AN: Hello, good readers! Been awhile, hasn't it? Sorry for the wait, and hope this doesn't disappoint too much. Now review, asshats! Like a Polaroid picture. I got a feeling I mixed that up a little. Oh well.
It was unnecessary for Squilliam to speak the sentence, to address the trustworthiness of his nature that both were fully aware of.
But he had to say something. Had to announce himself. Better that than to surprise his apparent rival. Surprising Squidward while he was like this was never a good idea, bringing out knee-jerk reactions Squilliam didn't care to witness.
"…S-Squiddy…?" Shit. He winced, swallowing at the lump forming in his throat as the crazed cephalopod turned around, away from the crying sponge.
"You're stuttering again. Isn't that cute?"
"Didn't you pay speech therapists to get rid of that pesky little habit of yours?" Squidward bridged the gap between them, blood on his hands seeping into the soft robe, pulling him close with a chuckle. "Are you so excited to see me that you can't even speak properly?"
Squilliam forced himself to hold still as Squidward's tongue snaked down the side of his face, sucking at his neck, before biting, grinding into collar bone. It took everything in him to keep from screaming.
Everything wasn't enough, face turning away with a whimper. It didn't matter how often this happened, didn't matter how much he deluded himself to believe this to be normal, to all be part of the master plan of survival whenever he was around Squidward.
Cracks holding back his memories stretched further, allowing more to leak forth. Screaming for mercy while Squidward held him down, restraining him by the wrists before biting his chest. Not nibbling, not sexual foreplay, but biting, scarring Squilliam's once perfect flesh.
Squilliam pulled himself away from that, keeping away any thoughts about childhoods, about his actual relationship with Squidward, trying so hard to keep the stutter away. Subject change. Small words, easy and slow. He could do this.
"Who…who is he?"
"The one you burned away?"
Another flicker of pain, singular despaired sob drawing a laugh from Squidward. His true laugh, not the snide snicker of a cashier and artist, but the booming echo of a desecrator of lives, the chortle of a psychopath with a penchant for distorting the definition of reality.
"No," Squilliam refused to think of the bodies as living entities, refused to give them any sort of life. If he did that, then he'd…he'd… "H-him."
Shit, his stutter really was back. Only Squidward could have such an effect on him.
No, not Squidward, at least not in the general sense. Not the public façade Squilliam openly ridiculed, because 98% of the time, Squidward Tentacles was little more than someone to verbally joust with, to compare life points with. That same percentage accounted for Squilliam's somewhat demented love for Squidward. Affection leading to these Tuesday meetings, Tuesday fuck and run, wishing for a cuddle.
Then Tuesdays like this came around and fucked everything up. Real Squidward showed up, his true form, the looming shadow which still haunted Squilliam's childhood, as loath he was to admit it. Insanity (or reality, if Squilliam fully digested Squidward's doctrine) grinding out any form of social normality. Squidward was the success, and Squilliam was the fumbling failure, the kicked worm with the wide eyes just looking for some form of release.
Squilliam couldn't look at the sponge, not fully, squeezing eyes shut and still seeing red. He wasn't aware his legs had given out until Squidward grabbed onto him, wrapped arms around his torso and eased him into a more comfortable sitting position. Almost loving, almost caring, except Squilliam wouldn't allow himself to be so delusional.
"He's no one," Squidward finally answered, stroking the top of his rival's head. "I'm going to make him into somebody, though."
Squilliam opened his eyes, letting his gaze rise to meet Squidward's.
"Just like I did for you, Squilliam."
Squidward wasn't here any longer. Physically as well as mentally, no longer in the same room, abandoning both puppets in favor of other surroundings, for reasons none but the departed knew.
How SpongeBob was aware of this fact, he wasn't entirely sure. In and out of consciousness, peace before throbbing and pain, the glimmers of reality staining his earlier picture of the world.
Baby blue eyes had never seemed as bright as now against the pale yellow of his face. Yellow and red and blue, all he consisted of now. Nothing but three colors.
His vision cleared after brief tunneling, landing on the crying heap lying in a corner. Weeping.
"S…Squidward?" He almost didn't recognize his own voice, coughing after a moment, parched and empty.
The head raised, eyes large, hollow, framed by his unibrow.
Not Squidward. SpongeBob let out a shaky breath, unaware he'd been holding it in.
"You're n-not Squidward."
