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Crash and Burn

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Dan blinked a few times at the sunlight reflecting off the freshly fallen snow as he and 90s Kid walked outside. It was a rather cool January day, but Dan welcomed the rush of crisp air against his cheeks as he moved along the sidewalk. Usually when he finished one of his Narcotics Anonymous meetings he’d feel a bit restless and in need of room to breathe, and there was nothing like a pleasant walk home after said meetings to help settle his nerves.

Dan turned to smile at 90s Kid as they drew closer to the edge of the city. “Thanks again for attending that meeting with me, sweetie. I hope it wasn’t too boring for you.”

“Nah, it was fine,” 90s Kid replied, kicking a bit of snow out of the way with his foot. Even though it had been a little boring to listen to a bunch of strangers droning on about their lives, 90s Kid hadn’t minded it that much. He knew how important it was for Dan to continue attending these sessions despite the fact that he’d been sober for over a year now. “So like, you go to these things every week?”

“Yep,” Dan said, sliding his hands into his pockets. “Sometimes I go two or three times a week.” 90s Kid’s eyebrows rose up a few centimeters but he said nothing. Dan, however, always picked up on his boyfriend’s moods and let out a weak chuckle. “Yeah, that does seem like a lot. You’d think after all this time I’d be stronger at fighting back the cravings, but strength was never one of my best qualities.”

90s Kid stopped in his tracks and turned to Dan, wrapping his arms around the smaller man. “Dan, don’t. You are strong, so totally strong,” he said as he hugged Dan close to him. “You haven’t done anything with drugs in a totally long time, so that proves just how strong you are.”

Dan at once wrapped his arms back around 90s Kid, soaking in as much of the taller man as he could. “I’m only strong because I have you, Kid.”

90s Kid pressed his lips against Dan’s forehead, trying to bolster his confidence. “You’d be strong even without me, Dan. I know you would.”

Dan pulled back a bit and sighed, looking downwards at the sidewalk. “That’s not exactly true, Kid. Part of NA is being able to own up to and admit your mistakes, and I came dangerously close to relapsing during that time when you were pulled into the future. It was only because of 2090s Kid-”

90s Kid silenced him again with another kiss. “That was because of you. You didn’t have to stop because of him, Dan. You were strong enough to say no on your own, and that’s why I’m so totally proud of you, dude.”

Dan finally allowed himself to smile and he slipped his hand into 90s Kid’s as they walked along the street together. “Is it still really that hard to keep away from that junk?” 90s Kid asked, unable to contain his curiosity.

Dan nodded, watching as the breath came from their mouths in puffs of smoke. “Some days it’s just as hard to resist as the first day I quit, Kid. But I’m going to keep on resisting it, because I don’t need that anymore.”

Dan pulled 90s Kid down a different street than they would normally take to return to his house, but 90s Kid was enjoying their walk so he followed along without complaint. He looked around and was a bit surprised to discover a lot of new, model homes sporting signs for open houses. “Why did we come down this way, Dan?”

“Oh, heh, well, sometimes I just like walking down this road,” Dan said softly. 90s Kid was surprised to see a hint of pink in his cheeks that he didn’t think was from the cold. Dan didn’t usually get embarrassed about anything, but he seemed to be breathing a bit quickly, so 90s Kid gently squeezed his hand and smiled at him.

“You can tell me why. I won’t laugh at you.”

“I know you won’t.” Dan glanced up at him lovingly before turning his gaze to their surroundings. “I like to walk down here and imagine that I’m looking for a house. Our house.” Dan’s voice seemed to grow even softer but his words remained steady. “On really bad days, when the meetings aren’t enough, I come down here and walk up and down the street, trying to imagine us in each house. It sounds so silly when I say it, but it’s really soothing to think about that. And I know that some won’t work for us: that one’s too small,” he said, pointing to a yellow one on the left, “that one doesn’t have a pool,” he pointed to a larger blue one across the street, “but this one…” Dan paused to look up at a towering white estate of at least three stories.“This one is just perfect. If we were to suddenly win the lottery in the next few weeks, that is.”

