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when you’ve outgrown a lover (the whole world knows but you)

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“So this is it?”

Silence echoes so loud between the two of them, ringing in Dream’s ear, enough to make him wince. The tremor of his voice hangs much too precariously over their heads, feeble, and the uncertainty so cruelly wraps them up. Helplessness replaces hopefulness - the feeling is almost tangible. They don’t fit like they used to, and they hadn’t in a long time. Being stuck, desperate for a clear path through, is so frustrating, and it weighs its subjects down, tires them out - and Dream has never been more exhausted.

But he wants so badly just to fit again, to find the misplaced puzzle pieces, to belong, like he used to. To feel right, and sure, in George’s arms, like he used to.

Tension constricts, and the car feels smaller than it did when Dream first entered. Any more pressure and the scraps of metal would collapse, flattening him completely.

“I...” George, so quietly Dream almost misses it, still looking straight ahead at the dusk’s dark purple horizon (blue, through his eyes, Dream thinks), hands still gripping the wheel, trails off and leaves his fragile voice to hover painfully by their ears. “This is it.”

The car crumbles and its weight falls in on itself, crushing Dream completely. The heart in his heavy chest forgets to beat for the next minute, hour, year, and sinks to his abdomen with the mass of a jagged boulder.

This is it.

They’d had their last argument, the last of the many recent ones that served to wedge the gap between them further and further until they were no longer the one being they once believed they were.

“I’m sorry.”

Dream doesn’t know if he’s simply imagining the crack he hears in George’s voice, but he no doubt picks up on the tinge of pain that laces it.

“So am I.” His is strained, stiff in the process of trying to mask his raw emotions, and his throat is sore and aches from desperately trying to hold back tears. The effort causes a dull pounding in his head. Despite feeling so caged in and cramped with each other, Dream feels so distant from George, and it hurts more than he can process.

He bravely dares to take a look at George, because maybe he likes to make himself suffer, and the hurt becomes so much stronger it knocks the air out of his lungs and wraps tautly around his chest. Tears pile nonstop out of George’s eyes and roll down his cheeks, all whilst he keeps his head strictly facing forwards. Dream can see his pale knuckles growing even paler as his hands’ grip tightens on the wheel. Dream wants nothing more than to leave, but all he wants is to stay.

The silence grows too loud, and never once during their relationship had Dream ever run out of things to say, but now, no matter how hard he searches his brain, not a single word comes to his mind.

“I guess I should go.” He makes no move to leave.

George clears his throat. “Yeah.”

It’s like he’s detached from his body and watching himself from the outside, as he opens the car door. Not even the bitter bite of the autumn evening air registers in Dream’s senses, like he’s lost all feeling. He takes care not to look at George as he shuts his door, but Dream can feel the pull of his dark eyes as he walks away.

Once Dream reaches his front door, he doesn’t even realise he’s shaking until his keys fall through his fingers and to the ground with a sharp jingle. He hasn’t heard George drive away yet, not even as he picks up his keys, not even as he opens his door and shuts it without looking back, not even as he walks upstairs and enters his room. Only once he’s sat leaning against his bed in the darkness of his bedroom does he hear the engine start up and trail away into the distance. And only then does he allow himself to cry.

Right there, within the confines of his four walls, Dream sees them, him and George, like flashbacks in his head, to when they had the universe at their fingertips and the world at their feet. From a pixelated blur of blue and grey and white goggles on his teenaged self’s bulky laptop, to a highly defined image of dark hair and rosy cheeks on his computer, to the real thing right in front of him, running up to him, holding him, in the midst of the airport’s busyness. Five years of late night calls, five years of endless pining, five years of inseparability, five years of aching with yearn and want and desperation, with an extra year of George by his side, twelve or so months of embraces and grocery shopping and fort-making and bed-sharing. Six years of sharing souls, for it to end like this.

Right there, within the confines of his room, Dream has flashbacks to when they were the definition of everlasting.