybe that sentence isn’t accurate at all. ‘I could fall in love with you?’ What is George, disposable? It’s not some trial and error. He scoffed. ‘If I put the effort in I could fall in love with you’ or something, that doesn’t make sense. So no, that can’t be right.

I think I could be falling in love with you?

But then that’s too sure. As if he’s already there, already falling. And he isn’t.

…is he?

There is a chance I could fall for you.

That’s dumb. Next he could say ‘well according to my emotions and experiences around you the chances that I could develop potentially romantic feelings are quite likely.’ This is so stupid. But his own joke did make him smile.

Well, for now - he thought - he didn’t know. And he didn’t need to know. It’s like sexuality. He doesn’t need to know, he doesn’t have to put a label on it.

…what did George mean for his sexuality? No. His thoughts were running away with him now. He was literally just saying he didn’t need a label for this. He could think on it some more, but there was no rush to know anything. For now, he didn’t know.

And he was okay with that!

Chapter Text

‘Hello Dream.’ Tommy said, shoving his phone’s camera in Dream’s face, who grimaced and swatted it away.

‘Hi Tommy.’ He muttered, and in return only received a snicker, then Tommy ran off to the others, not even starting a conversation.

They were in Brighton, having navigated the trains, and Dream had had to deal with the annoying loud obnoxious personality Tommy put on for his vlogs. It was great on video, funny jokes and comedic timing and quite frankly incredible editing (him and Tommy often exchanged tips or useful music sites), but in real life it was interrupted conversations, constantly being on guard in case you were spontaneously being filmed, having a camera shoved in your face, or turning over your shoulder and seeing people giggling or whispering, and having a suspicious inkling that it might be about you.

Sometimes Tommy would walk up to Dream with just… some absurd conversation starter, namely his political opinions (‘umm, no comment’), whether the road signs were better in the UK ( and you see I was wondering Dream because Karl said here they were far and few between like some… stupid person. And I was thinking… hmm… and you know what I did? I looked at the road. I looked at the road Dream! And I said, ‘hello road’, and of course Dream the roads can’t talk! Silly Tommy. So the roads couldn’t advise me on this important matter. Then I thought, well, who is- who’s like a road, but different. So I came to you.’ ) ( 'what?' ), and then he tried to tell Dream that Jack had long blonde hair, which he simply did not, he asked Dream to tell the viewers to subscribe, which he did… purposely half-heartedly, he asked Dream if he wanted ice cream - which at the time surprised him, finally a normal question - but when he said yes, Tommy simply had responded ‘okay’, then walked away cackling. Betrayal of the highest degree.

Anyway, eventually Dream decided to kindly ask Tommy to go away for a bit so he could enjoy the sightseeing, and Tommy (bless him) complied with no further complaints, laughing a little with a meek apology, skittering back to Wilbur and giving him the same torment he had given to Dream. He saw Wilbur glare at him playfully, and nodded in sympathy and solidarity.

Now he was walking with Sapnap, George, Karl, and Jack Manifold who had been kicked out of the other group of walkers because of a bit, but was using it to take some time to rest from their chaos.

‘I think this is close to the um… oh yeah the arcade! From the first vlog that Tommy and Wilbur did. So that’s cool!’ Jack commented, then turned to Tommy and pointed it out, and they changed course to stop by.

There were two buskers on the street, one of them playing guitar, the other singing and shaking a tambourine. Dream looked down expectantly and wasn’t surprised to see all of their footsteps were synced to the beat of the song. People things. He smiled.

Sapnap bragged about being ‘cracked’ at one of the games in the arcade, Dream told him he was stupid, because it was almost entirely luck based, and followed Sapnap back to the machine to watch him play.

Sapnap lost.

George won a key ring with a little cartoon pig on it, by the end he has lost around four pounds worth of pennies, but wholeheartedly proclaimed it was worth it, and beamed when he took the key ring out from the little box, showing it around proudly, then keeping it protected in his pocket for later.

They got recognised in the arcade too, it was bound to happen, so many popular creators all in one place. It was a group of teenagers - or maybe young adults - looking surprisingly confident and self-assured. They asked for a photo and got a huge group picture, and even got some autographs. Dream offered them more of his extra merch coins, and was absolutely humbled when they asked who he was.

Dream had went red while Sapnap doubled over laughing, and then their eyes lit up and exclaimed rushed apologies, clearly embarrassed themselves.

‘Oh my goodness, this is so so awful. I’m so so sorry! I’ve been watching you for like… two years or something, I just… I’m not used to seeing your face and stuff I’ve been so busy with family and university stuff… I- I hadn’t had time- like watching the new content- but I think you’re so cool! Oh my gosh, I’m sorry.’ They stumbled over their words, frantically explaining themself.

Dream grinned, chuckling, ‘it’s totally fine.’

‘He needs some ego-deflating.’ Sapnap nodded, and Dream elbowed him.

They each took a coin, waving goodbye, and Dream saw the one who asked who he was hide their hand in their hands, being nudged and teased by their friends. It made him smile. That’s sweet.

They didn’t spend too long in the arcade, but because of their number, they were able to get a decent amount of tickets, and left with various friendship rings, a bracelet, some sweet packets, and had to drag Tommy away, dramatically kicking and screaming as he pounded on the glass where a nerf gun was. Dream imagined him adding some black and white filter with rain pouring down when he edited it. But he immediately quietened when he saw someone looking at their group incredulously, scorning at his bratty behaviour and rolling their eyes. Turns out Tommy did have some shame.

They left the arcade quickly after that.

Dream, Sapnap, and Karl talked with George about differences between the US and the UK, and George looked like he had stars in his eyes, and Dream just couldn’t wait until George could come to Florida, and he could see him so happy.

They walked along the pier, and despite the fact that Dream had never been on the beach before, he felt like he knew his way around it because of the amount of vlogs or videos or songs based there. It was a really weird experience to finally be there in real life.

Dream, George, and Sapnap sat down on the sand, stray rocks or shells digging into his legs as he tried to situate himself comfortably. The wind was blowing through his hair, and that fresh salty smell was in the air.

He was enjoying today a lot.

He smiled when he saw George and Sapnap, they were both squinting a bit from the brightness of the white clouds filling the sky, Sapnap’s hair was ruffled from the wind, and he was currently pulling a knot out from the top. George had his arms wrapped around himself, rocking back and forth and staring at the ground, Dream’s eyebrows furrowed.

‘You okay George?’ He asked, ‘cold?’

‘No no, I’m fine.’ George nodded weakly, an involuntary shiver betraying him, and he grimaced in embarrassment.

Dream laughed, ‘we can move spot, we’re right in the wind here, there’s some rocks over there we can hide in,’ he pointed to a section of large stones and rocks, clustered together and presumably filled with rock pools. George and Sapnap’s heads whipped around almost comically, following where his finger pointed and humming in agreement, the sound getting lost with the wind.

They got up, and George groaned at the sand on his back, whining the whole way at every step. Eventually Dream just grabbed his arm and pulled him along, rolling his eyes fondly. He sat George down in a great place, sheltered from the wind by the rocks, but still with a good view of the beach.

The waves were a cobalt blue sort of colour, which fit with the weather. It wasn’t bright or sunny or commercial like, and the sky had more clouds than not, a strong wind winding it’s way through the air.

He saw Tommy and a few others all stood in a line, just a little further out than the tide could reach, occasionally they jumped in the air, or ran back panicked, and small shouts were carried along with the breeze, but what they actually said was  indistinguishable.

‘What do you think those two people on the bench are doing?’ Sapnap asked, pointing at two people nearby.

‘I have no idea.’ Dream deadpanned, confused, and Sapnap snorted.

‘Yeah, that’s the point,’ he stared pointedly, ‘you gotta make up a story. It's a game. Like, look, okay so. I think the person on the left has just been fired from their job, they look a little down and their knee is bouncing, they’re worried because they haven’t seen advertisements for new ones, and really want to follow their passions. They’re not talking to the person on the right, because that person is a huge advocate for like… following your passions and stuff and not settling. But person on the left is more realistic, and they know they really need this job dude. It became a bit of an argument, and now they’re in an awkward silence.’ He nodded to show he was finished, and Dream blinked in awe.

‘Wow.’ He said, and Sapnap smiled.

‘You do one, with hmm… let’s see, those four kids playing catch with the huge beach ball.’

Dream craned his neck to the side, and saw four young children, surely no older than twelve, each tossing a ball to each other in a triangle formation with one of them in the middle. Some kind of three-way piggy in the middle.

‘Well, it’s the one in the purple top’s birthday today actually,’ Dream decided, based on their bright smile and excitable energy, ‘and they got this ball as a birthday present. Stripey green and white dress is their older sibling, and they’re kinda annoyed because of the weather. They like the beach when it’s warm and sunny, and actually brought their swimsuit for swimming, but their parents didn’t let them because of a cold. I think grey top is younger, and they want to fit in with the rest of them, they’re kinda trash at catch-‘

‘Dream!’

‘But they’re embarrassed and want to be cool. But the other two aren’t throwing it to them much because they know that chances are, the piggy in the middle would get it.’ Dream improvised, and got a thumbs up of approval.

‘Now George, what do you think those group of strangers over there are doing?’ Sapnap chuckled to himself, and Dream realised he was pointing to Tommy, Wilbur, Tubbo, and Jack.

‘Umm well, I think- I actually think they’re awful. I think they’re unfunny and… bad. And very rude and mean. But! But, wait for it. They actually have this incredible friend, ridiculously handsome and smart and just… incredible-‘

‘Why thank you George!’ Dream joked, and George paused to exhale, exasperated, then continued.

‘And their name is George , and this George person actually has a… best friend who is a dumb idiot-‘

‘Yeah Sapnap is like that.’ Dream nodded enthusiastically, frowning, and George huffed, then sneezed.

‘Yeah actually, his name is Dream, and he is… like the opposite of George.’

‘Wait so, really ugly, really dumb, super untalented, and mean?’ Dream suggested, and George was about to swat at him when he paused, Dream smirked when he realised. George’s head tilted to the side, ‘…yes.’

 

—————————

 

Dream wasn’t sure why he had said that honestly.

He closed the door to his room (maybe a little too roughly) and began pacing, distant voices coming from downstairs, laughter and general talk or steps up the stairs. But Dream wanted some time alone.

Why was he being like this? Well, it wasn’t particularly abnormal. Him and George… flirt all the time. And Dream is completely comfortable complimenting George. He enjoys expressing his love and appreciation, sometimes seeing a brief break in George’s composure, whether in a little smile or a look of surprise, before he inevitably brushes it off with some joke or jab at him. It used to confuse Dream, but now he found it sweet. Predictable George. He even grinned at the memories, now. Sometimes he’d compliment George just to see what he’d come up with to move the subject away, not that he ever lied with the compliments. Dream hoped that even in those sentences, in the midst of all their jokes and banter and stupid idiocy, that George saw his honesty, the way his tone slipped to something a little more genuine. If nothing else, maybe on the inside it made George happy.

So maybe there was no issue. No reason for him to feel like this was weird or… different. Because it wasn’t.

He gets a notification from his phone and is about to turn it over when he sees who it’s from.

 

George 4:20

im sick :(

 

Dream pales, immediately running out the door across the hallway to the bathroom, expecting George to be sat there kneeling over the toilet, he wasn’t.

Upstairs bathroom , he thought, and stumbled up the stairs, looking around blindly only to see the door wide open with no one in there. He checked George’s room, empty.

His last resort was the downstairs bathroom, maybe someone else was with him, or worse, George hadn’t made it to a toilet. Maybe he should grab some tissues- there’s kitchen roll downstairs.

He thundered down two flights of stairs, beckoning a confused Sapnap to follow him, almost falling over when he reached the bottom.

‘George?’ He shouted, jogging into the kitchen, and looking towards the closed bathroom door.

‘Dream?’ George’s voice.

He looked around, and there George was. Sat at the table playing some dumb game on his phone and looking up at Dream, adorably confused like he had no idea why Dream had ran all the way through the house.

He only just realised he was out of breath from all that running, and took a moment to regulate himself, hearing a muffled ‘is everything alright?’ from upstairs, in what sounded like a German accent, probably Niki, but he couldn’t tell.

‘Are you okay?’ Dream checked, confused now by the text.

‘Yes?’ George responded, equally puzzled, and laughed, ‘why?’

‘You- you said you were sick! I was worried?’

‘I am sick!’ George protested, pointing to the box of tissues, and Dream now saw he was wrapped up in a large hoodie, a steaming mug next to him and a box of tissues on the table, and clearly the bin was too far away for George to bother with, as there were some used tissues scattered about on the floor around it, as if George had thrown them then missed. Dream grinned fondly, then turned to George with a raised eyebrow, gesturing to the mess of tissues on the ground.

George squinted, then realised what Dream was talking about, and blushed furiously, ‘shut up,’ he muttered, light-hearted. Oh George.

Dream decided now that he was down here, he may as well stay, and pulled up a chair next to George.

‘So you’re not sick?’ He asked once more, just to check, and George shook his head.

‘Well- I mean I’m ill-'

‘But you’re not sick? Sick as in… bleurgh?’

‘Bleurgh?’ George repeated, scrunching his nose, then burst out laughing.

‘Yes! You- idiot,’ Dream punched him lightly on the shoulder, and George cried out, recoiling, almost falling off his chair if not for Dream grabbing his arm.

‘Anyway yeah, I’m not sick as in… bleurgh, I think I got a cold from the vlog.’ Right on cue, George sneezed into his elbow, then went for a tissue, and blew his nose.

‘Shoot! Shoot!’ Dream joked, and George smacked him, but aimed for the bin regardless. He missed, and Dream sighed disapprovingly, commenting on how trash he was. George just spluttered and pulled the ill card, which turned to more squabbling, until George huffed, and went back to his phone.

‘What you playing?’ Dream asked, trying to lean over and see, but George tilted his phone away.

‘With your heart.’ George quipped without a beat, beginning to bob his head side to side as he fiddled with the buttons.

Dream blinked. If only you knew.

 

—————————

 

Dream wasn’t sure if he was having the best or the worst time. They were in rehearsals, and since Dream’s recent… revelation, things felt different somehow.

Like little fizzles or sparkles going off when they held hands, George’s hand on his shoulder felt heavier, brighter, which didn’t make any sense - he knows. But it feels brighter. And Dream’s hand seemed to just gravitate towards George’s waist, it felt natural to put it there, fleeting moments when he’d walk beside him, his hand would just lift up and he’d shove it down again, embarrassed and confused… guilty.

He couldn’t help but feel like this was taking advantage in some way, he shouldn’t be feeling all this. It wasn’t fair to George. This wasn’t part of what he signed up for when they became dance partners.

It wasn’t that he felt bad for liking George or something, (even that felt odd to say), because he couldn’t control his feelings. He even remembered a conversation ages ago when they talked about how they wouldn’t mind if a friend had a crush on them. Because you can’t control your feelings, and they’d make sure nothing changed.

Crush . The word made him sick. Like this was some kind of petty high school game, like he took a look at George, thought he was funny or pretty, and decided to ‘like’ him. When it wasn’t that at all. This was… love. Deep and thrumming, hot red and bright and running through his veins like it was his purpose. Comfort and home, just… perfection. George made him laugh and made him smile and helped him rest and eat and take care of himself. George seemed to always know what he needed, and was able to help him. And he never acknowledged that he did it. There was always some kind of connection, but George denied it’s existence with a giggle, something in his tone telling Dream that he knew it was there too. He had to know.

Even a text from George would brighten his mood. Hearing what he had to say about every part of his day, he wanted to sit in his mind and see the world through his eyes. Because how could someone be so carefree and funny, intelligent and observant, yet so humble.

He was perfect.

And that was the issue.

Those kind of thoughts could be friendship changing, even if crushes couldn't.

Moments of intimacy, sleeping on call or even dancing like this, he didn’t want George to know, because he didn’t want those moments ruined. Imagining George wincing and unable to be carefree, putting a filter over his words and actions, replacing authenticity for what he might think was kindness. Hiding discomfort behind dark curtains. The parts of George he loved and cared for concealed because of Dream’s stupid feelings.

He couldn’t let that happen. But that must be selfish.

It would be worse to confess to George after, he’d hide his disgust, and maybe later when lying in bed would imagine Dream enjoying their moments of intimacy, all their dancing, too much. George would laugh at particularly romantic moments, but later would cringe if he thought Dream imagined it differently. Or worse, he’d think Dream only grew these feelings after dancing with him. As if any of this was related to his body. That might be the worst of all.

Yet the guilt ate away at him throughout the hours, as if existing was doing something wrong. He loved the feeling around George, but hated feeling it. An impossible situation.

He just needed to think and figure it all out.

‘Again again!’

But he didn’t have much time to think at all.

‘Up on your feet, c’mon get going!’ Oti shouted, and Dream groaned as their break officially ended. At a grand two minutes and about half a drink of water.

‘George, get up! Break’s over.’ Oti clapped her hands impatiently, and Dream turned back to see George making some weird face, and then he sneezed into his elbow.

‘That’s half of the song already, incredible progress we’re doing great keep it up! Just remember, you don’t have to go too heavy on the facial expressions. It can look kinda… extra,’ she stared pointedly at George and gave a knowing yet polite nod. George flushed red, and put his head in his hands. ‘You can go very neutral in terms of faces, we just want blazing eye contact. An occasional smile, but mostly just relax. Starting positions…’

Dream ran over to his spot to the right of the stage, and George was at the back in the middle.

