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Alone, Together, Wanting

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It started as an accident. They never meant for it to happen, but after so many cold, empty nights alone, it was hard to ignore. The pandemic struck like a molasses wave, and everyone was stuck fast, in place and alone. A lot of people ignored it, went about their normal lives, but Dream and George knew how serious it was.

Just before the pandemic, they had moved in together. They told no one about living together, not their fans, not their friends, not even their families. It wasn’t for any particular reason, certainly not romantic. It was just convenient. They collaborated on so many things, did so much of their work together. It just made sense for them to be in the same time zone.

And if they were going to be in the same time zone, why not live close together, so they could visit?

And if they are going to live close together, why not just share a place?

That was the logic anyway, but the timing was inconvenient.

It’s not to say that there wasn’t something there before. They had always had a special friendship, and they weren’t shy with each other. In the winter, they would sleep next to each other when it got too cold. In the hot summer months, they would walk around in just their underwear, but it was no big deal.  They never did anything, though. It was really just logical. Nothing weird about it at all.

But then the pandemic kept going.

They still had their online friends, which helped, but moving had cut them off from a lot of their support groups. Dream had lived alone before this, but George had had his mother, and Dream used to visit his mom all the time. Now their parents and friends were just out of reach, and they were left with only each other.

They were each thankful to not be actually alone.

There were worse people to be quarantined with too. Dream and George were genuine friends, so they weren’t lacking in socialization.

But they were lonely.

Each of them spent their nights alone in cold beds, desperately wishing for someone, anyone to touch. Those nights where it was too cold to be alone were something to live for. They never cuddled, never even brushed against each other at first, but being near someone, feeling another person’s presence, it was water in the desert.

Even if they needed more.

They communicated well about most things, but this need wasn’t one of them. Both of them would lie in bed, wishing for their crappy heater to give up again, praying for an excuse to be near the other, but they wouldn’t be able to gather up the courage to say anything. They play flirted all the time, but needing it, really needing it, was far too vulnerable.

Then one day, a month in, Dream patted George’s shoulder.

They had been doing something innocuous, practicing parkour or doing a challenge, and George had done well. They weren’t streaming that day, so it was just the two of them, free to be loud and laugh together without worries of their fans wondering why they sounded like they were in the same room. Dream had been so proud of what George had accomplished, and he just reached over and patted his friend on the back, adding a small rub as a bonus.

George let out a moan.

The moment it left his lips, his hand slapped over his mouth. His eyes were practically bulging out of his sockets, and he scrambled out of his chair to leave, letting his character sit and wait for further instructions.

“What was that ?” Dream asked, trailing him as he bolted from the room.

“It was nothing, honestly! You just surprised me.” George was walking quickly now, slipping around furniture and covering his (very red) face.

“I know I surprised you, George, but what was that?”

“Don’t worry about it!”

Dream caught George’s arm, gently stopping his frantic flight. “You can talk to me, George, I won’t judge.” Secretly, Dream was hoping for a specific reason, the same reason he had but couldn’t share.

“Fuck, Dream, I just… I haven’t touched another human being in so long , and this pandemic is really getting to me, and then you just… brushed me. Nothing weird! I just… It just hit me pretty hard, is all.”

“Oh! So you’re touch-starved too?”

George raised an eyebrow. “Too?”

“George, I’m literally in the same boat as you! It felt good to feel another person… I just didn’t want to make it weird.”

“I’m the one over here moaning .” George covered his face with his hands.

“Hey, no, it’s okay! I totally get it!” Dream paused, not really sure how to ask what he wanted to say next.

But then George saved the day with, “Hey, maybe we can, like… Hug or something sometimes? There’s no need for us to be touch starved when we have each other!”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea!” Dream grinned, “Just friends helping friends!”

“Exactly!”

It was a little awkward at first, and they weren’t sure how to approach. They settled for a hug, almost collapsing into each other at the relief of it. After a few minutes of melting over each other, they cleared their throats and went back to the game.

So, that’s how it began. It was little things at first, a handhold here, a hug there, a hair mussing on occasion. Nothing too serious, but the relief was immediate. It was a kind of stop gap, letting out the loneliness and need, a little at a time, so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

But then the pandemic just kept going, and the little things weren’t enough. The hands would stay laced for hours, the hugs would be unendable, and touching each other’s hair led to longing looks that had to be ignored.

They could feel things progressing towards something more, but they really weren’t sure what that something was.

The first something was cuddling. One afternoon, they were hugging, but somehow they backed up against the couch, and Dream fell down onto it, dragging George with him. George was straddling Dream’s waist, and Dream was holding his hips. Things like this had happened before, and normally they would pull away, not daring to look at each other for hours, for fear of what their eyes might reveal.

But that time, George leaned down, slowly, carefully, giving Dream every chance to say no. Dream just held his breath, waiting, unable to beg, but so desperately wanting to. When George saw that he wouldn’t be stopped, he rested his head on Dream’s chest, wrapping his arms around the warm body beneath him and closing his eyes. Dream, after a pause, embraced him too, and they lay like that for hours, in complete silence. Both of them were so terrified to break the spell.

Then someone called on discord, and they both jumped up, like they had been caught doing something naughty, but they had both learned something interesting that day. It wasn’t surprising that the next day found them in the same position, both of them “accidentally” leading the other towards the couch, until they unintentionally landed on it again. There was no hesitation this time, and they were wrapped in each other’s arms before they even hit the cushions.

