This plot bunny hasn't left my mind for the last few days, so I decided to write it. It's been a while since I last did some Phan fluff (I'm an angst/humor writer at heart). This started out as an idea that I had to write as a "fiction exercise" for my creative writing college class (best decision I ever made), and when my best friend beforethebraces left me a heartwarming birthday post a couple days ago over on Tumblr, I knew that this story had to be written. And if you guys want, I could write a part 2. ;D
Sitting cross-legged dozens of feet high off the concrete ground, Dan tilts his head to gaze up at the obscure sky. The night sky is enveloped by a murky blanket of gleaming stars and a crescent moon illuminating the night. A sudden cool breeze whips across his face, causing him to shiver slightly. It's a quarter past midnight and he's at the rooftop of his and Phil's flat. His black headphones are perched on his straightened mocha curls, Panic at the Disco's Victorious playing from his iPhone.
He should be editing his next Internet Support Group video or browsing through Tumblr like a normal 20-something-year-old introvert who's lucky to make his living from making YouTube videos about his complicated, messy life. But it's these nights when he sits down, in relative silence, outside of his room, reflecting on his existence. It's not exactly an existential crisis, though there have been a few times when these moments would nearly lead his brain down that path and into the familiar dark vortex.
He's a deep thinker. He thinks the way most men wouldn't. He thinks about things that doesn't worry most people. Tonight, he's thinking about the fact that he hasn't been in a proper relationship since his bittersweet breakup with his girlfriend all those years ago. It's a thought that kept coming back to him over the last several months while he and Phil were on their international tour. At his age, a normal person should be in a relationship, maybe even married and/or expecting their first child. Yet here he is, single as the Haru pillow on his bed, no girlfriend since his uni years. He hasn't even been on a date since he met Phil.
Dan pauses the music on his phone and yanks off his headphones. He turns his head to find Phil standing several feet behind him.
"Knew I'd find you here." Phil walks closer to Dan and sits down next to him, mirroring the brunette's sitting position.
"In your 'going deep' mode again?"
"You know me too well."
Phil smiles. "So what are you thinking about?"
Dan uncrosses his legs, laying his palms flat on the roof's dirty brick floor. He angles his body slightly to face Phil. "Love."
Phil raises an eyebrow. Curiosity surfaces in his ocean blue eyes. "Oh?"
Dan takes a deep breath, then unleashes the thoughts that have been swirling in his head for the last half hour. "Phil, I'm not 18 anymore. I'm 25. I should be hopelessly in love by now, or at least going on dates. Look at our friends. They're either married, in relationships, or at least exploring the single fish in the sea. When I look at their love life, I sometimes wish that my love life is just like theirs. I want to kiss and hold hands and buy flowers and all that other romantic shit that couples do. I want to have a girlfriend so I can tell her 'I love you' every day and shower her with cheap but meaningful gifts to show her how much I love her. I put YouTube over my love life as a priority, and now that my life isn't a total flop, I have the time and effort for a relationship. But my luck is shit as always and now that I actually want to find love, I can't find it. I'm worried God thinks I've sinned too much and he's punishing me by making me a lonely washed-up hermit. You're doing well without a love life, but I'm not. I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life. When you find your future wife, which I know is gonna happen someday, you're gonna move out and I'll be by myself in our flat. I'll be forever known as the twat that might as well move to Asia to be a monk for the rest of his life."
Phil listens to Dan's words with his face contorted in a thoughtful expression. He remains passive throughout Dan's entire rant, looking as if he wants to interrupt him but biting his tongue so he wouldn't do so. Once Dan is finished speaking, Phil is quiet for a few seconds before he responds.
"You aren't alone, Dan," he whispers. "I'm here."
"I know you are. But that's not enough."
Phil's expression reveals a hint of sadness. The emotion makes Dan want to slap himself for worrying Phil again with his complaints about how the world influences his life. Sometimes, he wonders how Phil could put with him. Phil deserves a better man to be his best friend. Instead, it's him, a failure with a measly high school diploma who has nothing to fall back on if his YouTube career ever becomes a train wreck.
"You have your fans. They love you."
"Not the kind of love that I want." As much as he loves his fans, being adored by thousands of his dedicated fans can't fill the void in his heart that longs to find his better half.
Another gust of wind blows across Dan's face, causing goosebumps to rise on Dan's bare arms and another shiver to zip through his entire body.
"Are you cold? Hold on, I'll go back inside and fetch you a jumper." Phil moves to stand, but by impulse, Dan's right hand reaches up to grip on Phil's forearm.