‘And a five, six, seven, eight.’

The song began to play, it was called ‘Slow Dancing in the Dark’, one Dream hadn’t heard of before.

This whole dancing thing wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t a freaking Rumba, Dream thought bitterly as he waited in place.

The Rumba was by far the most romantic dance they’d done. In a different way maybe. While others like the Viennese Waltz had been slow and sweet and intimate, the Rumba was seductive, it was flirty and sensual. The exact opposite of what Dream needed to figure out his feelings.

How could he think of anything when he was with George. Doing a dance with swaying hips and such elegant movements, a stream of fast yet wavey reaches of arms and legs, warping to slow transitions into each other's hold. George burying his head in Dream’s shoulder, hands wrapped around his neck, while Dream dragged him backwards, about half of George’s body weight against him. So… precious.

The whole dance was a push and pull. Coming together only to part ways again. Having to really relax his body and feel in tune with every bone in his body. They had to stretch excessively before this, and practice distributing their body weight from right to left. Leaning from side to side, leading from different areas of their body, and letting the rest be dragged along as if by a river or being pulled along by strings. It was so gentle and perfected.

Another interesting thing was it wasn’t just George who was moving. Usually Dream had stayed firm, pulling George along beside or around him, steering him around the floor. But here they were like reflections of each other, symmetry in movements, Dream had to learn to move slowly, alluring and (dare he say) sexy. The word made him laugh.

But there was something beautiful about doing it with George too. He felt much more connected than before. Like they were in it together this time, instead of Dream leading George along.

And hell, was it hot.

Dream had watched George go from rigid and embarrassed to (after much coaxing and demonstrations from Oti) some regal figure. He seemed so in tune with his body, every movement just captivating that Dream felt like his world was going dizzy. It didn’t help that George had decided wearing tank tops were daily occurrences now, the black material clinging to his hips, accentuating every sway and Dream felt so scandalised by his own eyes and half of him was screaming about how wrong and weird this was and how stupid this whole situation is.

Maybe it wasn’t that he didn’t have time to think. Maybe it was just easier not to.

By the time George was centre stage, Dream had already missed his cue, and took a large stride to make up for the two steps he had missed, hearing George giggle in front of him, a bright grin on his face as he stretched his hand outwards to him, and that made something happen in Dream’s head.

 

—————————

 

Dream had recently found out that there was a subreddit for Strictly Come Dancing, which had suddenly burst into life and became a lot more active since this particular series.

He was sat on his bed at stupid o’ clock, (especially considering he had to wake up for rehearsals tomorrow, he knew this was a bad idea, but he was doing it anyway), and browsing the website. It was just so interesting.

Filled to the brim with statistics and predictions, sprinkles of fanart, but a lot of statistics.

He’s talking statistics for every couple in terms of votes, skills, and what dances the maker guessed they’d excel at. The creator listed all their data, from previous dances that were similar, whether in speed, category, or emotional expression. One committed person had even looked into estimated stamina, based on things like vlogs or discussions.

Though even with all that over half of them were N/A, which made sense, especially regarding Dream as they’d never seen him move before.

They had extra notes of little facts on streamers offhandedly mentioning things like going to the gym, old trampoline or dance classes, and things like how likely they are to take it seriously (whether told or inferred) and how organised they were. Other things were also taken into account like sleep schedules and timezone differences, chemistry between pairs, so much information that it was half impressive and half scary that they’d compiled it all so quickly.

It was perfect though for Dream’s current situation. He loved plain facts to sink his teeth into, pouring over graphs and statistics for the knowledge and ability to better himself.

He’d seen people complaining on twitter about the unfairness of the voting system and how Dream and George were always at the top - which was fair, Dream could agree with them - but that didn’t mean he liked it. Invalidating the hours of work he was putting into those dances, the physical strain on his body after a lot more exercise than it was used to. And he was generally tired of everyone blaming him for stuff like this. It was meant to be a fun experience after all. He wanted to be proud of his progression, instead of everyone automatically giving credit to voters.

Dream’s solution? Get better at the competition. The best, in fact. Practice and commit until people would marvel at his skill. Give credit where it’s deserved. Not complain all the time. Until him and George were the top of the leaderboard on scoring alone. But there was the problem. George.

And no, this isn’t relating to Dream’s current… predicament. It’s something else entirely.

George hates practising. Maybe hate is too strong a word, in fact he’s entirely careless. When Dream’s in a competition he’s very much competitive, some could argue to a fault. He likes to be proud of his placements, he liked the reputation he gets for his skills and achievements. Things he’s truly earned and worked for. So much so that it’s difficult to understand how George can just groan and curl up on the sofa at the suggestion of going outside and practicing a bit more after his very convincing speech. Almost frustrating.

It takes two to win a two-player dance competition after all.

He needs George to practice with him if he wants them both to get better, yet no amount of bribery seems to work. When George gets home after rehearsals, he’s done for the day. Even when his once-in-a-blue-moon washing up day comes around he’ll whine and complain like an idiot. He’s firm in his need for rest, and maybe that’s a good thing. Dream just wished he shared his passion and commitment, that way they could get something done.

Nonetheless, if he can’t play the physical game to the level he wants to, he can play the strategic one. Analysing dances and common mistakes other pairs have made, or finding out what the judges actually look for. Whether they wanted some wow factors, favoured lifts, or were really only interested in technicalities.

It made him feel a step ahead of the competition at least, and they’d really fostered a little community on that subreddit.

Speaking of Reddit, an MCC was coming up soon. Most people participating in Strictly Come Dancing (including Dream) aren't in it, but one of them was upset about that.

 

(‘I’ve literally been in every MCC since the first one… what am I gonna do?’ Wilbur groaned as he scrolled through the MCC signups on Discord.

‘You’re gonna have to miss one man,’ Tubbo sighed, ‘it’s Saturday right? They’re both Saturday. Unless you and Tommy get out the competition that’s it.’

‘I mean no one else here can do it. We’ll be suffering right along with you.’

‘Yeah what’s up guys.’ Ranboo said in a dumb voice through Tubbo’s phone.

‘Also, dude. It’s Strictly Come Dancing. That is just as awesome!.’ Aimsey exclaimed.

‘Yeah, yeah. But my record. My streak!’ Wilbur made an odd squark-like noise, and then he laughed.

‘It won’t be canon though, this one.’ Ranboo reassured.

‘Wait, really?’

‘Yeah! I mean, so many people can’t be in it. And we get tons of views, right? So they’re doing like a fun non-canon one.’

‘Where did they say this?’ Wilbur asked, scrolling furiously through the Discord.

‘It was in the announcement, did you not read it?’

‘What, in the Discord?’

‘Yeah.’

Wilbur’s eyebrows furrowed, and then his eyes widened, ‘oh! I appear to be… a bit of an… a bit of an idiot you might say.’

Ranboo laughed, ‘yeah! They’re doing a mix of non minecraft streamers and the normal ones. I think-'

Wilbur cut him off with abrupt laughter, ‘did you just imply that people who don’t stream minecraft aren’t normal?’

Ranboo immediately burst into ‘no no no no no-‘s, while Wilbur giggled, amongst laughter from others, that did eventually die down.

‘No no, anyway! Anyway. It’s like um… yeah, they want non minecraft streamers and everything, so they’re gonna put one on every team! Even though it’s not canon they still want some balance.’ He explained, ‘I’m on a team with Jaiden.’

‘Animations?’ Aimsey literally jumped from her chair, grinning.

‘Yeah! It’s so cool man, I used to watch her all the time like as a kid and everything.’

‘Dude! I love Jaiden!’ Aimsey waved their hands around, ‘can I talk with her? Like… when we finish Strictly or something? I could join the team vc?’

‘Uhh,’ Ranboo trailed off, ‘I don’t know, you could try!’)

 

—————————

 

‘Hello bitc-‘ Tommy shouted as he opened the door, then trailed off, laughing, ‘I meant hello friends! I am back with Karl, he’s doing his laces on the driveway like a fool.’ He walked through the door, shutting it behind him, then paused. He groaned, and messed with the door until it opened again, perfectly timed with Karl reaching the door.

‘Did you lock me out?’ He accuses, getting all up in Tommy’s face.

‘No no!’ Tommy held up his hands placatingly, ducking under Karl’s arm to walk towards the kitchen, where Dream was watching the exchange with a raised eyebrow.

‘Hello Dream, would you mind helping me with these?’ He plonked two bags of groceries down on the counter, rifling through one of them and beginning to unpack it.

‘Why did you go shopping at…’ Dream looked at his phone, ‘half eleven? What?’

‘Cereal ran out and I’d have no breakfast tomorrow,’ Tommy justified, ‘and the list on the fridge was getting frighteningly long.’ He scrambled around in his pocket and held it up, waggling his eyebrows, then stuffed it into the bin.

Dream sighed, exasperated and tired, then helped Tommy and Karl put their stuff away. He tried to go for the easy stuff, like milk, juice, pasta, jam, all of which he knew where they went. But by the time he’d finished his bag there were a small group of items left on the counter because he had no idea where to put them.

Nonetheless, the fridge and the pantry was restocked, and Dream could put off going to the shops for another week or so.

It was getting late now, Tommy was sat at the kitchen table watching some Youtube video on his phone, and a small group were in the lounge, occasionally screaming. Ranboo was over and they had came back from going out somewhere for dinner, he was now streaming some horror game using their set up, with about five people watching. Dream really had just wanted to relax but it was difficult when at random intervals there’d just be shouts or obnoxious laughter. He knew he was being cranky, he was tired, and he hadn’t seen George or Sapnap in ages.

He opened up Discord.

 

Sapnap - DMs

Dream 12:07

hello

 

He tapped his phone case impatiently, and there was no response for a while (about fifteen seconds, but it felt much longer).

 

GeorgeNotFound - DMs

Dream 12:08

hello?

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:08

hi

 

He smiled, brain singing a brief ‘George! :D’ if emoticons could be sung, he’d just done it.

 

Dream 12:08

what are you doing?

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:09

im in bed, are you on the stream? I can hear it from up here

 

Dream 12:09

i’m not on the stream no but im a room away

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:09

you should probably go to sleep

 

Dream

i know

i’m tired too

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:10

go to bed then! what

 

And that was like the final click in his brain. He got up from his chair, head feeling heavy with the weight of sleepiness, fatigue pulling at his muscles, and he paused, blinking the brief second of dizziness away.

He ran up the stairs, remembers something, runs back down, grabs his phone, and runs back up again, wow I must be really tired, he thought.

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:12

i hear someone going up the stairs LMAO is that you

 

Dream 12:12

yes

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:13

brush your teeth

 

Dream 12:13

okay mom

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:13

can’t date myself

 

Dream rolls his eyes, and grabs his toothbrush from his room. He spends the next few minutes brushing his teeth, then changed into acceptable clothes to sleep in, getting his clothes for tomorrow’s rehearsals ready and set out on his chair. And finally he closes the door to his room, turning on the bedside lamp and turning off the brighter overhead light.

He exhales deeply, enjoying the warm glow of the room, and lies on top of the duvet.

 

Dream 12:19

i’m done!

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:19

you took forever :( I thought you left me

 

Dream 12:19

sorry :( never

 

He fidgeted trying to get a comfortable position, while simultaneously squishing his ear into the pillow to muffle the voices from downstairs.

 

Dream 12:20

also I see what you mean they’re loud down there

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:20

yeah it sucks

 

Dream 12:20

dude you’re a whole extra floor away as well

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:20

L lol

am I above you?

 

Dream 12:21

no. I think you’re above sapnap though

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:21

I hate sapnap

if I hit the floor do you think you’d hear it?

 

Dream 12:21

maybe

try it

 

Dream listened for something, anything, but he couldn’t hear anything besides the voices downstairs.

 

Dream 12:22

did you do it?

 

George 12:22

yeah

did you hear

 

Dream 12:23

no :(

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:23

LMAO I lied

 

Dream 12:23

WHAT

 

He suddenly heard a small thud from upstairs, and grinned. The next DM that came through was unsurprising.

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:23

did you hear that?

 

Dream 12:23

yes!

 

George 12:24

:]

 

He heard the same sound again, and laughed softly. It was funny. Maybe this was a stupid tired thought, but it reminded Dream of when him and George lived so far away. Different worlds, separated by the floor of a house, and when he heard the little thud it was a solid tangible sign of George’s existence. In the same way a call was or his Minecraft skin, a Youtube channel or a DM.

A friendly little wave from what felt like a different universe.

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:24

maybe i’ll wake sapnap up

that’d be funny

 

Dream 12:24

tommy screaming didnt wake him so probably nkt

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:24

yeah

you’re tired aren’t you?

 

Dream 12:25

I am!

any askers?

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:25

you should go to sleep

sweet DREAMs

 

Dream 12:25

like me!!

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:26

exactly

 

Dream 12:26

alright yeah ima go to bed

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:26

goodnight! I hope you sleep well

 

Dream 12:26

gn george :)

 

—————————

 

It was Saturday afternoon, and Dream was in a taxi with George, Sapnap, and Karl, on the way to the studios. And he had just remembered he forgot to bring his phone.

He muttered a curse as he patted himself down, then rummaged in his pocket, coming up empty-handed, save for a lollipop wrapper.

‘Oh gosh.’ He mumbled, then asked ‘did one of you guys take my phone?’

They all looked up with equally confused looks on their faces. ‘No?’

Dream squinted, looking for any of their tells that they were lying.

‘Okay, if this is a prank or something you need to tell me, like actually. I don’t wanna lose it.’

They all stared at each other expectantly.

‘I mean-‘

‘Nah-‘

Karl and Sapnap both paused, waiting for the other to finish what they were saying.

‘You go.’ They both said at the same time, then burst out laughing.

Dream shook his head fondly, but still a little irritated, ‘did anyone take it?’

‘I haven’t done anything with it, I don’t know,’ Karl shrugged.

‘Yeah nah dude, I haven’t even seen it.’

And George shook his head, ‘nope.’

‘What the hell, did I really leave it?’ He groaned, thinking back to where he could’ve put it.

‘It’s not in your pockets?’ Karl asked, and Dream shook his head.

‘Did it like… I dunno, fall down the side of the seats?’ George fumbled, then gestured with his hands towards the seat Dream was sat on.

Dream wriggled around (somewhat awkwardly, because of the seatbelt), and reluctantly put his hand down the side of the seat. He grimaced at the feel of dust or something gross, and quickly ran his finger along the side. Nothing.

‘Yeah I don’t think so,’ he wiped his hand on his trousers, and George giggled.

‘That’s gross, what’s wrong with you Dream?’

‘It was literally your idea.’

‘You still did it. Also, what do you need your phone for anyway?’

Dream blinked, ‘I don’t know. I mean, I think like… when you’re waiting it’s just good for passing the time. Also- wait yeah, what if I got a call George, or something important happened? Why do you take your phone anywhere? It’s just… handy,’ he scoffed, ‘that’s a dumb question.’

George hummed, ‘that’s fair, you can play some games or something on my phone if you want.’ Then he bonked his knee against Dream’s from where they were sat next to each other in the taxi. Dream’s heart warmed at his words.

‘Thank you!’ He grinned, and George beamed back at him.

It was raining outside today, and the raindrops sounded wonderful on the roof of the car. It was the kind of rain that was heavy, falling in thick droplets, and Dream was dreading the minute or so walk they’d have to make once they left the taxi. But for now it sounded nice.

‘Was that thunder?’ Sapnap asked abruptly, and they all fell into silence to listen, Karl tilting his head to the side.

A good few seconds passed, and nothing happened, Sapnap chuckled awkwardly. ‘Alright then.’

‘I mean, it still could’ve been.’ Dream justified, ‘maybe it stopped.’ He was interrupted by a particularly harsh burst of rain, hammering on the windows and the ceiling.

When they were a street or so away, Dream pulled the hood of his coat up, and everyone else did the same, except George, who didn’t have a coat, but used the hood of his hoodie instead.

The driver got them as close to the entrance as they could, and Sapnap payed for the journey. They all braced themselves, and then opened the door on George’s side, closest to the entrance.

The second George took a step outside he shrieked, tilting his head downwards and tugging the hoodie over himself, yet still laughing.

Dream stepped outside, and immediately felt the rain coating his face, drenching his socks, and he could feel it padding on his hood. He looked downwards, stepping away from the door to wait for Karl and Sapnap, but George had other plans.

George just grabbed his arm, shouting over the heavy rain something along the lines of ‘hurry up’, then dragged him away. Dream had to run to keep up, careful to not slip, and he could only see the pavement from his current point of view.

Puddles were everywhere, heavy droplets falling onto them, making mesmerising little ripples. He could see wobbly reflections of the lights of traffic lights, and all around was the sound of cars and spraying water. His eyes flickered up, squinting when rain fell into his eyes, and ducked again now that he could see where they are.

A sprint later, him and George were officially under the shelter. Still outside, but the rain didn’t hit them anymore.

‘Oh my gosh!’ Dream laughed, pulling his hood down and attempting to fix his hair.

‘That was literally insane!’ George exclaimed, wiping at his eyes, ‘ha ha! Oh look, it’s Karl and Sapnap!’ He said in an odd little voice. ‘They look like idiots, they’re losers, stuck in the rain.’

‘Huh? What did you say George?’ Sapnap asked in a cocky tone once he was under the shelter.

‘I said you’re a loser.’

With a deadpan expression, Sapnap cupped his hands, held them outside the shelter until he had collected a substantial amount of water, and then chucked it in George’s direction.

