So this started out small and turned into this 6500 word monster of a thing. I love writing in Dave's voice. :)

Title: The Heart Grows Fonder

Pairing(s): DaveJohn, DirkJake

Universe: No SBurb Session

Warnings: None

Disclaimer: Homestuck belongs to Andrew Hussie


Something is making noise. What the hell. You make a muffled noise and yank the pillow tighter over your head, but the noise continues. It's a loud, thudding beat and it takes you a minute to recognize it as your cell phone.

With a deep groan that muffles into the pillows, you force yourself up on your elbows and squint at the clock.

Oh, it's two-fifteen. In the morning.

Wait.

What.

Oh, if this is Dirk on the phone, you're going to throw some pants on, grab one of those shitty swords you keep hanging on the wall and kick his ass.

You slither your hand out of the warm cocoon you've created for yourself and grab your phone, which hasn't stopped thudding music and why, why did you pick that awful rap song as your ringtone? Rose was right – you should have picked the pre-programmed waterfall ringtone.

It's not your brother, unless he's calling from an unknown number. From Washington. What the actual hell.

"'lo?" You clear your throat, trying to get rid of the groggy thick sleep that seems to be lodged in your voice box. "Hello?"

There's a brief pause. "Uh… hello?"

The voice is higher than yours, but definitely male. You rub your eyes as you roll onto your back. "Hi."

"Uh, is this…" There's the rustling of papers. "… is, erm, Vriska home?"

Vriska. You've never heard this name before. "Wrong number, guy."

"Wait, this isn't uh, 555-867-5309?"

You blink for a second, trying to remember your own phone number. At this point, you're having problems remembering your name, let alone a string of numbers. Your brain feels sluggish with sleep, like you're trying to think through a swamp of molasses. "Uh, no that's this number."

"Oh." The voice seems a bit downtrodden. "She must have given me… maybe she made a mistake?"

You almost groan and just manage to hold it in. "Look guy, she obviously gave you a burn number. A burn number that happens to be my number. You woke me up." You can't keep the pout out of your voice – you're aware you sound a bit like a little kid but come on, he woke you up in the middle of the night!

"Oh, geez, I'm so sorry, guy! Uh, what's your name?"

You glance at the clock again and wonder if you could still get back to sleep before you have to get to work. "Dave."

"Well, hi, Dave, nice to meet you! My name's John."

"Hi." You grind out, kneading your eyes with the heel of your hand. "Look, John, I'm sorry about your girl, but I gotta work in… ugh, four hours, so…" You trail off meaningfully.

"Oh, geez, that's awful, where do you work?"

You almost smack yourself in the face. "I deliver stuff. Drive a truck. Drop off packages. Driving. It's dangerous stuff. Requires lots of focus and concentration. Which I get by sleeping."

John laughs, a clear, easy sound. "Alright, alright, I'm getting the message. Sorry about all this, Dave. Good luck getting back to sleep." He pauses, and you take a breath to say goodbye when he pipes up again. "You know, if you're having trouble sleeping, my Nanna always used to make me a glass of warm milk. Works like a charm."

You let your hand thunk to the bed. "I'll try and remember that. Sorry about your girl."

John makes a noise that sounds like a shrug. "It's ok. She was kind of all over this other girl last night anyway."

"Hot."

"Right? Probably should have seen it coming." John laughs. "Well, anyway, night, Dave. Sleep tight!"

You feel one corner of your mouth tilt up. "Night, man."

There's a rustle and then a beep as the call is ended. You pull your phone away from your ear and blink blearily at the bright screen. The numbers glow at you. You consider them for a moment before setting the phone back on your nightstand and worming back into your blanket burrito, yanking a pillow over your head.

It takes approximately forty-two seconds of lying completely still before you roll onto your back. You fling the blankets off your body and roll languidly onto the ground, straightening up and padding easily toward the kitchen. Hopefully that half a gallon of milk you're thinking of that should be in the door next to the apple juice hasn't expired yet.


