Dan’s phone felt like a ton of bricks in his pocket, silently begging him to look at it. His fingers subconsciously twitched towards it, but he caught himself and grabbed his cup of water quicker than he probably should have, almost dousing himself and the dinner table. His dad raised his eyebrows at his spastic movements but didn’t comment, for which Dan was thankful.
He sat his glass down and tried not to focus on how he really just wanted to check his texts. Or Twitter, or Dailybooth, or YouTube. Pretty much anywhere Phil frequented, Dan wanted to check to see if he was online because it was a lot easier to spark a conversation if Dan just happened to be online.
Technically, he guessed he and Phil were friends and he could just text Phil, but that somehow felt like losing. Losing what, Dan wasn’t sure. Maybe it was this sticky spot between friendship and flirtationship Dan had gotten himself stuck in. He had commented and tweeted and shamelessly flirted his way into Phil’s DMs sitting in his inbox, and now here he was months later, almost covering himself and his family in his beverage when he really should just chill the fuck out and be the one to text Phil first.
He picked at his food a little longer before excusing himself and closing himself in the confines of his room. He sat on his bed and pulled his slow and wheezing laptop onto his lap, pulling up Twitter and immediately going to Phil’s profile. He hadn’t tweeted anything today, but Dan still browsed through his previous tweets, smiling at tweets where Phil had been alluding at something they had talked about, or an inside joke. Even just some of his general tweets that Dan was not a part of made him laugh because they were funny or clever and just so genuinely Phil, and he was one of the very few people who got to know what that was like.
After awhile, he switched over to Dailybooth and was equal parts relieved and disappointed to see nothing new. Relieved because he hadn’t missed anything, and Phil hadn’t been on the internet without trying to contact him (not that he’s obligated to or anything, God, Dan thought.) Disappointed because Phil’s Dailybooth photos were probably in Dan’s top 10 favorite things in the world, and a lack of them was surely a tragic event for him, as well as the rest of mankind.
He switched over to tumblr after thoroughly combing through Phil’s profile and getting maybe a little more worked up than it was probably appropriate to get over photos of your friend. He focused on getting lost in the world memes and shitposts that was tumblr, and it did work; he felt himself calm down and his body temperature to get back to normal. He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket, and he couldn’t help the swoop in his stomach when he saw “Phil” on the home screen.
From Phil: Dannnn I’m bored! get on Skype???
Dan’s fingers itched to reply instantly, but he waited a moment or two before replying that he would be on in a minute. Logically he knew he was probably being a bit childish: they were friends, and there was no reason to leave your friend wanting more, but he knew that wasn’t really it. His interest with Phil went beyond friendship, it always had, but Phil had always been adamant about how happy he was they were friends, and how great of a friend he thought Dan was. He couldn’t deny that hearing that always felt like a tiny punch in the gut because he wanted more, but he would much rather be friends with Phil than not have Phil at all.
He signed on to Skype and Phil’s video call came almost seconds after. Phil’s face came into view and no matter how ‘hard to get’ Dan was trying to play, the ear splitting grin that erupted onto his face surely said everything; he really needed to work on his poker face. Phil smiled back in kind, though, and they did matching little waves to each other.
“What are you up to?” Phil asked. He was sitting up in his bed and looked like he had maybe just woken up from a nap. His hair was a bit disheveled and his cheeks were a little pink. His blue t-shirt looked a little wonky, too, but Dan still couldn’t help thinking he looked incredible. Dan subconsciously bit his lip and then remembered that he hadn’t answered yet.
“Uh, not much. Just browsing. What about you?”
“I was gonna film a video, but I ended up falling asleep. When I woke up, I just didn’t have any motivation. Plus, I hadn’t talked to you today and wanted to say hi.”
Dan felt his cheeks burning, and one glance at the screen told him that Phil could undoubtedly see it, too, but he hoped he wouldn't think too much of it.
Dan did that awkward wave thing again, but Phil just laughed like Dan was hilarious, making warmth bloom in his chest; making Phil laugh was his favorite thing in the world.
“What did you do today?” Phil asked once he had stopped laughing.
“I went and visited my gran. And I went and hung out with a friend of mine and we played video games for awhile. They leave for uni in a few weeks.”
“So, am I gonna get an insider look at this new AmazingPhil video?” Dan asked, pretending to flutter his eyelashes enticingly.
