A/N: So after watching the Twilight Zone marathon for two days straight, I was struck with an idea and convinced myself to start back up a project from a long time ago, and this is the result of whatever insanity compelled me to listen to myself. Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, and may you be blessed on your journey into the mysterious land of derp.

Warnings: Mild language, and some moderately sensual themes later on ;) and also incomplete arrows due to the site's structure!

Disclaimer: I am not Hussie. I am not even sort of Hussie. If I were, I would be able to say that I own Homestuck and that some serious shipping would happening right now on mspaintadventures. But I'm not. And I don't.

== Be Lackadaisical dude.

Your name is DAVE STRIDER. You are not in fact lackadaisical, as oppose to common misconception; you are LAID-BACK. You tap your foot impatiently, a behavior that is not typical of an indisputably COOL KID like you. Your teacher rambles aimlessly about something or another, but you aren't paying any attention. Because you're laid-back, not lazy.

But the particular reason why you are not learning how to use infinitesimals – a pointless concept, you add – is sitting right next to you. The nerdy, bucktoothed, spectacled reason for your sudden UNCOOL HABITS is staring at the board like the answers to all of life are scribbled out on it instead of calculus. He hasn't once even spared a glimpse at you all throughout class.

== Dave: Check the time.

You glance out the side of your aviators a GIFT from him for your birthday a few years ago – at the clock taunting you. You have exactly twelve minutes until you can finally get out of this shit hole of a school and put your HIGHLY THOUGHT-OUT PLAN into action. Yes, despite your easygoing carelessness, you have devised a plan worthy of every ounce of attention that geek of a BEST FRIEND of yours is wasting on mathematics. You check the clock again, inwardly returning its disdain toward you.

You've had your fair share of CRUSHES. And, being the popular dude you are, you've also had your share of girlfriends. That's just something popular guys have. You have a lot of stuff. A SICK CRIB; an array of EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT; an endless supply of APPLEJUICE, the most heavenly beverage to ever descend upon Earth; and a neat collection of WEIRD, DEAD THINGS are all prized possessions of yours that you wouldn't sacrifice even if the lord himself tried to pry them from your cold, lifeless hands.

But the one thing you don't have is the last thing you would ever have thought that you would have wanted in the first place. You and he used to be completely platonic, but lately you can't even seem to recognize whether or not your own thoughts are comprehensible because they're too focused on him to form clearly. Ever since THE INCIDENT last Christmas, you've been about as coherent about him as that time when you were drugged up to get a tooth pulled. It's not as though you had chosen or even expected to flip the sexuality switch for your lifelong friend, but your emotions are far too complex to be able to rationalize within the short span of time remaining before the bell rings.

The point is that you are DAVE STRIDER, and if you want something you are damn sure going to get it. You wouldn't want to pressure the poor kid, but in this case, you have a hunch that your pursuit might not be fruitless in the end. For as long as you've known him he hasn't had a single girlfriend, and it certainly isn't because of his looks. Though a little disheveled and dorky, his soft facial features and brilliant eyes competing against even the bluest of oceans make up for the overall stereotypical appearance. You wonder briefly how many confessions the kid has received before immediately disregarding such thoughts. You have waited weeks, months,for this opportunity, and you are going to let no obstacle obstruct your long-lasting quest. After THE INCIDENT, your chances are sky-high; no time shall be wasted on exploiting your plan. The target, of course, of your plan is the one thing you want the most, your best friend, the embodiment of all that is herp and derp.

== Be the embodiment of all that is herp and derp.

You cannot be the embodiment of all that is herp and derp because he is too busy learning to notice your attempts.

== Dave: Be anxious.

You already are anxious, not that you'd ever admit that out loud, but you blame your impatience on the most recent command. Not that you know that you're being commanded. You suddenly have the urge to play the Sims when your teacher finally closes her textbook, releasing you from your algebraic hell. You can now employ STEP ONE of your plan.

== Dave: Approach target.

You swing your bag over your shoulder and relax yourself, resurfacing your usual cool façade.

"Sup, John?" you greet casually.

JOHN EGBERT looks up at you with the dipsiest blue eyes ever to meet your dimmed gaze, and smiles.

"Hey, Dave," he replies, gathering his own belongings. "How are you?"

== Dave: Engage in chitchat.