You hate your life right now. You really really do, down to these tacky brown shorts that the office makes you wear. You hold out the clipboard again, teeth gritted. "Please, ma'am, I just need your signature."

"No, but really though. Are those shorts standard issue or did you just have them lying around?" She snickers. You resist the urge to say something about her blindingly red sunglasses and just thrust the clipboard back at her.

"Look, Pyrope, just sign the damn—"

"Ooo, gonna start cussing at me now, cool kid?"

"Damn it, Terezi, I got other deliveries to make."

Terezi cackles. "Yeah, yeah, I'm just giving you a hard time." She leans over and signs the form with a flourish. You snatch the pen back from her and stick your tongue out. She gives you a friendly punch on the shoulder and you head back towards your truck. Terezi Pyrope and you have been friends since high school and the years after hadn't stopped her messing with you and your stupid brown delivery shorts.

You throw your clipboard into the truck and hoist yourself up. You let your head rest against the steering wheel and sigh. It's ten thirty in the morning and you still have seven more deliveries to make before you can stop for lunch.

Man, your job blows.

You pull your phone out of your pocket – maybe you can get away with only making a couple more deliveries before lunch—when you notice you have an unread text message. The number looks vaguely familiar, but it's not one you have in your address book. Frowning, you open it.

"hey, Dave! I just wanted to say sorry again for waking you up last night. . Bleh. this is why I don't let karkat drag me out to the bars. I so don't need to branch out – there's nothing wrong with a night of ice cream and a Community marathon. oh geez, haha, that sounds pathetic doesn't it? XD oh this is rambly too. Sorry. Hope you're having fun delivering packages! John"

You stare at the rambling, chatty message and try and remember who John is. A smooth voice and a clear laugh tugs at the back of your mind and you grin. Oh yeah. Wrong-number guy. John.

You think about it for a second – you can't just not acknowledge him. He was nice enough to apologize. You tap the chat box and, thinking for a moment, type a reply.

"no problem dude don't worry about it. and im not having fun. deliveries suck the big one and I got seven more before I get to eat." You pause for a second before adding one more line. "and community is the shit and don't you let any uncultured swine tell you otherwise."

You stare at the little letters for a second before quickly pressing send. There's a little blip as the message sends and you throw your phone onto the dash before starting the truck and heading for the next address. You resist the urge to check through the first traffic light, reading the license plate of the little VW Bug in front of you six times before the light mercifully turns green and you stomp on the gas pedal.

The next red light is impossibly long and you give up, leaning forward and snatching your phone. One unread message. The light turns green and you make a muffled irritated noise, sticking your phone down between your knees and driving because damn it, you are a damn model for the rest of society and Dave Strider does not text and drive.

It seems to take forever to get to the next house and you throw the truck in park and wiggle your phone out from its rather uncomfortable position plastered to your thigh and swipe your thumb across the screen.

dude wait you watch community are you kidding marry me. literally no one else I know watches it. are you caught up?

You smother a laugh and type your message back quickly.

clearly you need new friends. nah not yet, takin' my sweet ass time working through season two.

You send it and lean over, grabbing your clipboard and checking your address against the one on the package, swinging easily out of the truck to make the delivery.

You climb back into the truck and don't look at your phone. Well, you don't look for about five seconds. Then you snatch it and glance at the screen, but it's only your shitty comic character grinning back at you and you shove it deep in your pocket.

Six more deliveries before lunch. You put the truck in drive.

Your phone buzzes against your thigh.

Maybe this should be weird, texting back and forth with a complete stranger from the other side of the country. But there's something about this John guy, something that makes him easy to talk to. And so far he just seems like a quirky, easy-going goofball with a sharp sense of humor. At least, your famous sense of Strider intuition isn't ringing any alarm bells.

Maybe just one more text.


