Within no time at all, I was sitting on my couch with a one, Dave Strider. We were stumped in silence, both of us with our hands in our laps and our eyes set straight forward. After more still air moved only broken by light fidgeting, I cleaned my throat, speaking up.

"So... Uh, may I ask why you're here?"

He took a moment to reply after a sigh. "Well, I've been living with John for a few weeks now. Just enough to where I decided to move out of my place. He has a house; I had a shitty apartment, pretty sweet plan if you ask me. But you know what happened a few days ago?"

I nodded, remembering the shouting all too well.

"Yeah... Things only got worse. I guess it was too much for him tonight, so he kicked me out." Twiddling his thumbs against black jeans, he let out yet another sigh. "I didn't really have anywhere else to go with my apartment- well not being mine anymore. Not too much of an issue right? I know Karkat isn't exactly fond of me but-"

"Karkat won't be here." I cut in without moving my gaze.

He turned to look at me, shades an all. "Somethin' happen with you two?"

"Eh, kind of. Not exactly with us." I took a minute to collect the right words while running a hand through my hair. "He's sick. We don't really know what's wrong, but- well, I sent all night at the hospital with him and his parents."

"Is he alright?"

I shrugged a little. "They have no idea what's wrong or how to fix it. I mean, he was spitting up blood all over the bathroom." A hand smacked against my forehead. "Fuck. Don't go in the bathroom. I still have to clean it all up. Tch, anyway, the doctor said it may be nothing, but it could also get worse. I don't know. It still worries me. Karkat says he's fine, but I- I just don't know."

Dave remained silent for a bit before shedding his glasses, rubbing his eyes, and returning them to his face. "Shit bro... That's not good." He said after sometime.

"No. And it doesn't help that his parents are freaking out. I mean god, they took him home with them because they don't think living here while I have work and school is safe."

"His father still not okay with you two- you know?"

I shook my head, hands clenching. "Oh hell no. Mr. Vantas despises it. You'd think I'm a person trying to get him to join some sort of cult. I've known this man for most of my life, but recently, he can only give me these disdainful looks and scoff my way. And if only to make it worse, when a man who greatly dislikes- no, flat out hates that his son is gay, my god, it is awful when he sees him kissing another guy. It was a look of absolute hatred. Like I had stabbed him or something."

"Fucking prick." He snorted.

Even with the seriousness of the conversation, I couldn't help but laugh in consent. "You've got that right. Fucking prick."

"So you're just alone tonight"

"Yeah." I replied with a slow exhale.

"Mind if I crash on your couch then?" He seemed to ask it- hesitantly. As if he wasn't sure I'd say yes.

"Of course man. Stay as long as you need be."

With that, he actually let the small slip of a smile pass his usually indifferent expression. A tired breath escaped, melding into a relieved sigh.

"Thanks."

I nodded in response. "I'll get the stuff so you can stay on the couch. Just make yourself at home."

He nodded before I stood and moved back into my bedroom. From the closet, I pulled out a blanket and took one of the pillows off my bed. Upon my return to the living room, I spotted Dave who was standing, already stripped off his shirt and shoes now standing barefoot and folding his shades neatly on the table by the couch. Even to my surprise, I couldn't stop from staring. Damn it. I still looked that him that way. No more than a friend but his body-god, that body-it drove me on end. I cursed the fact that I could look at his muscles, his shoulder blades moving underneath, his freckles that dusted down his skin, and want to run my hands across them. The reason that he was so different from Karkat always made me wonder. I loved Karkat, I really and truly did, and I knew nothing I could ever do with Dave would amount to the emotional value of everything I had shared with Karkat. Nothing that happened would include anything more than a friendship and physical lust. I contrasted in my mind how things always went. Dave knew what he was doing at all times. But Karkat on the other hand, never ceased being timid. Even now when we had done it more than once, he still let me do as I pleased. He never seemed to input his own movement, letting me enjoy what I wanted and watch his expressions as they came. With Dave however, he faught for things every step of the way. He wanted to be in charge; get from it what would bring him pleasure. He probably got what I did from Karkat but from John instead. With his sheepish and flustered behavior, I could hardly see John being one for dominance. And so, that was Dave's job. He took the reins, as did I. And when we met it was a never ending battle. Neither of us would back down. We would both fight, challenging each other and turning it into a frenzy of heated actions and racing thoughts. I wished multiple times I could find some medium between Karkat's timidity and Dave's animalistic charge. Unfortunately, I could never find it-

A snap in my face brought me back to reality. I hadn't even noticed Dave had walked closer, but now sparkling red eyes stared into mine from just a few inches away. He never really bothered to hide them around me anymore. Not like it was a problem in the first place. With a light smirk he moved back.