He mostly missed, but of course George was a dramatic little idiot, and he spluttered exaggeratively, hiding his head in his hands.

‘What- what’s wrong with you!’ He mumbled indignantly.

‘You called me a loser, it’s just water George.’

‘To be fair, you were stood in it like… five seconds ago.’ Karl said pointedly.

‘Dream… do something. They’re being mean.'

‘Do what?’ Dream asked, bemused.

‘I dunno, fight them or something.

‘I mean…’ Dream looked from George to the other two, ‘Karl does have a point.’

‘What?’ George glared at him. ‘You hate me.’ He declared, stalking off through the entrance doors.

Dream chuckled, but followed behind him, and they took a considerable amount of time to wipe their shoes on the matt.

Dream felt quite uncomfortable, his clothes were clinging to his skin, wet socks were never pleasant, and he could literally see water droplets on his eyelashes. That’s actually really cool.

The hair and makeup stylists are gonna have a much harder job today, Dream thought to himself, watching in amusement as George shook his head like a dog to dry it.

‘You’re early,’ a worker said, spraying a door handle and rubbing at it with a cloth, ‘we won’t send you back outside, don’t worry.’

They laughed politely, ‘what should we do then?’ Dream asked, ‘we called the taxi early because of the rain. We didn’t want to be late.’

‘You can wait in the foyer… or maybe you’re allowed in the changing rooms? You can’t go in the lounge area at the makeup place, they’re setting up. Uhh,’ they trailed off, ‘I don’t know, I just work here,’ they laughed, ‘ask Aria. Great to meet you all by the way.'

‘Thanks!’ Karl smiled, then looked to see who Aria was, Dream followed his gaze and saw three people having a conversation, one had their hand on their hip, shaking their head while looking at their phone, another was holding two large boxes stacked up on each other, leaning back to compensate for the added weight, and the other was flicking through some papers, talking to the others with a raised voice.

‘Who’s asking,’ Karl asked with a laugh, immediately taking a step back.

‘Which one is even… what was it, Aria?’ George crossed his arms.

‘Yeah Aria, and I don’t know.’ Dream replied, and saw that whoever had been cleaning the door before was gone now.

‘We could just… not ask.’ Sapnap suggested, chuckling.

‘Good idea. I’m staying in the foyer.’ Karl declared decisively.

‘We’re not gonna be like… in the way right?’ George mentioned, looking around.

‘I mean- I don’t think so. Like… technically we’re off to the side so? I don’t see why we’d be an issue.’ Dream explained.

They fell into a comfortable silence, Dream was listening to the torrential downpour outside, and the sound of cars driving by over puddles, sending pools of water launching into the air and sometimes landing on disgruntled busy people.

‘It sounds pretty.’ George hummed, and Dream turned to look at him.

‘The rain,’ George added, as if that wasn’t obvious, and it made Dream laugh.

‘Thanks for the clarification.’ He quipped, ‘but yeah no I agree. I love rain sounds.’

‘Do you prefer light rain or like… this kind of rain all heavy and thundering?’

‘That’s a good question actually. I think- hmm. Okay, here’s what I think. Light rain is better for walking, obviously-‘

Obviously .’

‘Obviously, like it feels nice, it’s pretty, you don’t get too wet there’s not too many puddles- I don’t know. But then the sound of heavy rain? That is- that’s some top tier… business. Like going to sleep with the sound of heavy rain hitting a roof top.’ He made a ‘chefs kiss’ gesture with his hand, and George grinned.

‘I think… light rain sounds nice on roofs too though,’

‘Well yeah-'

‘And heavy rain sometimes is… too loud. Like I couldn’t go to sleep in this.’ George pointed to the outside.

‘That’s your priority George?’ Dream teased, ‘the scale- or rating of if something is good is whether you can sleep in it.’

‘Well no- no, that’s not what I meant. Just like- rain is meant to be calming.’

‘It’s not meant to be anything.’

‘Okay! Shut up. In my personal opinion, I like rain when it can be calming to me. Heavy rain,’ he shook his head and waved his hands around, ‘just doesn’t do it for me. Sorry guys! Controversial I know.’

‘Woah George!’ Dream crossed his arms disapprovingly, ‘you don’t wanna get cancelled or something, c’mon.’

Dream heard some muffled squealing, shrieks, and laughter and turned towards the door, and Sam, Aimsey, and Tubbo ran through the door, each with soaking wet hair, dripping onto the floor.

‘What the-‘ Sam laughed, and then noticed their presences, ‘oh hey!'

‘Hey Sam,’ Sapnap greeted, falling into conversation, while Tubbo and Aimsey asked someone for directions to the bathrooms.

‘Anyone got a watch?’ Dream asked loudly to no one in particular.

He saw George pull up his sleeve to check his wrist, and there was no watch. Dream couldn’t stop a small laugh from coming out.

‘Not a watch but a phone,’ Sam said, pulling it out of his pocket, and Dream was once again reminded he didn’t have a phone on him. ‘ten- well, eight minutes to go.’

Those minutes passed by with idle chatter, a few more people joining the group until they had formed quite a crowd, and someone approached them.

‘Uh guys- everyone, what are you doing here?’ They asked, frowning with a strict voice.

Everyone hesitated, wondering who’d speak, and then Wilbur did, who was stood closest, ‘um, we’re the dancer peo- the dancers.’

Their eyes widened, ‘you’re the celebrities? Oh wow! I’m sorry, right this way we’re gonna need to dry your hair.’ They ushered the group down the hallways, and the hair and makeup team got to work with hair dryers.

The room was busy with people, camera operators coming in and out to get clips for the show, people running in with eyeshadow palettes and all sorts of products, and people rushing about the hallway with costumes. Everyone was everywhere, and Dream just stayed sat in his chair so he wouldn’t get in the way of anyone or be doing something wrong.

His hair artist deliberated over letting it naturally dry instead of blow drying it, because they planned on ‘accentuating his curls’ or something, and blow drying it would make it ‘poof up’.

So they sent him off to his changing room with now-damp hair, and told him to just wait until the costume designers brought his outfit over.

Closing the door behind him was like a breath of fresh air, he didn’t realise how overstimulated he was feeling in there, everything was so bright and loud and colourful, this little changing room was handy. He reached into his pocket for his phone, then was once again reminded that he didn’t have it.

There was nothing else to do in this room, so he just leaned back on the chair in the corner, absent-mindedly swinging his legs.

He looked around the small space, the empty rack for hangers was slightly reflective, and he waved at his reflection. He also associated with this room with anticipation and excitement, and he could feel the familiar sensation creeping in.

This Rumba was going to be an interesting one. Dream really hoped no one could see his… feelings. That still felt like a weird word. They probably wouldn't think it's anything out of the ordinary. People speculated all the time, every ‘DNF moment’ was commonplace, so at this rate, maybe he should crank it up to really dissuade them. The dance was incredibly suggestive anyway, they have to have emotions to get a good score. And ‘competitive’ may as well be Dream’s middle name. Of course it'd look... whatever.

It was George finding out that was the issue. It felt like he kept circling back to this all the time, but he couldn’t get it off his mind. It was all so scary and new. George was so special. He couldn’t risk that. Their unquestionable intimacy had been such a comfort to him. Discussions about literally everything ever, living their lives as if it were shared. The smallest moments or the slightest interesting things immediately told to the other, received with excitement and wonder. George drifting away was one of the worst possible things he could imagine.

This is not what he should be thinking about. Dream laughed a little at the thought, blinking back into reality, with a small hollow pit in his stomach somewhere. Zoning out is basically thinking so much that your eyes stop working, he thought, and decided to focus his attention on other matters.

He waited patiently for an interesting thought to spring up, dismissing ones that kept crawling back to George, feelings, fear, rejection. Not many came.

Luckily he was saved by a knock on the door, and he sprung to his feet and opened it.

‘Hi-' a few hangers were shoved into his hands and he stumbled backwards.

‘Sorry!’ The person on the other side of the door smiled sweetly, ‘we’re in quite a rush at the moment! The rain has slowed everything down, so get changed quickly please! Gotta run!’ And with that the door was closed, and Dream was just left somewhat bewildered at how fast they could talk. And Dream thought he was a fast talker.

He acknowledged the advice though, and hung the hangers up, admiring the pretty outfit. It was fairly simple, yet effective. A baggy long-sleeved shirt, looking casual and relaxed yet elegant, the top button undone, it was blue, adorned with glitter that glinted different shades of blue depending on the angle. Like diamonds and sapphires reflecting through rippling water. But it was darker than it was lighter, maybe like a night sky, sparkling with stars.

The pants clung to his waist, but then became light and flowing as they went further down. They were a stark black, and Dream had a lot of fun just walking around the room and seeing how much they moved. Maybe to accentuate the movements of the dance or something.

Finally, he did the buckles on the shoes, simple black polished leather, and folded up his previous clothes and placed them on the chair, then finally turned to the mirror.

It honestly looked great! It felt more free than other outfits, what with how light it all was. Nothing really clung to his figure except the pants on his waist, but even then the shirt went over that so it couldn’t be seen. He rolled up the sleeves to a little below his elbow, just to experiment, lowkey checking himself out in front of the mirror.

Dream could see the appeal now of having slightly wet hair. It usually dried in curls, and having it look darker than normal worked well with the outfit, it wasn’t perfect, but maybe someone could touch it up a bit.

As he left the room and walked down the hallway, he remembered himself just a few months ago. Able to hop on a stream right after getting out of bed, hair dishevelled, sometimes shirtless if he was really feeling lazy. In a particularly odd period he would skip having a shower for a few days, not deeming it significant because no one was seeing him and he wasn’t moving around much all day. And now, fussing over his appearance and hair when he was about to be on camera for around five minutes.

He peeked through the door, quickly sneaking over to the chairs where a few others were. The room was definitely tidier now, but just as hectic. People calling out times and brushing through hair fast-paced and rough.

Someone snapping their fingers got Dream’s attention, and he saw someone beckoning him over to a seat, so he walked on over.

‘Hey, I’m Parker,’ they greeted, and Dream said hi back, and they got to work with putting some product on his face, it was subtle, they seemed to be making sharper shadows, and they removed a  spot he had gotten on his cheek. Dream tried to let his attention wander but he kept jumping whenever that brush would prod near to his eyes. He just looked at himself in the mirror, fiddling with his fingers, or looking at the concentration on Parker’s face, moving quickly, yet still precise.

In the reflection he saw the door open and George walked in, looking around before being ushered away by the guy with the beanie Dream had talked to another week.

From the brief glimpse he got in the mirror, George was wearing a very similar thing. The same shirt (George looked really good in blues), though maybe it was a bit smaller, then again that could just be because George was smaller.

When Parker was finished, he sent Dream off with a wish of good luck, and Dream smiled appreciatively, then sat on the sofas to wait for George.

‘Dream!’ Sapnap yelled over the noise of the room, and he moved to the side to make room for him.

‘Hi!’ Dream replied, looking at Sapnap and Karl’s outfits. They were both wearing what looked like Hawaiian shirts, one orange and one pink, with some tree patterns as silhouettes. The trousers were the same colour as the other person’s shirt, it reminded him of a sunset.

‘What’s your dance again?’ Karl asked, looking at Dream’s outfit.

‘Uhh, the Rumba!’ He replied, sitting down on the sofa next to Sapnap, which was a bit of a squish.

‘Is that the one that’s like… really… um.’ Sapnap laughed.

‘Yes.’ Dream deadpanned.

‘Cool! Can’t wait for the clips.’ Sapnap mentioned, and they began chatting about their dances, which led to an anecdote from Karl and Sapnap's rehearsals yesterday, something to do with a bird flying through the window, which Dream hardly believed at first.

They had fallen into a comfortable silence (which didn’t even feel like silence thanks to the utter chaos of the room), when someone tapped Dream on the shoulder, and he startled, looking up to see George leaning over the arm rest, giggling with a huge grin on his face.

He looks beautiful .

He was taking up almost Dream’s entire field of vision, a toothy grin with some crinkles around his eyes. His cheeks looked a little pinker than normal, probably thanks to the makeup artists. Dark eyelashes over gorgeous eyes, and his elbows were leaning on the arm rest. The top button of his shirt was undone and Dream quickly skipped over that with his eyes. George was wearing the same pants as he was, except he had a slit in the right leg, which Dream didn’t have.

‘You look… good!’ Dream complimented, but that felt like an understatement. He could gush for probably an hour about every individual feature, but he also knew George wasn’t the biggest fan of compliments. Or, if he was, he didn’t outwardly show it. This had been difficult for him to grasp at first, but now he accepted it. He saw it now in the little half-laugh George gave in response, then he manoeuvred himself to be sat on the arm rest. There was definitely not enough space here, and George’s hip was against his shoulder, but he seemed perfectly content, so Dream tried to keep still as to not disturb him.

It wasn’t that uncomfortable anyway, and there was only a few more minutes to go.

 

—————————

 

Dream cheered enthusiastically at the end of Sapnap and Karl’s dance, they were opening the show this week with a Cha Cha Cha, and it was excellent. They had just finished hugging each other and began walking to the judges when Dream and George were beckoned to walk down the stairs.

They walked down silently, energy and adrenaline thrumming through Dream’s body as it always did. Oti was waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs, still in her sparkly purple outfit from the beginning.

‘Okay. You guys got this. As long as you remember the feedback, really emphasise the elegance, be graceful and gentle. Don’t overdo facial expressions, relax your faces. You’re gonna do great. Rooting for you guys!’ She whispered loudly.

‘Thanks Oti.’ George smiled, and Dream nodded. He grabbed George’s hand as Oti walked off, and pulled him over to where they’d walk on, hearing judges feedback over the speakers in the room.

‘How are you feeling?’ He asked, looking to George, hopping from foot to foot.

‘The flares are so cool!’ George laughed, and neither of them missed how he avoided the question.

‘George, you can tell me if you’re not feeling okay… you know that right?’ He reassured sincerely, and George looked up at him, looking so vulnerably and fragile for the briefest second that Dream couldn’t help but pull him in for a hug.

He felt more than heard George take a deep breath against his shoulder, and Dream hesitated, before bringing up a hand to card through George’s hair. He froze for a second, awaiting a response, but George just pushed his head back into Dream’s hand. Dream chuckled, but continued twirling the curls through his fingers, delicate and careful to not mess it up.

‘You wanna talk about it?’ He mumbled, and George just shook his head. Dream nodded in understanding, and they stayed just like that for a few minutes, comfortable in each other’s arms, and Dream wished he could just snap whatever pain or anxiety George was feeling away. He wished he could do something to help.

Eventually though, George pulled away with another deep breath, and they listened to Sapnap and Karl get their score. Then Dream remembered something.

‘Flares?’

‘Yeah,’ George blinked in confusion, ‘that’s what these are right?’ He pointed at his legs, ‘tight- or… fitted at the top, then they go all… out, at the bottom.’ He gestured randomly.

‘Oh!’ Everyday you learn something new.

‘And up next we have Dream and George, dancing the Rumba! Let’s see if they can match that incredible performance from Karl and Sapnap, it's going to be difficult, but they've blown us all away before.’ Tess said, and the lights dimmed into a dark blue.

Dream turned to George and they smiled and nodded, walking confidently on to the stage together, to the rapt applause of the audience, only letting go of hands when Dream had to sit down on a white chair in the corner of the stage.

He waited with his eyes on the floor for the music to start.

Dancing the Rumba, George and Dream.

Here we go .

Dream purposely kept his body relaxed, ‘ like jelly ’ he remembered Oti comparing it to.

George did his own short little section, the camera operator right in front of him, and then George turned around, a hand outstretched.

Dream smiled softly, and began walking forwards, each step dragging across the floor. George met him in the middle, and Dream’s hand snaked around George’s waist, their faces nose to nose, staring right into each others eyes. Then George abruptly looked away, sauntering away from him. Dream advanced forward again into his personal space, gently cupping George’s cheek and tilting it towards himself, coming face to face with wide eyes and the tiniest of smiles.

George grabbed his wrist and pulled Dream’s hand off of his face, defiant yet taunting. That’s what this dance was. A constant push and pull, George would move away, and Dream would reel him back in.

George trailed a hand down Dream’s shoulder, taking slow steps to walk around him, until he was stood in front, his back to Dream's chest. The hand on his shoulder slid off, and George moved his own hands up his body, seductive and tracing minor curves, until they were crossed behind his neck. It was hot. Dream then placed his arms on George’s waist, dragging them up in an imitation of what George had just done. He could swear his pinkie finger skimmed over something warm and soft, skin, from where he must’ve accidentally lifted up George’s shirt. It was the lightest of touches but he heard George’s breath hitch.

Being so in the moment like this, bright spotlights blinding him from reality, everything felt heightened and so much more intense.

George was swaying his hips so tantalising and slow, and Dream had a whole eight counts to just feel his body. Up and up, past his waist onto small yet sturdy shoulders, when he reached his neck his right hand curled around the front, tipping George’s head back. He eventually wound his way to where George had obediently kept his hands, and they interlocked as Dream spun him around.

Dream’s left hand and George’s right stayed held between them, and with their free hand they made huge circular wave motions, moving back and forth across the floor. Every curve of a wrist precise and practiced so many times. Dream kept his eyes on George, and George kept his eyes on him, spotlights reflecting in the dark brown pupils, piercing yet soft. As if they were looking into Dream’s soul.

After a few more variations of that step, quicker and slower, and having moved around the floor, George put his hand on Dream’s shoulder, then spun outwards, Dream striding after him then tugging him back into hold.