Phil’s eyes searched Dan’s face and he bit his lip for a second, his own face inscrutable before smiling.
“Of course. Anything for you, Danny.”
Dan bristled at the nickname, but couldn’t be too mad when it was on the end of a sentence like that. They talked for a little bit about the video; Dan was always excited that Phil was so willing to share this part of his life and his creative process with him. It made him feel special and trusted, and it was times like this he truly believed that they were friends, best friends even.
“Have you given any more thought to visiting?”
Dan’s head snapped up where it had been resting lazily on his shoulder.
“Uh, I don’t know. Kind of. Why?”
“Well, my parents are gonna be out of town for a few weeks, so I just thought it would be a good time for you to come up.”
Dan didn’t reply. He was trying to come up with a reason he could say no, which deep down he knew was insane. He wanted to meet Phil, he absolutely did. But if he met Phil, it would make hiding how he felt a lot harder. Flirting could easily be brushed off when it was over social media or Skype even, but what if he made one of those flirty comments when he was there? What if Phil realized how much Dan liked him, then what would be do? He’d lose the best friend he’d ever had because of a stupid crush.
“Hello? You there, Dan?”
“Uh - yea. I’m here. Uh - I don’t know if my parents would let me.”
It was a lame excuse and he knew it. Phil did, too, if the look on his face was anything to go by.
Dan felt his stomach drop.
“I mean - they might. And I guess it doesn’t really matter. I’m 18, they can’t really stop me.”
Phil had the kind of face that was so hard to read, and Dan truly hated it sometimes. When Phil’s guard came up, it didn’t matter how well you knew him: you weren’t getting through.
“I do want to visit. I promise I do.”
Dan felt like he was pleading a bit. He had dug himself in this hole, and now he desperately wanted back out. Anything, really: he just wanted that look off of Phil’s face.
“I want you to visit, too,” Phil said softly. Dan let out a large puff of air in relief.
“Do you know when? I can start looking at train tickets.”
“In October, around the middle of the month. I don’t know the exact dates off the top of my head.”
Dan nodded. Phil still looked a bit nervous, and he wasn’t making as much eye contact, but it was an improvement from before.
“So, what are we gonna do when I come to visit?”
Phil smiled a little, making Dan smile too.
“I have a few things in mind, but they’re a secret.”
Dan wanted to smack himself. Phil’s eyes widened a little and he raised his eyebrows.
“I mean, I didn’t mean -.”
“Dan, it’s okay.”
Phil wasn’t laughing, but he didn’t look mad or uncomfortable. Dan opened his mouth to say sorry again, but Phil cut him off.
“Kinky wasn’t what I had in mind for your first visit, but I’m open to suggestions.”
Dan’s eyes were the size of dinner plates, he was sure of it. Since they had started talking, it had always been him who had been the one flirting, Phil laughing it off or politely ignoring it. He had never said something that made Dan think they were even possibly on the same wavelength.
“Sorry, that was probably too much.”
Phil’s cheeks were pink again, this time in embarrassment. Dan shook his head no, but couldn’t quite find his words yet.
“I just really like you, and I want to see you and meet you. And I know I have been kind of standoffish about, like, flirting back, but I just didn’t want you to think I was, like, taking advantage of you or something. Or that I was some older Internet creep.”
Dan felt like his brain was fried, and he was struggling to keep up.
“I’m sorry, I’m not understanding. You like me?”
“Yes, of course I like you. Isn’t that obvious?”
“I - like, you mean like a friend, right?”
Dan hated that he had to clarify that, but he had to clarify that. He was not about to plunge into that deep of water without a lifejacket.
“No, Dan. I mean - yes. Both. Like, I do like you as a friend, you’re my best friend. But I like you as more than a friend, too.”
Dan felt like his heart could explode with happiness.
“Really?” he asked shyly, looking down since looking Phil in the eye seemed too intense at the moment.
“Of course, I do. You’re smart, and funny, and freaking gorgeous, Dan. How could I not?”
Dan started to protest, but Phil stopped him before he could really get going more.
“Don’t bother. I have excellent taste. There is no point saying otherwise.”
Dan rolled his eyes, but still smiled.
“So, does this mean you still want to come visit me?”
“I’ll look at tickets now.”
He didn’t tab away from the screen, though, far too content to let Phil be what he focused on for the remainder of the night.