"Jesus Captor. Thought I'd lost you for a second. Probably distracted by my hot ass, right?"

I didn't really expect my next words to come out as they did, but I couldn't stop them. "Can't really help myself from doing so."

His brow raised, eyes flashing with a mischievous glint. "Oh really?"

I merely shrugged it off. "I'm not going to deny it."

Stepping forward again, fingers brushed down my chest. "Well Captor, can we remedy this situation?"

My hands grazed down his sides, the warmth tickling my skin as he shuddered. With a breath escaping, we both moved forward, lips meeting. This didn't last long though. At the same moment, his hands pushed my shoulders back just as I pulled his hips away. We stared at each other for a moment before splitting into wide grins and busting out in laughter. We shook our heads as the laughter bubbled louder.

"No, we can't." He answered his own question.

I then nodded as my head hung a little. "That just felt stupid."

"I think we're both past this."

"At least for right now." I agreed, my hands falling from his waist.

"Welp," He turned on his heels and strolled over to the couch before flopping down. "I'm tired... Night Sollux."

I chuckled lightly and turned myself around. "Night Strider."

From there I moved into the bed room before glancing to the bathroom. Red still coated the white tiles and ran down from the bowl. I sighed deeply before kicking off my shoes and rolling up my sleeves and pant legs. I stepped into the bathroom, flicking on the light and getting to my knees. Pulling an old towel from the cabinet, I reached up to flick on the water. Once it was hot, I soaked the towel and began to scrub at the tile. It disgusted me and only wiped more bad memories through my head. In my time with Dave, I had completely forgotten about the previous occurrences of the night. But now, the all came back. The splattering sound, his violent shaking in my arms, tears falling and pattering against the pavement as I crouched against the wall. Huddling in on myself, I was so weak. And now Karkat wasn't even here. He had been taken by his parents who obviously didn't approve. It wasn't that I was angry, no, fuck that- I was pissed that they'd force him to leave. But I was more or less scared. I didn't want him to get worse when I wasn't around. If anything happened, it would probably be too late. I couldn't get to the airport, get a flight out and make it there in time. That's what scared me most. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to see him again. It terrified me shitless to think that I might not be able to hold him or kiss him or just tell him that I loved him and see that smile on his face. He may slip away without knowing just how much I actually did love him. And now, I kneeled on the floor and attempted to scrub away the blood he choked on just because I wasn't home. I couldn't help him when he needed it. He should have told me. Dammit, why didn't he tell me? He claims he didn't want to worry me, but is this better than worry. Is almost drowning in your own blood a more satisfying outcome than letting someone know you are sick? Apparently it was to him. If this is what it took for him to tell me. He probably would have gone and died before telling me. That I couldn't stand. He always had to do things by himself; never wanting to cause burden on anyone. He never came to me with things so drastic. He could have died and I would have never even known he was sick. God, I couldn't handle him sometimes. He made me want to scream. And- and-

Before I knew it, a drop hit the tile. Its sound shattered my ear and made me blink. With fluttering lids, more fell. I stopped scrubbing; sitting back on my legs and rolling my head back to stare at the ceiling. They just rolled down my face now. I didn't know why, but I couldn't stop them. I was fucking crying again and I didn't know why. And so I simply sat there for the passing minutes. I let tears hurdle down my cheeks until no more came. I silently cried without the slightest idea why until, finally, my eyes were dry. With a scratchy sleeve, I wiped my face making sure not to smear the blood on my fingers. That done, I returned to scrubbing until all the red was gone from my sight. I simply tossed the towel into the trash; it was completely ruined now. I then washed my hands thoroughly before staggering into my bedroom. Not bothering to turn the light on, I pulled off all my clothes, tossing them to the corner, and pulling on a pair of sweat pants. Slipping into bed, I quickly snuggled down as my eyes fell closed.

