Disclaimer - I do not own or profit from Ed, Edd N Eddy or "Sputter". The Eds belong to all those cool folk at Cartoon Network and AKA Cartoon, and the song belongs to The Academy Is…. This story is rated M, in case you didn't know that by now.

I've been wanting to write this chapter almost from the first time I heard this song. It helped propel me into writing again. And it fit Double D and Eddy so well, in fact, that I got a bit intimidated. 'lol' But I feel a lot better now that it's written.

To everyone who has read this far, a huge thank you for holding on.

Also, I've gotten a few comments saying that the song lyrics are distracting; I've also gotten a few liking them. To those who dislike it, my apologies - this started out as a one-shot songfic, and I can't imagine changing things now. That said, I may upload these chapters without song lyrics to deviantart, just so those who find it irritating can avoid them. I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking about it…

And a quick warning - this chapter is almost double the length of what a normal StM chapter is. Sorry about that.

Again, my thanks to darthelwig, without whom this fic would not exist.

Anyway, enjoy. Peace, all.

-----

All That Is

by Ghost Helwig

-----

Eddy opened his eyes. The inside of his mouth felt like cotton, and tasted of copper - he'd barely managed to pull his broken body back to his house to collapse on his bed the day before, and so he hadn't bothered brushing his teeth or even changing his clothes before falling into a long, fitful sleep. No one had helped him stand up after the beating, no one had checked on him, they'd all just left him there, bruised and bleeding onto the concrete-

But screw them; all of them. He didn't need them, anyway.

"Wake up."

He forced himself to get up, to change his clothes even though his aching body burned under the effort of moving. Just to prove that he could, he made his careful way into his bathroom to brush his teeth, scrubbing away the taste of his own blood. It was so easy, really, to remove the stain from inside his mouth - if only it were that easy to remove the stains under his skin.

Restless after his rudimentary cleansing, he stepped outside his room, feeling the early morning air wash over him in a cool wave. It would get hot soon, this late in the summer, but for now he was enjoying the soothing brush of cool air on his heated, hurting flesh.

He knew none of them would expect to see him out and about today. The thought of rubbing it in their faces that they couldn't keep him down was vaguely pleasing, but it wasn't the reason he walked out into the cul-de-sac.

He couldn't see into Double D's house from his own backyard.

"Try on your new disguise."

As expected, though it was excruciatingly early, so early that the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, and though Eddy had gone to sleep far earlier than any normal eighteen-year-old would, Double D was already up when Eddy peeked in his living room window. He was glad Double D woke up with the sun for the first time in his life - if he'd had to climb the tree next to Double D's window just to get a peek at him, he would've died.

Though… It was still fairly dark out, and Double D had taken to never leaving his bedroom until the early morning light flooded into his house. So why the change? Had he been unable to sleep the night before? Eddy peered closer, wanting to see Double D's face as he bustled about his living room, dusting everything in sight…

And it finally occurred to Eddy what was truly wrong with the picture before him.

"Would they recognize you anyway?"

There was a… a thing on Double D's head. A red handkerchief that looked familiar, though it took him a moment to place it. Ah, yes - the same one Double D had worn around his neck when they tried to become Urban Rangers so many years ago. It was tied around his head like a headband, with a large swath of the fabric draped over his head, covering his hair. He supposed it was all Double D had had to use, but it looked all wrong.

Why was he bothering anyway? Eddy had never understood that. Double D's desperate need to cover his hair had never been explained to him, and it just made no sense. Eddy made a point of showing off everything that made him look good, but Double D seemed determined to hide it; as though his good looks were shameful somehow.

No one cares what you look like Edd. Trust me.

"Would they?"

They're too wrapped up in themselves to notice.

"Dead leaves lie down beneath your feet…"

As Eddy watched, Double D finished his dusting, and glanced around him, as though searching for more to do. Finally he appeared to give up, his shoulders hunching forward, his eyes falling to the floor. Eddy waited with his heart caught in his throat, resisting the temptation to knock on the window, to expose himself. It was amazing Double D hadn't noticed him there - though he was mostly hidden in the shrubbery next to Double D's house, he wasn't making a special effort to hide himself from Double D's eyes; he would've expected Double D's instincts to let him feel another's presence. To let him feel Eddy.

It hurt a little, deep down, that that wasn't the case.

All of a sudden Double D moved forward, surprising Eddy by opening his front door and going outside. Eddy followed him, not moving any closer to Double D but instead stalking him from the shadows. He didn't feel right, getting closer. Not without Double D's invitation.

