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Dan’s glad the music is so loud. He’s glad the air is thick with the skunky smoke of cigarettes and weed, glad his own blood is thick with Malibu and coke. He’s glad everything feels sweaty and warm and heavy in a way that life doesn’t usually feel, or else he might be stupid enough to say no when the fit guy he’s been talking to all night asks him if he wants to find a more private place to talk.

If life felt like it usually did right now he might be panicking about what’s to come when the guy - Phil, his name is Phil, Dan remembers - smiles and takes his hand when Dan says yes.

It’s not like he’s never done this before, but that doesn’t mean it feels any less terrifying. He doesn’t know everyone at this party, there may be a few homophobic dickheads lurking. But he lets Phil lead him down a hallway like he knows where he’s going, and he’s buzzed enough on booze and bravado that he the apprehension is greatly dulled.

Phil opens the door to what Dan sees is a bedroom… a bedroom that just happens to have two people fully going at it on the bed. Phil shrieks an apology and yanks the door shut again and they both share a moment of stunned silence before disintegrating into a fit of drunken giggles. Dan feels giddy, lighter than air despite the way the alcohol in his bloodstream makes everything seem to happen at half speed.

Phil is so fucking fit. Dan can’t stop looking at him, stood outside the fornicators’ room wondering what they’re meant to do now. His hair is exactly the hair Dan’s always wanted, long and straight and falling into eyes so big and blue it makes Dan think of a swimming pool or a tropical sky or some other daft cheesy thing like that. They’re just very striking and they’re looking at him like they like what they see and the force of it is intoxicating.

He’s trying not to notice how much he looks like Ben, the boy from year seven who’d been a big part of Dan’s sexual awakening and subsequent heartbreak from the sting of unrequited love. His eyes are the same gentle blue, his hair the same inky black.

Phil is a man, though. A man who seems to share Dan’s inability to look away, and Dan can feel the smile fading from his lips as a different emotion replaces the embarrassment of walking in on strangers fucking.

Phil drops Dan’s hand, and before Dan has a chance to feel bad about it there are hands on his hips. Phil leans back against the wall and pulls Dan with him, never looking away from Dan’s eyes and Dan knows in that moment that whatever’s about to happen is going to be electric.

He fists his fingers in the material of Phil’s shirt and leans into Phil’s chest, eyes flicking down to his lips. Someone whistles and Dan knows it’s directed at them, and though it makes his heart pound he knows it’s not enough to stop whatever’s happening here.

Just as the tension is about to eat him alive Phil tilts his head and leans forward to press his mouth to Dan’s ear. “I can’t do what I wanna do out here,” he says, voice so low and deep Dan feels it right between his legs. He’d probably fall over if he didn’t have most of his weight leaned into Phil’s body.

His response is a very eloquently croaked, “Fuck.”

They shuffle a few steps over, and somehow they’re on the other side of the hall with the wall against Dan’s back.

Not just the wall, actually. Dan feels a doorknob poking at his back. He reaches a hand behind him and then twists it so that the door opens and they tumble backwards into a space that’s way too small to be a bedroom, but before he can even react Phil’s kicking the door shut.

The room smells like clean laundry and his head leans back against something soft, maybe bedding or towels. He can’t rightly give a fuck because Phil’s hands are still on his waist and Phil’s mouth is so close to his and Dan’s insides are buzzing like never before.

“This alright?” Phil asks, pausing a few centimeters away. Dan can’t see him but he can feel the warmth of his breath on his face.

“Fuck yeah,” Dan says, and then he closes his eyes and leans in and he’s not thinking of much of anything except that Phil’s lips are soft and he tastes like sweet and alcohol and his tongue is really warm and he likes to use his teeth. It’s a wash of feelings bursting in Dan’s chest, and somehow kissing Phil is already like second nature.

That second nature leads him to sink his fingers into Phil’s perfect soft black hair and whine low in his throat when he feels Phil’s hands push up the sides of his t-shirt to rest on the bare skin just above the waistband of his jeans. It’s not that risque of a touch but Dan feels just like he knew he would, like he’s been doused in electricity. He pushes his hips forward before he can think better of it.

He’s mortified for a tenth of a second until Phil pushes back. There’s nothing much more to it, not yet, but he wants to hope that bulge he feels isn’t just denim. He forces himself not to do it again even if he’s properly aching even after just two minutes of really intense snogging.