I slept peacefully until the black faded into red. Then the screaming ensued. Screaming and wailing. The cries of a woman mirrored by the soft, deep sobs of a man. More screaming. Blood curdling screams. The screams that you never want to hear. Screams of pain. Screams coming from a voice I knew too well. They were so far away though. He was so far away. I couldn't reach him. He needed me, but I couldn't reach him. I couldn't help him. The screams grew louder, but I still couldn't reach him. But then, they moved away. They became quieter; they dissipated. And then- silence. Complete silence, but I still reached out. I still searched through the blindness to find him. Fix him. Help him. Love him. Anything I could do to save him from disappearing. But I couldn't find him. Dammit- why couldn't I find him? I was running around blind with outstretched arms and more pathetic tears staining my cheeks. It was straining my nerves and driving me mad. I don't know how much more I could take. I was going to break soon. I just knew it. I was definitely going to snap.

That was until I was lurched awake. My eyes shot open to find Dave leaning over me with his hands pushing my shoulders down into the mattress, knees locking me on either side, and sweat rolling down my forehead.

"D- Dave?" My voice croaked out. My throat felt scratchy and tired.

He sighed, climbing off me and sitting on the edge of my bed. "Fuck man, you scared the shit out of me."

He ruffled his hair as I sat up a little, still trying to blink away the sleep and terror. "Sorry. Fucking nightmare."

He let a breathy laugh. "Yeah. So I figured. I'm not the lightest sleeper, but your shouts still woke me up. I thought you were like dyin' in here."

Pulling my knees up, I rested my arms on them and let my head fall forward. "Yeah… Sorry."

I felt a hand land on my shoulder, squeezing very lightly. "It's all going to be fine."

I cut my eyes up from behind messy bangs hanging in my face to find him staring right back at me.

"Stop worrying your ass off and let me get some damn sleep."

I chuckled very softly before flashing a smile and nodding. "Alright."

He gave a short nod in reply as he retracted his hand and stood.

"Hey Dave." I called after him once he had already reached the door frame.

He looked over his shoulder, quirking a brow. "Yeah?"

"Thanks." I replied.

He gave me another upturn of his lips, closest thing to a smile I'd get, and turned back, walking off down the hall. I soon laid back down, nuzzling my head down into the pillow and letting my eyes close back in no time.

When morning came, the warmth of the sun pricked my skin. Its light shone through my curtains, invading every inch of my room. I opened my eyes slowly before breaking into a large yawn. Sitting up, my back arched as I stretched my arms over my head. With tired and aching muscles, I climbed from my bed. Feet hitting the floor, my toes curled against the carpet. I pushed up from the bed, stumbling a little before steadying myself and continuing forward. I made my way into the main room to find Dave sitting up and rubbing his eyes. Without a word spoken, I moved into the kitchen and grabbed a bowl. Dave followed suit, tossing the blanket off his legs and coming up behind me. I handed him a bowl before glancing down and snorting slightly.

"Shit Strider. Just being completely relaxed here are we?"

He glanced down, but just shrugged and took the bowl. "Jeans make me hot and they're not exactly the best sleepwear; excuse me for finding boxers more comfortable."

"You've infested my couch."

"It was inevitable."

"Good point."

He nodded with a chuckle and sat down at the table. I obtained a box of cereal from the cabinet and the gallon of milk from the fridge. Setting them bot down, I was about to move into a chair when there was a knock at the door. I gave a short look to Dave who just stared back at me until I looked to the door again. Standing fully, I stepped over and opened the door. The man who stood before me, stared at me with a blank expression but angry eyes. He judged me up and down flinging a grunt probably on the account of my lack of shirt and the fact of how damn skinny I was. His glare, now set on my eyes again, only intensified immensely when Dave came up and slung an arm over my shoulder. Taking note of Dave's lack of- well everything but his black boxers, his face grew more displeasured by the second. My muscles went rigid as soon as Dave's arm touched my skin. Rendered speechless for a moment, I stared blankly back at the man before choking through the words.

"G- good morning Mr. V- Vantas…"