Sometimes Dan comes over when Phil least expects it. He knows that it’s class day, but Dan doesn’t seem to care as he walks past the threshold dropping his backpack on floor with a deep sigh. Phil had been editing a video and was planning on running some errands. He was going to see Dan today but a bit later. His mum had sent him a recipe and he wanted to try and make it and have Dan be the guinea pig.
Dan looks tired, he’s worn that shirt three times this week and that’s not exactly out of character, it’s just it has stains and needs to be washed. Dan doesn’t say anything as walks into Phil’s kitchen grabbing a glass and filling it with water. Phil nods to himself, following behind him.
Dan always has a lot to say all the time, but it looks like there’s not many words he can use to describe how he feels, not many things to be said when he’s stressed over exams or the state of his life, and maybe even youtube. Phil reaches out to grab Dan’s hand for Dan to yank them to Phil’s bedroom.
“I need a nap.” Dan says with a long sigh.
“Okay.” Phil says with a small smile.
Dan goes over to his drawer and pulls a shirt out. It’s not even his, it’s Phil’s, but it might as well be his. He strips out of his jeans and tucks himself into bed pulling the covers back for Phil to join him. Phil smiles a little, already to go back to bed.
Dan scoots himself closer, trying to completely tangle himself in Phil who’s got his arms wrapped around him.
Phil is running his hands through Dan’s hair, massaging his scalp with his fingers and Dan makes a small noise in response, he likes it. There are things that Phil doesn’t understand, but he wants to understand. There are things that Dan doesn’t talk about and Phil thinks it’s because he’s afraid that he’ll leave, when he won’t. School seems to be something that’s hard for Dan lately, and maybe going out and staying up late and seeing Phil more than he should contributes to it but there’s something else, but Phil won’t push it.
“I’m sorry.” Dan says into Phil’s neck, pressing his lips against the exposed skin.
“It’s okay.” Phil replies trying to soothe over any unspoken anxiety that resides in him.
Dan does that kind of sigh that Phil is used to hearing, but it’s normally heard over late night coffee and papers, or hanging up from a long phone call with his parents.
“Are you okay?” Phil asks, running a hand up and down his arm. He figures it’s not the conversation that Dan wants right now but Phil has always been good at worrying about the people he cares about.
“I don’t know.” Dan says, burying his face more and Phil takes it that he doesn’t want to talk and that’s okay. One day, when Dan is ready, he’ll tell him.
“I’m just tired.” It’s the only honest answer that Dan can give Phil and he’ll take it. I’m tired can be a codeword for a lot of things that Phil is only starting to get.
“You’re not sleepy are you?” Dan looks up at Phil now and he smiles at him, shaking his head, moving hair out of Dan’s eyes. “Fuck.” Dan says with another sigh.
“No, It’s okay. I don’t mind.” Phil really didn’t mind.
He felt like he couldn’t get enough of this. Dan was never one to really want this kind of affection, at least not as much as Phil would like. Dan was very physical but in different ways and that was fine too. Sometimes Phil just wanted to cuddle and he was glad that they were doing it now. He liked holding Dan, he liked how it felt having Dan in his arms. It was like he was needed for something, and he knew there was more to it than that, but he liked to feel needed, especially from Dan.
“Protect me then.” Dan whispers, and Phil can tell that he’s drifting with the way that he loosens his grip.
“I will.” Phil presses his lips against his forehead, wanting to stay in this moment forever, just pause time for a while.
This was vulnerability, Dan trusting Phil to watch over him as he dreams, and maybe that didn’t mean much, but it did to Phil.
(There were things that he should do but he’s not really worried about it now.)
It reminds him of a moment about a year ago, they had a little too much to drink, pouring their hearts out over a late night of shared conversation and vulnerability, Dan pressed himself closer to Phil, his fingers smoothing over Phil’s face as if to memorise it, maybe afraid that this wouldn’t last forever. I just want to be held sometimes, he said quietly before passing out, but Phil never forgot it.
When Dan wakes up it’s an hour later and it’s dark out. Phil had been reading a book, his arm properly sour but that was alright. Dan moves to grab his phone from the nightstand and there’s one text from his roommate asking him if he wanted to go out. He made a face and put his phone down, turning back to Phil who was waiting for him with arms wide open.
“It looked like you needed that.” Phil smiles at Dan now, messing with his hair again, trying his best to straighten it out and away from his face before he buries himself in him again.
“Thank you.” Dan says into his chest, he’s laying on top of Phil now and he’s wrapped his arms around him once more. His arm aches but it was worth it for love, he thinks. It was always worth it for love.
“Come on, get up. You’re coming with me to buy groceries.” Phil says after a while, rubbing his back.
“Okay.” Dan groans, “I guess it’s only fair.”
When Dan tries to pull away Phil doesn’t let him.
Maybe it’s the tired but cute look in Dan’s eyes, maybe it’s the butterflies Phil still feels in his chest when Dan smiles at him, but he holds him there.
“Maybe just a little bit longer, yeah?”
Hold on for just a little bit longer.