He’s not entirely expecting to feel hands cupping his ass, drawing his body in, but that’s exactly what Phil does. It’s such a firm sure touch that it makes Dan’s stomach sizzle, makes him tug at Phil’s hair just for some relief from the cooling tension. He feels like an animal, like he wants to sink his teeth in and take chunks of Phil as he goes.

He’s not sure he’s ever felt this turned on in his whole life. He reckons if anyone could see them it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. Phil is pulling him in closer by his ass, squeezing what he can through Dan’s jeans. All he can hear is the sounds of their heavy breathing and the wetness of lips and tongues with the thumping of bass in the background. There’s still a party going on outside this closet, but Dan couldn’t possibly care less about the friends he’d ditched.

It’s not like he really knows them, anyway. And they definitely don’t know him. Would they be shocked to know what he was getting up to? Would they care? He shoves that crisis in the back of his mind for later. University is all about a new start, right? No reason not to be himself. Authentic Dan. Whoever the fuck that is.

Right now, at least, it’s the guy getting his ass groped in the most delicious way.

Phil pulls his mouth off of Dan’s and starts kissing down Dan’s neck. Dan knows the gasp he lets out has a tremble to it. The first time he fooled around with a boy, he was fifteen and nearly came in his pants after having his neck kissed twice.

He’s got a bit more stamina now, but it still makes him shivery.

“Oh,” Phil says, mouth lingering. “You like that?”

Dan just nods, biting his lip as he waits for Phil to do it again. He’s straining against the fly of his jeans, goosebumps raising the hair on his arms. Phil presses his lips to that sensitive skin again, slower and more controlled this time.

Dan’s whole body tingles. He tilts his head to the side and slides a hand down Phil’s back and into the back of his jeans. Actually, he bypasses Phil’s pants entirely and fits his whole palm against the soft warm skin of Phil’s ass cheek, a real feat given how tight his trousers are.

Phil chuckles against Dan’s neck. “Hello there.”

“Too much?”

He hums, shaking his head and closing his teeth gently around Dan’s earlobe. “Feels good.”

“For me too.” He gives Phil a little squeeze. “More neck kissing, please.”

Phil laughs again. It’s such an adorable sound, way too cute to belong to the blazingly sexy man whose lips are working magic just below Dan’s jaw.

His head thunks back against the shelf of something behind him and lets his other hand join the first. Double handfuls of warm flesh pulling Phil’s hips toward his own and that fucking mouth and Dan can’t help himself - his fingers wander into the warm, slightly sweaty crevice of Phil’s ass.

It feels sexy and intimate and Phil seems to like it a whole lot, moaning into where he’s kissing. No, not kissing - biting now. Dan whimpers. “That’s not fair.”

“You’re not fair.” Phil keeps on, adding a bit more pressure. “You’re so fucking lovely.”

The praise shoots straight through Dan’s veins. Maybe he should be embarrassed by how much that does it for him, but tenderness has always been a lowkey turn on for him. Maybe just because he hasn’t had all that much of it in his life.

He pulls his hands out of Phil’s pants and wraps them around the back of his neck again, whispering, “Kiss me.”

Phil does without hesitation, mouth fitting perfectly against Dan’s.

It’s so easy. They’re pretty much exactly the same height. Dan doesn’t have to tilt his head down or up or really do anything but stand there and try to keep himself upright on legs that are slowly turning to jelly.

He’s not thinking of anything but Phil’s lovely mouth and the way he smells and how nice it feels when his hands slide up the back of his t-shirt. He’s not wishing for more or thinking about what happens if someone opens the door or wondering if Phil would be up for coming back to halls with him. It’s almost as if the future doesn’t exist; this moment is the only one that really matters.

And then the moment is shattered.

The door to the cupboard is wrenched open and a bright light flashes in Dan’s eyes, blinding him temporarily.

“Alright-” The officer blinks at them, taking a moment to comprehend the scene. His voice sounds slightly uncomfortable when he speaks again. “Alright, lads, fun’s been had for tonight. Come on with me.”

“What?” Phil sounds shocked.

“None of that,” the officer says, stepping back and making an impatient gesture. “Out.”

Dan puts his hands on Phil’s waist and leans forward. “Go on, it’s okay.”

He’s been through this before. Police raiding house parties, rounding everyone up and trying to intimidate them into not doing it again. It’s a frustration and a bit of a buzzkill, especially considering how promising the night was looking, but he’s feeling none of the terror that Phil obviously is.