"…As you step into the street…"

Double D stopped at the end of his driveway, looking around. His gaze lingered on Ed's home at the end of the cul-de-sac for just a moment, Eddy wondering what Double D thought he could see down there in the gloom. But then Double D moved, his head staying turned in the direction of Eddy's house for a long time, and Eddy's breath caught in his throat when he noticed Double D staring.

Should he move forward now? Admit to Double D that he was right here, right here, ready to apologize, to listen, to heal?

"Notice the distance between hearts and homes."

He wanted to. He told his feet to move. He willed his mouth to open.

But nothing happened.

"But still you know it's alright…"

He was close enough to hear Double D's quiet sigh, the familiar, distinctive hiss of air through the gap in his front teeth. He was close enough to see those slight shoulders tremble briefly, before straightening as Double D turned away from his house.

He was close enough to practically feel Double D's emotions, the sadness and the helplessness and the resigned fear, that radiated from him in waves.

Eddy wanted to take all that away from him. To smooth his hair back from his face (as that handkerchief wasn't nearly as good at keeping his hair in place as his hat had been), take those shaking hands in his, and kiss him so breathless his kiss would say everything he couldn't get out.

"You're not looking back this time."

But Double D had had enough of his wants to last him a lifetime. It was figuring out what Double D wanted, what he needed, that would be the real trick.

The thought crossed his mind, briefly, that perhaps Double D now wanted Ed. He had to stifle an inappropriate little laugh. If he did, that was the one thing Eddy couldn't give him. He hadn't seen Ed since… He couldn't even remember.

He was neglecting Ed. Letting Ed sit in his pain and the lack of understanding that surely came with it. He knew that, but he couldn't bear to do anything about it. Just thinking about Double D in Ed's arms made the red threaten to return to his vision - and he couldn't be angry at Double D right now. He couldn't afford to be. He'd never even try to help Double D if he let any of the anger seep back in - he knew himself well enough to know that.

But how fitting it would be, a tiny, judgmental voice in the back of his mind taunted him, if the two people he'd used (and misused) the most found love without him.

"You know it's alright…"

Double D turned towards him then, and Eddy stiffened, expecting to be spotted, his mind flying over possible explanations for his presence in Double D's bushes. But Double D's eyes were downcast, and he never looked up from the driveway. His gaze seemed to be tracing over the cracks in the concrete, the imperfections Eddy knew he hated.

He stared as Double D deliberately placed his bare foot over one, the oddness of seeing Double D stand anywhere outside without shoes on suddenly hitting Eddy hard. How different Double D was now. It was as if the boy he'd known had broken into a million pieces, and whoever had put him back together hadn't gotten them all - there were things missing, other parts put back in random, wrong places. The whole held, but nothing fit.

He wondered if Double D felt that way, too.

"You're stepping on the cracks…"

Double D was tracing a crack (that Eddy could just barely see) with his big toe, over and over, back and forth. Very deliberately, he stepped down, frowning as he did so. Eddy nearly missed the whisper that floated into his ears.

"Somehow, I don't think I've broken your back, Mother."

"And you feel fine."

Eddy froze. Had something happened with Double D's parents? Had they finally called to congratulate him on a graduation that was now months past? He'd never heard Double D sound so bitter when talking about them, so something must have gone on…

He wanted to ask. The depth of the desire surprised him. He'd forgotten he could feel so strongly about something unrelated to him, something that was Double D's alone…

And he suddenly found himself angry. But not at Double D, or even Ed. At himself.

"Don't waste your breath."

No wonder he couldn't go to Double D's side. How could he? He was still as self-obsessed and selfish and blind as he'd ever been. Perhaps it was a mercy, to just let Double D be alone, no matter how nervous and lonely he knew Double D was. Would his company really be any better?

"You wouldn't want this anyway."

Double D had made himself clear, hadn't he? Eddy had forgotten, in the wake of his discovery of what had happened to Double D; his worry had wiped the slate clean, at least for a while. But as he watched Double D, disturbingly dainty foot poised over that crack again, sliding along it, he remembered everything.

The van. His own voice, screaming. The horror on Double D's face, on Ed's - and something he'd been too upset to process at the time, but that his memory showed him clearly now.

Double D had been shirtless in Ed's arms, that much was true - but there had been marks on his pale flesh. Eddy hadn't gotten a good look at them, in his anger, in his rush to be angry and to leave; but looking back, he knew what they were.