“Pfff, dude, if I win the lottery, I’m totally buying Kurt Cobain’s house for us,” 90s Kid replied, causing Dan to laugh. 90s Kid grinned and squeezed his hand again, since cheering Dan up when he was feeling low was one of the things he did best. “But I know what you’re saying, dude, and thinking about stuff like this totally isn’t silly,” he reassured him. “Although I think you got it wrong.” Dan’s eyebrows were the ones to rise this time as 90s Kid’s smile grew wider. “Any house we live in is going to be the perfect house, even if it’s small and doesn’t have a pool or a backyard with a tree fort or even any electricity. It’ll still be perfect because it’ll be a house just for you and me, Dan.”

Dan sniffled a bit and 90s Kid pulled him close again. “You’re right, Kid. Any house for the two of us is good with me. I love you so much and I can’t wait to live with you.”

“I can’t wait either, Dan. I want to always be able to spend every day with you, dude. Sometimes the days we get to have just aren’t enough.”

Dan kissed 90s Kid on the cheek before they started walking once more. “It’s getting chilly out here, Kid. We should probably be getting back.”

“That’s cool, Dan. I wanna be able to warm up with you and, like, think of more things we want our house to have and stuff.”

Dan smiled and gave one last backwards look to the street filled with empty homes.

He had never been given much security in his life, in fact he’d hardly ever thought about such a foreign concept during his nights of reckless partying and drug abuse, but now things were different. He had given up chasing after the latest distraction and escaping into a world of fantasy because now his cravings were drawing him toward the world of stability, of reality. Dan wanted a safe place to call his own that he could share with 90s Kid. He wanted to fill out mortgage papers and pull leaves from the gutters; to whip up a batch of brownies for summer block parties and to decorate their house with enough strands of colorful lights that the neighbors called to complain during cold winter nights. Some may consider that kind of life to be boring, but it was the life Dan dreamed of, and one he would do almost anything to achieve. With 90s Kid by his side, Dan finally felt he had a life worth living.

“So, you wanna order a pizza and watch a movie tonight?” Dan asked after a few minutes of walking, when Dolly’s house finally came into view.

“Dude, that sounds awesome! I totally wanna! But, um, Linkara like sorta called a meeting later tonight that we all have to attend,” 90s Kid explained with an apologetic look. “I’m sorry, Dan. Maybe if it’s not a long meeting I can come back and spend the night with you.”

Dan nodded, smiling a little at the news. “Don’t be sorry, sweetie. I understand. You have a lot of important work to do with Linkara, so this meeting should take precedence to everything else.”

“Thanks for understanding, man,” 90s Kid said, squeezing his hand again. “If I can’t come back tonight, I’ll definitely come see you tomorrow for sure.”

“Thanks, Kid.” Dan unlocked the front door and held it open for 90s Kid before looking up to the sky. Grey clouds had blocked out the sun and a light flurry was beginning to settle over the area. Dan opened his mouth, catching a few flakes on his tongue, before he too went inside.

-----

Boffo hung up his coat after walking through the front door of the base on that same snowy afternoon and neatly placed his scarf there as well. Usually on days when the skies were grey and shedding snowflakes, he enjoyed making a cup of hot chocolate, curling up under a blanket, and watching something bright and warm, like The Wizard of Oz, but today he had no time for such luxuries. Boffo was already behind on some expense reports Linkara had asked him to prepare, he had yet to perfect his newest tumbling routine, which he was hoping to debut for the children at the hospital next week, and he hadn’t practiced face painting in almost a month.

Boffo hated falling so behind in his duties, even if they were self-imposed duties, so he moved all the furniture to the back of the living room, pulled his tumbling mats out of the closet, and started to work.

