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you are my familiar

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It's early. Too early, definitely, since there's not even light coming through the curtains. He goes to reach for his phone to check the time but he's stopped rather abruptly by the arm tightening around him. He softens immediately, shuffling back a tiny bit and trying his best to turn over to look at the boy beside him. He's decidedly ignoring the voice in the back of his head telling him to go back to sleep. He's only got a few days of waking up to this before he goes back to his tiny brown room in Wokingham, and he wants to enjoy every second he can. 

It takes a little while for his eyes to adjust to the dark before he can see Phil's face. He looks different asleep, softer, more vulnerable. He's snuffling away quietly, and something twinges in Dan's chest at the thought of Phil pulling him closer, even unconsciously. He is struggling to keep his eyes open, though. Silently, he tucks himself in under Phil's chin and against his chest and lets his eyes drift shut. 

His plans of falling asleep in Phil's warmth are cut short when Phil's regular snores come to a stop and he stirs. Dan almost wants to let himself pretend to be asleep, but his stupid sappy heart gets the better of him and he opens his eyes to meet Phil's groggy ones. 

"You're awake," Phil mumbles. 

"Yeah," Dan huffs out. 

"Everything ok?" the arm around Dan retracts a little and he feels fingers begin to trace along his bare side. 

"Perfect." 

Phil rolls his eyes a little at that. "You're gross," he replies teasingly, but pops a little kiss to the end of Dan's nose anyway. Maybe Phil, too, is thinking he could get used to waking up next to Dan every day.

"You love it," Dan replies, hoping the dark hides his blush, poking Phil in the arm. 

"Ugh, Dan it's 4am," Phil groans, the light from his phone making him scrunch his face up adorably. 

Dan smiles and curls closer to Phil, snaking an arm round his waist and smiling softly. He's awake at 4am and somehow he's never felt more content in his life. 

"That's okay," he mumbles into Phil's chest. 

"You wanna go back to sleep?" 

"Dunno." 

Phil lightly tickles Dan's side and he squirms. 

"Seriously, you okay?" 

"Phil." Dan sits up and looks him dead in the eye. "This is exactly where I want to be right now. I am so much more than okay." 

Phil seems pretty happy with that answer. He opens his arms for Dan to crawl back into and presses a kiss to the top of his head, then to his cheek, then his shoulder. 

 


 

Phil's house quickly becomes his home away from home. Or maybe Wokingham becomes his home away from home. He's never really felt such a safe, warm feeling as when he's with Phil, and he's pretty sure that's how home is meant to feel. 

Spending Christmas with the Lesters is truly something else. Christmas eve is like a different world. He and Phil emerge from Phil's room late in the morning, to find Martyn, Kath, and Cornelia sat at the table with cups of tea warming their hands. Neither Dan nor Phil are wearing shirts, and maybe Dan had forgotten about the massive hickey Phil had given him the night before. He's quick to remember though, when a snort and a wolf whistle come from Martyn. Dan doesn't think he's ever gone red so fast in his life, and he turns impossibly more beetroot-coloured when he spots the smirk Phil sends Martyn's way and the slap Cornelia playfully aims at him. 

"Oh, leave the poor boy alone," Kath grumbles, getting up and finding them both some mugs for their morning coffee. "I've definitely seen you come down in the morning looking worse, Mar." Now it's Martyn's turn to blush, as Cornelia lets out a bark of laughter and Dan relaxes into what has quickly become the morning routine this week. It's kind of strange, seeing the interaction between them all. Dan can't imagine being that comfortable around anyone in his family. Even watching Phil's playful relationship with Martyn is bizarre when he thinks about his own brother. It feels more like family, though, Dan thinks. 

"Do you boys want to help me make some cookies today?" Kath offers. Dan is quick to volunteer his and Phil's services, even if he does leave out the part where his baking skills are shocking. 

 

"Did you pack a Christmas jumper?" Phil asks once they're back in his room, freshly showered and getting ready for the day of baking. 

"No?" Dan frowns. "I thought you were kidding." 

Phil shakes his head and tuts. "Oh, Dan. The Lesters never kid about Christmas jumpers." He has a quick dig through his wardrobe before pulling out an oversized sweater, something very Christmas-ugly, and offers it to Dan. 

"Are you sure?" Dan raises his eyebrows. 