"Eh. The best that you can be after an hour of making the most disappointing connect the dots sheets to ever be unofficially labeled as such," you shrug casually, eliciting a giggle from John. A giggle. Fuck all if that's not the cutest thing you've ever heard.

"Yeah, it gets old. Good thing it's Friday, though!"

"I guess," you say casually. You don't have to continue to specify your casualty, though; you are always casual.

"So, doing anything interesting?" John continues, dopy grin never leaving his face.

== Dave: Exploit STEP ONE.

"Nothing other than the usual training with Bro, and I might just conjure up some ill jams on my turntables," you answer, beginning to leave the room with John following closely behind.

"Sounds exciting."

"Yep, chock-full of fun. Say, Egbert, we haven't hung out in a while. What do you say to gracing the undeserving town tomorrow with our godly presence?"

John's smile fades. Never a good sign. "Well, I don't know if I can. My dad is going to be gone for the weekend."

"Even more of a reason to get out of the house. Come on, man. Represent."

He seems to consider it for a moment. You stare apathetically at him, though he won't be able to see behind your shades. But he'll be able to feel the unnerving telepathic influence.

"Alright, I'll ask."

== Dave: Celebrate success.

You won't celebrate for two reasons: one, he said ASK, not "yes Dave, I will succumb to your inconceivable coolness and partake in sloppy make-outs"; and two, you don't outwardly celebrate. At least not until you're alone.

"Well, my dad's probably here by now," John takes off down the hallway, turning to wave at you. "I'll call you tomorrow, though. Bye, Dave!"

You acknowledge his exit, and begin to leave, yourself. BRO will flip his shit if you don't get home on time, and that can only result in UNNECISSARY STRIFE. Why he doesn't just drive you home, you'll never know.

== Dave: Go home and wait for tomorrow.

Already on your way. You stuff your hands in your pockets and mentally check off the first objective on your non-existing list: STEP ONE, go on a date.

==Previously mentioned herp derp embodiment: Call Dave.

You are not sure if you should be offended or not. You are neither herp nor derp. What ever gave you the idea? You have a name.

==John: Call Dave.

That's more like it. You now dial his number, swinging your legs off your bed. You only have to wait a few rings before he picks up, music pulsing loudly in the receiver.

"Morning, Dave!" you say without hesitation.


"So, guess what!" you wait for whatever sarcastic reply he comes up with this time.

"You finally realized how shitty Nic Cage movies are?" And there it is.

"Never in your lifetime, bud," you laugh. "Best two out of three?"

You hear him hum in pseudo-deliberation. "You're going on a diet consisting solely of Betty Crocker products."

"Ooh, strike two, Strider. Thanks for playing; it's the fun that counts, not the prize."

"Damn, Alex Trebek, stop whooping my ass," Dave says over the clatter of metal, undoubtedly the sound of several swords being shoved out of the way.

"Anyhow, my dad said I can go as long as I'm home before it gets too late." You lie on your back and pick at your nails. You really need to trim them.

"Cool. Mall. One hour."

"Sure thing, Dave. See you then!" you sit up, ending the call before he could reply. Not that he'd reply anyways; he's "too cool for goodbyes".

== Dave: Head to the mall.

Already there. You're always one step ahead of the game. You probably have a few minutes before John arrives, so you lean against the front entrance and wait. For the first time in your life, you've planned out your whole day. With step one, by far the easiest, complete, you have to make sure you're ready for the next FOUR. A Strider is always ready.

By the time John's dad's car finally slows to a stop in the parking lot, you've already begun to smolder in the heat. With summer nearing, it's gotten to be far too warm for your comfort. You, however, show no sings of your discomfort as the raven-haired boy hops out of the passenger seat, waves goodbye to his father, and starts toward you.

"Hi, Dave!" he grins, hands resting against denim shorts. "I hope I didn't make you wait too long. It's pretty hot out, huh?"

You give a nonchalant shrug, even though you're dying to retreat inside into the air-conditioned building. You dressed as nicely as you could without looking like a pretentious douchebag. Gray jeans, graphic tee, red sneakers, and a black leather jacket seemed suitable for this occasion, but you weren't going out of your way to dress like you were going to the Grammies or some shit. However, that was before you started treading down twenty blocks this morning. Now any pride you held for your fashionable, cologne-dusted outfit had melted about twelve blocks back.