Bruises.

"If you did I think I'd let you…"

How could he expect Double D to forgive him for this? To let him back in, when all he kept doing was hurting him? He made every pain Double D felt just grow - as if it needed the help.

If he thought for a moment Double D would accept him back, he'd jump at the chance. Because he was selfish, and even if it would be better for Double D he'd never deny himself. How could he? He couldn't resist Double D, not when they were kids, and certainly not now…

"...talk this to death…"

He'd do anything to win Double D back. Anything. He'd declare himself to be the faggot he'd accused Double D of being, in front of everyone (fuck them, anyway), if he thought it would help - he'd sleep on Double D's floor if he thought it would help - he'd let himself cry in front of Double D if he thought it would help, and he never did that in front of anybody.

Anything Double D wanted, or needed, he would give, if it would only fix things between them.

"…or in circles like we're aeroplanes…"

The only thing he doubted his ability to do, was change.

"When all along I knew that we would sputter out."

He wanted to. He was certain he could even try to - he was a determined person, he could probably give it a good, healthy try. But could he stick to it? Change into someone nicer, more sensitive, more able to meet Double D's needs; and then remain that way?

Impossible. He wasn't that good a person.

He knew that. He was pretty sure he'd always known that. Just as he'd always known that he and Double D were doomed from the start.

"We would sputter…"

Finally tiring of whatever it was he had been doing, Double D made his way quickly back into his house, closing the door firmly behind him; he moved so fast Eddy could almost picture the demons he felt sure Double D was feeling following him, ready to pounce. Little did he know that the only demon stalking him had no intention of hurting him anymore.

Or following him, for that matter.

The distinct click of the door closing, the lock turning, spurred Eddy into motion. He couldn't be here anymore. It was driving him crazy.

He needed some sort of release; he needed someone to talk to. Selfish as it was to take Ed away from Double D's possible comfort, or to even consider seeing Ed just because he was lonely, he found his traitorous feet carrying him toward Ed's house regardless. He'd depended on Ed too long; he couldn't very well stop now.

"Outside construction workers pour…"

He reached Ed's house and walked around it, finding Ed's window with ease. The sunlight falling around him was growing brighter, but even if it hadn't been, he could've walked from Double D's house to Ed's in his sleep. He'd walked the path often enough that he even walked it in his dreams sometimes…

Especially lately.

Crouching low, he peered in Ed's window, squinting to see. He couldn't quite make out Ed's bed off to the side, though the rustling he could hear coming out of the half-open window hinted that Ed was there, moving restlessly. He tried so hard to see Ed there, to catch even a small glimpse of him, that for a minute he didn't take it what else was in the room.

Or rather, who.

"A brand new basement floor…"

But what in the world was Sarah doing in Ed's bedroom?

"But then the ground starts shaking…"

She looked up then, straight into Eddy's eyes. He nearly jumped at having his gaze returned; he'd been starting to feel a little invisible. But Sarah didn't even appear surprised to see him. They stared at each other for a minute, neither moving, Eddy not daring to even blink (and give her the satisfaction? Never).

Finally Sarah stood up from her position sitting on Ed's floor, one careless hand rising to push her bright red hair behind her ear. Eddy watched her walk off, and he thought he could hear her feet heavy on the stairs, the slam of Ed's bedroom door.

And still, that weird rustling sound went on.

He waited, listening, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. He didn't know exactly what he was waiting for, but something was going to happen. He could taste it on the air, a sharp electricity that bit into his tongue. So he waited, even though waiting ranked high on the list of things he hated to do.

The soft slap of shoes on dew-wet grass alerted him, and he stood, turning to face Sarah when she came around the house.

"Fault lines to your own front door."

She didn't waste any time. Digging into her pocket, she pulled out something black and familiar, and shoved it into Eddy's hands.

"I found this," she said, blue eyes narrowed, blazing even in the morning sun. "Return it, burn it, I don't care. Just get it out of my house."

Eddy looked down, feeling the soft knitting slide between his fingers, catching a hint of white amid all the black. Disturbed, he looked up at Sarah, wanting answers he wasn't even sure she could give him.

"Ed would never have taken this from-" He stopped, and cleared his throat before he tried again. "Ed would never have taken this."

"No," she snapped. "He didn't."

And it was then, in that moment, with her hair a wild flame around her head and her eyes shooting daggers at him, that he knew who she was - and who she was protecting.