They moved around the floor, as the music picked up, and Dream was transfixed. All the colours were mixing together, it looked otherworldly. And George was just glowing. Perfect. And beautiful. Dream was in love.

There it is. He said it.

It felt like a breath of fresh air, swimming in a sea of these confusion feelings, knowing he just had to breach the surface to reach oxygen, but some part of him didn’t want to. Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe he had just dived into an ocean. Only just acknowledged the deep waters, rippling calming waves that could turn to crashing and overwhelming, then revert back to gentle tides. And his head was underwater, submerged out of the world in something so calming. Separate. With so much further to go, if only he chooses to swim.

All on the dance floor, lights of dark blues surrounding them, gentle but profound. His vision just coated in this colour of George . So much so that it looked like blue glitter reflected in his eyes, sparkling and entrancing as George continued to dance, unaware of Dream’s fast-beating heart, love in his eyes and a new perspective, like he was seeing life for the first time. Or maybe only just realising what he had been seeing all this time.

Because when George would turn around again and fall into his arms, that pure eye contact, it felt like everything was right with the world, he was enamoured. Glowing sparks going off where skin touched skin, and Dream just felt so happy. Something golden and bursting humming around his heart, butterflies and confetti and ribbons and a brilliant light shining in his soul.

And even though no words were spoken between them, no dumb jokes, no easy conversation, no warm-hearted giggles. Even though now it was just eye contact and touch, Dream felt so immeasurably connected. As if they were hung among the stars, only tethered to reality by the touch of one another.

Dream was so excited, yet still so calm. This realisation was mind blowing, but it also made so much sense. How could it have been any other way? It was just blooming happiness, and he continued on with the dance, moving around the floor, wondering if all this time George was only thinking of the counts in his head or something stupid. Completely unaware of what he was doing to Dream’s head and his heart.

They neared the ending of their dance, the music at it’s loudest, and him and George span around each other, holding hands between warm bodies. Connected.

And finally as the music faded out, along with the quietening of Dream’s fluttering heart, George pulled away with a final stare, walking off and leaving Dream alone in the stage, a single spotlight showing a large shadow of his figure on the floor.

There was a moment of silence. One. Two. Then an absolute roar of applause, cheers and claps and whistles, hitting Dream like a wave, and his eyes flickered to the audience for barely a second, but then George turned around and all was forgotten.

Because George was absolutely beaming, shouting something Dream couldn’t hear whilst jumping up and down, and they ran towards each other, closing the gap as George ran into Dream’s arms.

Adrenaline and absolute jubilation led to Dream picking George up and swinging him around, and he heard a shriek emit from a still grinning George.

‘We did amazing! George yelled, shaking his arms and tossing his head back, laughing.

Dream looked at him, an uncontrollable toothy grin on his face, that turned into a smirk as he kept on spinning.

‘Dream! Dream- stop! Put me down!’ George smacked his shoulder, panicking, but was still gentle.

Dream graciously lowered him back onto his feet, but wanted one more hug, before that incredible moment was turned into a mere memory. Not a forgettable one, but there was something beautiful about existing in the very moment he’d reflect on and think about in the future.

Hey future me , Dream thought with a stupid grin, but was distracted by George burying his head into Dream’s shoulder. His heart melted all over again, what was previously sparks had turned into fireworks, blue and powerful. These emotions were all so overwhelming, he didn’t even know what to do with it all.

He was just so happy.

 

—————————

 

Everyone loved the performance.

Not that Dream particularly cared, he would prefer to forget that they were there for what felt like such a revolutionary moment in his life.

It was worth it though to see George clap his hands together at particularly kind words, looking up at Dream for approval, like he was a bee that was buzzing.

Their scores were amazing. Their best so far. They got their first 10! A 10 from Motsi, a 9 from Bruno, and two eights, from Shirley and Craig. A score of 35!

The crowd had went wild, as did their friends. It wasn’t the first 10 of the show, but Dream was fairly certain it was the second.

Things just kept getting better. Life was so good.

He had never felt such love. Even if he couldn’t kiss George stupid like he wanted to, something about loving someone was so inherently beautiful, regardless of what happened with it. Dream believed love made life worth living. The people in his life that made him feel like he was floating was what made it worth it in the end.

After getting their scores him and George walked off to the side, ready to watch another pair join the stage.

There wasn’t really a good spot to see, Dream wasn’t even sure what pair was going next because he couldn’t see the balcony. A small crowd of their friends were taking up all the spots next to the railing.

George tapped his shoulder, ‘come over here,’ he said, and Dream was surprised at his mind reading abilities. He must have found a spot.

He followed George, winding their way through the chairs scattered around, but George led them away from the balcony, going towards the stairs to the downstairs area with the scaffolding, where they’re introduced as pairs.

He didn’t walk down the stairs though, and now Dream was really confused. George didn’t even look like he knew where he was going. He just skittered to the right of the door, walking into a smaller room… area?

It was a small enclosed space, they had to be careful where they stepped because of wires on the floor, there were some boxes and spare mics and cameras up against the wall, and honestly there was privacy. No closable door, but the room was around a bend, Dream was sure no one could see anything.

It was also behind one of the walls lined with LEDs that could change the background of the wall, it was currently set to the classic Strictly Come Dancing light blue, as the hosts had their discussions, and the video clip of the next pair to dance would play. It made the entire room look like it was underwater, cast in that light.

He finally turned to George, only just noticing how… scared… he looked.

‘Hey, are you okay?’ Dream asked, a reassuring hand on his arm. ‘We just did amazing, that was literally incredible. What’s wrong?’

‘I- um. George trailed off, avoiding eye contact.  'Yeah, can I... talk to you?'

Dream’s eyebrows furrowed. ‘Of course. Hey you can tell me anything, I’m here for you. I won’t- I’m not gonna be… mad, or whatever. I want you to be okay George, I’m serious. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but if you’re struggling I want to be able to help you.’ He murmured, looking into his eyes until George finally made eye contact.

Different scenarios raced through his mind. What could George be upset about? A minute ago he had looked the brightest Dream had ever seen. Had someone said or done something to him? Were they… doxxed? Why would he only tell Dream? George hadn’t… figured out Dream’s situation had he? Was he uncomfortable? Oh no. That was exactly what Dream had been trying to avoid. But it can’t be that. There’s no way George could know. Was it pressure? Maybe everywhere else was overwhelming and that’s why George took him here. What ever he needed Dream would do it for him. Well, almost what ever.

‘Thank you Dream… you- okay. You’re great, seriously.’

‘Thanks George.’ Dream beamed, ‘and of course.’

‘Okay. I want- I want to tell you this. I just- I’m not sure how. You know what? I’m gonna say it all at once. You can’t interrupt me, okay? I have to get this all out, and then… you can say something. If I don’t say it now I don’t know if I ever will.’

Dream nodded, and saw something glossy in George’s eyes as he reached for Dream’s hands, connecting their fingers together between them.

‘I’m sorry, I’m getting so… emotional-‘

‘You don’t have to apologise-‘

‘Please let me finish,’ George interrupted, not unkindly, more of desperate, ‘I just- I need to get this out. I can’t keep- I can’t just keep stalling like this.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Dream whispered quickly, managing a small smile when it got George to laugh.

‘It’s okay! But I’m saying it now, so… shut up. Got it?’

Dream nodded enthusiastically, sticking true to his word by not saying anything.

‘Okay, well… um- this is… really hard to say. But I think I just need to… do it. Because I can’t keep hiding it anymore, and obviously I suck at showing it I guess. So… here I am.’ He shrugged, laughing nervously. And his eye line fell downwards to his shirt, clearly this was so serious that even eye contact was too much.

‘I’ve…’ he paused, breathed in, and breathed out. ‘I’ve… liked you… for a while. For a long while. And… I think you like me too.’ He said slowly, and Dream’s mind was simultaneously frozen and exploding.

‘You’re so much… easier to read I guess. I don’t think you’ve picked up on my signs, maybe you have. I’ve been hiding it. But… I love you Dream,’ oh my gosh, ‘and… if you… love me. Then… um. I think we could… do something? Like… figure stuff out, you know? This has been one of the… best and happiest nights of my life.’ He choked, ‘and maybe… if I- this would just be the most amazing thing to happen if you felt the same. I feel… confident. You have made me feel confident. I trust you. And I don’t want to keep hiding it all.’

Dream was just frozen in shock for a moment, and he saw George’s expression falter.

‘If you’re not and this is some huge misunderstanding I’m so sorry,’ George rushed to clarify, ‘I hope this doesn’t change anything, I just… I don’t want to lose you, I love what we have, but if there’s even a possibility of us being more…’ he quietened.

‘Can I… talk now?’ Dream asked tentatively, poorly concealed excitement in his voice that made George look up again, nodding.

‘George… I’m in love with you.’ He could burst from joy. He gripped George’s hands tighter as if that could really dig in the message.

‘I’m in love with you George.’ Dream said again, loving the way it sounds. ‘George, you’re… you’re beautiful, you’re so funny, you’re intelligent and kind… you’re… hot . As hell. I’m not even kidding. You’re… perfect. I feel the most myself when I’m with you. You make me so happy… these past few years…’ he found himself laughing, waves of relief and joy crashing over him that felt so… freeing.’ I can’t imagine having that with anyone else. I’ve never felt this with someone else. I feel like I’m… meant to be with you. I can’t believe you feel the same. I don't even- how do- I can't put this into words. I love you.’

George was beaming, wide and adorable, looking up at him with a mix of relief and something smug, proud.

‘Really?’ George asked, as if in disbelief, practically bouncing up and down where he stood.

‘Really.’ Dream confirmed, nodding excitedly. He could barely believe this was happening.

George looked like he was trying to contain something, when he suddenly squealed a little, maybe it was more of a shriek, and just surged forward, burying his face in Dream’s shoulder and wrapping him in a hug, his arms tight around Dream’s neck. Dream grinned, so impossibly happy, and he wrapped his arms around George’s waist, spinning him around and breathing in the scent of some product or shampoo in soft brown hair.

‘I love you,’ he whispered, like a confession ‘so so much.’

The past twenty minutes had held such intense emotions, that even just holding George felt cathartic.

He had experienced such love and joy on the dance floor, watched George be so happy at the results from their dance, then worried so much, his world in his hands, nearly crying from something Dream didn’t know how to fix. And now, finding out his feelings had been reciprocated, for however long.

‘How long have you known?’ Dream asked, pulling backwards to look at George again, and at the sight he felt his heart go all fuzzy and warm.

‘Um. I’m… I’m not sure when exactly, bu-‘

‘Just a rough guess then.’

‘I’m getting there, idiot,’ George laughed, and Dream had the decency to apologise, but was still shaking with barely contained excitement.

‘I think… hmm. I was speculating like… a week before you got here maybe. And I’d say they were… confirmed and real maybe a month ago? I’m not really sure. It was confusing.’

‘What made you think that?’ Dream questioned, wanting to make sure this was all really real. He was also just curious.

What made you think that?'  George repeated in a dumb American accent, nose scrunched up, ‘that sounds so dumb, what does that even mean.’

‘Well- like… when did you know? Wait no- how did you know?’

‘Like, do you mean did something happen to trigger it?’

‘Well no, not exactly. But… I guess, yeah actually! Kinda.’

Ohhh. Okay. Well.’ George hummed, ‘I don’t know! I didn’t like to think about it much… felt weird I guess. I didn’t know what to think. So much was changing as well. I was like able to see you and actually hang out. I didn’t want to waste all that time- when I had been waiting for it for like... years, I didn't want to waste that just worrying about something. But I guess it was always in the back of my mind. It was only when… when I guessed that you liked me that I started reconsidering.’

Dream took that in for a moment, then recalled some crucial information and put two and two together, ‘you’ve known I’ve liked you for a month?’ He spluttered incredulously, and George giggled.

‘Well not exactly. You were pretty suspicious sometimes… but. Yeah. I dunno.’

‘Suspicious how?

‘You blush a lot. You also stare a lot.’

Dream felt himself going red.

‘It’s not a bad thing! It’s cute.’ George smiled fondly, and Dream just wanted to crawl into his arms and die… but in a good way. He wanted to hug him and squeeze him and kiss him silly.

He really wanted to kiss him actually.

His eyes briefly flickered down to George’s lips, the colour almost indistinguishable from the blue light those LEDs casted over their little corner.

George noticed. Of course he did.

Dream heard his breath hitch, and he then looked up at Dream, a small smile tugging on his lips, a questioning glance in his eyes.

Dream swallowed his nervousness, figuring he’d got this far already. ‘George…’ he gulped, and rested his hand on George’s cheek, leaning forward a little.

‘…May I?’

There was a sappy grin on George’s face, and just as he whispered the word ‘yes,’ he grabbed the back of Dream’s neck and pulled him forwards, tilting his own head upwards, Dream felt his heart racing, and closed his eyes.

Then they kissed.

It was amazing. Warm. Beautiful, and perfect. The rest of the world stilled, and nothing else mattered. It was slow, and sweet, simple, but it felt magical. Like someone had shoved glitter and fuzz in his brain and in his eyes and all over his body. He channelled all of that love and happiness and affection through the kiss, hoping he could show it all go George in something more meaningful than he ever could with his words.

And even through closed eyelids, he saw something change. Him and George both opened their eyes in surprise, the LEDs on the wall next to them transforming from a deep blue to a rich passionate red, as the next dance commenced.

Dream and George immediately began giggling at the absurd yet convenient timing, and then George went to kiss him again.

He felt George’s eyelashes brush against his cheek, and a small hand moved up his neck, playing and tangling with blond curls. Dream loved it, and hummed his approval against George’s lips, snaking his arm around George’s waist and tugging him even closer. That hand playing with his hair felt like it had cut off all off his thoughts. Turning him into jelly, so very relaxed and feeling fully encompassed in all these feelings. He could cry.

He pulled away the slightest bit, taking a moment to breathe, and just rested his forehead against George’s.

‘I love you.’ He whispered.

‘I love you too.’ George said back, tracing his finger over Dream’s hand in soothing grounding patterns. Perfect George and his perfect ability to perfectly understand what Dream needed.

Uncontrollable joy was just bubbling inside of him, and the next thing he knew, his eyes were welling with tears.

He could’ve blinked them away, but part of him wanted George to see just how much he was doing to Dream. How he made all other parts of the world fade away, how happy he was.

‘Are you… are you crying?’ George asked softly, wiping at Dream’s tears with his thumb, and it was so gentle and comforting Dream couldn’t help but kiss him again.

They were shorter this time. A peck on his lips, and Dream brought both hands up to cup George’s face. Then he kissed his nose. Then his cheeks. Then his forehead. Then he tilted George’s head up to kiss his chin. He went back to his lips again, kissing them for longer this time, until Dream’s felt numb, only tingling with warmth.

‘I could kiss you forever.’ Dream pulled away long enough to whisper, but then dived in for more.

‘I can tell,’ George replied, and it was hard to kiss him when he was smiling like that. Dream would’ve told him so, if he didn’t have more important matters at hand.

He caressed George’s cheek with his hand, loving and sweet, as they kissed again and again, until finally George twisted his hand into Dream’s shirt and pulled him away.

They were still close together though, breathing heavier than normal.

‘We should probably be getting back now.’ George mumbled, looking like he didn’t want to.

‘Oh yeah.’ Dream’s brows furrowed, he had honestly forgotten about that.

‘Can we…’ George began, then trailed off.

‘What?’ Dream prompted, smiling gently, cupping George’s cheek, and George leaned into the gesture.

‘I was just going to ask… can we sort of… keep this on the down low for a while? We can talk about it more at home or something. I feel like… I want to sort it all out fully before we tell anyone anything. I still love you, no matter what. It’s nothing like that, just-‘

‘No, I understand, I get it. I agree. There’s a lot to go through and clarify. I still feel like there’s so much I don’t know. I want to know everything ’ Dream said, buzzing with excitement, ‘but you’re right, they must be wondering where we are.’

Together, (after one last kiss), they reluctantly left the secluded area, and Dream felt like he was floating amongst the clouds. If their dance was among the stars, deep blues and whites like a galaxy they were twirling upon, then that room was clouds amidst a sunset. They were floating, and it was beautiful and heavenly yet so calming.

They returned to the balcony, and Dream disconnected their interlocked hands, Wilbur began walking over to them with a large smile on his face.

‘Congratulations man!’ He began, and Dream and George both froze.

Oh no.

‘Your first 10! That’s amazing! You honestly deserved it that dance was… incredible!

Oh. Dream had honestly forgotten about the 10, distracted by more important matters, and just laughed from relief that Wilbur hadn’t found out anything after all.

‘Thank you Wilbur!’ George replied, ‘it was… epic!’

George and Wilbur continued a brief conversation, then Tommy went and pulled Wilbur away, whispering something in his ear. Dream and George stared for a moment, but then looked for an empty spot by the railing to watch the dance, which looked like it was coming to an end.

Dream found his gaze being drawn to those red LEDs on the surrounding walls, a fond smile on his face at the memories, as Aimsey and Tubbo danced to some Ed Sheeran song.

‘Inside these pages you just hold me.’

He felt so above the world. Both literally and mentally, he was on a balcony after all. After such an emotional high he couldn’t believe the rest of life was just continuing as normal. How could nothing have changed in the rest of the world when Dream’s whole life was flipped upside down.

‘And I won’t ever let go.’

Dream couldn’t believe it honestly. Life felt new. Brilliant. Bright. It’s hard to believe all that just happened.

‘Wait for me to come home.’