"No," The man dried his eyes on the back of his sleeve, red sleeve of a fine fabric robe.
SpongeBob knew him. Knew of him, anyway. But he couldn't place the exact identity. Who…?
"Look, sponge, I'm not sure who you are or what you did to upset Squiddy, but…b-but…" Whoever it was looked away, choking back gags. Now he was the one coughing.
"Are you okay?" SpongeBob shook at his bonds, trying to pull away to comfort the being, whoever he may be.
As similar as he looked to Squidward, he definitely wasn't. And from the looks of things, he was just as much a victim as SpongeBob.
"My name's SpongeBob."
"I don't want to know your name," He was shaking, desperate, turning away. "I don't want to know you. I don't want to know. You can't make me know."
"Are you okay?"
"No!" The man jumped to his feet, eyes looking everywhere but SpongeBob. "No, I can't be here! I just…I didn't sign up for…I'm leaving!"
"Squilliam, sit back down," Squidward stepped back into the room, latching the door behind him as he placed a hand on the unibrowed octopus's shoulder. Simple pressure enough to get him to sit on the ground. "SpongeBob, have you met Squilliam Fancyson?"
"N-no," Then, eyes wide, "Yes, I have." THAT Squilliam Fancyson? But he looked so frail. He couldn't possibly be the same mega billionaire who Squidward had often grumbled about. How could someone so broken possibly make anyone's high school life miserable?
What was true about anything? There were very few things SpongeBob could fully process at the moment. His mind faltered, landing on the image of his fallen best friend for a nanosecond, breaking him all over again before he pushed it away, tried to stay in the now. He wouldn't think about it. He didn't have to.
"Squilliam, this is SpongeBob," Squilliam didn't shout this time, sniffling instead and holding still as Squidward grabbed his chin, pulling his face up, forcing him to look. "I cut his dick off," Squidward laughed.
Squilliam flinched, trying to pull away, only forcing Squidward to tighten his grip, tentacles white against his skin, hiss of pain slipping past Squilliam's lips.
"I could cut yours off, too, you know."
"Squiddy, what are you trying to do here?" Squilliam's voice was oddly rational, not empty of emotion but sorting them, placing them to the side for now, refusing to address the fact that Squidward was threatening to mutilate his genitalia.
"Trying to do?" Squidward mulled it over, stroking a hand over Squilliam's neck. "Why do I still allow you to call me Squiddy?"
Squidward didn't cut him off, dropping his hand, letting Squilliam fall. "In fact, why do I still allow you to speak at all?"
Squilliam glanced up, face twitching, clearly reading into Squidward's thought patterns before SpongeBob. "Squiddy, that's n-not necessary," His voice was achingly soft, SpongeBob nearly straining to hear him.
"You don't get to decide what's necessary, Squilliam."
"I-if you…if I can't talk, I—"
"What do you think I'm planning?"
"I know exactly what you're…" Squilliam couldn't finish, catching his breath, hands clasped almost in prayer position. "Please, Squiddy, you don't have to…t-to…"
SpongeBob was almost glad for this, in the tiniest part of his mind. Glad to be distracted by this display instead of forced to dwell on his own fate.
Glad until he saw Squidward grab the knife once again.
"S-Squiddy, please! I'm sorry! Please, Squiddy, please don't!"
How did Squilliam know what Squidward was planning? Judging from his lack of movement, he was already submitted to his fate, sobbing as Squidward tilted his face back, forced his lips apart and grabbed his tongue. No more arguments or apologies, unable with his mouth pried open, tongue held tight in tentacle.
"I'm not going to kill you, but there's no need for me to hear your idiotic whining any longer," Squidward smiled, sliding the blade of his knife across the top of the pink surface, prickling taste buds to bleed. Squilliam didn't jerk away, though his body did twitch. "It'll be a shame, in a way. You were always marvelous with your tongue." He cut into his skin, the motion smooth by SpongeBob's vision, though judging from Squilliam's warbled cry, voice jumbled with his mouth's position, nothing was smooth about it. "Maybe one more kiss, for old time's sake."
Squilliam's tongue seemed to hang on little more than a sinew of flesh as Squidward leaned forward, pressing their lips together. An awkward shuffle, popping of jaw, more piteous wails, Squidward's jaw muscles tensing for an instant. The veins on his forehead bulged for just a moment before Squidward pulled back, Squilliam's tongue completely disengaged, dangling between Squidward's lips.