"Did you drive here?" John asks, breaking you from your contemptuous thoughts.

"Nah, I figured I'd walk. Nothing starts a nutritional day like a bowl of cheerios and some good old medieval sun torture. That and bro would make me castrate myself with my own teeth if I snagged his shitty old car."

"Wow." John heaves a sigh, "Then I guess we're walking home. Sorry, Dad will be leaving later today for his conference."

You kick off the wall and walk through the automatic door, "Eh, whatever. It'll cool down by later."

== Dave: Strip.

You are unbelievably relieved to have escaped that incarcerating heat at last. The inside of the mall is huge, stuffy, but most of all, circulated with fresh, cool air. You even briefly feel the urge to strip yourself of your cotton and leather prison but immediately forget this whim. You have more important matters to attend to than being idiotic.

"So, where to first?"

"Not sure," you say, considering the stores surrounding you, "Is there anywhere in particular you want to go?"

"Well, there's a new game out that I wanted to check out. It got pretty good ratings, and even GameBro approved of it. Not that I really checked or anything, but I was looking at reviews fo-"

== Dave: Swoon over John.

You stare blankly at him as he continues to talk, azure eyes lit up and round cheeks creased over full pink lips and white incisors. You really should be listening to what he's saying but damn it, that cute little face of his always seems to cloud whatever senses you have. It takes all your effort to keep from jumping the kid every time he looks at you, nonetheless trying to hold a conversation without your heart pounding out of your chest like a drunken jackhammer operator.

Besides, the whole purpose of this pseudo date is to get John to swoon over you, not the other way around. And there will be no hope in charming later if you can't even listen to him now.

== Dave: Pay attention.

"-And so you run around the city, picking up survivors and trying to figure out what caused the infection," John finishes.

Luckily you already know what game he's talking about; you keep up with these things. "Sounds cool. Let's go get it and then rack up some other sweet loot."

The next few hours you spend fucking around in any and every store in the more, whether it be Build-a-Bear Workshop or Prada. You might or might not have gotten kicked out of one or two, but it was damn worth it, you decide. You purchased copious amounts of shitty knick knacks and games, loitered in every Claires and Justice in sight, and most importantly was able to spend time with your friend. You can't remember the last time John and you ripped apart the mall aimlessly.

You and he used to wreak havoc upon innumerable franchises years prior to high school, but of course when the excitement and independence wore off, and AP classes settled in you slowly spent less time on shenanigans and more on "preparing for the future", or so John insists. Not to mention the part-time job Bro had you get so you wouldn't be a useless asshole and would help pay for the food you consume almost as quickly as electricity. You almost forgot how much fun you could have with John outside of school, especially since you have up until recently been preoccupied with… ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL you choose not to remember about at this time.

Your boisterous tomfoolery and excessive thoughts almost cause you to forget you have exploitations.

== Dave: Exploit STEP TWO.

By the time dinner rush pours in, you exhaust the majority of shops to wreck.

"This was a lot of fun, Dave," John laughs. The eager grin plastered to his face is enough to tug the corner of your mouth into a smirk.

"We're not done here, Egbert," you scoff. You have yet to execute even STEP TWO. "In fact, I think we need some iced liquid holiness, hand-made from the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands and delivered by the gods themselves in cheap plastic cups to keep this metaphorical ball rolling

John raises an eyebrow, blinking in confusion. What, do you have to spell it out for him? Honestly, how much simpler does it get than that?

"Starbucks, man."

He gives an overly exaggerated slow nod, "Oh, of course. There's one around the corner, but all they sell is coffee."

"And tea, John, and tea." Really, how ignorant is this kid? But who can blame him. The poor chump drinks his coffee black. You feel a cold shiver down your spine and writhe momentarily in disgust at the thought. Never again.

Surprisingly there actually is a Starbucks just around the corner, and the godly, effervescent scent of defrosted pastries and fresh grounds is potent enough to cause you to disregard the one manning the register. Until you hear the cheekiest, shrillest, most arrogant voice to ever disgrace your ears, that is.

"Heeeeeeeey, John," drawls out the girl before you, her dark painted lips stretched over an almost fanged grin.

"Oh, hi Vriska!" he returns. You feel your insides twist into a knot that would impress boy scouts. VRISKA SERKET is the last person you wanted to run into today. It's common knowledge that this cold-blooded boor is seeking to wrap Egbert up in her fiendish web of psuedo-romance. And like hell you're going to let this pass by you.

