Phil has never been good at making decisions. He reckons that if he was given the chance to choose his sexuality he'd probably mess it up and he'd be listed as sexually attracted to cheese on toast for the rest of his life. He doesn't even like cheese.
Even from a young age Phil had never been able to choose a side.
That doesn't mean that he is apathetic, he is definitely not, but many believe so because of his sheer reluctance to make up his mind. It isn't even his fault, not really. He can't help that he can see each story from each side easily, that he can relate to them both and by the time it's time to make a decision he'll be completely taken by both options, and therefore completely on the fence.
His father used to take him to the cafe after his swimming session and get him his favourite type of burger: a cheeseburger without cheese. He always cut it up into tiny pieces, even when Phil hit his teens and even when Phil stopped swimming. Then it would always come to the end of their meal and Phil would face the choice. It was always the hardest part of the week, what type of ice-cream to get. He liked ice-cream. He liked chocolate, he liked strawberry, he liked caramel and he liked the house specials. They would sit for a good fifteen minutes, his dad laughing good-naturedly at his obvious struggle, because really ice-cream wasn't something to get so worked up about. But he was Phil and decision-making was never his thing.
He still doesn't have a favourite type of ice-cream, but he must say that he's quite keen on the tiramisu flavour they introduced, and he really likes chocolate and strawberry and caramel... And all of them, actually, now that he thinks about it.
He's never been able to choose between coffee and tea either. Tea is great, he's English, of course it is, and it's the only hot drink that really quenches his thirst. But coffee, it perks him up in the mornings (not that he needs it, really) and it tastes great. Really, really great. But an equal greatness to tea. This is his problem.
It's always been this way, two friends would bicker and he'd never choose a side, simply because he couldn't.
That lead him to the problem. Currently, nobody knew his "secret"; that being that he is a flaming homosexual. No shame there, really. He likes boys and he wants to bang his hot neighbour that happens to be male.
In fact, it's his neighbour that finally leads him to realising that he wants the brains fucked out of him and that he really does not fancy doing the same to a female. Actually, he doesn't even really like the idea of topping until he Googles what gay sex is (his mum had taught him the basics of hetero a year previous, and he's heard it all from his mates) and decided that it is really fucking hot. He finds his dominant streak, then, and decided that along side being the one receiving the pleasure, he'd love to be the one to control, to watch his partner fall apart beneath him and-
He clears his throat and chews his pen. He really doesn't feel like popping a boner halfway through summer revision.
Especially not because he's fantasising about his hot neighbour.
Mr Howell, he's called, brown hair, tanned skin; utterly fuckable to say the least. He's taller than Phil and older, more experienced (yes, he just went there) but he's not gay. There's always a downer to everything and in this case it's the pure waves of hetero that seem to exude from him.
Mr Howell is hot and yet also completely and utterly impossible.
School starts again on the fourth of September.
Phil has had almost a whole summer of staring at Mr Howell (plus one very awkward dinner that his mother invited him over to which consisted of lots of mumbling), revising for A Levels and debating with himself as to whether he should come out.
He's not ashamed; quite frankly he doesn't have time for the bullshit of people using his sexuality as an excuse to get a bit of their own pain off their chest, so that's not the problem. The problem is he has no idea how to do it.
He's deliberated and kinda sorta almost decided that he wants his coming out to be extravagant, but so far, nothing has come together.
In his first maths class of the year he rips out a page from his book and scrawls along the top in the best italics he can manage: I'm gay yo. Then he underlines it. Then he draws a rainbow and then a unicorn on top of the rainbow and then he circles it with hearts. Then he writes wow how gay next to it and folds the sheet into his pocket.
So far? Inconclusive.
In drama he adds gay musical but doesn't elaborate. Then he adds dramatic speech. Then he thinks for a while before adding leaping out of the closet and screaming "I'm homo".
At break time Kelsey hugs him and sits him down at one of the tables lining the field and proceeds to lecture him about how he really needs to get out more and how little she saw of him over summer. He takes it all good-naturedly, grinning and smiling at her threats (he doesn't know what they mean, specifically, but they sound medieval and bloody).
"Anyway," she starts, slipping a strand of brown hair behind her ear, "there's a new English teacher and I hear he's really hot."
"Not that you'd really care, but y'know, I think you might have some competition from the ladies now. He's stealing your spotlight."