“I can master this routine if I keep working at it, I’m certain of it,” he mentally encouraged himself as he warmed up with a few somersaults, wiping a bit of sweat from his brow. “My, it’s growing warm in here. I should ask everyone if they wouldn’t mind turning the air conditioning up when they get home.”

Rubbing at his reddened cheeks to cool them down, since it did seem to be growing exceptionally warm at the moment, Boffo cleared his head of thoughts and focused only on balancing on his hands for a solid five minutes. He could do this...he could do this...if only the floor wasn’t wobbling underneath his fingers, for some unexplainable reason, he could certainly do this.

Boffo focused on breathing and trying to remain balanced upon his hands without wobbling. He hadn’t had difficulty with handstands in several years, was he losing his touch thanks to slacking off with his practice? He must stay upright. Boffo squeezed his eyes shut and felt a drop of sweat trickle from his brow. Finally, only two and a half minutes in, he collapsed onto the mats in a heap of tangled limbs, making a louder thumping sound than he’d intended to.

Boffo simply lay there for a moment, unable to think well thanks to the sudden throbbing in his forehead, and couldn’t find it in himself to get back up just then. The mats were so soft and comfortable, and maybe a few moments of resting his eyes couldn’t hurt. He dozed like that for a minute before the back of his mind registered the sound of heavy work boots stomping up the stairs and a door being swung open.

“I swear, if one of you imbeciles decided to use bowling balls in the house again-Boffo? Boffo!”

Linksano’s irritation over the ruckus that had disturbed his science was instantly forgotten as he scurried over to the man lying on the mats, bending over him with worry. “Boffo? Boffo, my dear, are you alright? You didn’t fall, did you?”

What? Boffo blinked several times, trying to focus on the fuzzy image hovering over him. He squinted his eyes until the sweet yet concerned face of Linksano finally revealed itself to him. Oscar. How lovely to see you. Boffo managed a weak smile as he reached up to stroke the scientist’s face, though his arms seemed to weigh around a hundred pounds each, so he quickly let them fall back to the mat.

“Boffo, you look terribly red in the face.” Linksano pulled off one of his gloves and pressed the back of his hand to Boffo’s forehead. “Just as I feared, you’re burning up. You should not be tumbling around at a time like this.”

Boffo was still finding his arms too heavy to lift, so he tugged his horn from his pocket and gave it a few weak honks which translated to: I’m feeling fine. I have much work to do. I can’t let everyone down.

Linksano frowned and gingerly scooped the clown into his arms. “I’m sorry, Boffo, but as your personal doctor, I am not letting you do one more second of work. You have a fever and what you need now is rest, so this is what will now happen: I am going to take you to our room, tuck you into bed, bring you a cold beverage, and watch over you until you drift off into what is hopefully a restorative slumber.” Without giving the weakened man a chance to respond, Linksano strode up the stairs and directly into their shared bedroom.

But Oscar, I need to practice. Please give me just a little more time. Boffo feebly tried to honk, though the pounding in his cranium had worsened significantly, so he submitted without a struggle to being changed into his pajamas and tucked under the covers.

Linksano shook his head and reached for the scanner out of his medical bag, clicking his tongue in discontent at Boffo’s temperature. “Not with a hundred-and-two degree fever, you’re not. But don’t fret, dear. With my efforts, I’m sure you will be back in ship shape in no time at-”

Linksano’s words were abruptly cut off by Boffo’s barking cough, which startled him back a bit. Hearing any sort of sound from Boffo was rare, and his throat sounded so rough that Linksano’s brow furrowed with worry while Boffo laid back weakly against the pillows. “That did not sound well at all. Here, let me give you some medicine to soothe your throat and reduce your fever.”

He reached for a vial of pale blue liquid and Boffo drank it willingly, followed by some sips of cold water through a straw. Don’t want to be weak... Boffo’s horn pitifully squeaked. I want to be good enough…

Linksano frowned. He didn’t like his normally content and confident boyfriend making such remarks. “That’s just the fever talking, dear,” he told him, placing a cold compress on the clown’s forehead, smiling as Boffo sighed in relief.