He turned to George, remembering his words ( 'can we sort of… keep this on the down low for a while? We can talk about it more at home or something. I feel like… I want to sort it all out fully before we tell anyone anything.' ). He was so excited. He couldn’t wait to tell George about every moment he’d thought about him, his whole journey with his sexuality, all the dumb posts on twitter he used to freak out about (not without reason though, after all, it was obvious, to George, and the fans, though it didn’t turn out to be too much of a problem).

He normally could share everything with George, and this was the last thing he hadn’t. Now their lives could truly entangle together. He just had to wait an hour or so.

Wait for me to come home.

Chapter Text

The taxi drive home was filled with poorly contained excitement and happiness, that could luckily be easily mistaken for Dream’s reaction to the 10. When in reality that was the last thing on Dream’s mind.

He was currently trying to plan the best and most efficient path he should take once they were home so he could talk to George as soon as possible.

Realistically, they both needed to have a shower,  and it’d be really obnoxious to demand they could both go first. Niki was having problems with sleeping lately, so she’d probably go first so she could sleep earlier.

It might end up taking them half an hour just to both be showered and dressed, and then they could talk.

Dream wasn’t exactly sure where they could, probably in one of their bedrooms or outside. They couldn’t discuss this in the middle of the house if George wanted to keep it on the down low, honestly, they’d probably have to whisper even if they were in a bedroom.

The walls weren’t thin, per se, but you could definitely hear through them. Whether alarms, music, or conversation, they had actually had to put some (somewhat) flexible rules in place about the times you could make noise in the house.

It was light hearted, even when setting said rule they had joked about how serious it all sounded, but it came down to there being light sleepers in the house, and all of them had tiring enough days as it is. Waking up exhausted after disrupted sleep was the last thing any of them needed.

Dream dumbly thought they could text each other, but then realised how annoying that would be. Worst comes to worst they accidentally wake someone up and apologise. Regardless, it’s Sunday tomorrow, there aren’t even rehearsals to wake up for.

They couldn’t really communicate on when or where to meet either, Dream couldn’t text George as his phone was missing, and they couldn’t openly discuss it. All they had was the very frequent times when their eyes would meet, and either ridiculous mirth would seep through their otherwise normal demeanour in the form of giggles or grins, or sometimes it was just a small nod of understanding, the tiniest smiles, promises of explanations and joy just a little later.

The journey felt the longest it ever had. Every traffic light seemed to go red, lines and lines of cars slowed their journey, the rain from earlier had came back (though it was lighter now), although it was probably just the insane speed of Dream’s thoughts that made the world seem slow in comparison.

It was just so irritating that he had to wait. Did the world not know how important this was? Why couldn’t he just be teleported back into his room, magically clean and relaxed, and he could just talk with George for hours.

Finally, they pulled up.

'George, can you play Mario Kart with me?' Sapnap said out of the blue, 'Karl thinks I'm bad, but I'm gonna destroy you.'

George’s eyes lit up for a second, but then Dream discreetly shook his head. George faltered, ‘uhh, no. Not right not. Maybe later though I dunno. I wanna beat you, last time was… rigged. And dumb. So I’ll play in like an hour…’ George looked at Dream, as if asking how long? and Dream shrugged, or… something.’

‘Why not now.’ Sapnap whined, and George laughed.

‘I’m busy idiot, go bother… Sam.’

There was the usual scramble to remember who had the key, then Tubbo unlocked the door and everyone filed in. As Dream expected, Niki was the first to shower, and Tommy used the third floor bathroom purely from pushing and shoving past everyone else.

As the weeks went on, it took less and less time to shower. There weren’t as many pairs left anymore, and those eliminated made sure to stay out the way.

If Dream remembered correctly, the only ones left in the competition were him and George, Tommy and Wilbur, Tubbo and Aimsey, and Karl and Sapnap. There were two weeks left in the competition, as there’d be three pairs in the finale.

Dream honestly wasn’t sure who’d go out next week. Tubbo and Aimsey were probably the least popular pair, but they were working ridiculously hard and were the top of the leaderboard nearly every week. Him and George would probably get through thanks to their popularity. Then it was between Tommy and Wilbur and Karl and Sapnap.

Dream did have a sneaking suspicion that him and George were going to win the competition, he always had high expectations, but this time it honestly seemed realistic. The winner of the show was decided on votes alone, the judges’ scores didn’t even matter. As long as Dream and George got through this week, they’d probably secured a win.

It seemed like everyone else had a similar train of thought too, as when he walked in to the kitchen he heard Tubbo and Aimsey complaining about it to Wilbur, Puffy, and Sam.

‘I mean, let’s be honest, me and Aimsey are freakin’ amazing-‘

‘and there’s probably nothing we could do to win.’

‘Stupid Dream with his millions of subscribers,’ Tubbo joked light heartedly, and trailed off when he saw no one else laughing.

Tubbo then turned around almost comically, and froze at the sight of Dream, who found it so funny that he burst out laughing, which simultaneously assured everyone he wasn’t mad. It reminded him of the 'he's behind me isn't he,' joke in almost every movie, but this time it was real.

‘Please don’t tweet about this boss man,’ Tubbo held up his arms in surrender, ‘guys I love Dream, I love his subscribers, I have never claimed that there is any bias whatsoever, and those who tell you otherwise? They are liars. They are simply lying. And I think it’s time we spread the truth.’

Dream was wheezing by the time he fully walked over, and jumped up to sit on the counter, head in his hands as his laughter died down.

‘What’s all this ruckus?’ George asked in an emphasised British accent (is he mocking himself?) and popped his head in.

‘George! You’re meant to be waiting for the showers,’ Dream scolded.

‘Foolish already got in before me! I don’t care.’ George refuted, ‘you’re stinkier than I am.’

‘I’m not stinky,’ Dream scrunched his nose, and George grinned.

‘You are. Anyway, why were you laughing.’

‘I walked in on them talking trash about us.’

There was an explosion of woah s and that is not what we said , blasphemy and how dare you .

‘What did they say, what did they say?’ George yelled over the shouting.

‘Yeah no, they weren’t actually talking trash, that’d be… whatever. It was just like-‘ then he was cut off by Aimsey.

‘Me and Tubbo were just talking about how you guys get a lot of votes, and we don’t think anyone else is gonna win.’

‘Aww, Aimsey thinks we’re gonna win! Let’s go!’ George giggled.

‘You’re being an idiot,’ Dream rolled his eyes fondly, then sniffled dramatically, ‘they hate us for it.’

‘That is just not true.’ Tubbo denied, ‘I’m just saying it’s rigged, which is a fair statement.’

‘You’re not wrong.’ Dream agreed, ‘just hope I don’t get cancelled for rigging the votes or something.’

‘Tell your fans to vote for me and Tommy,’ Wilbur suggested, probably joking, ‘that way you’re doing the direct opposite. It’s genius.’

‘Well,’ Dream frowned, ‘to be fair… right now I’m staying out of it. If I told them to vote for you guys then I am literally rigging it. Right now I’m just… whatever.’

‘Inaction is action Dream,’ Wilbur put his hands together in that traditional villain pose, bonking his nose against his fingers, ‘ever heard of the trolley problem?’

‘Of course, but it’s not the same,’ Dream dismissed, ‘rigging a vote is an action. Like it’s persuasion at least, what’s the definition…’ he went to his pocket for his phone, then remembered (yet again) that he didn’t have it. ‘Someone search it up.’

Provide a sailing boat with- oh wait. Wrong definition, set up equipment- also wrong definition.’

‘Search the definition of rig a vote.’

The act of arranging dishonestly for the result of something, for example an election, to be changed , there.’

‘Exactly, the act Wilbur, act.’

‘Well inaction is an action, but that’s besides the point.’ Wilbur muttered, ‘they said arranging dishonesty, and you’re not doing that. Unless… a lie of omission? But no, you’re not hiding anything.’

‘He’s hiding his massive dump truck.’ George commented, and Dream spluttered.

What?

‘You guys are weird,’ Tubbo said, shaking his head.

‘Why were we talking about this again?’ Aimsey asked, and Dream blinked, he couldn’t remember.

‘Because Dream’s gonna get cancelled for rigging the vote,’ Wilbur reminded, and Aimsey made a long drawn out oh sound.

‘Not our fault that you’re just… bad.’ George shrugged, and Dream scoffed.

‘If anything George, you’re bad. When do you ever try and practice.

‘For hours at rehearsals!’ George scoffed incredulously, quirking a brow, ‘you’re just an idiot who wants to do extra. I work hard for long enough, I don’t need to-‘

‘Showers free!’ Niki announced, walking into the kitchen in a hoodie with wet hair.

Dream nodded pointedly at George, who took off up the stairs as if he was expecting someone to race him. No one did.

‘I hate this after-dance period before a shower,’ Aimsey commented, ‘I feel all… gross.’

‘Yeah.’ Dream agreed, spoken as if he was going to say something else afterwards, but he didn’t.

Impatient and buzzing with energy, Dream decided to just go upstairs and wait for George, relaxing in his bedroom and getting his towel ready.

After a few minutes someone fumbled with the door, and out walked George, a blue towel wrapped around his waist.

‘Meet you in your room.’ He smiled.

‘Put some clothes on first,’ Dream teased in response, and George made an undignified spluttering noise, then walked up the stairs, careful not to trip on the towel at his feet, holding it up a bit. Dream frowned at how unsafe that seemed, but then George was gone from his sight.

Dream closed the door to the bathroom, wanting to sit down and not have to stand in the shower for a few minutes. The mirror in there was steamed up from the people before him, and he took care to lower the temperature. He used to be a warm-shower truther, but now he was swinging the other way. Especially after rehearsals.

He had just pulled his top over his head when he remembered he left his towel, and had to put it back on again. He left the bathroom, ran to his room, grabbed his towel, and saw his phone on 3%, so he put it in charge before going in the shower.

Alright, Dream thought, finally.

He hopped in the shower, washed himself thoroughly yet quickly, eager to lie down. He made a mental note to wash his hair tomorrow, and didn’t bother with it today.

He turned the shower off, and courteously turned the temperature up a bit in preparation for the next person, knowing most people in the house liked warm showers. He wrapped his towel around his waist, and decided to brush his teeth while he dried off. As he stood on the bathroom mat, spinning in a circle just for something to do (he never liked brushing his teeth) to the sound of the whirring of his electric toothbrush, he realised he’d be able to talk with a George in a matter of minutes. But it’s hard to grin with a toothbrush in your mouth.

He spat into the sink (after what was probably a little less than two minutes, sue him, he’s excited), unlocked the door, and rushed back to his room.

He dried himself off and put on some comfortable clothes, shorts and a hoodie, then spammed George with texts until he responded.

 

Dream 10:12

GEORGE

GEORGE

FEORGE

GEORHE

GEORGE

GEORGE

GEORGE

GEORGE

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:13

WHAT

 

Dream 10:13

GEORGE

oh hi!

im ready come downn

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:13

huh

how

im not even ready

 

Dream 10:13

what

hurry up?

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:13

are you dressed and everything

 

Dream 10:13

YES

what have you been doing the whole time

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:14

sitting in my towel watching tiktok lol

 

Dream 10:14

okay well stop

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:14

hmmm what if I don’t want to

 

Dream 10:14

I will come up there rm

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:15
when I’m not wearing clothes?? dream??

 

Dream 10:15

exactly

jkjk

just come down please :( miss u

 

GeorgeNotFound 10:15

okay fine

 

Dream rolled his eyes, then hung up his towel properly on the small radiator in his room. He sat down on the duvet covers with a content sigh… just waiting. He patted his knee impatiently, staring at his door as if that could make George go any quicker.

Eventually he heard quiet footsteps on the stairs, accompanied by an occasional creak, and then a knock on the door.

‘Can I come in?’ A muffled voice asked.

‘Yeah,’ Dream responded, puzzled, ‘I already told you I’m dressed.’

The door opened and there was George, in some black shorts and a dark blue hoodie.

‘Still asking for permission though, not just gonna walk in on you doing whatever.’ George responded with a scoff, and Dream raised an eyebrow at the wording, but couldn’t stop himself smiling.

There was a brief moment of silence as they just looked at each other, wondering where to begin. Where they stood with each other was so different to anything they had ever known.

‘So…. now what?’ George asked out of the blue, ‘do we like… I dunno, hug of something?’

Dream wheezed at the contrast, ‘why are you such an idiot, no- you’re actually a loser. Do we like hug or something how- oh my gosh.’

‘Shut up,’ George groaned, hitting him with barely any force, and sitting down next to him on the bed, ‘haven’t been in a relationship for a while.’

‘George I didn’t leave my house for like… a year and a half. And I’ve still got game.’

‘You do not have game .’

‘Well what are you doing here then?’ Dream raised an eyebrow.

‘Only game you got is Minecraft.’

‘That was lame.’

‘Anyway,’ George changed the subject, ‘so yeah do we hug?’

Dream paused for a moment, watching as George just stared at the floor playing with his fingers.

‘Is this… your way of asking to cuddle George?’ Dream smirked as George’s nose scrunched up in disdain.

‘Well- no! What.’ His eyes widened and he immediately backtracked, realising how that sounded, ‘No, I mean we could, if you want, I don’t care.’ He shrugged, and it sounded genuine.

‘This is what we’re meant to talk about, right?’ Dream asked softly, making eye contact. ‘What we like in a relationship and stuff, so we can… make it work.’

George nodded, bobbing his head dramatically, then snorted. ‘Sorry! This is all just so- I don’t know.’ He giggled.

‘Something tells me you aren’t taking this seriously George,’ Dream joked, squinting his eyes in suspicion.

‘I am I am!’ George refuted, ‘okay uhm, watch this, ready? Hey Dream, how can I meet your needs in this romantic relationship we are beginning to… foster? Please establish your boundaries and give me the terms and conditions contract that I will sign, here is mine.’ He deadpanned, and mimed pulling air out of his pocket and holding it out in front of him. They just looked at each other for a few seconds before bursting out laughing.

‘Okay- okay wait-‘ Dream gasped for breath, ‘we need to be quiet, people might hear. You really just said romantic relationship like… loudly. We could start there actually. Can I ask why you wanna keep it secret?’

‘Uhm,’ George shuffled uncomfortably, both of them settling back into serious mode. ‘Could we… start with something else? Can I ask you something first… sorry it’s just… I dunno. I don’t talk about deep stuff much. It feels… easier to do it… when you’re doing it too, you know?’

Dream nodded in understanding, ‘yeah I get it! That’s perfectly fine. What do you wanna ask? Open book. Well-‘

‘I was wondering well.. hmm. I have quite a lot of questions actually. How long- actually- hmm.’ He paused to think. ‘Could you tell me like… why?’

‘Why?’ Dream echoed, confused.

‘Yeah like… or maybe how is a better word,’ George shrugged, falling backwards until his head hit the duvet, looking up at the ceiling. ‘How did it happen. It’s kinda weird that like… you love me.’ George grinned, ‘you love me.’ He repeated with a stupidly wide smile.

‘Well, I’d hope you love me too,’ Dream scoffed, ‘you’re not special.’

George turned his head, looking shocked and offended, so Dream immediately laughed and backtracked, ‘I’m kidding I’m kidding. You’re very special George.‘

‘I am.’ George responded smugly, ‘now answer the question.’

‘Well, uhh. That’s a broad question-‘

‘Yeah.’

‘I guess like, life just feels so… easy? When I’m with you. Like it’s meant to be that way.’ George turned his head to face him, and Dream just smiled, gaze still stuck on the ceiling. He didn’t want George to look away. ‘Like… you’re fun, you’re funny, you’re cute, you’re compassionate in your own dumb way, it’s been so long that- that you already feel like an integral part of my life. I guess it’s just… I don’t know! I think… okay here’s what I think… because I’ve shared so much… joy with you these past years, it’s weird to imagine anything else. Like I don’t see where else would have gotten together. I’ve loved you for years now, it’s only a matter of time that it got… stronger, I guess.’

Dream finally stopped, still not entirely satisfied with the way he put his thoughts and feelings into words, and tacked one last sentence on the end.

‘You’re just… perfect, in everything you are. Perfect for me, I just… I love you.’

Dream finally made eye contact, and George had this gorgeous soft smile on his face, looking so content and relaxed. Like he belonged here.

‘You’re cute.’ George said, and Dream blinked in surprise.

‘So… come on George, why don’t you want to tell people?’ Dream asked, manoeuvring himself so he was lying on his side, facing towards George, who shuffled himself in the same way, using his arm as a pillow and scooting downwards a bit, so they weren’t quite nose to nose. More of nose to chin. Dream’s heart fluttered. They hadn’t been this close in a normal situation… ever. Apart from a few hours ago of course. Dream remembered kisses and blue and red lights, excited confessions and a fast-beating heart. Part of Dream wanted to reach out, hold George’s hand, or even pull him forwards against his chest, card his fingers through his hair, the edges slightly wet from his shower. That could come later.

He was just so pretty, looking a little tired and occasionally wiping his eyes to keep them open, this gorgeous rich brown colour that Dream had always loved. There was some light stubble along his jawline, only visible from being so close. There were also the moles along his cheek, sprinkled on the right side of his face mostly. Dark eyelashes that Dream could count. Dream wanted to bury his face into George’s chest and just squeeze him, curled up in what’s probably warm and comfortable. His hand twitched.