"I didn't know you work here," John continues. This is small talk, and this is unacceptable.

"I know! How lucky that we got to meet today," she leans over the counter, making herself comfortable. "I just got hired two weeks ago, and I've already been promoted. I'm just positive they want me to be manager, but I've got much higher expectations than shoveling out paper cups of whipped cream topped shit to pompous preteens and soccer moms."

How dare she? That blasphemous, conceited little-

"Well, congratulations!" John chuckles.

"Thanks," she purs. Purs, damnit! She's ambushing your plan like a panther with surprisingly sheen hair would a helpless and highly attractive deer. And it is unacceptable. "So what can I get you?"

That's more like it. Now is your time to remind these two chit chatters that you are in fact present and you want to be served like the customer you are, damn it.

== Dave: Order.

"I'll have a grande white chocolate mocha frappuccino with an extra shot of coffee and hazlenut," you announce, finally gaining the attention of those mascara-rimmed, contemptuous eyes.

"Of course you will, Dave. You should know how well endowed I am in the nature of lame hipsters and their consistent, complex drink choice. Because getting a regular coffee would be too typical, right?" she leers, mocking the very core of your being. "By the way, how are things with Terezi?" Now that was one step too low, even for a shallow witch like Vriska. She's swimming in dangerous waters now.

"We broke up, you know that," you mumble through gritted teeth.

"Aw, bummer. No wonder she's so happy." You narrow your concealed eyes dangerously.

"Maybe it's because she actually has two eyes?" You almost smirk as her grin turns into a precarious scowl. Vriska's LACK OF VISION in her left eye has always been her soft spot.

"Or perhaps it's because she wasn't the one you sent to the hospital?"

You are slightly taken aback by how demeaning Vriska Serket truly can be, especially about an unmentionable subject like when you accidentally Bro during training last year. An eye for an eye it will be.

"Or maybe it's because she wasn't the one you incapacitated?"

"Or maybe-"

"Um, guys?" John interrupts. You clench your fists, breaking eye contact to look over at the uncertain boy. You almost forgot about him.

You return your glare to Vriska, daring her to continue. She raises a mocking eyebrow, but yields anyways.

"That will be three ninety-five and a portion of your dignity." You curse her under your breath but pay the undeserving wench the fee and step aside for John to order.

"I'd like a small black Americano, please?" he says uncertainly.

"Greeeeat," Vriska beams, punching in numbers on the cash register. "You have good taste. Do you know how many brain-dead customers have ever ordered normal black coffee in my shop, John? None of the customers have. None of them."

A quiet growl emits from the back of your throat. You weren't even aware you could make that sound.

"Anyways, it's on me," she winks. Wait, no. She can't do that. She is ruining STEP TWO! You're supposed to treat John to coffee and have a nice conversation in the café like a healthy couple would. Does she not understand the importance of subtleties?

"That's not necessary," you interrupt, "I'm paying."

"Dave, that's just as unnecessary. I can pay for myself," John looks helplessly between the two of you, unsure of the sudden and unusual attention. You almost feel bad for pressuring him, but remember you are in the midst of a furious battle of wits and slap the required amount onto the counter, ending the conversation.

Vriska rolls her eyes with a dramatic heave of her chest, but stubbornly registers John's order anyways. "Whatever, it's only one drink. Rain check for next time, John." And with an arrogant flip of her hair, she turns on her heel to prepare the beverages.

You unclench your fingers, wondering when you had so fiercely dug your dull nails into your palm. Your eyes stay locked on the blonde preparing your beverages, even as you feel John's own gaze firmly searing through you.

== John Ponder circumstances.

You're not entirely sure what to ponder, or what even transpired over the last two minutes. You could almost literally feel the sheer animosity radiating from both blondes, and it needless to say one of the most uncomfortable situations you have ever had the misfortune of getting caught in throughout your entire life. You never understood why Dave and Vriska could never get along. Even when he hung around Terezi, and consequentially the rest of her friends, he still treated her colder than you had ever seen. For whatever reason, the two clash heads even more than usual. Especially today.

While you have never encouraged any of your friends to fight, you somehow, in some obscure, perplexing way, almost kind of are impressed by how out of character Dave can become in the passion of battle. You wouldn't go so far as to say that you are intimidated by your friend, but you wouldn't go out of your way to put yourself in his line of fire.

