Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Those rights belong to Jerry Brukheimer and Disney.

Author's Note: I could give a million and one reasons why this chapter is so late, but they would all be excuses and you guys deserve better than that. What I can say is that I'm sorry this story is being written by a slug. Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me. Now, enough stalling, onto the story!

Pairing: Some Becky/Dave, Drake/Dave

While Drake was furiously typing away on his cell phone (texting or surfing the web, he couldn't tell which), Dave eyed the platter that was now resting idly at the furthermost corner of the table with some contempt.

The little black orbs (pearls might be a nicer term but Dave didn't find it to be a particularly fitting one), turned out to be Beluga caviar.

The taste had been nothing less than repulsive, something similar to sucking on copper pennies while chugging salt and Dave honestly couldn't find the appeal in them, other than perhaps showcasing someone's wealth.

A dish that left him feeling like there was an almost palpable slime trail leading down his throat was never going to make it on his delicacies list, even if the price tag left him inclined to think it must have been gilded in gold.

The second entrée was no better than the first. It had appeared to be something similar to congealed meat, a feat if there ever was one. When he tried his portion, he could only register the texture: silky, smooth, and utterly wrong.

As it slid down his esophagus, it took all of his self-restraint not to spit it out (though spew would have been more likely in his case). Not only would it have sealed his fate as a lowbrow at a high end establishment such as this, but he was pretty sure if had, Drake would have howled with laughter.

Not that his reaction was much better once he caught the look on Dave's face after he ingested those gastrointestinal horrors.

"Come on Stutters, are you still on about that?" Drake's voice snapped him out of his reverie, somewhere between mentally spearing and roasting the remaining 'delicacies' left on the platter.

"You had me eat fish eggs."

"Yeah well, it wouldn't kill ya to have a little fun once in a while. Tasting the world and all that jazz." Drake replied, pocketing his phone, his attention now fixated on the Merlinian.

"Yeah well, there are cheaper ways to taste seawater and mold."

At his quip, the Morganian let out a rumble of laughter, the corners of his eyes crinkling up in amusement. Despite the part of him that was still irate, Dave relented, a few soft chuckles emerging from his lips.

"So what are you interested in?"

Now that was a question that definitely sobered up the atmosphere. Dave eyed the illusionist curiously, taking a sip from his glass of water in order to stall for time. Was Drake actually trying to get to know him as opposed to humiliating him?

More importantly, was he trying to accomplish that task in the form of the ever dreaded small talk?

At this point, it really couldn't hurt to try and work on their friendship. After all, he was pretty sure today had been a relative break-through for the Morganian. He couldn't imagine that Drake, the cocky, extravagant illusionist liked to let many people know that despite his smooth exterior, he really was quite fallible.

Up until now, he was pretty sure that the majority of his perception in concerns to Drake had just been another one of his parlor tricks, an optical illusion of sorts. Despite a few instances when traces of the real Morganian broke through (Dave still shuddered at the thought of smores), his knowledge of the other male was limited only to what he wanted him to know, nothing more and nothing less.

His stomach lurched uncomfortably and while Dave would just like to write that off as a side-effect of the expensive cuisine, he knew there was more to it than that.

If all his previous actions had just been a charade, who was to say that what Drake told him earlier wasn't one either? In fact, it was entirely plausible that the Morganian was playing him for a fool, while he had been none the wiser. To what end though, he didn't have the faintest clue.

Before he could dwell anymore on those thoughts, Dave shrugged them away; Balthazar's paranoia must be contagious. Even if he didn't always understand the Morganian, even if he had been his enemy in the past, Dave refused to believe that he had been any less than truthful with him.

The look in his eyes had been proof enough.

"Earth to Stutters!" Drake's hand waved back in forth in front of the other male's face, until he began to blink owlishly, stumbling back into the present. "For a second there, I thought I'd lost ya mate."

"Yeah uh, sorry about that." Dave began sheepishly, his cheeks reddening with embarrassment at being caught off guard. "I guess I like to game sometimes."

"Game? You're not talking about sports, are ya Stutters?" Drake's eyes ran up and down his form as he sized up the Merlinian; somehow, Dave knew he wouldn't be impressed.

Dave was built more for behind-the-scene roles as opposed to being the action star, not that there was anything wrong with that. There are some things you excel at and others you just flat out suck at; for Dave, one of those things had been athletics.

"No, videogames. Fantasy, action, rpgs… anything really." Dave drawled off, feeling his color slowly return to normal. "So what about you?"

"Plan new stage acts, maybe practice 'em too."

Apparently, he hadn't phrased his question clearly enough for Drake to understand.

"No, I mean like in your down time. What do you do for fun?"

"That is what I do for fun Stutters."

Dave shot Drake a critical stare; if he could gave an answer more adequate than his standard 'I like physics', he expected the Morganian to do the same. Upon seeing his look, the illusionist rolled his eyes, annoyed that his response wasn't good enough.

"Alright Stutters, alright. I guess I like to read sometimes too."

Not the greatest response ever, but if he could accept his answer, Dave supposed he could let this one slide. Just this once though.

"So, what kind of books do you like to read?"

Drake was silent for a moment, his eyes pensive and his features twisted with thought. If reading was a favorite hobby of his, shouldn't he know what genres he liked? Then again, even he found it difficult to lump all his preferences up into one category.

"I guess I like to read romance novels."

Of all the responses the Morganian could have given him, that was the least expected one. Dave spluttered on air, poorly concealing it as a random fit of coughing, earning a raised brow from Drake.

"You like… romance novels? Like Fabio standing in the sunset romance novels?"

"Only th' best."

"I, well, that is to say…" His brain seemed to be having trouble forming a response of any sort as he tripped over his words, desperate to say anything.