‘Hmm.’ George paused, ‘I think it’s just all so new.’ He began, ‘like… you’re the first… guy I’ve liked. We’re both content creators. The whole… DNF joke was this huge thing. And if we tell people or are publicly out about it it’s just so much attention and questions. I don’t know if I want that. You’re always so open on like streams and podcasts and stuff. I’m… not.‘ There was a silence for a few seconds, then George’s voice dropped to a whisper, and Dream inched forward to hear better.

‘This feels… special. I don’t know if I want them knowing.’

Dream hummed in understanding, ‘I get that. I… agree, to an extent. Obviously if you’re not ready- if you don’t want to be out to the fans about this then I won’t talk about it. That’s a promise. Well- unless I’m an idiot and forget- that’s besides the point. It’s more like… even I agree that I wouldn’t want them knowing everything. Even just when I dance with you, sometimes I get… irritated’ he chuckled, ‘because everyone else gets to watch. It feels like it should just be me and you.’

George laughed, ‘how silly.’

Dream rolled his eyes. ‘Yeah. But I’m just saying like- I get what you mean. I want to shelter it. But… what about our friends?’

‘Well, I was thinking, the more people we tell, the more likely it is to get out.’

‘You haven’t told anyone about anything?’ Dream asked for confirmation.

‘My mum.’ George admitted, avoiding eye contact.

‘Aww George,’ Dream cooed. ‘Put in a good word for me.’

George glared at him, and Dream was confused for a second.

‘Wait no! What?' He wheezed, ‘not like that. You’re so gross!’

‘Yeah, yeah, laugh it up idiot. Who have you told?’

‘…no one.’ Dream mumbled, and George cocked his head to the side.

‘Who should we tell then?’ George questioned.

‘Sapnap.’ They both said at the same time, then grinned.

‘Anyone we shouldn’t tell?’ Dream asked, mainly just to continue the bit, and sure enough:

‘Tubbo.’ They both said, and Dream burst into giggles, George joining in.

‘I think… Karl. Quackity.’ George listed, then shook his head, ‘I mean, we don’t need to tell anyone anything. Like… yeah. I dunno.’

‘That’s true.’ Dream said. ‘What about Oti?’

‘Uhh.’ George trailed off. ‘I mean, it’d be nice to be able to kiss you in rehearsals or something. You’re pretty hot.’

Dream did a mental double take, ‘George!’ He exclaimed, grinning widely but also spluttering.

‘What?’ George asked incredulously, looking somewhat smug at Dream’s reaction.

‘You can’t just… say that. What?’

‘I’m in love with you Dream, what did you expect?’

‘I-‘ he faltered, ‘I don’t know! I’m not used to you being so… forward.’

‘Can I kiss you?’ George asked with an innocent expression, but Dream could see an undercurrent of amusement, and Dream just felt like he was going to combust.

‘Definitely.’ He whispered breathlessly, and leaned forward, snaking his arm around George’s side to hold him close, and their lips connected.

Life was amazing.

Dream sighed contentedly into the kiss, stroking his hand through George’s hair, he liked that, so he hoped George did too. He could also genuinely feel himself relax.

This was all so exciting, it just felt so perfect, he almost couldn’t believe it. George was here, with him, and they were doing this together. It was perfect.

They giggled and laughed and talked into the night, kisses sprinkled in to the mix, until they were yawning, and George went up to his room to sleep. It didn't even feel vulnerable to be open with George. It just felt right, he wanted to share everything.

 

—————————

 

‘Special week! This is the semi-finals, and as you may already know, this means you have two dances to learn.’ Oti began, sounding much more serious than usual. Dream nodded in confirmation.

‘We have four days of training, obviously we’re going to use those extra hours to our full potential since the newly instated schedule-‘

‘Are you reading off a script or something?’ George laughed, and Oti paused.

‘No?’ She raised an eyebrow, and George just shrugged. ‘Anyway, you’re actually getting off much better than other years. We have one normal dance, we’re going to do a Salsa to ‘Reggaetón Lento’, Little Mix, and then we actually have a Custom Dance to the song ‘Skyfall’, Adele, based on the…’ she paused, ‘dream S-M-P?’ She looked up at them in confusion.

‘Yeah!’ Dream nodded, ‘it’s like this server- uhh. Basically all of the contestants know each other through this game we all play, called the DreamSMP. We have a story on there with lore and stuff- uhh yeah.’ He finished somewhat lamely. But Oti’s eyes lit up in realisation.

‘Oh! So this is how you guys have characters?’ She typed on her phone then scanned whatever she was reading. ‘They had some people tell me what the story of this dance was and give some ideas for choreography. But like I said earlier, this will be much easier than previous years as we have more creative freedom, the dance has no rules and can be easily modified. We can really focus on your talents. However, this does mean the judges and the audiences are looking to be impressed. They want to be amazed because the dance has so many options to it. Things like lifts are usually common, and they’ve actually suggested you two use a prop.’

Dream and George eyed each other nervously.

‘I’ll read out what it says. We’ve looked at the stories of their two characters and we believe we’ve found a suitable dance plot. It is based in a prison, Dream’s character is a prisoner and will begin in there, and George’s character is visiting him. They aren’t on good terms politically and socially, but there are still elements of romance between them. Denied feelings especially on George’s end, more of desperation on Dream’s, who wants to keep George with him. It has the push and pull of a Rumba but the atmosphere of an Argentine Tango. We’re looking for fiery passion along with longing, flicking between the two indecisively, until at the end in a dramatic turn of events George, powerful and dignified, walks away and Dream is alone.

We highly recommend a prop of handcuffs as a ‘wow factor’, as the couple will have to perform their dance with their hands connected. Lifts will be more impressive, and not necessarily more difficult depending on which lifts are chosen. It would be an anchor for the character of George, and a reason for them to dance. It shows Dream’s desperation and how he doesn’t want George to leave him. We have found a specific set that is able to snap open and closed easily, so Dream could begin wearing the handcuffs, and then seamlessly transition to one cuff on each of their wrists. We also believe the transference in the power dynamic is a great opportunity to show both people leading, having George lead will be unique and different, and Dream leading gives a good opportunity to do lifts, and is symbolic of that push and pull effect. The handcuffs will arrive on Wednesday. The rest of the dance is up to you, good luck.

There was a silence once she finished, Dream was just stunned. That sounded incredibly complicated. ‘Much easier than previous years’, yeah right. Dancing is hard enough as it is, now they’re wearing handcuffs?

‘Umm.’ George said, lost for words.

‘What?’ Oti asked, ‘that sounds great! The words are misleading you, they’re just being formal and fancy. Basically, you’re doing a dance with handcuffs. It will still be a lot of what you’re used to, normal frame, you hold hands a lot anyway. The dance is like the Rumba was, just more…’ she trailed off, ‘it’s passionate in the way that it’s fiery and elegant and angry, rather than being passionate in the way of romance and seduction. We’ll include some lifts, and you just need to channel an emotional connection and the audience is already wowed. Sound good?’

No.

‘Yeah.’ Dream didn’t even believe himself when he said that, luckily Oti did.

‘Great, you’ll be fine, trust me.’ She smiled softly, nodding encouragingly, maybe Oti didn’t believe him then, ‘and then the Salsa! A normal dance, nothing to worry about. This one is somewhat similar to a Samba, it’s fun and flirty again, we’re back to a fast paced dance, it’s been a while actually! I honestly think you’ll have a lot of fun with this one, but we do need to work hard. I’m sorry in advance, I’m going to have to be strict these next few days, we need absolute focus, rest is incredibly important I can’t stress this enough, and make sure you stretch before we begin.’

She took in a deep breath after talking so quickly, ‘Which dance do you want to start with?’

 

—————————

 

‘Butterfly effect,’ George began, ‘you making a Minecraft server to us missing a bus.’

Dream frowned, confused, ‘go on?’

‘Well, if you didn’t start the server everyone wouldn’t have joined and we wouldn’t have lore and we wouldn’t be popular so we wouldn’t be on Strictly and we wouldn’t be doing a dance about lore and we wouldn’t have got this far in the competition that we have to do two dances so then we wouldn’t have been late so then we wouldn’t have missed the bus.’ George took a huge deep breath after saying that ridiculously quickly for whatever reason.

‘Oh. Okay. I mean, still it’s a pretty lame butterfly effect. Missing a bus? The original is a butterfly wing makes a hurricane. It’s meant to be something small to something huge.’

‘Okay well… maybe us missing that bus led to us missing a car crash. From starting a Minecraft server to saving lives.’ George nodded as if what he said was factual.

What ?’ Dream scoffed, ‘you’re such an idiot.’

He jogged over to the bus stop and scanned the times on the sign. ‘It’s uhh… it comes at half past- wait no that’s Saturday. It comes at quarter to, we’ve got eight minutes to kill.’

‘So… when are we going to tell Oti?’ George seemed hesitant to ask, and folded his arms.

‘Yeah, I dunno.’ Dream replied, ‘I thought like… she’d just… figure it out. I went into rehearsals thinking it’d be funny to do things as normal but we drop hints and stuff and then maybe eventually Oti would just ask. But then we had two dances and she wanted so much focus. I thought it’d be funny.’

‘So… do we tell her? Email? Text? What’s the plan.’

‘We could save it for when she’s irritated at us if we mess around too much.’ Dream suggested, grinning - he was mostly joking anyway.

‘Ha!’ George laughed, ‘that would be funny, saves us a telling-off too.’

‘Exactly.’ Dream agreed, then held George’s hand, just because he could, then frowned. ‘There’s not many places we can just… be us. Not at home or at rehearsals, even on the street we could be doxxed.’

‘What, you mean like if we kissed?’ George asked, blunt as ever.

‘Yeah.’ Dream responded unapologetically, ‘I want to, the only place we can is like… in my bedroom. And I can’t keep you there forever, as much as I’d love to.’ He tacked on a joke at the end to lighten the mood.

‘We could tell Sapnap and Karl when we get home,’ George suggested.

‘We could.’ Dream hummed thoughtfully, ‘it’s about time I guess.’ He imagined the look of absolute shock on their faces, and grinned at the idea. Then he could narrate the whole story to Sapnap some time, tell him everything that’s happened. That would be so cool.

‘I’m guessing we don’t wanna do it in the house, right? In case someone hears us?’ George mentioned, and Dream agreed, he hadn’t even thought of that.

‘Oh, there’s the bus. That’s early.’ George looked puzzled. Dream blinked, then scrambled for his wallet in his bag. He pulled out a couple of coins and gave a few to George, then they got on the bus, and sat on the bottom floor where it was surprisingly quiet.

‘Where can we go? One of our rooms?’ Dream said.

‘The walls are pretty thin, I thought we could just go on a walk or something.’

‘Then we could get recognised, a fan could hear our conversation.’ Dream pointed out, and George groaned.

‘We’ll communicate through sticky notes. Write it all down. They’ll never figure it out.’ George joked, and Dream laughed.

‘Anyway, I still think we could do it outside, just go somewhere quiet. Our street isn’t busy?’ George argued.

‘Wait couldn’t we just do it in the garden then?’

George froze. ‘Oh yeah.’ Then they were both giggling, and Dream put his arm around George’s side as they made their way home. It would take some time getting used to, but he really liked this.

 

—————————

 

‘DreamSMP week?’ Bad exclaimed, light in his eyes, ‘that’s so awesome! Aww Skeppy, I wish we could have been in for longer, imagine the two of us in our Minecraft outfits.’

‘I’d look so dumb!’ Skeppy laughed.

‘No! You’d look amazing.’

‘What are you doing for it?’ Puffy asked, ‘like, what’s the dance?’

‘Me and Tubbo is based on us fighting at the bridge. It literally ends with him killing me.’ Aimsey laughed, ‘it’s meant to be like… sad and angry and stuff. I’m so excited for the outfits though!’

‘Me and Wil’s is the best,’ Tommy grinned happily, ‘it’s like a L’manberg thing we’re gonna get official L’manberg uniforms, and it’s all- it’s such a cool dance man.’

‘It’s kinda like the Charleston in the mood of it,’ Wilbur chimed in, ‘all skipping around and stuff.’

‘The lifts are insane.’ Tommy emphasised, nodding as he said it, ‘I can’t wait it’s just so cool. Hate the American Smooth though, that’s our other one. I am not American nor am I smooth. Quite the opposite in fact, I’m rough and hard- actually.’ He paused as people laughed, with such comedic timing that Dream wondered if he did it on purpose. ‘I will be smooth, just for this week I think. Mhm.’ He scratched his head with an exaggerated grimace, then said quickly. ‘Someone else speak go on.’

‘Tomato.’ George shouted, and Dream visibly startled.

‘…what?’ Tommy said, then cackled.

‘You said someone else speak, so I did.’ George shrugged, and Dream smiled fondly.

‘I wonder what Karl and Sapnap are doing,’ Wilbur said thoughtfully, ‘they do lore together right? In… kinoko?’

‘Yeah!’ Dream answered. ‘Maybe it’ll be a romance thing or something too.’ He theorised.

‘I’ll have to ask.’ Wilbur mentioned, ‘they should be home soon.’

‘Dream get me a blanket.’ George demanded, and Dream spluttered.

‘What? Get it yourself?’ He retorted, and George sighed.

‘But I’m comfortable.’ George whined, and Dream stared at him in half fondness, half confusion. Eventually he relented and grabbed one of the blankets that had been cast aside on the floor, and passed it to George.

‘Sit next to me.’

‘No.’ Dream teased stubbornly.

‘Dream, c’mon.’ George insisted, patting the space next to him on the sofa.

‘It’s the finals next week! It’s nearly over!’ Tubbo gasped, ‘holy- that’s insane.’

Dream raised an eyebrow but complied, and George pulled the blanket over the two of them, it was cozy and warm, it was one of the blankets that had tassels around the edges, and Dream quickly became entranced twirling them around his finger and making knots and untying them then tying them all over again.

That is until he felt a cold hand touch his own, originally he jumped, but then smaller fingers entangled with his, and Dream turned his head to George, surprised.

Did George ask for that blanket just so they could hold hands? Dream felt overwhelmed with love and adoration, he really wanted to kiss him, but not here, not yet. Instead, he squeezed George’s hand under the blanket, and George rubbed his thumb in small circled on Dream’s palm.

The others continued on unaware, discussing their dances and plans to go out next weekend, arrangements for who’d go on the next shopping trip, and a story about a cat.

 

—————————

 

Dream felt like a child again as he sat down cross legged on the grass, spiky against his bare legs, his shorts didn’t offer much protection. The others clearly agreed with the sentiment as they would wince or grimace as they sat down beside him. The sky was incredibly cloudy, but the kind of cloudy that was bright, late as it was, so it would strain your eyes to look at it. Dream kept his eyes down, watching a ladybug skitter along the soil.

‘What did you want to tell us?’ Karl asked, straight to the point, looking tired. Once Karl and Sapnap got back from rehearsals, showered and changed, Dream immediately called them downstairs not giving them any time to relax. Which in hindsight might not have been the best idea, but he was really excited.

‘Uhh, well, me and George… wanted to tell you guys something.’

George nodded and Sapnap raised a jokingly suggestive eyebrow, not knowing he had hit the nail on the head.

Dream looked at George, silently asking if he wanted to say it, but George made a face clearly conveying that he didn’t.

‘So… um.’ Dream wasn’t quite sure how to word it now that they were actually here, though he was smiling already. ‘Me and George… well throughout the past few weeks-‘ he trailed off and groaned, deciding to just spit it out. ‘We’re together.’

Sapnap’s eyes widened and Karl audibly gasped, and there was just a second of silence as Dream awaited their reaction.

‘Really?’ Karl asked, and when Dream and George both nodded, Karl jumped up, and patted them both on the back, ‘nice one my guys!’

Sapnap still seemed to be recovering from shock.

‘That’s so awesome man! Good for you!’ Karl exclaimed, then cheered. ‘That’s actually- that’s just epic. Like… actually? No joke? Is this a prank?’ Karl exaggeratively looked around for a camera, so Dream was fairly certain he was joking, but answered nonetheless.

‘Not joking!’

‘1000% real.’ George added.

Dream grinned as Karl high fived George, and demanded they wait as he pulled up some DNF edit he had seen recently on his phone. Upon looking at Sapnap, Dream frowned. He had been suspiciously quiet, and he was just staring at the grass, lost in thought.

‘Sapnap?’

At that Sapnap blinked, coming back to the world after presumably zoning out, and offered a smile. ‘That’s… that’s great! I’m happy for you guys, I hope it goes well.’

Dream raised an eyebrow, having known Sapnap long enough to hear something underlying in his tone that sounded like… bitterness?

‘I’m gonna- I need a minute.’ Sapnap said quickly, then stood up and started walking to the house.

‘Wait… what?’ Dream scrambled to get up once his shock caught up to him, ‘Sapnap! … what?’ He was incredibly confused. Confused on why Sapnap ‘needed a minute’, and hurt by his reaction. This wasn’t how he imagined it to go at all. He was hoping Sapnap would be cheering too and congratulating them, and then they'd talk about it for hours, sharing fun moments, and Dream and George could be themselves.

‘Dream, look, I’m happy for you, I am , but I know I personally just need to go and process this before I say something I regret. Respect that and move on, I’ll talk to you later.’