Phil giggles at this; Kels knows for sure that Phil is not the popular guy (that would be Jonas, who Phil has to admit is rather attractive) and swats her away when she coos at his tongue sticking through his teeth.
"I would bang you, Phil, I would." She says, ruffling his hair and laughing again as he pouts and tries to righten it. "You're mega hot, I don't know how people don't just grind against you at bus stops."
Phil blushes. "I'm not hot Kels, stop flirting."
"You know you love it really."
"I do." Phil huffs jokingly, slapping Kels' hand away from his hair, to which she replies "but it's so fluffy!"
Kel's grabs Phil's planner, flipping to the reverse side and checking his timetable. She stares inquisitively at it, frowning when she sees some initials she doesn't recognise.
"DH? That's the new teacher, y'think?" She asks, but Phil doesn't have time to respond as the buzzer rings signalling next lesson. "I'll see you!" She waves, wading into the thick current of year sevens that are all seemingly a foot shorter than her.
Mr Howell is stood at the door of his English classroom and Phil finds himself blushing madly. In a suit, he looks older and more formal and quite frankly extremely intimidating. He looks exactly what he is: a ten years older, straight divorcee. He smiles at him, greeting him in a stiff but politely familiar tone and then checks his seating plan. He directs Phil next to a boy in the back corner and Phil gulps before sitting down awkwardly.
The kid is new, Phil doesn't recognise the top of his head (his head is rested on the desk and is yet to rise) but doesn't look uncomfortable. In fact, he looks asleep.
Phil clears his throat and the kid sits up quickly, looking around in surprise for a moment then deciding that his surroundings aren't that dangerous. He meets Phil's eyes and grins and Phil's jaw is miraculously still in place. The kid looks like Mr Howell, but younger and hotter and less stern looking and slightly tireder. The corner of Phil's mouth turns up as he returns the smile and he tries to keep his moan internal.
"I'm Dan." The boy says, "sorry that I was kinda asleep, I stayed up till five watching a Muse live stream."
This time Phil can't help it and his mouth pops open. "No way! I was too! They played Agitated, didn't they?"
Dan nods, "yeah, and Dead Star. Was good." Mr Howell claps his hands at the front of the class but Dan ignores him and continues. "Don't talk about Muse too loud, dad hates them and he wouldn't half love to embarrass me on the first day."
Phil looks questioningly at Dan before putting two and two together.
Dan x Dad = Mr Howell.
"Mr Howell's your dad?"
"Yeah, moved in with him last week. Him and my mum divorced."
Phil nods and then his face lights up. "Hey, how are you getting home tonight?"
For a second Dan looks confused and almost a little scared but quirks his shoulders in a slight shrug and his smile returns. "I'm walking, dad would gimme a lift but he had to stay for a meeting."
"Well, do y'want to walk with me? I am your neighbour after all."
"Phil, you know you said you weren't hot? Yeah, well, you lied. My mate Jozie wants to fuck you- I mean date you." Kels pauses and Phil rolls his eyes.
"They all do."
"Yeah, yeah, stop bragging, so can I set you up now or?"
Phil thinks for a second. Come out? Decline her offer and look like a douche? Say yes and protect his sexuality and not break any hearts?
"No." He says a little too firmly and Kels shoots him an incredulous look. Then she points at Jozie and grabs her boobs and whispers "they're bigger than mine though".
I'm gay. Phil considers saying; it'd be a hell of a lot easier than trying to excuse the fact that he doesn't really care for boobs. He'd quite like to touch some though, just to see what all the rage is about.
He doesn't, though, or at least he doesn't think he does.
"Of course you are! I knew it! I knew it!" She hugs him and then kisses him plain on the lips and then both cheeks and then his forehead before pulling him into another hug. "Oh my god Phil! I kinda thought maybe but then last year when I asked and you said you kinda wanted to grope Miranda's boobs, so I just thought that you liked the pussy."
She hugs him again whispering something about being "so proud" and then they're interrupted by a certain brunette.
Unbeknown to them, he witnessed the whole encounter and without even deliberating he sits down next to Phil and says without faltering: "I'm gay too."
"So how did you realise you were gay?" Dan asks on the walk home. They've been walking for around ten minutes in, surprisingly, comfortable silence. Ever since the double come out thing, as Phil calls it, it's been pretty cool. They sat next to each other in geography and talked all lesson, getting to know each other and never ran out of topics.