You kick your front door in hours later with an armful of Chinese food and your key ring firmly between your teeth. You spit the keys at the side table next to the door and shut the door with your foot, bumping it completely shut with your butt. You turn the light on with your elbow and nearly jump out of your fucking skin as something hisses angrily from the living room.

"Turn off the damn light."

"Fuck, Bro." You grumble, using your elbow to switch the light back off. "What the hell are you doing here?" You head towards the kitchen, ignoring the lump of motionless body wrapped up burrito-style in afghans on your sofa.

The afghan burrito grunts. "Tired. Wanted to sleep. You're home late."

"Yeah, I was working. Not all of us managed to score a job working at home messing around with computers all day." You put the Chinese on the counter and start rummaging around for plates. Now that Dirk's here, you'll have to share your dinner. Not that you really care but the last time the both of you tried to share one carton of lo Mein you'd fought an epic chopstick duel to the death that ended with you getting your carpet cleaned.

There's a thud in the living room followed by a pained grunt and you smirk slightly as Dirk pads into the kitchen, his feet bare and his blonde hair sticking up at a weird angle. He's still wrapped in the afghan.

"… Can I have some?"

"Nope, I'm gonna make you watch me eat it."

"Bitch."

"Jerk."

Dirk climbs up onto the stool at the counter and watches you shovel noodles onto a plate with a skill and grace only a Chinese food aficionado would possess. He's quiet, and you sneak a glance at him. He looks worn down and tired, staring blankly at the counter as the afghan slips down from his shoulders. You wonder if he and Jake have been fighting again, but don't want to ask. Honestly, if you had a dollar for every time Dirk showed up on your couch, in your bedroom, in the shower, and that one time he was blithering drunk and locked himself in the hall closet, well, you might be able to spend fewer days in these godforsaken shorts.

You shove the plate towards him and hand him a pair of chopsticks. Dirk takes them and digs into the food. The two of you eat silently for a few minutes before you bite the bullet.

"Fight with Jake?"

Dirk's hand stills and he's quiet for a moment. "Kinda, yeah."

"Sorry."

"Mm."

You continue eating, poking at the food. You slurp a noodle. "Wanna watch cartoons and eat ice cream?"

You meet your brother's eyes and you're relieved to see the half smile cross his face. "Only if I get to pick what we watch."

You snort. "Whatever." You go and rinse your plate before dropping it in the sink. Screw dishes. "Lemme go change."

Dirk quirks an eyebrow at his delivery shorts. "What, outta those beauties? But they make your ass look so delicious."

You stick your tongue out at your brother. "Look all you want, but touchin' costs extra." You wiggle your hips dramatically.

Dirk's chuckles follow you down the hallway as you slip into something more comfortable. You feel like you're forgetting something but you can't quite remember what it is… until you head back for the kitchen and there's Dirk with your phone in his hand and a grin on his face.

"Who's John?"

You gulp. Oh shit. "Just some guy."

Dirk quirks an eyebrow. "Just some guy. Why don't I know him?"

You grab for your phone but Dirk holds it away from you. "Dirk, we are grown ass adults, now gimme my damn phone."

Dirk grins, one hand firmly on your chest as he scrolls the messages. "Holy shit, Bro, you've been texting him all day! Look at all these!"

You glower at your brother. So the one more text you'd wanted to allow yourself had turned into way more than one and the two of you were currently embroiled in a vicious debate over the portrayal of vampires in all the recent movies. It wasn't your fault. Your job is boring and mindnumbing, and the guy's easy to talk to.

Dirk reads the latest message out loud. "'Twilight can suck my dick; there's so many better vampire movies out there. And fricking Teen Wolf portrays werewolves better than Stephanie Meyer. Not that I watch it. Shut up, I can sense you laughing. I've got a sister alright.'" His eyes flick to you and his grin widens. "Dude."

You snatch the phone and shove it into your pocket without responding to the message. You can feel your ears burning and glower at your brother. "Shut up, ok. It was a wrong number."

"You've been texting a wrong number all day? There was at least fifty texts there!"