Thank you, Oscar... Boffo managed to honk before his eyelids closed. Sorry for always...being so weak...

“Boffo, hush now,” Linksano gently scolded as he curled his fingers around Boffo’s shoulder and squeezed lightly. “You not participating in battles with us does not give anyone on this team the ridiculous notion that you are weak. You know that, don’t you?”

Linksano looked down when Boffo didn’t respond, but he seemed to be peacefully sleeping, so he decided that he would sit in his reading chair and watch over him for a while. Or he would have done that, if only Linksano’s cell phone hadn’t started playing the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme song at that very moment. “What?” Linksano snapped after hastily ducking into the closet so he could speak at a relatively loud whisper.

“It’s me, Linksano,” Linkara replied. “I want you and Boffo to meet me in the living room. We’re holding an important meeting in five minutes and I need you two there.”

“While I’m sure my genius will be sorely missed, I’m afraid I cannot attend this meeting,” Linksano replied. “Boffo has fallen ill with a fever and I don’t want to leave his side for the time being.”

“But-”

“There will be no buts, Linkara! Unless you plan on holding this meeting in our bedroom, I’m afraid you will have to reschedule it for another time. Good day!” With that, Linksano hung up, stepped out of the closet, and settled into his chair with a copy of Jane Eyre.

Unfortunately, Linksano’s escape into the world of Jane and Mr. Rochester would be short lived, as he was stunned to see the remaining members of the team start filing into their room. Boffo gave a weak swivel of his head as he blinked to see who had arrived, and Linksano slammed his book shut incredulously. “Are you serious right now, Linkara? Did I not just tell you that Boffo was ill?”

“Whoa, is Boffo-dude okay?” 90s Kid asked with a worried glance at the clown.

“He’s running a very high temperature, so please tread lightly, 90s Kid,” Linksano said, not blaming anyone but Linkara for this sudden loss of quiet and privacy.

Linkara sighed and rolled his eyes. “Well, since you weren’t willing to have this conversation in the living room like I asked, we don’t really have another choice. I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible so Boffo can rest, but this really is an important meeting and I need everyone here, including him.”

Even in his weakened state, Boffo looked confused as to why he’d need to be present for a meeting, though he did attempt to smile at Ninja-Style Dancer, who came to stand beside the bed as well. *I told you that you would develop a cold if you stayed out in the snow for too long* he held up with a raised eyebrow, though Boffo could tell he was smiling. *I’m glad to see Doctor Linksano finally took matters into his own hands.*

Boffo gave a weak chuckle that turned into another cough, and Linkara raised his hands to gain the attention of the room. “Okay, guys, I know we like to joke around here, but I really need you all to focus on this.”

“We’re all ears, Kid, so go ahead,” Harvey said. “We don’t wanna be late, so start explaining what this is all about so we can get back to our, uh, ’special movie night’.”

“Tactful,” Linkara snarked, though he couldn’t help smiling at the singer. “Anyway, now that we’re all together, I’m ready to tell you about an important discovery I’ve made.”

Linkara reached inside his jacket and pulled out a well-worn book of magic. “I know you are all aware of how the spells in this book are translated into English at a random point upon a timeline I haven’t even begun to fathom. Well, last night one spell I had never seen before finally became clear to me and after reading it, I’m pretty damn worried about what it means.”

The members of the team exchanged glances of concern. If Linkara was worried, there was a good chance they should all be worried as well.

*What did the spell reveal to you, Linkara?* Ninja asked, already preparing himself for the worst. In response, Linkara flipped to a page near the back of the tome and started to read a most bizarre poem.

“Words can Wound, Words can Heal
Words we Speak, Words we Feel
Words of Misery, Words of Wonder,
Words of Magic, Words of Power
Obey the Words and It’s Revealed,
A Weapon For So Long Concealed
A Power Feared By Mice and Men
A Curse To Conquer Foe and Friend.”