He looked back down, studying the soft fabric he clutched tightly in his hands.

"I looked at this and thought of you."

He could see Double D wearing this hat as they performed some new, destined-to-fail scam; as they walked the halls in school, talking and laughing; he could even see it on him as he slept in a tent in Ed's yard. So many memories… And all tied up in one old, well-loved, well-cared for hat that really did look like a big sock.

But as he stared, other memories came pushing to the forefront… Like seeing Double D without it for the first time, and the shock he and Ed had felt at such an anti-climactic revelation of there being nothing weird or ugly under there. (And yet, Eddy still threatened him with taking it away, because for some reason to Double D that nothing needed to be protected at all costs.) Or stealing that hat from Double D the one and only time he had, in a moment of desperation…

And the best memories, the ones he shared with no one else, not even Ed - of pulling that hat off, letting that sweet-smelling hair down, feeling it, smooth and silky as it ran over his fingers… Of tangling his fingers in that dark hair as he pulled Double D's head back to reach his neck for a kiss, or to further pin Double D as he thrust into him as they lay entwined on the bed…

So many memories. He wanted to drown in all of them.

"And all that is and isn't true."

And at the back of his head, other memories reared up - memories he wished would stay dead.

Calling Double D a fag. Hitting him. Yelling at him after he'd been - Eddy's mind glossed over the word instinctively - and scaring him into that earth-shattering howl… He couldn't remember anymore, why this had started. Was it Kevin? He always assumed everything was Kevin-

Although this time, as he thought about it more, he realized that it was.

Kevin… And him.

He'd gotten jealous. Kevin had been flirting with Double D, and even though he knew Kevin was just doing it to cause trouble, to get laughs at Double D's expense (and poor, innocent Double D, as clueless in his way as Ed, had not even an inkling that he was the butt of all the jokes), he'd been angry, anyway. Really, Eddy, when aren't you angry? (His inner voice, for a moment, so sounded like Double D that a poignant ache centered in his chest, and stayed there.)

And he'd taken it out on Double D. Betrayed him. He'd started this whole stupid mess.

"And with the strength left in me…"

He brushed past Sarah with a stiff, tiny nod of acknowledgement, forgetting her as soon as he walked away from her. Though she turned to follow him with her eyes, he didn't even notice.

He could feel something breaking inside him, crumbling away into nothingness. If he'd given it any thought, he would've expected such a feeling to be accompanied by pain.

But instead, he had never felt more free.

"…walked on while the walls came down."

Even the pain of his body was melting away, burning away as the heat inside him flooded outwards. He felt… good, for the first time in ages. Good…

And ready.

"It's alright."

Fuck the cul-de-sac and (almost) all of its residents. Sarah and Jonny got something of a pass for their honesty in trying to help Double D in their own (stubborn, ridiculous) ways, but they were still both absolutely crazy, and though he found he didn't hate them, he wanted nothing to do with them. Fuck these people and this place and most especially his parents, for leaving him in it.

But as dismissive of the others as he was, he could never let Ed or Double D go.

"You're not looking back this time."

Fuck his issues. Fuck his damnable pride. He was tired of worrying about what Kevin would think, what his parents would think, what the world would do to him. That was the past. He wanted a future, the one he'd been silently hoping for for longer than he cared to admit.

If he could just… handle things with care for once, maybe it could all be fixed. He had to believe that. Being hopeless was never his way.

"You know it's alright…"

I'll make mistakes. But screw it - what's new?

"I'm stepping on the cracks…"

Ed, Edd, and I - mistakes are what we do.

"And I feel fine."

He stopped at his house, stepping inside his room with a slight bounce in his step. It hurt, walking so carefree, but he couldn't help it - hope was flooding his lungs, making him giddy. He carefully placed Double D's hat on the table beside his bed, the cleanest part of his room. Eddward would just have a fit if he got that precious hat dirty…

That thought gave him pause, and took the giddiness from his stomach completely. Double D had been hurt, hurt worse than he could even imagine… There was no guarantee he could help Double D with his pain. In fact, there was a very good chance that he couldn't. There was a very good chance that Double D would never be whole or truly happy again.

Oh, shut up, Edgar. He's never ever been happy.

"Don't waste your breath…"

He thought about that as he showered, turning the thought over and over in his head. Had Double D never been happy? Really?

The memories twisted inside him, focused on small smiles, whispered glee, loud laughter…

And the icy silence inside Double D's home.

"You wouldn't want this anyway."