"He texted me this morning to apologize for waking me up last night, what was I supposed to do, ignore the guy?"

Dirk starts to laugh and you hit him, not gently, in the shoulder, grabbing your plate of Chinese and stomping into the living room. Dirk follows after you and flops onto the couch, your shoulders touching. He leans over you to grab the remote and shuffles the afghan onto your laps. You take a bigger than necessary bite of your Chinese while Dirk clicks around the TV quietly for a second.

You wait for the inevitable.

"So. What's he like?"

You sigh. "Bro, calm down, alright, I'm not marrying the guy. We just talked today. He seems cool. It's no big deal, alright. Probably never talk to him again. Guy lives in friggin' Washington."

Dirk slurps a noodle and you fall into a comfortable silence, watching Cops and munching Chinese food. You're not focusing on the burly police officer on the screen though – you're thinking about John. What do you actually know about him? You know he lives in Washington. You know he's got a goofy sense of humor, loves Nick Cage movies and hates sweets. He's got a tech-savvy sister and a loud-mouthed best friend. He's twenty-two and hates his job at the bakery almost as much as you hate your stupid delivery job.

You glance to your right and find that Dirk has his eyes closed, his chopsticks limp in his hand as he breathes evenly and you smile slightly. For as much as your Bro can be a sarcastic little shit, he's a good guy. You lean over and gently pluck the chopsticks from his fingers and put them on the table, pushing up off the couch and clicking off the television. Dirk snuffles slightly in his sleep and you roll your eyes.

Carefully, you pick your way through the dim living room and towards your bedroom. You nudge your door shut with your foot gently and stand for a moment in the darkness of your room, thinking about your day. Thinking about John. Not for the first time today, you wished he just lived near you so you could see this guy and make sure he wasn't a total whack job. That, and he seemed like the perfect companion to devour Will Farrell's entire movie career and a shitload of cheap takeout food.

As though it heard your thoughts, your phone buzzes against your hip and you dig it out of your pocket, the bright screen momentarily blinding you as you blink at the message.

"hey dude I got the early shift tomorrow so im gonna hit it. you know, in case you text back and I don't answer. but hey idk if you have a pesterchum account but if you do, ectoBiologist is my handle. you should hit me up! you know, if you want. anyway… night!"

You stare at your phone, and then turn to look at your desk, where your computer is sitting in all its high tech glory, and then back at your phone. A sort of frustrated helplessness descends on you and you bite back a groan, heading for the desk. You throw your phone onto the bed behind you and fire up your trusty computer. This thing's been your companion through your WOW phase, all your shitty comics, that time you did nothing but take stupid selfies, and most importantly, has held the most extensive collection of system emulators and ROMs the world has ever known.

It takes a frustratingly long time for the computer to warm up, a time that leaves you glancing at the clock and tapping your thigh restlessly.

Finally, you open pesterchum, glancing quickly at your friend list. Rose is online, off in New York City. Your sister lives in an expensive flat with her high-fashion girlfriend, quickly garnering fame and notoriety from her online blog where she critiques everything from fashion to food to movies with her tongue-in-cheek, sassy sweetness.

You look at her name for a second, feeling a pang of longing in your gut.

On the one hand, you were thrilled to death that Rose had followed her dream, and she and Kanaya made the sexiest, sassiest pair in the country. On the other hand, you missed your sister with the kind of ache in your bones that weighs your entire body down. It's the kind of ache that rises up into your blood and swirls up into your throat, making a lump as hard as a rock when you think about the pillow forts you used to build, where you'd steal all of Dirk's puppets and create massive structures in the living room, hiding from your older siblings all day, listening to music while Rose read big words at you from the textbooks she'd pick up from garage sales.

You're certain that, were Rose here, she'd know exactly what to do about your new texting buddy and whether or not wanting to talk to him was weird. She'd know how to handle Dirk's spiraling relationship with his boyfriend, because that is one area where you are way out of your depth.