When he was done, the room fell silent as everyone pondered the poem and attempted to decipher its meaning. “So, if I have this right,” Harvey finally began, “you found a spell that can somehow summon some sort of powerful weapon.”

“Bingo,” Linkara said.

*Is that all the information you have about this mysterious weapon?*

Linkara shook his head and sighed. “That’s the part where you all come in. According to the book, the weapon can’t just be summoned by reading the incantation listed on the bottom of this page. The summoner will also be teleported to a predetermined location and has to endure a number of trials to prove him or herself worthy of possessing it.”

*What kind of trials?* Ninja asked, looking even more prepared for the worst than before.

“That’s just it; the book doesn’t say. These trials could be anything and might require things like intelligence, strength, courage, hell, even knowledge of Power Rangers might be of some use.”

“You and I would totally do awesome at that kind of trial, dude!” 90s Kid chimed in.

Linkara turned to him with a hard expression. “I bet we would, 90s Kid. That’s why I’m going to ask you all a very important question. This is going to be a dangerous and most likely very difficult to endure mission, but it needs to be accomplished. We have to get our hands on this weapon at all costs. That’s why I need to know: will you join me on this quest?”

Almost immediately, Ninja nodded and bowed slightly before holding up his card. *I shall assist you in completing whatever trials lay before you, Linkara. I have vowed to always fight alongside you in battle, and I will not allow our team to fail.*

90s Kid nodded, throwing up a rock-and-roll sign. “I’m totally in, dude! I’m gonna get right to work beefing up our guns so that they can totally annihilate the most hardcore trials eveeeer!” he yelled before being sternly shushed by Linksano and clapping his hands over his mouth in apology. Boffo gave the teen a weak smile to show he wasn’t upset, while Linksano sighed before giving a grudging nod of agreement.

“I suppose you would not have a successful mission without my scientific expertise, so very well. I’m in, Linkara.”

“You know I’m always with ya, Kid. We’re gonna get this magic doohickey and make sure nobody else can get their grubby little mitts on it.”

“I’m glad to know that I can count on you all,” Linkara said, giving a fond glance to every person in the room.

“But where does Boffo come in, Linkara?” Linksano asked, still curious as to why Linkara insisted he be present.

Boffo looked to Linkara with confusion and the hero’s face turned serious once again. “There’s unfortunately going to be a major downside to this particular mission. I’ll go into full details later, but we are going to have to leave the base for an unknown amount of time.”

“What? Why?” 90s Kid asked anxiously, a sentiment shared by the team judging by the looks on their faces.

“Because the trials we need to face are going to take time to complete,” Linkara explained, “and in order to avoid detection, we won’t be able to just teleport in and out of this mystery location whenever we want. We’ll need to stay there until the mission is completed, no matter how long it takes. There’s also something else that we need to do to avoid detection, which is why I need to speak to you, Boffo.”

“Avoid detection?” Linksano asked in confusion. “From whom?”

“Other magic users who have access to this very same spell,” Linkara replied solemnly. “I hope you didn’t think I was the only one on this planet with a book like this. Or, hell, even this universe. I’m not even the strongest magic user I know, and that’s the problem. If one of the more powerful, more evil magic users completes these trials before us and acquires this weapon, there’s no telling what sorts of havoc he or she will cause with it. That’s why we need to avoid letting anyone know what we’re doing, and why we must complete the trials no matter how long they take. Therefore, Boffo and Pollo will be placed in charge of the base while we are gone, and...”

Linkara hesitated before a determined expression slid across his face. “And we will all have to swear that once the trials have started, we absolutely will not contact anyone who isn’t with us unless it is a truly dire emergency. That means that Linksano, you will not be able to contact Boffo at all during this time. Ninja, you will not be able to contact or give any information about this mission at all to Ted. And 90s Kid-”

“No.” Everyone turned to 90s Kid, who now had his arms crossed and his face clenched in a defiant manner. “I am not agreeing to this if it means I can’t talk to Dan. Just, like, no way, dude.”