He sends a quick glance at you, brow creased and lips tightened, his hidden ruby gaze sending shivers down your spine. You're uncertain of what exactly to label the warmth in your stomach, broiling and tingling annoyingly, but you settle on being insulted more so than anything. Does he think you're poor? You are capable paying and more importantly speaking for yourself.

"John," Vriska says, placing a cup on the counter. You pretend not to notice on the side of the cup the small heart scribbled next to the neatly drawn block letters of your name, but can't control the light blush creeping onto your cheeks. You use a coughing fit as an excuse to turn away, and mutter a small thanks. You don't dislike Vriska, but it's just that it's not often that your name has been followed by any flirtatiously girly symbols.

"Strider," she drawls next, sliding a tall cup in his direction. He takes it wordlessly.

== John: Take action.

You watch on worriedly, nay, helplessly as your best friend and bodacious barrista engage in yet another glaring battle. This has gone on long enough, you decide. This is supposed to be a day of perpetual fun, and a silly schoolyard fight will not bring down a certain JOHN EGBERT.

You courageously, quickly walk away.

Soon enough you hear Dave approach from behind, and a large, warm hand is placed on your shoulder. You flinch, and heat inexplicably rises to your face. You stop and let him catch up with you. You hide behind the paper coffee cup, trying to act as nonchalant as your blonde accomplice. You've never had any of his HIGH TECH or DEAD THINGS or RAD AVIATORS, but you sure can mimic his attitude if need be. You raise an inquisitive eyebrow at him to which he returns with a pout and a casual shrug.

"She started it," he murmurs. You snort derisively, continuing to tread away from the food court.

"What are we, five?" you spit out with a grin, showing that you forgive his unnecessary little squabble.

You feel the warmth of Dave's hand disappear from your shoulder. You feel an immediate sense of loss.

== Dave: Escort John home.

You suppose your endeavors at the mall have to end at some point, and by the orange and pink hues dusting the sky outside, you figure that point should be now.

Not having any transportation, the courteous thing to do for a chivalrous lad like DAVE STRIDER is to fight away any nighttime offenders and return your raven haired damsel to his abode. Where there's nobody to hear what you are going to do with him. Jonn doesn't object to your tagging along, which you played off as trying out the new game he bought.

Although your PLAN might have been struck with a fault or two, the three MOST IMPORTANT STEPS still remain.

You leave the mall in silence with him, managing to steal a few sideways glances here and there. You sip absently on your latte, knowing that Vriska couldn't have spiked it with so many witnesses. You wonder if you had crossed the line with her earlier, but as you notice the shorter boy shuffling along beside you, cheeks rosy from the chilly air, raven hair messy, and ridiculous glasses framing his infinitely blue eyes, you know that you couldn't have, not if it was for John.

"What was that earlier?" he breaks the silence, apparently wondering the same thing as you. "With Vriska, that is."

You hum, considering what to tell him. I hate her? She's trying to steal you away from me? Stay out of it? John wouldn't accept a simple answer. You meet his gaze filled with curiosity and concern and maybe, just maybe, a small sliver of what you suspect to be hope. "Don't worry about it," you finally decide to say, "It wasn't anything."

John huffs in disbelief, ready to say something more. You don't give him the chance.

"Try this," you say quickly, shoving out your plastic cup in front of him. He blinks in surprise, mouth snapped shut. An awkward speechless air swiftly encircles them, the sleeping neighborhood quiet and light from the overhead lamp flickering unsettlingly.

"No!" he cries, lips quirking into a grimace, "It's got your germs all over it."

You chuckle, "I'm not sick."

"That's not the point!"

You crack off the domed hemisphere lid, the whipped cream lowered enough so that it barely peaks above the rimmed edge of the cup. "Here, now you don't have to touch my germ-infested straw."

John hesitates, mumbling something about ebola before taking the cold drink and taking a long sip, critiquing the flavor. When he lowers the cup, you can't contain a laugh.

"What?" he demands, upper lip blotted with white.

== Dave: exploit STEP THREE.

While STEP THREE is a slow process of maintaining physical contact, its possibilities are endless. You decide to take advantage of this perfect opportunity to get a rouse out of John.