Before you can chat your sister, however, she goes offline, her screen name darkening. You sigh and glance at your other sister's name. Roxy is travelling the world right now, and last you heard is somewhere in Spain, drinking sangria and loving life. Her screen name is also dark, but Roxy rarely just sits around on her computer anymore, and your free-spirited sister's screen name is more often dark than not.

You scroll the rest of your dark friends list briefly before clicking on the search bar and typing in John's screen name. One result pops up – John Egbert, 22, Washington State. That has to be him.

You click the profile and skim the rest of the information. It's sparse, the personal info set on private. It has his name, John Egbert, his age, his location, and the date he began this pesterchum account. You hesitate for a second before clicking the private message key.

"Hey… dude…" You speak as you type, tongue between your teeth. "This is Dave. From the texting." You frown at your words. That sounds stupid. You backspace. "This is Dave… No. This is Dave Strider. Figured we should probably be pesterchum friends. Really get this friendship rolling." You examine the words for a second and then add a smiley face wearing a pair of flashing sunglasses. Perfect. You hit send before you can second guess yourself and quickly click the friend button.

Friend request sent!

You examine your computer, feeling strangely off kilter for a moment longer before jabbing the button on the monitor. The computer goes dark and you push yourself out of your desk chair and throw yourself onto your bed, burying yourself under your blankets and pillows until no part of you is exposed to the air.

You think about Rose in New York and Roxy in Europe. You think about Dirk, asleep out on the sofa in the living room, and his boyfriend, who'd be sleeping alone tonight in their apartment across town. You think about your delivery job and how much you hate it, and you think about John, in Washington.

It takes you a long time to fall asleep.


Almost two months pass. You start talking to John on pesterchum. After a few awkward, stilted conversations exchanging pleasantries, things suddenly click over a conversation about the inherent creepiness in Pinocchio and the two of you are chatting like you've known each other forever. John sends you a gif of two babies jamming out to a guitar and you retaliate with a gif of an irritated otter attempting to match shapes, which starts a gif war that lasts for two weeks until you both agree to truce over a few of the most terrifying Sherlock gifs either of you have ever seen.

It takes you approximately a week to decide that this guy was rapidly climbing your metaphorical friend ladder to hold an important spot right near the top. It takes you another two weeks to realize that maybe you might like this guy kind of a lot holy shit when did that happen. It takes roughly another month and a half for you to have the sudden realization, sitting alone in your apartment eating Lucky Charms in your underwear, that holy fuck you have a crush on him. A full blown, honest-to-God, butterflies in the stomach, hysterical giggles kind of crush.

You sit, mouth open as the soggy marshmallows fall from the spoon into the sugary milk in your bowl and promptly feel your entire face turn red. You, Dave Strider, have somehow managed to develop a crush on some guy who lives in a different time zone. In fact, despite the constant pesters, the two of you still have yet to actually exchange any sort of physical information. After all, you don't have a Facebook and John's told you he barely uses his. For all you know, this guy is the most successful troll/ serial killer ever and he's actually fifty-seven, divorced and hairy, and lives in his aging mother's basement where he plays copious amounts of World of Warcraft and eats a lot of Cheetos.

Alright, Dave. You tell yourself to cool it and take several deep breaths and eat another spoonful of Lucky Charms. Tonight when you get online, you'll just ask John for a picture.

… But then what if he thinks you're like, a total creep who's demanding nudes?

Not that that's what you'd be expecting! You just want to see his face!

… Not that you haven't wondered what he'd look like naked.

Not that you have! You don't even know what he looks like!

This is so confusing, and your young, virile sex drive is not exactly helping. You eat another spoonful of cereal, blushing to the tips of your ears. On the TV, Tom chases Jerry around a billiards table with a cue, trying to jab the little mouse as he dives into the pockets.