Over the next few days, they stopped pretending it was accidental and started to hold each other in one of their beds. Never overnight (because that would surely cross the line), but it was surprising how much of the pandemic they could spend interlocked while quietly browsing their phones.

It would be a few weeks of this before they would take the next step. They were good weeks, and being held really did take the edge off the loneliness, but there was a deeper wanting they weren’t acknowledging to each other yet. 

Thankfully, one evening they passed out while still wrapped up in each other. George woke up first, confused by the texture and consistency of his bed, before realizing it was Dream. He sat up in alarm, staring down at his friend’s sleeping face.

Why did he think it was handsome?

He pushed that thought aside as Dream started to rouse, blinking his eyes slowly as he woke up. When his gaze met George’s shocked expression, he was startled for a moment as well, before letting himself sink back into the pillow.

“You have to admit that was nice,” Dream murmured, voice low and gravelly from sleep.

George allowed himself to relax, snuggling back into the body beneath him. “I don’t have to admit anything, but… It was nice.”

It was getting easier to talk about these things, to express these needs of theirs, especially as they turned out to be the same for both of them. It only took the one accidental night before they were sleeping next to each other every night, usually waking up fully encased by the other’s embrace. 

Every morning that they woke up next to each other was a morning closer to one of them snapping, asking for that final piece they had been denying each other, but they were scared, so absolutely terrified of rejection, that they held back

Each morning was a taunt, and it seemed like every time they woke up with their faces mere inches apart, they got closer to kissing, but their first kiss felt like an asymptote, fast approaching but never quite making contact. At a certain point, just before their lips touched, one or both of them would pull away, anxious of rejection, and they would part.

They were happy, though. Kissing, and the other things that could come after, were fun, but they were genuinely content where they were for a while. Every waking moment was spent in contact, from morning cuddles, to brushing against each other as they did things around the house, to playing games right beside each other, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh (George being left handed made this a lot easier), to snuggling as they fell asleep.

If they hadn’t been slowly falling in love, it would have been enough to last them through the end of the virus.

Eventually, the kiss did come. Neither of them would be able to tell who initiated it, but it started with George on Dream’s lap again. They had collapsed onto the couch, ready to cuddle and watch a movie, but the angle they crumpled into left their faces mere inches apart. They panted into each other for a moment, each deciding if they would be the one to do it, and then, they were just kissing.

It seized them like a fervor. The first kiss was gentle, exploratory, and unsure, but they realized quickly that it was mutual, and they were making out in seconds. The pent up months of tiptoeing around it had their lips pressed so tightly together that it was a wonder they were breathing. It was so forceful and needy that, after a time, they did have to pull away, gasping and half feral from it.

“That was… unexpected,” Dream commented.

“Very much so.” George brushed the hair out of his face, a nervous habit. “But… I liked it…”

Dream pulled George’s face in, gently pressing his lips to George’s again, before letting the stunned man go.  “So did I.”

They spent the rest of the night kissing, but it wasn’t nearly as forceful and needy after they came up for air. It was soft again, curious, inquisitive, searching. They learned each other’s faces again with their lips, in awe of how good it was.

When they cuddled that night, they couldn’t stop giggling from the war of pecks on the cheek and wet smooches, back and forth, until they finally decided that they had both won.

The next morning, both were worried that the night before had been a fluke, but when their eyes opened to the others’, that asymptote morning kiss they had been not quite having for weeks finally connected, and they knew it was real.

Neither of them wanted to label what they were doing, so they didn’t really talk about it. They just added casual make out sessions to their list of pandemic coping skills. It was just another thing they did sometimes.

But it was driving them wild.

Dream kept catching new glimpses of George, things he had always seen but never allowed himself to acknowledge. The way George’s grin lit up his face, the way his eyes always traced from Dream’s gaze to his lips before they kissed, the way George was always reaching for him, never content without some part of Dream making contact.

George was feeling it too. The way Dream’s entire body would collapse when he wheezed (especially when it was for George), the way Dream would just be watching him with a smile sometimes, the way that Dream was always seeking him, a little needy for George to be close.

These thoughts made it hard to pretend it wasn’t love.

George and Dream had spent months pretending already though, so not much changed for a while, besides the desperate make out sessions that ended in gasping breaths and heaving chests and eyes wild with a need both of them refused to name.

After that, it all happened very quickly. All it took was a stray hand running up someone’s torso, a moan and a cry for more, and the dam burst without warning. Hands were everywhere, taking off clothes and touching bodies and revealing parts that had remained hidden.

It was passionate and sudden and everything they had wished for, despite never being able to express it. Hours spent just being with each other, skin to skin, parts to parts, body to body, mouth to mouth. They couldn’t get enough of each other, until they finally had to give up from exhaustion, collapsing and panting next to each other on the tangled bed sheets.

Neither of them said anything for a while, too shocked and recovering from the heights they had just reached to really speak. The room was just desperate breathing for a long time until their hearts and lungs finally caught up. They were holding hands as they lay beside each other, though, some point of contact and reassurance.

Finally, George said, “Wow… That was…”

“I know…”

George couldn’t help but giggle. “I can’t believe we just did that! I mean, it was amazing, but my God, Dream!”

“I know!” Dream wheezed, “What the hell? How did we…?”

“Do you want to do it again sometime?

“Oh absolutely.”

With that, they faced each other, curled around each other, and kissed like it was their first time.

It was entirely accidental, months of loneliness and tension that built up into an explosive finale (one that they proceeded to have again and again and again and…). They still never really talked about it or named what they were doing. They were just two friends who lived together and fucked each other's brains out sometimes. It was completely fine.