Your chuckles fade out, and you smile endearingly at him, his face turning an adorable shade of red. You reach a hand out and place it on his warm cheek, evoking a stifled gasp from John. Your thumb stretches out, slowly running along the expanse of his lip, dragging the white substance with it until it comes of cleanly. Wide azure eyes stare bemusedly at you, pale skin now burning pink and mouth gaping stupidly as you remove your hand and hold it up for him to see.

"Had a little something on you," you joke. An idea strikes your brilliant mind and you lift your thumb to your mouth, licking the whipped cream off it, watching John's reaction the whole time. He, against what you thought was impossible, turns an even darker shade of scarlet at your little show, snapping his head forward and taking a small swig of his own drink.

"You could have just told me," he murmurs into the cup, beginning to amble back up the hill. You smirk and follow.

By the time you reach John's house, the sun has completely descended over the city and crickets' calls echo off dark buildings from somewhere in the hills. While John hurries to set up the game consol in his room, you help yourself to a bag of chips and leisurely make your way up the stairs.

Finally being alone with him, you have to tread wisely from now on. The next STEP is risky, and one false move can ruin everything you have worked for so far.

You enter the dimly lit room to see John fiddling with his television, frustratingly fiddling with wires until finally gets a signal. You seat yourself on his bed, still covered with his slimer sheets from fourth grade. He tosses you a controller and you start playing. You get through numerous levels of several games, and soon enough minutes turn into hours and time is arbitrary, as you both get lost in the virtual worlds of each game. Late into the night, John puts in a simple competitive fighting game you play every time you come over.

== John: Be victorious

Dave easily wins the first few rounds, you eventually begin to catch up, knocking out his character time after time.

"This game is rigged," He grumbles.

You laugh gleefully and deviously, nudging his side with your elbow "You're just a sore loser is all," his avatar applies another punch to yours.

"No, you probably just practice this game religiously and read the character manual in your free time."

You scoff, "I think you're just mad that I'm beating you with sheer talent."

"You can't beat me if you can't see."

Your vision blurs as your glasses are snatched from your face. "Hey," you cry, dropping your controller to retrieve the stolen items. Dave grins, raising them out of your reach. "Give those back," you whine, shuffling closer to reach over him. He moves them farther, and you follow his hand, crawling over his legs and grabbing for the frames dancing out of your reach. He lifts them above his head and you growl, digging your knees into the mattress astride his lap, grasping one of his shoulders so you can stretch up to his taller arm. You make a noise of surprise as you suddenly fall forward onto Dave's chest after he falls backwards. His free hand goes to your waist, pushing you back ineffectively as you struggles against his hold. Finally, you manage to reclaim your glasses, grinning and panting.

Suddenly, you both become aware of the situation. Dave lies on his back, your body pressed flush against him, his warm palm against your waist, propped up on one elbow, noses inches from touching. Somewhere in the scuffle Dave's aviators fell off so that bare ruby eyes meet your own surprised gaze.

Neither of you dare speak or move, eyes locked onto one another and breaths mingled in slow, broken pants, pulses pounding together in a fast, rhythmless beat. The world becomes still, silent, and suddenly nothing feels real except the fingers burning against your waist, the heart beating underneath you, the scarlet eyes searching into your own. You fear that Dave's penetrating eyes see the effect he has on you, the overwhelming emotions coursing through your body, but you can't bring yourself to look away. Instead, you find yourself unlocking the unspoken intentions behind the night, written clearly in Dave's scarlet orbs.

"Why do you really hate Vriska?" you ask softly. He doesn't respond immediately, lips tightened in consideration. He closes his eyes and sighs, breath fanning over your lips and making your stomach flutter at the sensation.

"Because of how she acts toward you."

You furrow your eyebrows in confusion. "She's only ever nice to me, though."

His eyes snap open, and you feel the hand on your waist twitch and tighten its hold. "She always steals what's mine."

"What are you talking about?"

"Vriska Serket is an evil, conniving bitch who can't let go of the past. She breaks down her victims, chipping their spirit like a fucking chappy whittler, whistling her cheery tune of destruction as she slices the life from her little wooden prey until they're just shells of what they used to be."

You become irritated, disliking how Dave is speaking of her. "You're not making any sense," you say exasperatedly.