You stand up, resolving to just casually bring it up the next time you two are on pesterchum together. If you know John, and you like to think you'd gotten to know him pretty well in the past couple of months, then he's been wondering what you look like too. You carry your bowl to the kitchen, lost in your thoughts, and nearly jump out of your skin when your cell phone explodes with noise, buzzing and singing merrily on the counter next to the sink.

You let out a breath, shoving the bowl into the sink and grabbing your cell phone.

"'Sup."

"Bro." Dirk sounds cheerful. "Hey, man, you busy tonight?"

You're relieved to hear from Dirk, relieved that he sounds cheerful and that things with him and Jake appear to have improved a bit. Dirk hasn't had to sleep on your couch in several weeks and you're praying that those two idiots have worked out whatever it was they were fighting about.

You think. You're off work today and tomorrow, and aren't exactly planning on doing anything that night except catch up on Supernatural. You're halfway through season six and, according to John, the French Mistake is one of the best episodes in the entire series. Needless to say, you have some high expectations.

"Uh, no?"

"Good. You're coming to dinner tonight with me and Jake."

You freeze in the middle of your kitchen and wish that you were wearing pants. This feels like a 'should be wearing pants' conversation. "Dude."

"No, calm down. There'll be other people there. Jake's cousins and sister are coming down to Texas to visit and we're all going out and you're coming. Come on. It'll be fun. You need to go do things. Talk to people. Separate from your computer screen for a few hours."

You snort. "You're one to talk, asshole." You think about it. "Where are we going? Not someplace shitty."

"Nah, you know that new rib place on the corner?"

Your eyes widen and you lean against the counter, suddenly interested. "The one with the ads with the busty chick and the barbeque sauce dripped in her—"

"That's the one."

Alright. You're sold. You've been dying to try that barbeque sauce ever since you saw that commercial in a semi-drunk haze three weeks ago. "Fine. I'm in."

"Perfect. My place, six thirty."

"Got it."

You hang up and immediately scroll to John's name. Should you text him, let him know you've got plans for the night?

You immediately decide that's a stupid idea because you're not actually dating. You remind yourself, again, that you don't know what he looks like and decide to go shower. If you plan your day right, you can still get in an episode of Supernatural before you have to leave for Dirk's.


Six-thirty on the dot you roll up to Dirk and Jake's apartment, wearing your favorite t-shirt and sporting a cool pair of shades. You can already taste the sweet sweet barbeque sauce on your tongue and decide that, no matter how weird Jake's relatives inevitably turn out to be, you can deal with it if you get ribs out of the deal.

You head up the steps and jab the call button for 413. There's a beat before Dirk's voice buzzes over the intercom.

"Yeah?"

You lean forward. "Bro, lemme in."

"Come on up."

Bzzt. The door clicks open and you push your way inside, thinking about barbeque. You head up the elevator, examining your reflection in the kinda grimy mirrored walls. You try for a totally ironic cool guy hair flip and almost fling your sunglasses off your face. You grab at them, shoving them back onto your nose as the elevator reaches the fourth floor, silently thanking God that no one saw that before padding your way towards Dirk's apartment.

You open the door without knocking. "I'm here, stop making out." You announce cheekily, ducking perfectly to avoid the throw pillow that Dirk chucks at your head. It hits the door behind you and you kick it into the hallway in revenge.

"Hallo, Dave!" Jake grins at you from the open bathroom door, a toothbrush in his hand and toothpaste in his mouth. He hasn't quite lived in Texas long enough to pick up the signature accent yet. That, and Jake's kind of annoying habit of talking like he belongs in an old James Bond flick has given him the weirdest accent you've ever heard. But hey, Dirk looks at him with this besotted look like he hangs the fucking moon in the sky when Jake's got his back turned, so you suppose you can deal.

You give Jake your patented cool-guy half wave half salute and he continues brushing his teeth. Dirk fist bumps you.

"So there's gonna be you, me and Jake, and then Jake's two cousins, and his sister Jane."

"Cool."

Jake spits tooth paste into the sink and crosses the living room towards Dirk, wrapping a hug around him from behind. "Minty fresh now?" He asks, pouting, and Dirk turns around and catches his lips in an easy kiss.

