Disclaimer: This remains not mine.
Dedications: To Evil-Pixie-Dust and halfapea, because this is it. This is all there is to this. I'm finally done with this story, thank god. Sorry it took me so long! I sort of scrapped the initial plan I had for it halfway through, so...
Chapter 6 - soon it's going to change in a new direction
"I'll see you next week, John."
You smile, hand on the doorknob and head tilted back to project your voice back to Dr. Serket. "Yeah. See you then, Dr. Serket." There's a warm hand on your elbow almost before you're done speaking, and you turn towards Dave. "Hey there."
"Ready to go home?" he asks, and you roll your eyes.
"No, I'd like to stay here in this cold office forever. Let's get going." And Dave laughs under his breath, a quiet huff of noise that brings a smile to your face as he starts walking. You reach over to curl your fingers around his own, testing the gentle pressure they exert to lead you. "How was the wait today?"
You can feel the shift of Dave shrugging down in how his grip adjusts on you. "Eh, could've been worse. I brought my MP3 player and camera today, so I at least have some developing to look forward to when we get home. Got some interesting shots."
There's a muted tapping noise, and door squeaks open. As always, you brace yourself for the sudden, enveloping rush of sound from outside as you walk out to the parking lot. It takes a few seconds for you to reorient yourself. Dave's hand is steady on your elbow. Carefully, you take in a few breaths and force yourself to relax, to pinpoint where you are by the echoes around you, by the cadence and tempo of Dave's conversation and footsteps.
He pulls you to a stop, and you feel behind yourself to find the bench you and Dave always sit on while you're waiting for Bro after these counseling sessions. Silence falls between you.
"Rough session?" he asks after a long moment, when you're busy listening to a couple passing by talking about what they're getting for dinner. Startled, you twitch, then nod.
"Yeah, we… It was all about the accident today. She's still trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that made me…" and you gesture at your eyes, swallow, say it anyway, "go blind. Obviously, there hasn't been… a lot of success yet."
Street noise swells around you as Dave turns that over in his head. "Seems legit," he eventually says, knocking his knee into yours.
"You are so emotionally supportive, Dave." You ignore his quiet murmur of "I know, right?" in favor of talking over him, loudly. "When is Bro getting here anyway? I'm getting tired of waiting."
You listen to Dave tapping at what is most likely his phone as he grumbles good-naturedly under his breath. "Says he'll be here in a few minutes. He's stuck at a light not too far from here," Dave finally answers. "But hey, I'm glad everything's still going well in therapy."
Quietly, you tuck your hands under your thighs, hoping Bro will show up soon. "Same here," you admit.
It is February, and the weather is beginning to change. You can smell it on the air, feel it in the tense knot under your sternum, because something needs to change and you just have to keep worrying at the feeling until you figure out what that something is.
It is February, and you still cannot see.
You wonder what it means when your blindness isn't the first change you think of.
Here is what definitely needs to change:
Dave sneaking off and disappearing for hours with no warning. You're getting real tired of searching for him whenever he pulls some vanishing act or the other, though you tend to get really oddly personalized gifts whenever he does.
You're about to give up on today's game of "where the fuck is Dave Strider," when you hear his voice coming from the bathroom down the hall from your room.
You creep down to the door, figuring, well, shit, you might as well, now that you've gone this far. Should be entertaining to figure out what the hell he's up to anyway.
"So, uh, I managed to score tickets to some concert this weekend. Wanna go?"
You cock your head, trying to ignore the angry twist in your chest. He's asking someone out? He's been slinking around the house and avoiding everyone because he's calling someone to take them to a concert? Lame. You think he should at least do it in the living room so Bro can shout encouragement at him. You hand is on the doorknob, about to push the door open before Dave speaks again.
You pause, curious.
"I got these tickets to a fucking amazin- aw, fuck no, Dave, jesus, just no." He sighs roughly, the sound echoing in the bathroom. "Fuck, that is not how you do it. Just. Deep breaths. In, and out. And…"
(Snorting quietly, you shake your head. What the hell is he doing? The more you listen, then more you're convinced that he actually isn't talking to anyone other than himself.)
"There's a concert this weekend. I got tickets for it, if you'd like to…" Three sharp taps of nails against countertop, and a thud as you hear Dave kick the cabinet door. "Yeah, okay. Okay. Dave just isn't going to ask anyone out. Ever. This is an embarrassment to the human race and the Strider name, jesus. Trial run over. Time to crawl back into the abyss and pretend this never happened because it's not going to happen because I am the biggest and most awkward sonofabitch ever."
At that, you decide the moment is ripe and push the door open. "Well yeah, that much is true."
"Oh shit, uh." Dave's nervous swallow is clearly audible. You smile in his direction, amused. "Hey, John. How's it hanging?"
You pretend to think about it before you cross your arms, leaning slowly against the doorframe, making sure that your weight is solidly placed against it the whole time. "Oh, you know. I'm doing just fine except for this funny thing where my best friend disappears for a few hours to pretend to ask someone out in the mirror?"
"Aw, come on, that's not very nice," he grumbles. "And here my hopes were getting up that maybe you just missed me and were yearning for my presence."
"Who are you gonna ask out, anyway?"
"Oh, no one. Well, no one that was going to say yes."
You snort. "Not with lines like you were delivering, no."
"Hey, screw you, my lines are golden."
"So, since you're not going to ask your mystery beau to go with you, why don't you just take me instead!"
Okay, not the reaction you were going for.
"Come on," you try, wheedling, "you have the tickets, we're best friends, it'd be a waste of money if you didn't go, and it's not like anyone else -"
"Yes, you can come. Jeez, John, quit begging, it's embarrassing."
"No, what's embarrassing is you practicing asking someone out in the mirror."
Dave laughs, nervousness audibly fading into genuine affection. Something unexpectedly grazes against your face, and you reflexively jerk back. "Hey, simmer down, it's just me," Dave murmurs. "You have an eyelash."
But the way his touch lingers belies his words, and your heart staggers into an unsteady rhythm as he withdraws his hand.
"Alright, so, what kind of concert are we even going to? I probably should have asked that first. It isn't going to be one of your weird, avant-garde things where someone bangs on a tub of lard for half an hour, is it? What should I wear?" you joke shakily. Fuck, you wish you could at least know how badly your nerves are showing through. Your poker face -admittedly not the best even before your crash- has probably suffered so much since the accident.
"I'll pick something out."
"You have shitty fashion sense."
Dave huffs out a quiet laugh. "You let me dress you every morning. Why should this be any different?"
Well, he doesn't have to put it like that. You frown petulantly, but concede the point with a wave of your hand. "Alright, alright, whatever. Is it going to be fancy?"
"...Sort of. You'll see." And with that, Dave pats you on the shoulder, startling you again, and moves out of the bathroom, leaving you standing there, listening as he scurries down the hallway muttering under his breath the whole way. Movements careful, you reach out and grip the edge of the countertop. Exhaling slowly as you close your eyes, you take careful stock in the way the edge digs into your palm, let the slight pain of it focus you.
You're not stupid. you know exactly what you just agreed to and it settles the hard knot of uncomfortable emotion lodged in your chest into something much smoother.
Now you just have to figure out why you acted the way you did. You would understand if you liked him, but you… don't…
That explains a lot, actually.
Lifting one hand to your cheek, you let out a nervous titter. Oh god, your face is so warm. It must be embarrassingly red, you'd bet your life on it.
You have a date with Dave.
You really, really like Dave.
This… isn't how you expected today to go, if you're being honest. But you suppose you really just have to roll with it. Time to start asking for advice for your first date. And besides the girls, there's really only one other person you can talk to right now...
With a sigh, you push yourself up and leave the bathroom, heading down the hallway to the living room. You poke your head through the doorframe. "Hey, Bro, is Dave in here?"
"Nah, my man, he just ran upstairs. You just missed him."
"I didn't really miss him. I'm sort of the reason he's running," you say as you enter the living room. "I think, anyway." You're quiet for a moment as you run your hands over the couch, thinking to yourself. "So, Bro, I might like Dave. Like, like like him, you know."
There isn't even a pause before he's firing back, "Aw, is this baby's first sexuality crisis?"
You snort. "Fuck no it's not. It's just the first time I've realized that I really want to kiss your idiot brother on the mouth to stop him from rambling so much."
"I think the same thing, only with punching instead of kissing." Bro laughs at himself, amused, and you have to grin.
"I would hope so."
"But no seriously," and there's a soft sigh of fabric as Bro shifts. "Dave swears that you're not into guys. Like, right hand on Cal and everything. So you are now and he just doesn't know about it?"
You shake your head and feel your way towards him, perching on the couch leg once you find it. "Bro, the last time Dave and I actually talked about my sexuality, I was thirteen. I didn't want to be involved with anyone. The only person I really wanted to kiss was Liv Tyler, and I still want to kiss her."
"She is a beautiful woman," Bro commiserates. "And goddamn but that's a nice piece of ass."
You tilt your head towards him, frowning. "Liv Tyler?"
"No, this guy on TV right now."
"Bro, please tell me you haven't been watching porn while talking to me again. What have I told you about that?"
"To do it with the sound off so I don't offend your virgin ears."
You laugh, shaking your head. "Alright, so if you're not watching porn, then who are you ogling?"
Bro snorts. "Ogling. There's this new show on the Discovery Channel. Some rugged guy named Jake is going around the world, making an attractive jackass out of himself while he pretends he's charming. He does, however, have dimples when he smiles, and he looks good with scruff." He inhales, the noise deliberately audible. "I kind of want to fuck that."
You blink, squint. "That's nice, Bro, can we get back on topic, now? The topic being, why would Dave even care about my sexuality anyway?"
There's a warm pat on your arm, skin and leather, and you frown down at the contact petulantly. "I'm sure you'll think of it here in a second. If you don't, I can give you a hint: Why would Dave, who normally doesn't give a shit about people, care about what someone else is into?"
Heat floods your face as you turn over possibilities, and you keep coming back to one over and over again. Dave could like you back; Dave could just be trying to keep an open mind about his friends; Dave could maybe be setting you up with one of his friends; Dave could like you; Dave could like you, Dave could want this date as much as you do. You quietly sit down on the couch next to Bro. He only pats you consolingly on the arm and turns up the T.V. You suppose it's some sort of comfort as you try to calm down the frantic, flattered beating of your heart.
"So, you're going on a date."
Rolling your eyes, you laugh and nudge Terezi's leg with your foot. "Why am I not surprised to find out you know about that already?"
She cackles, kicking you back none-too-gently. "Because you might actually have a clue every once in a while! Also, because when Dave needs to turn to someone for advice, I'm his main girl."
"That's not true. Rose and Jade are his main girls," you protest. "And what's he going to you for advice for anyway?"
"Fine, main girl who doesn't live a few time-zones away then, if you're going to be picky. And he was asking about your date, duh. Though he wouldn't tell me what it is, or even that it was a date. He kept using the words "as friends" a lot."
You wrinkle your nose. "Dave said we were going to some kind of concert. Other than that, he's been pretty quiet, actually. I'd be worried, but come on, it's Dave. What's the worst that could happen."
"Honestly," Sollux pipes up, "There's always the chance of sudden axe murdering. And he does come from Texas."
"That was chainsaws," Terezi corrects, though she's laughing.
"Okay, but this is also Dave we're talking about. So, really, it's just going to be us going to a concert. Nothing more." You spread your hands wide, unsurprised when someone -Terezi probably, judging on the coolness of her skin- grabs them.
"Nothing more? Oh come on, Johnny boy, surely you can be hoping for a little bit of action. We're all friends here. You can be honest."
Your teacher's voice stops you from answering, as she curtly says, "You're also all in class. Pay attention now."
"Sorry, miss," the three of you chime. You hide your smile by tilting your head down, because you're happy. Your chest feels too full with emotions, warm and frightening with its expanse. Your friends are bothering you about your date, and you're laughing and getting into trouble with them, and you're happy.
You and Dave proceed to do an awkward dance around each other on Friday, neither of you certain how to bring up the fact that you're going on a date tomorrow until Bro sighs and slaps you both upside the head and sits you down to listen to Ghostbusters.
You're both singing along to the theme song by the time you relax, leaning into Dave's side easily.
(Dave puts his arm around you, and your heart beats faster in your chest.)
"Alright, now, lift your chin," Dave instructs, and you do as you're told, feeling him slowly button up the shirt, clearly unfamiliar with how buttons work from his angle. The room is quiet aside from Dave's soft directions, a solemness normally not present at this time on a Saturday, but you breathe with it, feeling Dave's fingers brush the underside of your jaw. "Sweet. You're all done."
You smooth your hands down the front of your shirt. "What, I get a button-up shirt and actual slacks? What kind of concert are you taking me to, anyway?"
"A fancy-schmancy one, duh. One on par with James Bond missions." You snort and adjust your sleeves, pausing when Dave adds, "Careful of the cufflinks, they explode."
"Dave, I'm not even wearing any cufflinks."
"Ooh you got me. Ready to go?" Dave asks, and you feel a nudge along your arm as he reaches down to hook your hand into the crook of his elbow. He leads you down the stairs (which you now handle with ease, thank you very much), yelling over his shoulder, "Hey, Bro! We're out! Don't wait up!"
Bro shouts back, "If you make out on the porch for longer than five minutes, I'll release the smuppets!"
Your laughter almost covers up Dave's overexaggerated retching noises as you are led out to the car.
The ride to… wherever it is you're going is calm as Dave turns up music on the radio and you twine your fingers into the fabric of your pants, more secure once you're anchored there. It feels like no time at all passes, with his voice winding around you and your grip loose on the handle of the door. Before you know it, you're laughing at Dave freestyling some truly horrendous rapping and he's opening the door for you, and your hand is back on his arm as he leads you through the parking lot and up a slight incline.
"Watch your step, the door's a bit uneven," Dave says, but his voice is almost lost in the sudden, vast reverberations now surrounding you. You hesitate for a second, but follow his urging into the -what must be massive- room, full of noise and people and voices, and for a moment you are completely overwhelmed.
But Dave leads you confidently into the crowd, up a few stairs and into another room that is quieter somehow. You hold yourself carefully still when he drops your arm, relaxing only when you hear his voice again. "Alright, careful, there are seats here. Follow me."
"An orchestra concert?" you ask quietly, your fingers tight along plastic and metal.
"Sorry," Dave says, his voice uncertain and uncomfortable. "If you don't like it, we can leave, but I thought…" You reach out until you feel the fabric of his jacket under your hand and you tug on it, smiling.
"Stop that. I do like it, okay?" You stop to take a shaking breath. "Music... I don't need to see to enjoy it. Alright? Now, do I have to hold your hand for the rest of this, or are you convinced that I'm having a good time yet?"
Dave doesn't answer for a second, and when he does, his voice is soft. "You can hold my hand if we're not doing this as just friends."
You can feel your hands shaking as you fight a quiet smile down, as you reach out to thread your fingers through his. The contact is thrilling, and you swear you can feel Dave's heart racing in your fingertips.
You sit down and focus on the murmured snatches of conversation you can pick up, the huge reverberations of the hall making the space around you seem infinite. It's almost as though the only thing you can accurately place is Dave, where your fingers are twined through his. You feel adrift but anchored. A ship on its mooring, and it makes you feel somehow safe.
Music swells around you, the surrusus of voices quiets. You tighten your fingers on Dave's arm.
There is an absolutely breathtaking moment of silence.
When the music begins, the world drops away, and you drop with it. It is perfect. It is dancing and light and wide expanses of terrain, sweeping and endless. It is the clouds moving over the sky and stars winking in the night and it is the faces of the people you once knew and it hurts only because you cannot find air enough to breathe.
It feels like you're flying.
Something tugs at your hand, a gentle pressure; you tilt your head towards Dave, indicating that you're listening. "You alright?" he asks in a hushed voice.
Without saying anything, you nod. You are more than okay. This is amazing, but you don't want to stop long enough to say anything. You close your eyes, squeeze Dave's hand, and let yourself float.
The drive back to your house is quiet, and you spend it humming quietly under your breath, trying to keep the music within you going as long as you can. Dave lends you his arm as you make your way up to your room before he stops in front of your bedroom door.
"So, uh," he coughs. "Did you… have a good time tonight?"
You grin, roll your eyes. "Are we seriously doing the "post-date awkward small talk in front of the door" thing?" you ask, fingers making the quote motion in the air. "I sorta thought we were past that, you know, with us being best friends and all."
Dave snorts, and you feel his loose hold on your hand change as he shifts position. "Look, some things have to be done right, including first date awkwardness. No matter how well we know each other."