"She berates you, humiliates you, trashes what's yours," he growls, "…drives your girlfriend away," he adds more softly. You meet his eye and almost gasp at the sadness exposed in the crimson orbs. "There's no way in hell I'm going to let that witch take anything more."

"Dave, I…" you arrange your words carefully, sympathetically, "…Vriska and I aren't friends, so-"

"That won't stop her from trying to take advantage of you."

"Why would she try to do that?" you snap. What is he getting at?

Ruby eyes narrow dangerously, and Dave lifts his face close to yours, lips parting. Your breath catches in your throat as he presses his temple to yours, his lips ghosting over your ear.

"Because you're mine."

You swear that your heart stops beating for a split second.

"W-who ever decided that?" you breathe, moving your head away from Dave's.

== Dave: Exploit STEP FOUR.

You grab John's wrist and push on his waist, flipping him onto his back. He stares incredulously at you as you slowly lower your head to his.

"I did."

That was the last thing said before the remaining distance was filled, your mouth roughly closing over John's in a careless, breath-taking kiss, finally, finally fulfilling the fourth, most awaited STEP.

John's fingers tremble against you, clenching and unclenching in uncertainty, before settling onto your shoulder, tentative but decisive.

You take this as a sign to continue. You run your tongue along his bottom lip, asking for entrance. He slowly, slightly opens his mouth, and you delve your tongue into his cavern. You explore his sweet, indescribably warm mouth, learning the contours of his teeth, memorizing his flavor: bitter coffee, sweet cream, and an essence that is purely John.

You separate from his soft lips only to gaze alluringly into his abashed, flustered eyes as he pants for air.

"Mine," you snarl, descending to his neck and nipping hungrily at the pale column, soothing the wounded flesh with your tongue before attacking another area.

"D-Dave," John gasps as you bite down on the base of his neck. You feel the blood boil at the pit of your stomach at the squeal he lets out when you drag your hand under his shirt and along the side of his ribcage. His fingers weave into your hair, and you don't know whether he's trying to tug your head away or pull you closer; you don't even know if he knows the answer.

Instead, you return your assault to his lips in another clumsy kiss, swallowing the moan you elicit when your fingers brush his nipple, the sound sending a jolt through your body.

"Dave," he shudders, breaking the kiss. His azure eyes are half lidded, cloudy and dark with an emotion that you're certain is shared between you both. "Th-this is a little fast…"

He whimpers when you rub his nipple again, his body quivering and hot beneath your touch. You smirk at the response, leaning down to suckle at jaw.

"I-I mean," he persists, "We're only just friends, and-"

You stop your actions to stare incredulously at him.

"This is just friends?" you ask snidely, and he glances away, face visibly flushed even in the dim blue glow of the television.

"Well… Are we just friends?" he asks timidly. You wonder at the innocent question, not even sure of the answer yourself. This whole day has been to get to exactly where you are now; you followed the steps, had fun, and now you are in the bed of JOHN EGBERT, hand up his shirt and still only at the level of friendship.

You've come this far, so you decide, though with massive disagreement from your stomach doing impressively acrobatic flips, that it's time to finally implement the FINAL STEP, the one that will bring everything together and bring long-deserved success.

== Dave: Exploit STEP FIVE.

"Well, what do you want to be?" you inquire, propping yourself up to allow him to follow suit. He averts his gaze downward, and you feel a sense of pride at the red welts you scattered on his neck beginning to form.

"I don't know," he responds, shrugging as well.

Now or never, you decide, and employ your FINAL STEP.

"How about dating?" you ask, smirking as John's eyes widen enormously.

"I-I don't-" he sputters, "That is, that's a little bit…" he sighs, letting himself organize his thoughts. "I wouldn't mind trying."

You can't help the uncharacteristically cool grin that stretches across your face or the dizzying ecstasy that pumps through your veins.

"Does that make you my boyfriend?" you sing and settle your hand on his arm, the pads of your fingers stroking the skin suggestively.

He chuckles playfully at your proposal, playing along and giving a wink.

"I don't know; I'll think about it."

You leer gleefully, attaching your lips back to his and sinking him back down to the bed, fully prepared to "convince"John, a new game being secretly, silently started.


A/N: Dear, everloving arson, it's done. Six thousand words, seventeen pages of absolute fluffy jibberish. Congratulations, brave explorer. Thank you for riding, please don't hurl until you have safely exited the story. Comments are always appreciated, and happy new year!