Phil almost tells him, almost blurts out that his neighbour (Dan's actual real life dad) is kinda hot but catches himself. He could tell him that, be honest, or-
"Matt Bellamy is really hot." Phil chokes out. He's not fully sure where it came from, even if it is true to an extent, but he runs with it. "I was watching this live video and he was doing this thing with his guitar, like grinding into it and I realised that I wanted to be the guitar." He pauses to gauge Dan's reaction.
Dan hums and nods. "Same... Kinda. I just sorta looked at Dom Howard one day and thought 'wow I would' and it went from there, y'know?"
Phil nods, because he does. Especially with Dom. And Dan's dad, but he's not going to let that slip. Not now, not ever. And he means that. Never. "Anyway, do you want me to show you round school properly tomorrow?"
Dan nods and that's it, fate sealed, even if he doesn't quite know it yet.
When Phil collapses into bed that evening with his Mac on his lap, a steaming cup of hot chocolate on his bedside table and a chocolate digestive clutched between his lips he sets to work. His tasks? To find Dan on every social networking site there is and more. He must know more about the hot guy that he's really becoming fond of, even if he's only known him for approximately nine hours.
He finds Dan's Facebook first, easily, all he needs to do is type in Dan Howell and then it's the first result. He grins as he sends the request and grins wider when it is accepted minutes later. His smile increases ten-fold when he looks through Dan's pictures, awkward smile after awkward smile and fluffy hair and brown eyes and-
Phil might be developing a bit of a crush. With a sigh he brushes the crumbs off his chest and grabs his mug and takes a sip. The chocolate scolds him mouth and he sets it back down with a grumble, opening Twitter. "It's Dan time." He mumbles, typing Dan Howell in the odd chance that he'll be a large enough account to show up. He doesn't.
It takes him about four minutes of scrolling till he stumbles across an account that is most likely to be Dan's. /danisnotonfire./ Phil reads through the Tweets: ugh new school today kms, dnt wna, no but seriously im gonna be in the same lesson as my dad wtf.
He has to smother his laughter because even if he hasn't known him for long, he knows for sure that this is Dan's Twitter. It's quirky and galaxy inspired and nerdy and completely Dan. Absolutely, completely, extremely Dan. He's got twelve thousand followers (almost as impressive as his fifteen thousand, he thinks with a smug grin) and a load of favourites on each Tweet and he's kinda popular. In fact, he's surprised that Phil hasn't seen his account before because they share quite a lot of mutuals.
There's a link to Dan's Tumblr, so after he's followed Dan and looked though half a year of his media (including a hot selfie or two) he opens the link. His Tumblr theme is shit, but it's kinda cute too and he sighs again, hits follow and then spends around four hours scrolling. it's only when the clock reads 4:24 and his hot chocolate is gone that he closes his laptop and settles down to sleep.
"This is the smoking line." Phil says and then launches into his explanation of why the teachers had to cordon off the bike sheds because the were too prone to being vandalised and smoked in. Then he leads Dan round the field, points at the table they came out out together at and then sit down.
"That was a brief tour." Dan concludes, raking a hand through his hair and crinkling his nose when he finds the slight crinkle in the fringe that has started to develop.
The day is cold, September fog already closing in on the UK and the cold and damp coming hand in hand behind. In the horizon the sun is rising, first lesson yet to commence and for a moment they stop and stare at the dusky oranges shining through deep mist. The air clouds with their breath and they sit in companionable silence, just watching.
And then Phil sneezes.
Dan laughs at him and Phil joins in even though he's completely winded (it was an almighty sneeze, he's pretty sure if he's have sneezed any harder his brain would have fallen out). The bell goes, they stand and head to lesson, Phil pointing out important classrooms and hallways, then part at the end of the maths corridor, Dan waving and shouting something about meeting at break at the table.
Phil happily agrees and spends the next hour solving equations, but with a happy smile on his face because he has a new friend.
Kels is already sat at the table when Phil arrives. When he sits down she pulls a flask out of her bag and three cups. "Where's Dan? I brought him a cup too. Want some soup?" Phil laughs at the weirdness but accepts happily and laughs some more at Dan's reaction to his steaming cup of minestrone.
They sit, sipping on their soup and occasionally warning Dan against people who walked past, mainly Jennifer Cook, who walks past three times and makes it obvious that she is checking Dan out. Dan shudders as she pouts at him and flicks a stand of peroxide blond over her shoulder, hoisting her skirt up till it rests just under her boobs.