Really what could he say to that? It's not like there was anything truly wrong with Drake's preferences, but it felt odd, like the big bad wolf suddenly becoming vegan. As Dave tried to rewire his poor, short-circuited brain, Drake burst out into a fit of hysterics.

"You shoulda seen the look on your face Stutters!"

Dave's face morphed into a look of confusion, exasperation looming over the horizon; he wasn't sure if he would ever truly get used to the Morganian's humor.

"You mean you don't like romance novels?"

"Not in particularly. Science fiction, well now, that's another story." Drake said, the mischievous twinkle still glimmering in his eyes.

Even though he was now on familiar footing with the Morganian, something told Dave that he was going to be in for a long afternoon.

Two hours later and they were walking on the familiar, aged concrete that led up to the stationhouse. What had initially started out as awkward ramblings and stilted responses had quickly evolved into a full-fledged conversation, topics ranging far and wide.

They discussed things like how the sequels were better than the prequels when it came to Star Wars, the merits over which version of Doctor Who was better(Dave was firmly in camp classic, while Drake swayed more towards the new version), and what Dune truly was about.

It was actually nice to talk with someone interests were similar to his own, however surprising that may be.

Normally, Bennet would just roll his eyes and joke about it to him whenever he talked about stuff like that, while Becky would try to at least seem halfway interested in whatever he was talking about, but he knew neither one of them actually enjoyed it.

Even now in the silence, Dave felt completely at ease, a state that was becoming increasingly rare for him these days. Peace was something to be relished, something to be enjoyed at full-length in leisure, which was exactly what he was doing.

"This is my stop." Dave said, pointing to the weather beaten door, the edges of his lips turning up into a smile.

"So it is."

Drake's eyes lingered on him, making Dave suddenly aware of how penetrating his stare was. No longer was the Morganian jovial and mischievous; for this moment, he could tell the illusionist was serious.

The air felt thick and heavy, mounds of unspoken tension just simmering underneath the surface. It was almost eerie how quickly the atmosphere had changed between the two of them; only a moment ago had the silence been tranquil and pleasant.

Why couldn't things just stay normal between the two of them for more than five seconds?

Dave could feel those exact words forming on his lips when the Morganian leaned in towards him, rendering all other thoughts and actions moot. He was close, too close to him, and Dave could feel the sweat rising just beneath his collar.

Just what was Drake playing at?

Before Dave could process what was going on around him, Drake closed the distance between them and placed his lips against Merlinian's forehead. His breath hitched in his throat and Dave swore the temperature around him spiked up several degrees all in the span of five seconds. Climate shifts don't happen that sporadically, do they?

Maybe he should have paid more attention to those global warming lectures.

A knot began to coil in the pit of his stomach and if the Morganian didn't step away from him soon, Dave felt certain that he might suffocate. The prospect of sudden death didn't fill him with dread though; in fact, he really wasn't sure what he was feeling at all.

After what felt like ages, the Morganian slowly pulled away from him, leaving a crimson Dave slack-jawed in front of the stationhouse.

"I, you… what was that?"

Drake lips turned up into a soft smile, an air of coyness clinging to him. Whatever the reason was, Dave was certain he wasn't going to get an answer.

"See ya around, Dave."

His eyes never left the form of the illusionist, watching him drift further and further away, until he was nothing more than a dot against the horizon.

And all at once, Dave felt the weight of the world descend upon his shoulders. He shuffled through his keys, examining each piece of metal with more detail than the act deserved, before finding the familiar tarnished key.

He rattled the doorknob twice, fingers fumbling with the key, until a resounding click filled the air and he stepped into the familiar confines of his lair. Dave slumped against the door, raking a hand through his hair and closing it with a sigh.

This was just all one big, convoluted mess.

As much as part of him wanted to brush off what just happened as a strange act of friendship, a sort of fond farewell, he knew there was more to it than that. He just wasn't so sure if wanted to know what more entailed.

In fact, the only thing he knew was that he hoped the Morganian's actions wouldn't become routine. The 'hoped' part was throwing him off though.

Hope implied that part of him was uncertain. Uncertain of what though? He loved Becky, that was almost a fact now, wasn't it? But something strange was happening between him and Drake, and not for the first time did he wonder if his relationship with Becky hung precariously in the balance.

With a weary mind and a heavy heart, he opened his eyes. A pair of electric blue ones greeted him.

"Jesus Balthazar!"

Dave clutched his chest, his breath coming out in short, stilted gasps. Nothing like a surprise visit from you mentor to pull you out your emotional slumps or make you almost crap your pants.

"Dave, we need to talk. Now." Balthazar's tone broached no formalities or excuses, his lips poised in one stern line.

Dave felt a sense of unease ripple across him at the severity in his mentor's stance. Dave hadn't heard a word from the Merlinian for several weeks now, most of which he had assumed were spent with Veronica, reacquainting her to this world. After all, you do tend to miss out on a lot of critical events when you spent the last millennia or so locked up in a glorified doll.

But could something else have happened in their travels?

"About what?" Dave edged cautiously, eying Balthazar with grim certainty. Whatever it was, they would find a way through it, somehow.


Dave was startled when he shoved a newspaper underneath his nose, the edges curled and the front splashed with coffee. Even though the image was blurred and stained, Dave saw the picture with surprising clarity.

After all, how could he forget that afternoon Chez Pierre? That was when this whole fiasco began.

"Oh, that."

Dave could feel the dread rolling off of him in waves. Something told him Balthazar might not be as understanding of this whole situation as Becky was, especially when it involved his nemesis' apprentice.

Author's Note: Uh-oh! Trouble is brewing on the horizon for Dave and this may be one problem he can't talk his way out of. And what about Drake? Is he really a friend? Or is he just a wolf in sheep's clothing? Stay tuned! (: