John: Have the incredibly awkward conversation.

Nooooo, you really don't want to do that. Of all the things you want to do today, that's somewhere on the bottom of the list.

But you figure that you kinda have to, because otherwise you'll have Rose bitching at you (passive-aggressively or not) and Bro trying to cut your spleen out. Plus, y'know, you really don't want to make Dave feel bad. He's your bro, and you don't want to lose him over something as petty as sexual preferences.

Luckily, though, you have your Exploring Media Arts class at nine this morning, and you're up and out of your dorm before Dave has even woken up.

You swear you're not running away from your problems, just taking a moment to strategise. That's why you've currently got a grand total of zero notes written down, and you've barely listened to a word that the professor is saying. That might come back to bite you, but you figure you'd rather have your best friend than a perfect mark.

By the time the end of the lecture rolls around at eleven, you're almost totally sure about how you're going to handle this…

Okay, you're a filthy liar. You sit on a throne of lies. You've agonised over the upcoming conversation with Dave for two hours, and the issue you're having is that you don't know how he's feeling about the whole thing.

Pulling out your phone as you head towards a café for the breakfast you missed earlier in the morning, you look back over last night's quick conversation with Dave. His "dont worry about it" really isn't that convincing, or maybe it is. You don't know. Text on a page isn't the greatest way to tell how someone's feeling, but it's the only thing you've got to go on right now.

Is he embarrassed about getting caught like that? Is he angry about your total lack of awareness? Does he honestly just not give a flying fuck?

Well, no matter what, you figure he'll at least outwardly act like he doesn't have a single fuck to give. You've known him too long to expect anything else from the cool kid.

Slumping into a chair in the corner of the café, you let your head fall against the table and groan. You're too awkward to hold a conversation like this, and that's one of the reasons you're dreading it.

At least you've got your Working With Words class to figure things out before you and Dave are both done with classes for the day.

…You're a little bit fucked, you think.


Be done with classes for the day.

Your heart is almost pounding out of your chest as you head up to your dorm. You think a couple of people say hi to you as you walk past, but you barely hear them over the sound of your thoughts.

This is it.

The face off (heh).

Taking a deep breath, you let yourself into your dorm. The first thing you see is Dave sprawled across the beaten-up couch in the small front room, reading some kind of photography magazine. His head turns towards you, eyes covered by his shades, and your stomach drops because you have no idea what he's thinking.

And then he just casually nods at you, voice utterly normal as he says, "S'up, Egbert. How's shit?"

You blink at him a couple of times, and then your entire body starts to shake as you break into hysterical laughter. Leaning back into the door, you're actually struggling to breathe as you laugh yourself stupid.

Dave's looking at you, eyes just visible over the tops of his shades, and it's obvious that he thinks you're crazy. "Must'a been a good day then."

You finally manage to bring yourself under control, but you're still leaning against the door and panting. You're not entirely sure why you reacted like that. Maybe it's because you were so worried about things being weird, and beating yourself up so badly about it.

In any case, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off your chest.

"Jesus, Dave. I've been so worried that everything would be totally awkward after…well, y'know, after last night." You reach up to run a hand through your hair, huffing out a sigh of relief.

He lets the magazine fall against his chest, one pale eyebrow lifting inquisitively. "It's only gonna be awkward if you let it get that way."

Walking over to the couch, you shove his legs out of the way and sit down. He immediately puts his feet in your lap, a position that you're actually pretty used to. The one time you bitched about it, he told you to get used to it or stop interrupting his Strider Sprawl.

Seriously.

The casual familiarity of it draws away the rest of your anxiety, and you relax back into the couch.

Now that you're comfortable, you find the words coming out more easily, and totally unlike anything you'd planned to say.

"Dave, I don't want things to change between us. Yeah, I was feeling pretty awkward last night, but that's mainly because it…it was kinda unexpected." You then quickly add, "But not in a bad way! Just a shocked way."

Dave snorts out a laugh, shaking his head. "Yeah, well at least you kept your mouth shut and didn't scare off my hook-up. We cool?"

"Yeah," you say, utterly relieved. "We're cool. So make sure Rose knows it."

"What's she up to now?" Dave asks suspiciously, but there's a smirk playing on his lips.

You feel yourself blushing a little bit, and your eyes drop to his bare feet in your lap. "I…might've messaged her last night, freaking out a bit. She psychoanalysed some sense into me, then threatened to sic Bro onto me if I hurt your feelings."

Dave laughs. He full-blown, uncaringly laughs out loud at your utter embarrassment. "Shit, I'm gonna have to pretend that you totally tore me to shreds over this now. I really wanna see her try and make Bro do anything."

"Oh my god," you yelp, slapping him on the leg. "You can't throw me under the bus like that! I can't stand up to your crazy ninja brother, Dave. He'll gut me, Dave. Do you want that on your conscience? Dave, do you?"

"But then I'll be able to bang randoms in here without worrying about you walking in. Not really seeing a downside here." Dave digs his heels painfully into your thigh, and you shove his legs off. He's sitting up in a flash, grabbing you by the shoulders and tossing you to the floor.

You flail a little bit, grabbing his forearms and taking him with you. The pair of you end up lying next to each other on the floor, legs propped up on the couch. You're grinning like a fool, and under his cool exterior, you're pretty sure Dave is too.

"Okay, one question," you get out before you have time to stop and think about what you're going to say. "Are you into giving or taking?"

Dave's glasses fell off during the quick tussle, and so you can tell that he's staring at you pretty intensely. Maybe you went too far…should you apologise? Say that you know it's none of your business?

"Maybe you should find that out for yourself." Oh, fuck. He's smouldering at you. Dave Strider is smouldering at you, all super intense eyes and low, charming Texan tone.

You're…feeling more than a little uncomfortable right about now.

"Holy fuck, the look on your face! That's fuckin' glorious!" And now he's laughing at you. Again.

"Not. Cool," you mutter, awkwardly reaching across to punch him in the arm. He doesn't retaliate, just looks around for his shades and slaps them onto his face. Giving you one last smirk, he picks himself up off the floor.

"Well, if touchy-feeling-sharing time is over, I've got shit to do. See you in the dining hall for dinner?"

"Yeah," you grin, looking right up at him standing over you.

"Cool. Later," he responds, stepping over you and out of the dorm. You're still grinning when you eventually stand up, and your good mood lasts even as you slog through almost a hundred pages of class readings.