*Wait, Linkara, are you absolutely positive that is necessary?* Ninja held up, looking quite unhappy as well. *I truly don’t think it’s a good idea to cut off our contact with the rest of the world. I have only just been spared from losing Ted and I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave him without my protection or even my presence for long* he admitted, not wanting to even imagine such a reality.

“How could you even think of asking such a thing at a time like this, Linkara? Boffo is ill, he can’t be left alone! I refuse to leave him unattended in such a weakened state!” Linksano protested, reaching for Boffo’s limp hand resting on the bed.

Boffo curled his fingers around Linksano’s as best he could and gave Linkara a pitiful glance. Isn’t there any other way, Linkara? He honked weakly. I don’t want to be here by myself.

Harvey came to stand close beside Linkara, as though to impress upon them all that Linkara was their leader and knew what he was doing, and also to try and help stem the rising tide of protest. “Hey, c’mon, cats. If this plan is good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me. The Kid’s never steered us wrong before, has he?”

He lifted his hand for quiet when 90s Kid and Linksano both opened their mouths and went on. “Look, this plan ain’t perfect, but what are we supposed to do? Risk the safety of all the cats and dames living on this blue marble because we might feel a little homesick?”

“This is different and you know it!” 90s Kid snapped, but Harvey shot him a pleading look and he shut up.

“Look, you guys,” Linkara began again, trying to keep the situation from growing any worse, “I really need you to understand what I’m saying here. There are powerful enemies all around us. You know this. You’ve fought with me. You’ve seen how much damage they can do on their own, but throw this new mystery weapon into the mix and who knows how bad things could get! We might not be able to save everyone if that happens! That’s why we have to get this item and contain it or destroy it before anyone else gets the chance. Isn’t it worth saying goodbye to the people you care for temporarily if it means saving them from total devastation and pain in the grand scheme of things?”

Even though he was being a bit hyperbolic, the team knew Linkara had a point, though they were loath to admit it. “Look, I’m not saying we leave right now,” Linkara continued, taking their silence as an allowance to keep talking. “I can give you all one day to say goodbye-”

“One day?!” Linksano and 90s Kid cried unhappily in unison.

“We can’t risk losing any more time than that,” Linkara said sternly. “We will take tomorrow to gather supplies, weapons, and any items that we think might be of use in those trials. I want you all to also use that time to say goodbye to your loved ones before you meet up back in the living room at midnight. That’s when we leave.”

“But, but, th-that’s not enough time,” 90s Kid cried, looking panicked once again. “How can I explain this all to Dan before I have to leave tomorrow?”

“You won’t be explaining anything, 90s Kid,” Linkara told him calmly. “As I said before, secrecy is the highest priority, so you can only tell him that you’re leaving on a mission and that you don’t know when you’ll return.”

90s Kid’s expression turned to despair as he looked to Harvey, pleading with him now. “Harvey-dude, please, y-you have to understand. I can’t just leave Dan. He needs me! If he knows he can’t even talk to me when I’m gone, he’s gonna totally lose it...please, man, you have to let me-”

“Junior, come on,” Harvey softly interrupted. “Crockett’s not some fragile little rugrat. He’s a grown man. He can take care of himself for a little while. He’s strong, stronger than even you might think.”

90s Kid wasn’t listening; he was too busy shaking his head and trying to stop it from swimming. “You don’t get it. Nobody gets it. I can’t, I totally can’t-”

“You can and you will, 90s Kid.” Linkara’s eyes hardened as he stared seemingly through the teenager’s shades and directly into his soul. “Didn’t you just agree to help us? You are a valuable member of this team so we need to know we can depend on you when things get dangerous. We might need your skills and your weapon expertise during these trials, so I need you to focus only on the mission right now. You have to understand that the fate of the world is more important than your puppy-dog romance-”

“Don’t call it that!” 90s Kid snapped, his teeth bared in anger. “Don’t talk like me and Dan mean nothing! He means everything to me!”