"Girls are gross." He remarks and Phil laughs and agrees while Kels looks offended, but she knows what they mean.
By October three things in Dan and Phil's ever improving friendship are certain:
1) Phil definitely has a crush on Dan.
2) Kels ships them.
3) He really needs to find out what cologne Dan wears because it's really nice and he wants it.
There is nothing Phil wants to do than kiss Dan, except Dan himself, and he realises with a startled gasp that he's done it; he's made up his mind.
He smiles then because he knows that he's going to do it and it's all thanks to Dan. In fact, he notices, since Dan's been around he's made snap decisions and hard choices and he's never stalled. He has a lot to thank Dan for, he thinks, because he's fairly certain that Dan's presence is the reason for his decisiveness. He's not sure why, but Dan brings out the best in him.
Scratch that, he knows why but he really doesn't want to admit to the massive crush he has on the guy that is quickly becoming his best friend.
No one can deny how much more popular he is in school, now, though. Whether it is Dan's looks (likely, Phil thinks) or the newfound self-confidence that Dan has introduced into him but he's noticed how more people smile in the corridors at him and how somebody always wants to work with him.
He puts it down to Dan spreading word of how great he is, which Dan hinted at doing when he first got invited to sit at the 'popular table'.
Secretly, he's pretty chuffed that people are starting to notice him and, above everything, like him.
That doesn't go to say that he's left anyone behind.
The table is still his and Kels', and more recently Dan's too, and people seem to get that. It is their table, only three seats branching from the round table, which is oddly convenient for the threesome, and nobody ever tries to interrupt that. Sometimes people stop off to ask about the maths homework that's due next week, or when their coursework is due in, but never stay long. They are generally left to themselves, a different hot liquid provided by Kels each day shared between them and enough laughter to warm a morgue.
They are happy.
All Phil wants is Dan holding his hand, kissing him, doing other less appropriate things. And he wants to do them in public, well maybe not the last, but he wants to show Dan off.
But there's two problems:
1) Dan is not his.
2) As far as everyone knows, he's as straight as a ruler.
He laughs to himself quietly. Yeah, a bendy ruler.
"Phil, will you come to my Halloween party?" Kels asks that evening and without even batting a lash he agrees to go. "Dan's going," she adds, "and most of our year."
That's when the plan starts to formulate in his mind.
Halloween is going to be one hell of a night.
Mr Howell opens the door for him and invites him into the living room. Dan is slouched into his sofa, chin resting on his breast and a stray lock of brown hair curling over his eye. Phil smiles and sits down next to him, shifting until their thighs and upper arms are touching, Dan's head nearly resting on his shoulder.
Mr Howell sits down in the armchair across the room from them and picks up his laptop, sitting in very much the same position as Dan (like father, like son) and mumbling "cute".
They proceed to chat about the Halloween party and possible guests. Kels is more popular than them both and has quite a few older friends and neither are sure of the guest list; Kels likes to be secretive like that. Mr Howell butts in with the occasional "say no to drugs" and whatnot, yet is relatively silent for most of the conversation.
Halloween has fallen on a Friday this year and Dan literally begs Phil to sleepover after the party, which Phil would never say no to anyway.
Mr Howell makes three bowls of pasta a few hours later and they sit at the table, stereo on in the background and discuss which teachers they like and dislike and Mr Howell tells them all the funny anecdotes from the staffroom.
When it's time for Phil to leave and Dan is already heading up to his room to bed, Mr Howell drags him to the side for a "quick word".
"Phil, just wanted to thank you for being Dan's friend. He's not been quite himself recently but you've brought his smile back. Thanks."
Phil blushes all the way to his ears. "You're welcome, Mr Howell." And then Phil opens the front door and waves as he walks down the drive.
That night he clambers into bed happy, cradling his phone where the text from Dan has just come thorugh.
literally cannot wait till halloween we gotta get matching costumes man like ur the salt to my pepper ly man
eeep hello this is a halloween inspired two/three-shot thingy and is actually about three or four fic ideas mashed into one. i'm hoping to get the next part up soon guys and i really need to get the next chapter of cysio up too but for now i hope this is ok for you guys. as always i don't own dan, phil or muse but all ocs and the plot are mine.
ily all thank you goodnight [spoons and kisses u]