Even if he had been happy, what he'd experienced would hurt him in ways Eddy knew he wouldn't, didn't, understand. He didn't kid himself - he knew nothing about dealing with… that. Beyond seeing depictions of its aftermath in movies and television shows (which always seemed to tie that pain up in a neat little bow by the end of the allotted time), he had nothing to go on… And he was no Ed. He never confused movies and television with reality.

Not anymore, anyway.

But if he could just… Reach out to Double D, maybe? Would that be enough?

"If you did…"

He stepped out of the shower, steam billowing around him. He winced as he pulled a fluffy towel around himself, drying himself off methodically, wincing every time he brushed up against another bruise. His sides were aching more and more as the day went on - kneeling down to see in Ed's window had perhaps been a mistake - but he couldn't let it stop him. Even if his body felt like it was on fire; and not the pleasant fire of his happiness, that slow burning outwards, but a raging inferno.

He had to try, didn't he? After everything he'd done, he had to try.

"…I think I'd let you…"

Even if Double D yelled. Even if he screamed at the top of his lungs. Even if he threw Eddy out and told him never to come by - let alone touch him - again.

"…talk this to death…"

He'd be willing to let Double D do or say or feel whatever he needed to, if he could just be near him for a moment… If he could just say the words that had been bubbling inside him since Sarah had given him the gift of simply touching something of Double D's again. He might even thank her for that one day.

One day in the far, far future.

What mattered now was letting Double D talk. Letting him rage.

And then telling him the truth.

"…or in circles like we're aeroplanes…"

He yanked on his clothes, pausing briefly to let the pain that had made him clench his teeth around a scream of his own pass. He thought about interrupting his routine to grab a couple of painkillers, but vanity won out - he'd get some later, on his way out of the house. He wanted to make sure he looked his best before he did anything else.

He grabbed his brush off the table in front of his mirror, letting his eyes briefly roam over to where Double D's hat lay, an incongruous item amid his own messy, well-worn things.

But he liked seeing it there. Beside his bed. In easy reach of his own questing fingers…

And implying by its very existence there that its owner was somewhere nearby, comfortable enough to let his hair down.

"When all along I knew that we would sputter out."

He'd never expected to want that. To desire Double D in his room - he'd actively fought against that, once - in his life… And even now that he realized how badly he wanted it, there was a part of him that told him he would never, ever get it.

"We would sputter…"

It sounded like Kevin's condemnations, his laughter. Like his parents' disapproval. Like his older brother's teasing, biting scorn.

"We would sputter…"

But it no longer sounded Double D, and so that voice could go to hell.

"We would sputter…"

Eddy finished brushing his hair, flicking it around with a few practiced hand motions so that it fell the way he wanted it to. Then he dropped his arms with a groan - all that lifting of his arms to handle the hairbrush had cost him. He was stiff and aching all the way down to his toes.

He walked over to the dresser, favoring his left side - Kevin had gotten in the most punches and kicks there. But somewhere in this top drawer he was certain he had a bottle of painkillers left over from his last agonizing day…

There. He pulled it out, and downed two pills quickly, regretting it when it felt like they stayed lodged in his throat. Making his way into the bathroom for water was a chore, but he did it, focusing not on the pain, but on his plans. His vague but determined plans.

This would all be worth it in the end. This whole damn summer would be worth it in the end.

"We would sputter out…"

No matter what he had to do or who he had to kill - and he could think of one person who fit that bill already - he was going to turn his, Ed's, and especially Double D's damnable luck around.

"We would sputter out…"

When he finally opened the door to his bedroom, he stopped, bewildered. What had been shaping up to be a pleasant summer's day had turned into a rainstorm while he wasn't paying attention. He sighed, trying to let the aggravation go.

If this is your way of trying to break my resolve, universe, you're gonna haveta' do better than a bit of rain.

As if in answer, the sky above let out a boom of thunder.

"Don't waste your breath…"

Eddy looked over his shoulder at his closet, where all his raincoats and his umbrella were. It looked so far away.

Sighing again, and mourning the loss of his perfect hair, Eddy walked out into the rain, shutting his door resolutely behind him.

"Summer rains," he muttered. "You can never predict them."

"You wouldn't want this anyway."

Despite the pain he was in, and the chill now biting into his bones (or perhaps because of them), he made it to Double D's house in record time. He stood in front of the door, shifting nervously for a moment, reaching up to try to smooth his hair into some sort of calm. When the wind picked up and blew his soaked shirt away from his chest, he gave up on his hair as a lost cause, and knocked.