“Does his life mean more than the lives of every other person on this planet?” Linkara asked hotly.

Everyone winced at the question and even Harvey reached out to touch Linkara’s shoulder, a silent signal that he should stop, but it was too late.

“Arghhhh! Damn it!” 90s Kid growled before he stormed out of the room and vanished from the apartment completely.

Harvey sighed heavily and pinched at the bridge of his nose. Boffo trembled lightly, causing Linksano to squeeze his hand in comfort. Linkara looked to the others once again, as though daring them to say something, and Ninja was the first to relent.

*The fate of the world is always more important, Linkara* he held up, though he still looked quite unhappy with this turn of events. *I shall be prepared for departure by midnight sharp tomorrow evening.*

“Thank you, Ninja,” Linkara said gratefully, before turning to Boffo and Linksano.

Linksano gave one last longing look to Boffo before sighing in defeat. “Very well, Linkara. I suppose we have no other choice. Please ask Pollo and Nimue to make sure the security systems are operating at peak performance.”

“I will, don’t worry,” Linkara replied, though nobody paid his last comment any mind. “I’m going to start packing and see if I can dig up any more information while I have the chance. I’ll let the rest of you go now to prepare for tomorrow and make the most of your remaining time here.”

Linkara exited the room with Harvey following suit, and Ninja disappeared with a puff of smoke that caused Boffo to cough again. He was too weak to argue right now and knew that Linksano would have to go, no matter how much he wished otherwise. Linksano crawled onto the bed beside Boffo and pulled him close, trying to offer them both some measure of comfort. But even as he was swept up in his own worries, his mind couldn’t help going to 90s Kid’s outburst of rarely seen anger. He hoped that the teenager could find some solace before their time was up.

-----

90s Kid continued to furl and unfurl his fists as he walked down the street to Dan’s house. Normally he would have teleported right to his boyfriend’s doorway, but he was still so angry from his confrontation with Linkara that he needed to cool off before he scared Dan half to death. “Can’t believe him,” 90s Kid muttered, “He’s so totally bogus. ‘Course the world is important, but so is Dan. Dan’s super important, I friggin’ love him, but does Linkara care? He never cares about Dan. It’s like Dan is, like, nothing to him.”

90s Kid growled softly and kicked an empty soda bottle as that infuriating thought echoed through his mind. Linkara had never been Dan’s biggest fan before, but 90s Kid had never seen Linkara act so unfeeling when it came to Dan’s well-being. He didn’t understand how much Dan needed 90s Kid, how much it would pain him to be separated from the teen. “No, he doesn’t understand, cuz he’s never even tried to understand Dan. He just doesn’t care about him, or about our relationship, at all.” 90s Kid concluded.

The words left a bitter taste in his mouth and a burning sensation in his chest. Unable to keep away from his boyfriend any longer, 90s Kid stormed up the front walk and pounded on the front door.

“I told you girls, I’ll have your cookie money as soon as my talking robot gets back from his espionage mission,” Dan replied as he swung open the door. His eyes widened when he saw 90s Kid and his lips quickly curled up into a smile. “Oh, it’s you, sweetie! What a pleasant surprise! What are you doing here so late?”

Dan’s smile quickly faded as he saw that 90s Kid was bright red and breathing hard, his whole body tense and rigid. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?” he asked in a worried tone, watching as 90s Kid pushed his way inside. “Kid? Talk to me, what’s going-ahh!”

Dan gasped as he felt 90s Kid’s arms wrap around him suddenly, crushing his body against his chest so tight that he lifted Dan slightly off his feet. 90s Kid squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled Dan’s scent, feeling himself grow slightly more calm but at the same time even more agitated. “Dan...my Dan...mine...”

Dan struggled a bit within 90s Kid’s grip but didn’t really mind it, reciprocating as best he could. “Y-yes, Kid…I’m all yours.”