You make the appropriate gagging noises, pretending to choke yourself and dramatically dropping to the floor. Sometimes you really feel like you've blessed the world too much by being so mature. Dirk kicks you gently in the rib cage and you gurgle at him.

"Get up, asshole, we're gonna be late."

"Can't. Died. Your PDA killed me. Look at what you did. Murderer. Your own totally cooler-than-you brother. How could you."

Dirk grabs his keys off the side table. "Barbeque sauce."

Your eyes pop open. "Look at that, revived and ready to go. You're a life saver, Bro."

Dirk ignores you and you bounce after them down the hall, thinking barbeque sauce kinds of thoughts.

It takes fifteen minutes to get to the restaurant, which is relatively full for it being a Saturday night. Jake mentions the reservations to the hostess, who looks a strange combination of harried and bored, and she takes you to a large booth in the back corner of the restaurant near the bathrooms. A waiter walks buy with a tray piled high with ribs and you almost drool a wading pool down around your knees. They smell delicious and you are so fucking excited for these ribs oh my god.

You're sitting with an open booth seat next to you. Dirk and Jake are across from you, pressed together and sharing a menu and you squash the urge to roll your eyes.

"Jake!"

The three of you look up to find two girls beaming at you. The one who'd spoken, the girl on the left, is short, with cropped dark hair and a mischievous look in her eyes. You vaguely catch a glimpse of sibling resemblance between her and Jake before Jake is grinning, up on his feet and sweeping her into a hug.

"Janey!" He plants a kiss on her cheek and she whacks him affectionately in the back of the head. The other girl, her companion, rolls her eyes to the ceiling.

"Stay away from me, English!" She orders, squealing as Jake ignores her and scoops her to him to kiss her forehead. She's cute, about your height roughly with an overbite and startling green eyes, intelligent behind her glasses. Jake motions towards you.

"This is Dirk's younger brother, Dave. Dave, this is my cousin Jade and my sister Jane."

Jade gives you a cool-guy 'sup' kind of head nod and you like her instantly. Dirk greets Jane with a kiss on the cheek and waves at Jade.

"Where's John?"

You blink, thinking for a second that the question was directed at you, and automatically find your phone in your pocket, checking for unread messages surreptitiously under the table. There are none, and you shove your phone deep into your pocket, grabbing at your water glass and taking a gulp. You realize that Dirk had been talking to Jade, who was shrugging, and you're irritated with yourself for checking your phone. John's a pretty common name after all.

"I dunno, we made him park the car. He should be—"

"There you guys are!"

Every head at the table looks towards the voice and oh.

Oh.

Damn, he's cute.

The guy scurrying towards your table is shorter than you by maybe five inches, and has a mess of dark hair that looks like he's been standing around in a heavy windstorm. He's got the same overbite as his sister, and is wearing a white t-shirt with some kind of alien type thing on the front of it. He reaches the table and you fight the urge to sink into your shoulders or maybe flee to the bathroom.

He grins and you hate Dirk a little bit before he turns to Jade and pouts at her. "I can't believe you made me park the car. It took me forever to find a spot!"

Jade shrugs innocently and everyone scoots around the table to make room. John, as luck would have it, ends up on your bench, squashed next to you as Jade pushes you both against the wall in order to squeeze in on the end.

"Oof!" John laughs lightly and something stirs in the back of your mind, some memory insistently trying to get your attention. You ignore it as Dirk glances around the table.

"Uh, John, I think Dave's the only one you don't know… That's my Bro, Dave. Dave, this is Jake's cousin, John."

John glances sideways at you quickly, looking briefly startled before the expression vanishes. "Hey, Dave, nice to meet you!"

You manage a half nod and gulp water. Conversation quickly picks up as Jane and Jade launch into a verbal abuse of Jake for never calling them while Dirk smirks into his water glass.