‘Say something you regret? ’ Dream repeated angrily, ‘what the hell does that mean? Why do you need a minute? This isn’t about you?’ Dream cried incredulously, and Sapnap glared at him, ‘this is me and George, revealing a personal part of our lives that we want to share with you and be happy about together? What do you mean you-‘

‘How do you not see how… awful this is!’ Sapnap shouted, and Dream froze. ‘This is exactly what I’ve talked to you about. I didn’t want to miss out, I told you that. And now, what? You both have had this secret life of… conversations and emotions and time that I knew nothing about. No one told me.’ He whispered. ‘You’re willing to share this personal private part of your life? Good for you! I see where I am in all of this. Just someone to share it with. Just… what the hell. We’re a trio, the three of us, best friends. Now you’re running off into some romantic relationships and what, leaving me behind? I never knew any of this! What else have you been hiding?’ Sapnap shook his head then sighed. ‘This is what happens when you don’t let me leave and process Dream, you know I get angry. Look, we’re bros okay?’

Dread hesitated, still in shock, but nodded.

‘I still- we’re… it’s gonna be okay. But right now I need time. So I’ll talk to you later.’ With that he turned on his heel and fumbled with the back door, walking out of sight.

Dream didn’t release how much his breathing had picked up, and he still felt rooted to the spot.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen at all.

 

—————————

 

‘Good morning Oti!’ Dream called cheerily, trying to distract himself from the thoughts whirling around his mind all morning.

‘Hello! Today the plan is: complete both of our dances so we have a basic run through of the choreography-‘

‘Wait before we start,’ Dream interrupted abruptly and Oti paused, her head tilting to the side.

‘Um yeah, me and George just had something we wanted to talk to you about.’ Dream explained, suddenly not sure how to put it.

Oti crossed her arms defensively, ‘go on.’

‘Nothing about you! Don’t worry.’ George chimed in, then made eye contact with Dream, a reassuring smile on his face.

‘So,’ Dream began, deciding to do the spit it out strategy again, ‘me and George are actually… together?’

‘Oh.’ Oti said, and Dream saw George’s face fall, then she quickly realised how that came off.

‘Oh not like that! No, no, I’m so happy for you both! Congratulations, seriously,’ she exclaimed, a genuine smile on her face, ‘I was just… uneasy, because I don’t know if that’s… allowed.’ She seemed to dance around the point, and when she said the final word, she looked up at them, unsure.

‘Allowed?’ George repeated with a scrunched up nose ( cute ), ‘as in… homophobia?’

‘No no, nothing like that. They’re more of seen as- it’s just not usually a good idea while the show is going,’ she began gently, as if she was treading on eggshells, ‘the whole point of the rule is if the two break up, and it ended on bad terms, there’s a lot of tension usually in the dances - and not the good kind,’ Dream kindly laughed at her feeble attempt to lighten the mood, when inside he felt like all the air had been sucked out of him.

‘They don’t want it to ruin the show, and because the dances are usually so romantic, if two people break up, then they have to be performing in romantic ways which could be… upsetting. Usually there’s also a power dynamic what with a professional and a celebrity, obviously that doesn’t apply here, but I assume it’s discouraged.’

‘So, what are you saying?’ George spat, and Dream finally looked at him and saw how angry he seemed.

‘George-‘ Dream began, but was quickly cut off.

‘No Dream, it feels like no one is on our side here, this… sucks.’ George then turned to Oti, ‘are you saying we should break up? Then get back together after the show? Even- you’re- you’re literally saying that you think we’re gonna break up-‘

‘Of course n-‘

‘and then it’d be awkward or something. Do you not hear yourself? That’s so… insulting.’

Dream had to agree, it was hurtful. Him and George were so special together and knew each other so well, their love was new and something unique, and so far everyone seemed to disagree with it. Dream and George alone could fly across the sky, together and happy, but the world would send them tumbling back down to reality. He missed the stars.

‘I don’t think that at all.’ Oti said firmly, ‘it’s just the protocol, they wouldn’t allow it, and it would blow up over the media, there would be rumours everywhere. It would reflect badly on me as well if I let you. If I let you break this rule, then how many others will I? I have to.’

‘Then change the rules!’ George gestured wildly with his hands, ‘they can’t-‘

‘George, seriously.’ Dream cut in, grabbing his hand. ‘I get that you’re angry. I am too, but take it from the guy who’s made many bad decisions when he’s angry, this isn’t the way to solve anything. It’s completely fair to be angry, but you’re just blowing up at Oti. This isn’t her fault, go cool off or something-‘

George’s breath hitched, and he looked undeniably hurt. Dream’s heart ached.

‘Hey, I want this to work. I think I can do that for us. Can you just… let me do the talking?’ Dream pleaded, and George looked like he was about to disagree, then just sighed.

‘Fine.’ He mumbled.

‘Okay, thank you, I love you, okay? That’s why I care about this, I care about you, us. We’re gonna sort this out.’ Dream squeezed his hand, and George managed a small smile, which gave Dream the temporary peace of mind he needed.

He took a moment to collect his thoughts, then turned back to Oti, who had watched their exchange with a sad look in her eyes.

‘Oti, okay, I absolutely get you, and I’m not blaming you here, that’s fine. First of all just so you know, we weren’t planning on telling the public, this is a… personal thing. We will eventually I’m sure, but we need time. So you don’t have to worry about that. And also… like… I get it, but also? Two weeks left? C’mon, that’s just- that’s just ridiculous. We can just… keep it between us three. Only two of our friends know.’ Dream remembered angry voices and shouting, hurt eyes and the slam of a door. Then tension as they passed on the stairs, the effect tainted by Dream yawning from just waking up, but an awkward stare passed between them nonetheless.

Oti bit her cheek, and Dream turned hopeful.

‘Please Oti, you can’t police our relationship. We’re grown adults, we love each other. We just wanted to use these dances as a great fun opportunity together. Please.’ He smiled sweetly, putting his hand around George’s side.

Oti definitely seemed to be considering. Her eyes darted around the room, and then she let out a relenting sigh.

‘Okay.’

Dream grinned, about to cheer when:

‘But. We need focus in the room, the same amount of effort, keep… PDA… to a minimum.'

‘Of course.’ Dream nodded, and so did George.

‘And you can’t tell any of the staff, once you’re in the studios keep it professional and platonic. Seriously. No sneaking away to make out or something.’

George scoffed at the wording, and Dream was worried he was still angry, but he was beaming, which just made Dream happier.

He put the whole situation with Sapnap, and those conditions, and the fact that Oti’s career may be at stake to the back of his mind, and just let himself enjoy this win.

Oti broke her serious facade for a second and gave a sincere smile, ‘I’m so happy for you guys though. Can’t lie, I did suspect something was going on. However, we have just wasted twenty minutes, this is the exact opposite of what we needed to do. Stretches, get on with it go go go!’

Dream and George groaned dramatically, but complied with no further complaints.

The rehearsal was productive, with newfound excitement and passion, knowing they were able to be themselves while doing something they loved. The thing that had brought them together.

 

—————————

 

That evening, Dream was home and lying in bed, sat on top of the covers. The dances were really coming along, honestly the DreamSMP story might be one of his favourite yet. It was just so cool and interesting, and he couldn’t wait to see the costume for it. All he knew was that they were needed earlier than normal on Saturday night, so maybe the costumes needed a lot of work. He imagined the fanart and cosplayers, wondering how alike they'd be, maybe they’d have makeup scars, and Dream would probably get a mask. He wasn’t sure how he’d be able to see with it, or how he’d be able to dance, but they’d figure something out. Maybe he wouldn’t have a mask after all.

He was suddenly struck with a thought, remembering something Oti had said, and curiosity overtook him. He took out his phone, and searched up ‘strictly come dancing relationships’ (vague) just to see what would come up, and his eyes flickered over the titles of the websites that appeared.

‘15 Strictly Come Dancing affairs that shook our world.’ ‘All the romances… that have lasted’ ‘Which couples are still together?’ ‘Strictly Come Dancing relationships that failed.’ ‘ romances which ripped families apart…’.

He frowned, and upon clicking on the websites, he found the way they talked about the couples just so… disgusting. Words like ‘scandal’, ‘curse’.

Claudia thinks contestants '[don't] fall in love with people, they might just love the experience.’ (Which might explain why some couples split afterwards.)

There is also a more science-y reason why so many non-dancers end up pining for the dancers, according to a behavioural psychologist and relationship coach. 'When you’re thrust into a situation where you are very close physically and psychologically to a someone, spending a great deal of time with them and performing dances that require complete trust and emotional investment, it’s no wonder that it feels deeply intimate,' she tells Grazia.

Each word felt like a stab to his gut, an insult to their relationship.

'People will get bursts of the feel-good hormones of serotonin and oxytocin – the cuddle hormone. As they dance, endorphins are released, which increases their heart rate and feelings of attraction. And if they do get further through the process, dopamine kicks in – our reward hormone – which simply amplifies all the other positive feelings. This combination of hormones all feels very similar to falling in love.'

He felt revolted, like they were some lab rats. As if they got together because they were blinded by lust, walking into a relationship solely because of dancing. It was ridiculous.

And then it stops. You’re no longer in the show, you’re not spending intense amounts of time practising intimate moves with your dancing partner and those hormones suddenly plummet,' Jo adds. 'And you may miss your partner and the excitement and adrenaline and/or recognise what may be lacking in your own relationship. However strong you think your relationship is, the whole experience will inevitably have some sort of impact on how you move forward.

His breath hitched. That won’t happen to them… right?

‘some of these relationships are doomed to fail.’

He was shoved out of his spiral by a weak knock at the door.

‘Can I come in?’

Sapnap.

‘Uh- yeah.’ Dream replied, and sat up, crossing his arms defensively, he didn’t think he could take anything else today. The door opened, and Sapnap shuffled in, looking guiltily at the floor.

‘Hi,’ he made eye contact, ‘I just- are you okay?’

Dream furrowed his eyebrows, confused on why Sapnap looked so worried, ‘I- yeah? I think so.’

Sapnap looked down at his phone with a raised eyebrow, ‘are you on twitter again? What now?’

‘No- not twitter. Just- something else. Anyway, what were you here for?’

‘Oh, yeah well.’ He chuckled awkwardly. ‘First of all I wanted to apologise. Seriously, you two didn’t deserve that. It should have been a special moment, I mean… George basically just came out to me! And I- I ruined it.’ He admitted.

Dream didn’t try to coddle him or deny it, Sapnap wouldn’t appreciate dishonesty.

‘I was- I was hurt and frustrated… and… confused. It felt like it came out of nowhere. Rehearsals had been bad too, we’re not doing well, there was this whole thing with a set- ugh that’s not the point. I was stressed I guess, and I’ve been missing you guys. I guess you add one more thing to the pile and it all comes tumbling down. I’m sorry. I feel- I feel really bad about it. You don’t have to forgive me, I hope I haven’t broken your trust or anything - I haven’t told anyone - just that was meant to be such a happy moment. You both seemed so happy. And I messed it up. I’m sorry.’

There was a small silence as Dream made sure he was finished, then he began.

‘Thanks.’ Dream smiled, ‘and genuinely I forgive you. I… I do get what you mean. I’ve been so wrapped up with rehearsals, and then feelings started coming in, I had a whole crisis about that. It all felt so new, and I just got… carried away I guess. We have been leaving you behind.’

‘But that wasn’t an excuse-‘

‘Sure.’ Dream agreed, ‘but still. I would feel hurt too. It’s not fair to you. And then we just dropped a bomb on you. I didn’t realise you had all… that bottled up.

‘I didn’t either to be honest, again- I’m sorry about that. I hope you know I do think that’s awesome. Even if I was… angry… there was still a part of me that thought that was great. I’m glad you’ve… figured it all out I guess. I just wish I could have known about it and been apart of the experience.’

‘That’s partly why I wanted to tell you.’ Dream scolded teasingly, and Sapnap had the decency to look guilty again.

‘My bad!’ He held his hands up jokingly. ‘Are you good with… telling me about it?’

‘Yeah! I’ve been wanting to!’ Dream beamed, and the hour went by with Dream telling Sapnap every detail. When the feelings started, any romantic or awkward moments when dancing, all the way up to their first kiss. Sapnap listened with light in his eyes, enthusiastic and excited, listening intently and asking some questions, both of them unaware that 24 hours ago they had been yelling at each other about this exact thing.

In turn, Dream listened to Sapnap when he opened up about his insecurities, and genuinely planned to change. Now that things with George were sorted out, he had much more time anyway, not spending every waking minute going back and forth over the matter.

And then they went up to George’s room together, Sapnap apologised, and gave him a hug, and they talked more together, just like old times in vc. They even watched a movie through George’s phone, as the stars grew more prominent in the sky, the clouds from the day before had cleared, leaving only remnants of long wisps, stretching across the horizon.

 

—————————

 

GeorgeNotFound 12:49

goodnight dream :] <3

 

Dream 12:49

gn george! sleep well :) <3

 

—————————

 

‘Listen up!’ Madina began, ‘as we all know, you’ve been learning two dances. This created some… complications when it comes to the show. They’re all performed in the same night, but your outfits - both costume and makeup - are vastly different.’

They were sat in the hair and makeup room, just on the sofas, being briefed on the event tonight. They had to get here an hour early, so the room was quiet, the usual ruckus hadn’t arrived, but things were definitely happen in the hallway adjacent.

‘So we’re going to have the Dream S-M-P dance story first, as it will take longer than usual to do makeup and hair and sort everything out. Then, the second you’re off camera after getting your scores, you’ll be escorted down the stairs back here, we’ll remove some of the makeup, give you your new outfit, take the old one away, and the we’ll have it sorted in time for your second dance. There is no interval between the two dances, but you have the other three pairs who’ll go. It’ll be equally distanced. Karl and Sapnap, you two are opening the show, then George and Dream, Tubbo and Aimsey, and finally Wilbur and Tommy. Then Karl and Sapnap will do their second dance, having got changed in that time period as the other dances went on, and so on. You’ll have about twenty minutes to get changed if everything goes according to plan, which it will.’ She finished confidently. ‘Any questions?’

‘Uhm, when we come back here in between, do we get changed first, or are they doing makeup first?’ Tubbo asked.

‘Hmm, I’m not sure honestly.’

Tubbo paled.

‘Your escort will tell you where to go though I’m sure, just listening to the people around you. Feel free to ask and get someone’s attention if you’re not sure what to do. You lot are the number one priority in this room, we can’t have this go wrong.’

Dream gulped.

‘Anyone else?’ Madina asked, but there were no more questions. She advised them to go to the bathroom if they needed, and if not to just stay out of the way on the sofas as the room was prepared. In ten minutes they’d be transformed (her words, not Dream’s). He couldn’t wait.

He was just listening to Sapnap talk about a weird message he saw, when out of the blue one of the staff came up to him.

‘Excuse me Dream, can you hold out your wrist please?’

Dream stared at them in confusion, but held out his arm.

‘We’re just testing sizing,’ they explained, ‘I’m Maisy by the way,’ then took out a pair of grey polished handcuffs from their pocket. Sapnap gasped, and they fixed it onto his wrist, testing out the tightening and loosening mechanism.

‘George, come over here.’ They said, and George looked up from where he had been playing naughts and crosses on Tommy’s hand. The staff member frowned when they saw it and the two looked guilty.

‘You’ll have to wash that later.’ Maisy scolded, ‘anyway: you two. So here’s how they work, hopefully it should be similar to the ones you had in training. There’s padding on the inside, though not much as we wanted it to be discreet, but you won’t get hurt even if you tug. You see how there’s three bits of metal running along the sides? The middle one changes the size, twist right to tighten and left to loosen. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. And then the metal is also able to snap open, if you use enough force. They shouldn’t come off when you’re dancing I don’t think.’

Dream didn’t like how unsure that was.

‘But we can do a test run. Anyway, we need to make sure the sizing is small enough that George’s hand won’t get out, and big enough that it’s not uncomfortable for Dream. It’s mostly Dream who wears them right?’

‘Yeah, but a lot of the time is also both of us wearing one each.’ Dream mentioned, and Maisy nodded.

After a quick demonstration of tightening and loosening, and snapping the cuffs open and shut, she put both cuffs on Dream’s wrists and experimented with the tightening. It was a bit of an odd situation, and Dream just looked to the side at Sapnap, who looked to be snickering at him. Dream glared, but kept his hands held in the air.

‘Is that comfortable?’ Maisy asked, and Dream jumped, startled.

‘Uhh, yeah! Can I try like- moving in them?’

‘Go ahead.’ Maisy took a step back, and George grabbed Dream’s arm to pull him up to be standing.

Dream twisted his hand and his wrist, made a fist and just rolled his hand around, and the cuffs never caused discomfort.

‘Try and tug on them.’ Maisy advised, ‘don’t snap them open but try and pull them apart.’

Dream did so, at first cautiously as to not break them, and then when they didn’t give, he put in more and more effort. He even gritted his teeth, trying with all his might to pull his hands away from each other, but the cuffs wouldn’t give way.

Eventually he gave up and shook his head. ‘That’s incredible, they’re strong.’

‘Perfect!’ Maisy seemed genuinely pleased, ‘now snap them open.’

Dream used his right hand to wrap around his left, looking for the link, then snapped the cuffs open. It worked.

‘Great! And the other.’

He repeated on the other side until they were fully off, and then Maisy went through the same process with George.

Once George was successfully able to snap them open and closed again, they tried to find a middle ground with the sizing that would work for both of their wrists. Of course, each cuff could be tightened differently, but Dream had to wear them both at times, so that wasn’t helpful.

It was quite a hassle, but by the time they were done (they even practiced some of their dance when they transferred the cuffs), the room was all set up and ready. Everyone looked much more excited for their costumes this time, Dream was too. He wondered what everyone was gonna look like.

‘Is this like… canon cosplay?’ Tommy pondered, and Dream looked at him curiously.

