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Our Hearts Still Beat the Same

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"What would you do without me?"


Snake blanches, even though Otacon is far too inebriated to notice much more than a few inches in front of him.


Hal's drunk, he knows that. Yeah, sure, he's buzzed as well, but Hal is less than half his weight and a hell of a lightweight at that.


It always happens this way whenever one of them brings alcohol to whatever dingy place they're holed up in at the moment. Otacon thinks he can handle more alcohol than he actually can, says strange things and Dave has to carry him to bed. It's nothing out of the ordinary, really.


As far as strange things go, it's not the strangest, but Snake has to admit it caught him incredibly off guard. Sometimes, they do have heart-to-hearts and it's nice, but while they're both sober and it's late enough for the moonlight to wash out their complexions and they've been driving for hours to their next lead on metal gears.


David doesn't like to think about the question at hand. He'd like to think he'd be alright, probably sad for a bit, but that he'd heal just as fast as he had when he'd lost other comrades.


He knows that's not true, and with the alcohol in his system and the fuzziness in his stomach, he doesn't have the willpower to pretend Otacon doesn't take up a disturbing amount of room in his heart, despite it being covered in layers and layers of cement, topped with barbed wire and multiple tanks outside the walls of it, the skinny nerd wormed his way into it like a terrible termite infestation.


Maybe that's not the best analogy for love, but Snake's not nearly drunk enough to write a sonnet.




The silence has stretched out longer than usual, and a question like that requires an answer. It's not like Hal will remember asking it, so there's no way he'd remember the answer to it, either.


"I'd be thoroughly fucked," David says, and it's quiet but his voice is too gruff to ever truly be as soft or fond as his thoughts are.


Otacon smiles for a second, and it's dopey and Snake loathes the way his heart clenches the tiniest bit because it's not even about how fucked he'd be without someone with technological capabilities like Hal. It's about how goddamn lonely he'd be without the clacking of keys at two in the morning and it's about not having a gangly body on quite possibly the worst excuse for a mattress ever pressed up against his back.


He doesn't know what he'd do without an animated voice to listen to ramble when his mind wants to collapse on itself. It scares the living shit out of him because he used to be so capable on his own, he used to be okay with solitude.


It's not completely true, he almost drank himself to death on his own, he had tons of dogs because even if in essence, Dave is a clone, he's human, and humans thrive with socializing.


"Nah, you'd find some other geek to help you get on," Hal says, and it's a little sad.


Snake realizes that Otacon is reliant on him, too. They're so, terribly different, but they're strangely alike and he never believed that 'opposites attract' bullshit, but they balance each other out.


Balance is something David never really had. Something was black or it was white, gray was only something he read about in books. It was or it wasn't.


Snake found gray in Hal's eyes and in his awkwardness and in his inability to stop apologizing and he found it in both his laughter and his tears.


Dave takes a swig of Jack, the burn in his throat barely noticeable by this point.


"I could, but they wouldn't be you. It wouldn't be the same, Hal." Letting himself speak what he truly feels is usually as hard as picking water up off of the floor with your hands, but his feelings and his thoughts are safe with Otacon and he knows it. His life has been safe with Otacon.


And then the man in front of him is crying, and before he can even open his mouth to apologize, bony arms are around him and his stupid, horrible heart throbs in his chest and his fingers twitch with the urge, no, the need to use his arms for something other than holding and reloading a gun, something other than CQC and choking the life out of someone.


He hugs Hal back, and David can feel the heartbeat pounding through the thin T-shirt, and it's comforting and maybe before Otacon he'd only been annoyed by hugs, but his tipsy mind is allowing him to freely enjoy an embrace and bury his head in Hal's shoulder.


And for a brief moment, he's done being Solid Snake. Right now, he's David and he has emotions and it's okay. Affection is okay and feelings are okay and the alcohol is starting to hit him but that doesn't matter. His life won't ever be anywhere close to perfect and neither will he, but maybe holding Hal and being close to someone is worth the risk.


And Hal is asleep now, and it's just like every other time Dave has had to drag his ass to bed except this time he can allow himself to brush the hair out of Otacon's face and fold his glasses up and put them on the rickety bedside table and if his lips curl up the slightest bit as Otacon looks so at peace, nobody has to know.




When morning comes and for the first time in as long as he can remember, Snake wakes up to an empty bed. He feels a slight twinge of panic, before realizing there's a piece of paper on the bed.


Otacon's recognizable handwriting is scrawled on the paper, and David has to strain to read it, but he huffs out a laugh when he does.


Went to the store to get Advil for this terrible headache because I'm not a super-soldier with the highest alcohol tolerance in existence. Be back soon.


P.S: I'd be fucked without you, too.