"Are we going to do all the stereotypical date number things?" Your mouth twists to the side in a sardonic grin as you poke fun at Dave, squeezing his fingers at random intervals, and your heartbeat is racing. You don't want to stop talking to him. He lives in the same house as you, and you suddenly think that you absolutely don't want him outside of arm's reach.
A quiet sigh stirs the bangs on your forehead. "I think," Dave says, his voice sounding much softer and much closer, "that there are a few things we can skip the requirements to, yeah?"
And then there's a pressure on your mouth and-
Dave is kissing you.
The contact itself is more startling, somehow, than the fact that Dave's doing it, and you can't stop your instinctive flinch quick enough.
"Shit, shit, I'm sorry, god, fuck, I didn't-," he babbles, and your pulse kickstarts slightly too quick. You grab him, making sure he doesn't move too far away.
"I haven't been reading this wrong, have I?" he blurts out. "I mean, I understand if you just want to be friends, but I really like you and I haven't been able to stop thinking about this ever since I noticed how I felt around you and we held hands after I asked you to and-"
"-everyone I've talked to has said that I'm not reading this wrong, but it's me, I still could be, or those assholes could be lying, even odds. But I definitely don't want to be wrong about this. That would be lame. Lame like those stupid movies you know by heart, and yes, I'm sorry, but Ghostbusters totally counts as a bad movie in this case-"
"-especially since your love of it is completely genuine, which is adorable and terrifying in equal amounts, do you even know how terribly campy that movie i-"
"Dave, I can't see where your mouth is, so I don't know where to kiss you to make you shut up already," you say, frustrated.
There's a startled silence.
"Yeah, "oh,"" you mutter.
A chuckle, and you scowl up in his general direction. "Are you sure? I mean, you could try and we could see how awful your aim …. is…," he trails off as you slide your hand around the back of his neck, as you lean up into the scant distance between the two of you until you can feel his breath coming fast against your skin. Carefully, you shift that final bit of space to press your lips against what you think and hope are his. Dave is still for a moment. Then he lets out a quiet noise and turns his head just a little (damn it).
Dave kisses you sweetly, gently, fluttering touches of contact that make your heart pound wildly in your throat. You feel too warm and lightheaded.
Your noses bump together as you kiss Dave again and again, insistently pulling him close and tight against you. You can feel him breathe, his stomach and chest pressing against you in fluttering teases of contact, and all you really want is to have him closer.
This is… amazing. This is electric and nerve-wracking and everything movies has built it up to be.
Dave pulls away.
You chase after him, your disappointment a quiet whine in the back of your throat when he stops you with a gentle hand. "We should," and his voice is hoarse, his breathing uneven, and Dave self-consciously clears his throat before continuing. "We should probably go to bed. Shower, then. Bed. Clearly, duh, what else would it even be, we don't want to wake up smelling like ass and teenaged-"
"-sweat a la the only Nirvana song anyone knows." Trailing off to a stop, Dave takes a deep breath. "Yeah?"
Chuckling, you shake your head. "Yeah, alright. If it bothers you that much, you go take a shower and then we'll go to sleep. I'll get mine in the morning. But you're sleeping up here, got it?"
"Got it like a … yeah, okay I got nothing there. That's just sad. This is what you've brought me to, John. You've left me without my winding metaphors and we all know I'm nothing without them." You laugh as Dave extrapolates wildly, wandering out of your room and down the hallway, his voice fading off as he goes.
You touch your mouth, marveling at all the new ways your lips tingle and how warm they feel.
You can't seem to stop smiling.
Remembered warmth skitters and plays along your skin, and you are almost wobbly and coltish as you make your way easily across the meager distance to your bed. You change into pajamas while Dave is busy elsewhere, burrowing under the blankets.
(You make sure to leave plenty of room for Dave, though.)
The mattress shifts as Dave sits down on it, then stretches out. His knees knock into yours, and you can't help but to smile into the darkness. You feel his breath on your face a moment later, the soft, sweet press of his lips against your own welcome.
"So, we're a thing now, right?" Dave asks, hushed and breathless.
"Yeah, we are," you whisper back, heart racing in the best way. "Night, Dave."
He shifts around. You hear him flip a blanket over himself before he urges you to roll over, your back facing him. Quietly, he presses himself against you, his breath rustling the short hairs at the nape of your neck. "Night, John."
Eventually you settle down enough for sleep. One of Dave's arms is under your head, the other a solid brand of warmth along your sternum as he holds you close to him. His knees are tucked up behind yours. Even his feet are tangled with yours. Closing your eyes, you relax back, pulling his hand up under your chin, and you realize as you fall asleep that you feel…
Time passes. You don't want to say that you've lost hope in regaining your sight because that's not quite right. It's more like… you've lost your sense of urgency about it. Nothing's happening with your head, so you might as well get used to it, right?
(Though it still hurts, and you still ache to think that there are things you'll never see.)
Dr. Serket reassures you that this is completely normal, and even though part of you wants to ask to stop the sessions, since nothing is working, it's almost freeing to have someone you can just vent to.
"So, how does this even work, anyway?" you burst out one day. "What, am I supposed to just keep sitting here and talk and expect my eyes to just… work again? Is that all there is to it?"
Dr. Serket is quiet for a moment before she answers. "I presume you're talking about conversion disorder? Every case is different, John, and it's a very inexact disorder. Under most circumstances, once you are able to process the trauma that caused your synapses to misfire, there is a possibility that you might be able to see again."
You scowl. "Simple as that?"
"I'm sure you can tell by now that it isn't that simple at all, John. Talking through the accident until you become comfortable with it may not be the best solution, but it is the only one we really have right now."
There's a part of you that desperately wants to argue. You want to cross your arms and huff and pout and whine until you get what you want, but as soon as you recognize the urges, they dissipate. Instead, you just sigh and nod and grit your teeth and bear it.
The sessions continue. Dr. Serket is remarkably down to earth, once she stops talking and gets around to actually focusing on the therapy rather than the theory of it all, and you like the way she talks about your blindness. Like it's something that can possibly be conquered, but isn't a detrimental part of you.
You are, however, no closer to your sight coming back.
Dr. Serket pats your hand consolingly, telling you that all these things take time. But you're able to think about the accident again. You can admit to the fact that your father isn't with you anymore, but Bro and Dave are. It helps. To remember that they love you. It makes realizing that you survived an easier truth to swallow.
(When you say that to Dave, he kisses you, your eyelids, holds you tightly against his wiry frame, and that makes the last of your tension drop away. You don't cry. You're beyond that, but the guilt and relief are still difficult to breathe through.)
(So of course, when you say it to Terezi and Sollux, they scoff quietly before Terezi tugs you into a hug. You spend the rest of the class period holding some part of them - Sollux's arm, Terezi's hand - and the smile on your face hurts, as does the aching in your chest, but you turn your attention to your friend's laughing and you do not think about it.)
Things are getting better.
Slowly but surely.
This is your life. And you are getting used to it.
So you're not exactly sure what you're expecting when you open your eyes one day and you can see the blurred sprawl of sunlight against your ceiling, but panic definitely isn't it. You squeeze your eyes shut, take a deep breath. For the first time, the darkness behind your eyelids is comforting. You breathe in. Out. Okay. So. Sight. Definitely a thing that is happening. You should be happy. You should look around for the first time in almost a year now. Instead, you don't want to open your eyes.
You have to see Dave. And you have to see him first.
With ease of long practice (haha, will you ever describe anything as 'blindly' again? Probably not. That lost its meaning a year ago, started being funny a few months later, with you, Terezi, and Sollux cackling madly over your shared secret world), you find your way off the bed with your eyes still tightly shut, feet searching out the familiar safe path across the room. Alright. First to your desk. You find the blocky shape of your glasses and slide them on before heading to the door. It's easy. Ten steps, hand out for the doorknob, and open.
"Dave?" you call, almost uncertain, one hand curled around the doorframe. There's the slightest shuffle of socks on carpet as Dave walks upstairs towards you. You bite your lip, heart pounding hard and high in your throat, anticipation making you so fucking dizzy.
"Yeah, what is it, dude?"
"C-Can you come here? I … I need you."
There's a brief halt in the footsteps and you can practically hear the confusion and sudden spike of worry from Dave. You don't say that you're quietly freaking out, or that the idea of seeing him is exhilarating and terrifying, or that seeing him, making him the first thing you look at again, will probably make you cry. You adjust the now-unfamiliar glasses resting on your nose. You'd feel bad about worrying him, but panicked laughter is starting to bubble up your throat.