"If you want to stay in Kath's good books, you need to wear a Christmas jumper," Phil shrugs. "And anyway, you look super cute in my stuff." 

When they return to the kitchen, Kath is wearing her own Christmas jumper and a headband with fuzzy bobbles on, which Phil says is Christmas tradition. The thought of Dan being included in any of their Christmas traditions warms his heart. 

 

By the time they've finished baking, Dan has flour everywhere, including in his hair. Kath is even gracious enough to not mention the white handprint that appears on his ass during the time she leaves and comes back into the kitchen. Phil offers their help to ice the cakes, but the pitiful look Kath gives him tells Dan all that he needs to know about Phil's artistic ability. 

 

They spend the afternoon with Martyn and Cornelia, playing video games and eating way too many chocolate biscuits. There's something so comforting about just being with Phil, Dan finds. It doesn't matter what they're doing. He can stare at Phil no matter how long he wants and no one calls him gay for it. He can lean his head on Phil's shoulder and feel the comfortable weight of Phil's head resting on top of his. He can press a kiss to Phil's cheek whenever he wants, because there's no judgement here. Phil's out, and his family are so accepting of him, and by extension Dan. He's never felt so at home, in this unfamiliar house on the other side of the country. 

 


 

 

It's early when Dan wakes. He huffs out a sigh, thinking about a time, many moons ago, when he lay here for the first time. He wants to think it's around 4am, even though he knows he was awake at 4am so it's probably nearer 9. He can still hear Phil snuffling beside him, a noise that quickly became a constant for him in the years that followed their first cold night in October 2009. He will roll over and go to sleep in a minute, he just wants to stop and think for a little while. He's not really sure how he came to just be living in this life that was happy and full of love and acceptance in a way the first half of his life never was. He can't complain, he supposes. 

He can hear something happening in the kitchen downstairs, and smiles softly at the thought of Kath in her Christmas jumper and bobbly headband, making a pot of tea for the morning, making sure to leave enough water in the kettle for him and Phil to make some instant coffee when they finally emerge. He feels a warm twinge in his chest thinking about how quick they were to accommodate him. He remembers the morning he came down with Phil to hear Kath say "oh by the way Phil I left some extra water for you in case Dan wants one of your coffees too". It makes him want to tear up now, just thinking about it. 

He and Phil have long since stopped being attached at the hip during sleep, and so it's easy for Dan to peel himself out of bed and leave Phil to his light snoring. He ventures down into the kitchen in his own Christmas jumper - half to appease Kath and half to hide the hickey on his chest, because some things never change - and finds Kath standing at the stove, frying some bacon. 

"Morning," he murmurs. He smiles softly when she jumps and turns to him with a warm smile. 

"Morning, love," she replies quietly, turning away from her cooking to offer him a hug. "You're up early, you sleep okay?" 

"Yes mum," he says, only half jokingly. She practically is his mum at this point, after all. "Woke up a bit early and thought maybe I could entice Phil out of bed a bit early with some coffee." He pops the kettle on to boil. "I figure it's only fair for us to help you with these mince pies if I'm gonna be stealing a load away when I go home." 

Kath offers him a gentle smile, one that reaches her eyes. "Well, love, if anyone can entice Phil out of bed it's you." She winks and enjoys the light dusting that covers his cheeks for a second. He's used to the teasing by now, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still get a little embarrassed about Kath's jokes. "It's a shame you can't stay." 

"Well, I can't go getting disowned by the other family," Dan jokes. He stops for a second, swallows thickly. 

"You okay, sweetie?" 

"Yeah, uh." He stops, looks at the ground, looks at Kath. "I'm gonna come out to them. At some point." 

"Oh." Kath takes his hands in her's and offers a small squeeze. "Dan, you know they love you." 

"Yeah, I. I know." He looks her dead in the eye then. "I know it's going to be okay. It's just. Big." 

"It is big," Kath agrees. "And you know, love, it will be okay. They love you so much. But if anything does happen and you need a place to stay, an extra place at the table, any of that," she squeezes his hands again, "You know you are always welcome here. No matter what." 

Dan isn't sure what he really expected, but he feels a sudden flood of fondness for Kath, and he pulls her into a hug before the tears can begin to flow. He stands for a few minutes, lets himself enjoy a good mum hug, and allows for the love to be felt between the two of them. He's not sure how it happened that he ended up a part of this family, but he knows he has everything he needs here.