The sound got lost in the wind, and he rang the doorbell instead, cursing himself afterwards for not giving Double D enough time to react to the knock before he decided he hadn't even heard it. How desperate did he want to appear, exactly? He straightened, ignoring the pain in his chest and his sides and the fluttering nervousness in his stomach, and waited.

And waited.

"'Cause if you did…"

Not again. Do not let him be god-knows-where that isn't hereagain.

Just as he was about to ring the doorbell again, the door opened.

"I think I'd let you."

Double D stood staring out at him, green eyes wide with surprise (and no pleasure, Eddy noted sourly). The handkerchief was still around his head, wisps of dark hair spilling out around his face, lines of darkness marring an otherwise perfect expanse of pale skin.

Without thinking, he reached up to brush those tiny hairs away.

"Talk this to death..."

The skin under his wet fingers was warm and soft… The drops of water his touch left behind looked inviting, delicious. Only a small sound coming from Double D's throat allowed him to tear his gaze away.

"Or in circles like we're aeroplanes…"

Double D was frankly staring at him now, his lips parted just the tiniest bit in a look of surprise that only seemed to deepen as Eddy watched. For a moment, he was vastly amused. You'd think I never come here.

That thought sobered him. Obviously Double D hadn't thought he ever would again.

"When all along I knew that we would sputter out…"

"Stupid Sockhead," Eddy whispered, watching Double D's eyes. "As if I could stay away."

"(We would sputter…)"

The wind blew rain hard against Eddy's back; it splashed past him, missing Double D, whose slender body was guarded by Eddy's much larger one, but soaking his floor. As a particularly heavy gust blew Eddy's hair around his face, a very young, very innocent part of him expected Double D to hurriedly invite him in, to begin chastising him for letting in the rain, as he would have when they were children.

But Double D just kept staring at him, apparently pushed past all limits of rational thought.

"When all along…"

I don't know if I can do this.

"I knew that we would sputter out…"

He's… broken.

"(We would sputter…)"

But as he stared at those perfect lips, the wind at his back, the rain pouring down, even the pain in his frozen limbs - it all ceased to matter. Even his nerves didn't matter. What mattered was those eyes, those lips, that heart he'd helped to break…

"When all along I knew…"

He traced a finger over Double D's lips, pulling the bottom one down just a little, relishing the softness under his questing hand. Double D licked his lips free of the rainwater Eddy had left behind, an obviously subconscious gesture, and Eddy couldn't take it anymore. This was too much temptation.

He leaned in, careful not to press his wet body against Double D's, and captured his mouth with a deep kiss.

"That we would sputter out…"

Even as Eddy pulled away, he knew he was losing it. He'd intended to wait, for once in his life, to not push things and to let Double D set the pace, to let him make the decisions, to let them talk first… But it was all out of his hands, now. His control was hopelessly shattered.

Double D's eyes had fluttered closed as they kissed, and Eddy watched them open slowly with a feeling of sudden wonderment flooding through his veins. Double D had beautiful eyes - especially when he was looking at Eddy like that, with a startled, shy pleasure that reminded him of their first kiss (their first real one, and not the one Kevin had forced upon them)…

"We would sputter…"

It was like watching him wake up from a very dark dream. Double D blinked at him, slowly taking in where they were, and the wind and rain falling all around them. He shivered, and Eddy immediately reached out to rub his hands swiftly up and down Double D's arms. He could feel Double D readying himself to speak, and even though Eddy had come there with the intention of listening there was something he desperately wanted to say; before whatever Double D told him had the chance to knock him out of this beautiful sensation of utter freedom.

But first…

He reached up with one hand, and swiftly untied the handkerchief. He let it fall to the ground, but before it hit a stray gust carried it further into the room. Double D had made another small noise when he realized what Eddy had done, but he made no move to retrieve the handkerchief, and for that Eddy was grateful.

He just wanted to see that long dark hair again. To see the beauty that Double D so loathed.

To relish it, in this last moment.

"We would sputter down."

He moved closer, invading Double D's personal space, getting close enough where he could feel Double D's heat. One hand tangled in Double D's unbound hair; the other found the small of his back, cradled him there. Thunder rolled by overhead, and he let it pass, content to just hold Double D until it did. Then he leaned in, kissing Double D's cheek, and letting his breath ghost across Double D's mouth as he spoke.

"I love you."