You can see.
You hear Dave come to a stop in front of you, and his hands are there on your shoulders. You lean into the contact, drinking in his presence the only way you're used to anymore. You. Should open your eyes. You don't know what to do. God, you've waited for this for so long and now you're absolutely paralyzed.
"Dude, what's wrong?"
Here's what you know about Dave:
He's a great singer.
He washes his clothes almost neurotically, and thus he constantly smells like detergent and aftershave and whatever scent Dave's skin naturally puts off.
He still wears those shades you gave him years ago.
His hands are ridiculously warm, and constantly there if you (when you) need them.
He moved from Texas for you.
He made his brother move from Texas for you.
His voice is the only thing that can get you back to sleep after some nightmares you have.
He holds your hands when you sleep in his bed. Or when he sleeps in yours.
He's very good at kissing.
Here's what you don't know about Dave:
What he looks like, because somehow, in all this time you've known each other, the idea of sending each other pictures never crossed your minds.
You take a few steadying breaths, Dave's hands warm on your shoulders, his worried voice coming out clear even through the reckless pounding of your heart. It's just his face, you think desperately. You've waited years for this already.
"John?" you hear Dave ask and shit, his voice is shaking. You're probably worrying him with how tightly squeezed shut your eyes are. And by how you haven't said a damn word yet.
You open your eyes.
The world takes a while to focus (you're a bit out of practice, and your prescription probably isn't good anymore), but there are sunglasses set in a pale face, blond hair feathering across his forehead, there's Dave. Your hands are shaking as you touch his face, starting at the familiar warmth of him.
You can finally put a face to his name and voice, and he's perfect. Wetness slides down your cheeks; you don't bother to brush off your tears because fuck it, this is worth it. Carefully, because you're not used to seeing anymore, distances have gotten a little harder to judge, you brush your thumb across the bridge of his nose, under his glasses, and yes, this is the face you've come to know and love. Dave seems entirely confused and is just about to say something when you hiccup, a little wet laugh.
"You have freckles," you whisper, overwhelmed.
You can see how wide his eyes are behind his shades, and it makes you smile. Carefully, you take his sunglasses off, searching his startlingly carmine eyes with your own. "You have freckles everywhere, Dave. Why didn't you tell me I could play Connect the Dots with your face?"
Dave quirks an eyebrow (but you hear the offended snort he makes), and he awkwardly shrugs, and oh, you can see his pulse pounding in his throat, stuttering and fast like a bird's. God, everything seems to be so sharp and so out-of-focus all at once. You're making yourself slightly dizzy. "Oh yeah, man, that's fucking awesome, great, let's use Dave's face as a game board, everyone come and pla-"
He shuts up almost instantly. You didn't know that his eyes could get that round, and you convulse with a dry sob, your hand shaking against his face, your chest tight. "God, you're perfect," you whisper. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Immediately, Dave replies, "It never really came up," before he searches your face, and it's almost comforting that he seems just as lost as you are. "Can you really…?"
You nod, stroking his hair, his cheek, his neck with trembling fingertips.
"Hey, chickadees, what's with the town meeting on the stairs?"
Dave half-turns, not moving too far away from you, and you examine the tall, broad man behind him. You notice the gray lightly peppering his blond hair; his loose, easy stance; the dark eyes behind his pointed (completely ridiculous) shades (seriously, how do these two even think they're remotely cool. It's a mystery to you.) You smile again, though the expression is wobbly and it feels as though it is about to slide right off your face. "Hi, Bro. Nice to see you."
He cocks an eyebrow at you. The train of thoughts he has is plainly evident on his face before he snorts, grins widely.
"Well damn, kid, good for you."
And there is laughing and Dave sweeps you into a tight hug. Bro claps you on the shoulder, shakes you, and you pretend you can't see the relief etched into his features. There is talk about going to dinner or lunch or somewhere in celebration and how it's going to be your pick, but for now? For now, you close your eyes, bury your face in the crook of Dave's neck and breathe him in.
You think to yourself that you are very glad you are alive.
Alrighty! Now that I'm done with this, I invite you all to go to my AO3 (username zenelly) and take a gander at my other DaveJohn fic (Never) What You Wanted! You're all lovely 3