Next to you, John is quiet, fiddling with something in his lap. A casual glance downwards tells you it's his cell phone and you look away, not wanting to creep on his text message. You wonder if you should say something to him, but can't really think of anything to bring up that's not somehow related to your John. Washington John.

In your pocket, your phone buzzes once against your hip.

Your hand freezes on your water glass and you glance once again to your side, where John is now turning his phone over and over in his fingers.

No way.

You wedge your arm between the two of you and dig your phone out of your pocket, swiping your thumb across the screen.

One new message.

"hey, so you're never gonna believe this. Im in texas with my cousin and his boyfriend and his boyfriend's brother's name is… wait for it… Dave. Yeah. Be impressed with my awesome coincidence skills."

You don't move for a solid ten seconds, just staring stupidly at your phone. Next to you, John is flipping his phone over and over on his knee, laughing at something that Jade said. Heart in your throat, you slowly type back.

"well, I must say, egbert, I am thrilled youre not actually a forty-seven year old hairy man in a ramen-stained wife beater."

You wait, holding your breath, as John's phone lights up in his hand and he glances down at it. You watch his face, watch the half smile melt away into a look of confusion before his eyes get impossibly huge and round and suddenly he's staring into your face, lips parted in a tiny "o" of surprise.

"Oh my god!" He shrieks, pointing at you. His elbow hits his water glass in his excitement and it tips over, crashing onto the table and spreading a puddle of water all over the menus. He doesn't seem to notice. "You're…! Dude!"

You can't help it; you start laughing, the absurdity of the situation getting to you as you hold up your phone and show John the messages. John's face splits into a wide grin and then he's laughing too, and neither of you can stop. Everything is suddenly hilarious, from the spilled water to Jake's confused expression to Dirk's smirk to John, pressed comfortably next to you, tears of laughter in his eyes.

-Six Months Later-

You bounce on the balls of your feet, anxious and impatient as all around you, the airport buzzes with people. Men in suits, talking sharply on cell phones, step around mothers trying to cajole their children to the gates while confused teenagers with study abroad stickers all over their luggage consult maps with dazed, slightly panicked expressions. A girl brushes past you, gaze laser focused as she repeats Teach Yourself Chinese phrases to herself desperately, her earbuds firmly in place while a family of four stops near you to argue amongst themselves about which gate number they're supposed to be at.

You don't really notice any of this though, because the arrivals board is blinking little red letters.

FLIGHT DL 1025 SPOKANE, WASHINGTON: ARRIVED

People are filing off the gate, looking bored, ruffled, and a little tired. You cross your arms and then unfold them again, straining your eyes until—

"Dave!"

John's hair is sticking up and he's got a red mark on the side of his face from where he fell asleep on the plan, but he's grinning, waving furiously at you.

You wave back, a lump suddenly rising in your throat as you realize suddenly just how much you've missed him. You shove your way around a businessman and start half walking, half jogging towards the gate. John catches sight of you moving and starts jogging too, until he's nearly full out running and suddenly you're hugging, and you have an armful of John, his nose pressed into the crook of your neck as he clings to you, his backpack hitting the ground with a thump. You stumble backwards, but don't let go.

Hell, you never want to let go.

"Hi." John's voice is breathless, muffled in your neck and you choke out a laugh.

"Hi."

"Hi!"

"Sup?"

John giggles into your neck and in that moment all you want to do is kiss him.

And you know what? You can. There's absolutely nothing in the world stopping you.

So you do, tipping your boyfriend's chin up and kissing him right there in the middle of the airport with people all around you, one hand cupping his chin and the other firmly around his waist. Eventually you'll have to let go, the two of you heading to the luggage racks to grab John's bags and then back to your place, and eventually John will have to head back to Washington, with the coffee and the rain and the stupid other time zone, but for now? For now, you're going to stand here, and you're going to kiss your boyfriend because for now, in this moment, everything is absolutely perfect.


Thanks for reading, all! :)

Cheers!

Pom