"You don't need to," Dan assures Phil.
In the darkness, Dan swears that Phil's cheeks flushes with a light shade of pink.
"Are you sure? It is a bit chilly." Phil's attention drops to Dan's hand still attached to his arm. Dan follows the direction of Phil's stare and immediately pulls his hand away as if he was pinched by a crab (which happened to him once, a memory that he tries his best to suppress).
Still flustered, Phil nods and sits back down next to Dan.
"I should be asking you that question," Dan says, puzzled by Phil's strange state. It must be the wind, right? It's the only logical explanation that his mind can come up with.
"I… ummm…" Phil's fingers fidget on the hem of his blue with white polka-dot t-shirt.
"You should've stayed inside," Dan tells him. "I could've told you about my problems in the morning."
"No, it's not that." Phil ceases playing with his fingers. "Do you really think I'm okay with not having a love life?"
"You act like it is." When girls flirt with Phil in the streets or at public events, he never flirts with them back. Phil told Dan on several occasions that he doesn't need a relationship to complete his life; he's content to have his best friends and the support of his fans. And Dan believed Phil's words, knowing that Phil's actions supports his reasoning.
"Don't you wonder why if what I said was a lie?"
Dan looks at Phil in confusion. "Is it a lie?"
Phil's one-worded answer takes Dan aback. All this time, he believed that he was the only one between the two of them that disliked the single life. Why didn't Phil say anything? Minutes ago, he was concerned about the things that he vented to Phil. This unexpected revelation changes things, because he feels a little at ease to have his best friend experiencing his dilemma too.
"Dan." Dan's breath hitches when he feels Phil's hand rest atop his. His body goes rigid at the physical contact. His instinct is to pull away, but his mind won't let him. Deep inside his head, Phil's warm touch is comforting, as if his best friend's hand is naturally supposed to be there.
"I don't have a love life because of you," he says softly.
"Because you're the one that I want to be with."
He's not… he's kidding, isn't he? He's not serious.
"I'm in love with you." Phil's other hand hesitantly raises to cup the side of Dan's face, his thumb stroking Dan's cheek. "I've loved you from the moment we met in Manchester seven years ago. You came into my life with a purpose. If I didn't meet you, I would've been a different person. You tell me that it's me that made your life better, but I think it's the other way around. You gave me a best friend. You gave me a reason to believe in soulmates, because I believe that you're mine."
Dan is speechless. What should he say? He can't say the three words back. He loves Phil, though he doesn't know if he's in love with Phil. He does care about Phil, so much that he would let a zombie bite him over Phil if the zombie apocalypse ever happened. They have diehard shippers of Phan, and he has moments when he thinks about the what-if. What if Phan is real? What if he took a chance to fall for Phil? What if the line between imagination and reality disappeared, where dreams became reality?
"You came into my life with a purpose."
What if this was the purpose? What if the one that he's meant to be with is the one sitting next to him, confessing feelings that Dan was never aware that Phil had?
The first 18 years of his life was hell until Phil came into the picture. Once Phil became his best friend, an ethereal glow shined over his depressing heart.
He used to be sad, but now he's so fucking happy.
"Say something, Dan. You're scaring me."
Dan blinks. He peers down at their touching hands.
Maybe this is what love is.
Love is a boy with an innocent smile that cheers him up when he has a bad day.
Love is taking care of each other when the other is sick or injured themselves from a silly accident.
Love is having mutual flaws that adds on to the perfection of their non-perfect lives.
Love is creating a joint Sims avatar that they see as their pretend son.
Love is selfless, warm, compassionate, all-consuming.
Love has no boundaries.
Love is Phil.
"I think I might love you too," Dan murmurs. "To be honest, I don't know what I'm feeling, but I do know that I really like what you said. And maybe one day, I can fall in love one hundred percent with you too."
Phil's nervous expression disappears, replaced with a wide grin that makes a grin appear on Dan's face too.
"That's all I need to hear."
Closing his eyes, Dan curls his fingers with Phil's and leans closer to Phil's palm. His stomach churns in gentle waves when Phil's lips ghosts over his mouth. With a smile, Dan purses his lips and touches his lips to Phil's.
When they kiss, a light switch sets off in Dan's brain. This is the love that he questioned if he'd ever have. This is the love he didn't know could ever exist for him until tonight. This is the love he knows is here to stay, a love that he won't have to have doubts about.
And later that night, when they sleep side-by-side with their arms wrapped around each other on Phil's bed, Dan no longer has to wonder about what when and where his true love is.
Love was right there by his side all this time.