“I need…I need to…to go up to your room, Dan.” Dan barely nodded his assent to that plan before he was swept up the stairs and into his bedroom.

90s Kid collapsed onto Dan’s bed with the other man still in his arms, loosening his grip slightly so Dan could breathe easier. “What...what’s going on, Kid?” Dan panted, looking up at the teen and feeling more confused, and somewhat worried, by the minute. “I-I’ve never seen you like this, sweetie.”

“I’m just so...so mad,” 90s Kid grunted, his fingers continuing to twitch in agitation even as his hands started to rove all over Dan’s body. “It’s just I...I...I totally hate Linkara sometimes!”

“S-so you, ahh! You h-had a fight, Kid?” Dan asked, trying to figure out what was going on, though that was becoming difficult now that 90s Kid’s hands were trying to become reacquainted with his skin. 90s Kid grunted in response and hugged Dan tightly, his lips eagerly covering the shorter man’s neck as he started to kiss and taste and nip at him.

Dan shuddered, his eyes starting to roll back into his head, but he bit the inside of his cheek and tried to keep in control for as long as he could. “I-I’m sorry, sweetie...mmmm oh jeez! I-I know it’s awful when...ahhhahhh...when you fight with your friends.”

“That jerk is totally not my friend,” 90s Kid declared as he started to tug at Dan’s shirt.

Dan knew things must have been bad to provoke this kind of reaction in Kid, so he tried again to concentrate. “A-are you sure you don’t wanna talk about it-oooh! Ohhh Kid...”

“Not tonight.” 90s Kid pulled back and slid his shades off so Dan could see the pleading in his eyes. “I’ll tell you everything, Dan, but please, not tonight. Tonight I just wanna be with you and show you how much I love you. Okay?”

Dan stroked 90s Kid’s cheek and nodded, giving up the fight for now. “Okay, sweetie.” He would always give in to 90s Kid’s requests, content with the knowledge that things would be explained another day.

90s Kid didn’t need any further confirmation and crushed his and Dan’s lips together again, reaching down and stripping off Dan’s jeans and underwear in one swift motion. He threw the bundle across the room so harshly that some of Dan’s Happy Meal Toys toppled over, but Dan couldn’t find it in himself to protest and 90s Kid didn’t care.

“A-ahhh!” Dan cried out as 90s Kid suddenly ground their bare bodies together. He knew that 90s Kid was going to need him, and it was going to be a pretty bumpy ride, like it had been on his birthday. He would endure it, though, he would endure anything to help 90s Kid.

He started to turn over onto his stomach but 90s Kid whispered “No,” and slid his and Dan’s fingers together, kissing him deeply on the lips. “Don’t worry, Dan. I’m gonna take care of you, man.”

Dan gazed into 90s Kid’s clear blue eyes and realized that he meant every word. “I know, Kid,” he whispered back, giving himself over to 90s Kid completely. “I trust you.”

Afterwards, Dan blissfully trembled in 90s Kid’s arms, various parts of his body warm and red and wet, but tingling wildly with pleasure. Thinking back on what they had just done, Dan had been very surprised to feel 90s Kid giving him gentle preparation in spite of his fever heat, and even when the teen entered him, desperate for relief, he had made sure to go slow and ask Dan if he was enjoying what was happening. The tenderness had nearly brought tears to Dan’s eyes, and it had been one of the most incredible experiences he had ever felt.

“Kid...oh, Kid...I love you...so much...”

90s Kid rolled back onto Dan’s mattress, exhausted but very satisfied, and feeling much better than he had earlier that evening. He wiped a bit of sweat from his eyes before smiling over at Dan and pulling him closer, the warmth of their bodies slowly helping them fall into a restful slumber. “I...I love you too, Dan,” 90s Kid murmured, nuzzling the older man’s tender neck as he struggled to stay awake. “I love you...so much...I always will...my Dan...”

Outside the window, a soft flurry of fresh snowflakes settled gently upon the house, coating it in pure white.