‘Because like… it’s us. And we’re wearing the character stuff. So is this canonical. Could I like… put this on DreamSMP wiki and say this is real!’

‘I guess.’ Wilbur shrugged ‘then again it’s a L’manberg uniform, not like… the red and white shirt.’

‘Ah that’s true. I wonder if I get that green bandana I often get drawn with. Where did that come from? Why do I have that?’ Tommy asked, ‘I mean it’s cool, I just don’t get it.’

‘I don’t know! We’ll see.’

‘Celebrities!’ Someone called from across the room, and all of their heads turned to figure out who it was.

They were being beckoned over by someone, and they walked over, careful to avoid the people walking across the room.

‘Hi everyone! We hope you’re all excited. Our team has worked for ages on getting this set up. You’re going to look great. There’s a name on the back of the chairs for each of you, we’ve had to make a whole station. But your outfits are in the changing rooms, be as quick as you can.’

They stared pointedly at Dream as they spoke, and he felt very put on the spot, unsure of what the look was for. But anyway, they walked out the room into the hallway, and he walked into his changing room, closing the door behind himself. He immediately looked towards the hangers, and was surprised to see orange.

‘Huh?’ He whispered.

Oh. It’s based in the prison. Of course. He laughed to himself. Am I really wearing a prison uniform? He was expecting green or black, but this did make sense.

He quickly changed, and put the clothes on. It was quite plain, just a stereotypical orange jumpsuit, with a number ‘001’ in a box under his collar. It was missing the two top buttons, which was a little weird, but nothing new.

The strangest part though, is that there were literal rips in the fabric. There was a tear along his lower left leg, one on his right sleeve, on his left arm the end of the sleeve had just been cut off. And for the first time ever, Dream couldn’t see any glitter on it.

Honestly though, it was really cool. He looked like he had come out of some dystopian book or movie, and he was really excited to see what they’d do with hair and makeup.

After a final once over, he left the room and walked back into hair and makeup, surprisingly he was the first one there out of all the other celebrities. Dream suddenly felt like he wasn’t meant to be there, but shook his head and went to find the chair with his name on the back. There. In between George’s and Wilbur’s.

He sat down and drummed his fingers on the armchair while he waited for someone to come over.

‘Oh! Dream!’ Someone said.

‘I’m Nancy, great to meet you.’ They smiled brightly, and quickly tied their curly hair into a bun.

‘We have a lot to do with you.’

Dream chuckled nervously, ‘…okay? What will you be doing?’

‘Honestly we’re making you look… artfully messy. You’ve been in a prison for months right? There’s a lot to do. We’re gonna start with some basic makeup, just clean things up a bit, then we’re gonna do a scar, and then we’re gonna mess some things up.’ Nancy listed off, then she span the chair around so they were facing each other.

‘Right…’ she muttered to herself, opening a box and looking for something. She got to work with putting some product on his face, that was cold against Dream’s skin. Occasionally she’d ask him to close his eyes and he’d comply, but most of the time he could see, so he got to watch as the others came in.

Karl was the first person (after Dream) to arrive, wearing the classic spiral hoodie, purple, light blue and yellow. He also had a pair of goggles that people wear when flying planes on top of his head. They were golden and just rested on his hair, a buckle going around the back of his head. He wore black trousers and some green trainers, honestly it looked like something Karl would wear in real life, he’d probably be sweating in that hoodie. When they made eye contact Karl smiled, then gasped as he took Dream’s outfit in. He gave a thumbs up, looking like he was buzzing, then went to go sit down.

Then Tubbo came in, wearing a collared dark green shirt, he was also wearing jeans- oh. Trousers that looked like jeans, and some big brown boots to accompany it.

Then George came in, and Dream waved at him. He had on a light blue top with the red and white rectangle in the middle of it, and the collar of a white shirt sticking out over the top of it. Black trousers contrasted heavily with the bright blue on his trainers. Dream pointed to the seat next to him and George walked over, staring at Dream’s outfit.

‘Look at you!’ George exclaimed, ‘hot.’

Dream spluttered, then Nancy glared so he stopped and tried to keep a straight face.

‘Talk when we do your hair alright? I can’t mess this up, I’m about to do the scar.'

Dream wanted to show he understood, but nodding would move his head, and he had just been told not to talk, so he just stayed silent.

Sapnap was next in, and he looked really cool. Like… insanely cool. He was wearing a baggy white top with a flame on it, but it was cropped a little, underneath was a long-sleeved black… thing that even covered his neck. A belt separated it from black trousers, and his hands were currently resting in his pockets. Dream waved at him, and when Sapnap took a hand out of his pocket to wave back, Dream saw a long white bandana in his hand. He couldn’t wait to see it on.

Aimsey was next in, wearing blue dungarees with a red top underneath it. She also had a bunny hat on top of her head, and green trainers on their feet.

Tommy and Wilbur came in together, in extravagant L’manberg uniform, collared shirts and navy blazers lined with gold that swooshed around as they walked. White trousers that went just below the knee, and then high black socks and black boots. A red ribbon as a belt, and a hat in their hand. It looked like they had walked right out of Hamilton, and they even got some cheers when they walked in.

A few more minutes of a delicate hand dabbing paint on his nose, so focused that Nancy had a complete disregard for personal space, and it wad done. Nancy jumped in the air and clapped her hands.

‘Oh my, that was stressful. It looks amazing though, look look look!’

She grabbed a mirror and put it in front of his face and Dream saw there was now a long scar going across his nose to his cheeks. It was honestly amazing. He also noticed that the freckles on his face were much more prominent, Nancy must have done something. He had darker shadows than usual under his cheekbones, and they had skipped the rosy sort of glow he usually had in other dances.

‘Not done yet though!’ Nancy said as she put the mirror down, and then paused. She stared back at Dream again, one arm crossed and the other on her chin, as if she was staring at a piece of art.

‘Who’s got Dream’s outfit and makeup sheet?’ She suddenly shouted to the room, and no one replied. She glared back at Dream then called someone over and they discussed whether or not to dirt up his costume as well. Dream just sat there and waited, watching the person next to him put makeup on George’s face, as he closed his eyes. The energy in the room was just amazing, both stress combined with wonder and excitement. Everyone seemed to really want to do a good job, and all of his friends looked amazing.

Nancy had clearly decided what she wanted to do, and started dabbing this egg-shaped thing on his face. Dream blinked in surprise, but per Nancy’s request, didn’t move.

‘We’ve decided to put a little bit of dirt on your costume. We didn’t want too much, as we need it to be bright and extravagant for the lights and the audience to see you clearly. But well, if your face is looking like this then your costume needs to look bad too.

Dream frowned, what does that mean?

‘Rest your face.’ Nancy reprimanded.

When she held up the mirror again, there was now what looked like soot and dust and dirt on his face, they had added bags under his eyes and what looked like a cut to his forehead. He genuinely looked the part.

‘Are we happy?’ Nancy asked, rubbing something off his cheek and flicking at it with her finger.

‘Yeah!’ Dream answered, ‘genuinely this looks so cool! You’re actually incredible.’

Nancy beamed, ‘thank you! Are we happy going onto hair?’

‘Yeah, you know what you’re doing, not me.’

‘Okay so, once again I’m gonna clean it up then mess it up again. So bear with me.’

This is going to take a long time.

 

—————————

 

‘Good evening everyone!’ Tess greeted, and got a cheer from the audience in response.

‘Welcome to… the Semi Finals of Strictly Come Dancing! We have four couples left, and only three can make it to the finals. They have not one, not two- they have two dances for this evening.’ That got a laugh from the crowd.

‘It is a particularly special week, why is that Claudia?’ Tess asked.

‘Well, this week our couples are doing one of our traditional Strictly dances, as they always do, and they’re each performing a special one about the story they act in.’

‘For those of you who don’t know, all of our celebrities this year have been a part of the Dream S-M-P.’

The audience screamed.

‘And they’ve made their own story together, each of them has a character with their own plot-‘

‘Just like a movie?’

Just like a movie.’

‘And today they’re going to show us little snippets… in the form of a dance!’

Dream and the others were listening intently, stood on the scaffolding stairs, ready for their names to be announced. It was Dream and George on one side with Tubbo and Aimsey stood above them, and the other two pairs on the other side. It was very empty now that there weren’t as many couples.

‘What do I do with the handcuffs?’ Dream whispered suddenly.

‘Uhh-‘

‘Do I leave them here? Just hold them? Wear them?’ Dream asked, and George stuttered.

‘Um- you- yeah! Let’s wear one each as we walk down. It’ll be epic, and then we can still wave and stuff.’

‘Okay.’ Dream snapped open the handcuffs and put his wrist in the one on the right, and George put his in the one on the left, and they snapped them closed.

‘Let’s practice walking.’ George suggested in a quiet voice.

‘George, we’re literally danced with handcuffs on, I don’t think walking will be an issue.’ Dream laughed, and George went pink.

‘Fine idiot, but if you fall over it’ll send me tumbling down after you.’

‘Yeah yeah, whatever.’ Dream rolled his eyes.

‘And now, we want to welcome: our Strictly Stars!

The names of the pairs were announced, and when Tubbo and Aimsey walked through the curtains, Dream and George went onto the next step.

There seemed to be longer paused between the names, maybe because they needed to get through the whole song or something.

‘Let’s win.’ George grinned stupidly, and Dream smiled.

GeorgeNotFound and Dream.

They walked out, pulling the curtain aside, and the cheers and screams rushed at him in full force. They both waved, smiling brightly, then began making their way down the stairs to join the other pairs.

‘Welcome everyone! Tess exclaimed once the music stopped, looking at the four pairs, in turn, then she looked back towards the audience. ‘Don’t they look fabulous?’

As the crowd responded with noise, Dream’s eyes landed on a group of people in the audience, it was everyone who had been out the other weeks, they must have got tickets. Dream smiled warmly at Sam, Puffy, Ranboo, Hannah, Bad, Skeppy, Niki, Jack, and everyone else. A lot of them were on the front row.

He nudged George’s shoulder, who looked at him quizzically.

‘Over there.’ Dream whispered, pointing towards the group.

‘Oh! What are they doing here?’ George mumbled.

‘Watching, probably.’

‘Wow, I thought they were asleep.’ George quipped drily.

‘Well why did you ask-‘

‘Sh.’

‘And opening the show tonight we have, Karl and Sapnap!’ Claudia annnounced, ‘wave goodbye everyone! We’ll see them all in a few minutes.’

That was their cue. The eight of them ran off stage, Dream patted Sapnap and Karl on the back, and they went upstairs to watch.

Dream fidgeted with the handcuffs, just snapping them open and shut as he watched. It was a beautiful dance. The lights were a light grey, fading to purple and blue occasionally, and the dance was really somber. It seemed to be about Karl’s memory loss. Sapnap kept drifting away and they’d try to find each other again. His bandana was huge so when he turned his head sharply it bounced in a huge circle around him, which just looked stunning. They included some impressive lifts, and it was probably their most emotional piece Dream had seen.

When the music faded, the audience screamed and cheered, and Dream and George were told to come downstairs and await their cue.

Dream took some deep breaths, peaking around the corner.

‘This is so exciting.’ George said happily, ‘I genuinely think we’re gonna do great. It’s gonna be so cool. I kinda don’t wanna do it, because this is the last time we’ll do the dance.’ George’s smile fell at those words and Dream grabbed his hand.

‘Let’s make it incredible then, we got this.’

Dancing to Skyfall by Adele, GeorgeNotFound and Dream.

As they walked out onto the stage, the lights faded to glowing oranges and reds, probably for the lava in the prison. Dream could feel his heart hammering in his chest. This was one of the most risky dances they had done, what with the handcuffs. He really wanted to get it right. This time George took his spot slightly off stage, and Dream walked alone to the middle and sat down, snapping the cuffs onto his wrists as they waited for the music to begin. His legs were tucked up to his chest, his hands in front of him, and he just focused on his breathing.

Soft piano chords began, and he looked up, watching as George walked towards him. He was slow, all eyes on him, and came to a stop right in front of Dream.

There was a moment of blazing eye contact as George looked down at him, hate and disdain in his eyes that made Dream’s heart flutter.

It’s not hot. Focus.

George reached down and grabbed the chain of the cuffs, pulling Dream up to stand with him, dragged forward by his grip.

Dream brought his bound hands up over George’s head and behind, his arms resting on George's shoulders, the chain behind his neck, and George put his hands on Dream’s waist, they swayed for a few counts, nose to nose, beginning to get into it.

George no longer had a scowl on his face, it was just flat, staring right into Dream’s eyes, and he was just beautiful.

They began to spin around each other, and Dream carefully snapped off one of the cuffs, hoping they were moving too quickly for anyone to see, he grabbed George’s left hand and snapped the open cuff onto it, so George’s left and Dream’s right hand were bound. And they stopped spinning.

George stared at the cuff.

George stared at Dream, with a look of betrayal and horror on his face.

Then he shoved at Dream’s chest, and turned away to run, but with a tug of Dream’s right hand, he was back where he started. George’s sadness had turned to anger again, and he fixed Dream with a glare as they got into frame.

George was leading this time, so Dream’s left hand was on his shoulder, and George’s right was on Dream’s hip, their handcuffed hands were out to the side, and they both assumed good posture, Dream tilted his head backwards slightly and to the left, as they began to move across the floor.

They hadn’t quite reached the chorus yet but he knew it was coming, and they were spinning across the floor in time with the music, loud enough that he could feel it thrumming in his chest, the audience enraptured, their eyes filled with wonder.

They came to a stop, and brought their hands together between their chests, holding eye contact while George snapped open both of the cuffs.

He felt the weight come off of his wrist, and felt relief wash over him, the cuffs dropped between them, and Dream kicked them away with his foot. They slid across the floor. George immediately turned and sprinted away, and Dream chased after him, grabbing onto his waist and lifting him into the air with gritted teeth. First lift of three. George came back down to the floor with grace, accompanied by claps from the audience, then turned around with a longing look in his eyes, and Dream attempted to show desperation in his eyes, hoping it was working.

Dream slid his hand into George’s hair, holding onto him as George walked backwards, half-dragging Dream across the floor.

They came to a stop, and Dream let himself fall backwards, knowing George would be there to catch him, and purposely relaxing his grip on George’s head, remembering Oti’s advice.

(If you hold on too tightly George will fall with you, let go, he’ll catch you, you have to trust him.)

And George did, kneeling to the floor with a hand on Dream’s back and one on his shoulder, pulling him back upwards again.

They went back into frame, and with precision and eloquence they circled the perimeter that was lined with the red spotlights, making huge shadows along the wall of their figures. Just like the dance, dramatic and powerful.

The music picked up again, violins and drums and voices coming together. Dream’s heart beat sped up, knowing a difficult lift was coming up. Deep breaths.

George smiled reassuringly from in front of him, barely noticeable, just a small quirk of his mouth, but in made a world of difference. Then George put his hands around Dream’s neck, and jumped up. Dream quickly put an arm around George’s leg, and put his other hand under George’s back, then began to spin quickly, holding him in the bride's carry. The world became a blur. Just swirls of red and orange and black, the only constant was George, clinging onto him for dear life.

When Dream finally put him down they had no time to recover from dizziness, George immediately shoved again and ran towards where Dream had kicked the cuffs.

Please get there in time , Dream thought, as he once again chased after him. George did, and he crouched down to pick them up, Dream went down after him, lying on the floor and grabbing George’s hands to try and pull him into his lap. George instead stood up and shook his head, and held Dream’s hands to pull him up as well.

Dream once again placed his hands around George’s waist and lifted him up, this time George wrapped his legs around Dream’s waist and grabbed onto his shoulders, and Dream’s head was buried in his chest.

The audience cheered as Dream span around with his arms out at his side to show George was fully holding on on his own, and then George jumped off.

They held hands this time, running to centre stage together, and Dream stared at George with a regretful sad expression. George circled him, grabbing his wrists and putting the cuffs on behind his back. The most uncomfortable part of the whole dance, and Dream tried not to grimace. The music quietened down, and just as it ended, George shoved Dream backwards and he landed back on the floor where he started, he managed to land on his hands well so it didn’t hurt, and he focused his attention on looking at George with a hurt and confused expression. George just glared at him and then stormed away.

Silence.

Then the audience applauded wholeheartedly, screaming and whistling and whooping, waving their hands around. Dream’s chest was heaving from the force of his breathing, and his heartbeat was so quick.

George turned around with the broadest grin on his face, and ran back over to Dream, literally collapsing on the floor to wrap his arms around him.

The force of it sent Dream tumbling back a bit onto his elbows, and because he was still cuffed, his wrist bent in a way it definitely wasn’t supposed to.

‘Owow ow get off get off.’ Dream hissed, wincing.

‘What? What’s wrong?’ George asked, worried, pulling away.

‘Can you take the cuffs off?’ Dream asked.

‘What?’

‘The cuffs!’ Dream shouted over the roar of the audience.

‘Oh!’ George said, then scooted around to snap them open. Dream groaned in relief and sat up properly, then pounced on George, pulling him into a hug as the other screamed in surprise, then they laughed together.

‘I’m so proud of us.’ Dream whispered into his ear. ‘That was incredible, I love you.’

‘Come on over!’ Tess said, laughing.

They finally pulled away, and Dream picked up the discarded cuffs on the floor, and they walked on over to Tess, still holding hands.

They talked and joked, received their scores (38!) after a chat with Claudia, and once the next pair were called to begin, Dream and George rushed backstage to get changed, excited and buzzing from adrenaline.

Just to do it all again.