“Dan, what-” Phil’s voice is actually shaking.

He seems so scared that the officer is giving them strange looks, almost suspicious, and that doesn’t sit well with Dan. He slides his hand into Phil’s even though people could see and that makes Dan a bit terrified and he says, “It’s fine, I promise. Just stick with me.”

He doesn’t give Phil much of a chance not to. They pass through the half-lit house, still hazy with smoke. Some of the people being led out by officers have clearly been doing much harder things than the - very legal - drinking that Dan and Phil have both done, but Dan knows there’s no point in arguing it right now.

One drunken university student is just as good - or bad - as the next, to these guys. He knows if he’s calm and quiet they’ll likely just be sent off with a warning, or at worst given the ‘make better choices’ talk then be let go.

Or so he thought. The officer leads them to his car and instructs them to stand against it while he continues to shine the bloody torch in their faces. “Stop touching each other,” he barks.

Phil drops Dan’s hand like he’s been branded. It makes Dan’s stomach twist but he can’t hold it against Phil that he’s freaking out a little. If anything it’s endearing.

“You lads been drinking?”

Dan resists the urge to look at Phil’s face, hoping he’s holding it together enough not to make things worse. “Yes,” he says, voice steady. “It’s a party.”

“Don’t be a smartass with me, kid.”

“We’re of legal age,” Dan continues. The tone he puts on is probably ill-advised, but he knows a bully when he sees one, and he’d promised himself when he got here that he’d leave his days of being victimized back in Wokingham. “What’s the problem?”

“I’ll ask the questions here.” The officer shines the torch on Phil, and Dan can’t help turning to look.

He looks like someone who’s done a very bad thing indeed, even though Dan knows for a fact he hasn’t.

“You been doing drugs?” the officer asks, taking a step closer and narrowing his eyes at Phil.

Phil’s whole body tenses up, and he shakes his head frantically. Dan is tense too, any hope he’d had that they’d get out of this encounter unscathed withering before his very eyes.

“Your pupils are as big as saucers,” the officer says gruffly. “What did you take?”

“He said he didn’t take anything,” Dan spits. He hopes he’s not lying, but he’s like… ninety seven point three percent sure Phil was the same level of buzzed as Dan and nothing more.

“My eyes are just like that—” Phil starts to say.

“Sure they are. Never heard that one before.” The officer sneers at them. “Into the car with you. Watson, we got a couple more on the molly!”

The last bit is shouted at someone who is handling a very out of it girl.

“We’re not fucking on—” Dan starts to snap back but before he can he’s being lightly shoved toward the police car.

“Do we need to cuff you lads? Or would you enjoy that?” The sneer turns into something nasty that makes Dan’s stomach sink completely.

He almost crashes into Phil as Phil gets in. “Dan, what’s molly?” he whispers.

“They think we’re on ecstasy,” Dan says.

“I’m not on ecstasy!” Phil’s voice goes high pitched with fear.

“I know. It doesn’t matter anyway.” Dan lowers his voice to a whisper so no one will hear him but Phil. “This cunt is just tilted ‘cause he hates gays.”

Phil looks like he’s about to cry. “Shit,” he says under his breath. “Shit. My mum’s gonna kill me.”

“She’s not.” Dan risks putting a hand on Phil’s thigh. “She’s never going to know. You just have to chill out a bit. We literally haven’t done anything wrong, we’ll be alright as long as we keep our shit together, ok?”

Phil takes a deep breath and Dan pulls his hand away before Officer Fuckface can see them doing that awful touching each other thing again.

“How do you know, though?” Phil asks.

“It’s… possible I’ve been arrested before.”

Phil’s eyes go wide. Just then the officer gets into the car and turns the engine over. Phil sits up ramrod straight and looks away from Dan, and Dan vows he’ll explain himself later. He doesn’t want this guy thinking he’s some kind of criminal. He still wants this guy to like him.

Because Dan’s got a crush. He definitely fancies Phil, already a lot more than any of the other guys he’s hooked up with drunkenly at parties. He doesn’t want this to be how his story with Phil ends.


The ride to the station is quiet from their end and full of radio chatter up front.

Dan’s too afraid to say anything, not afraid of getting in trouble but afraid of fucking things up even more with Phil. But once they get out of the car Phil stays glued to his side so Dan figures even if Phil’s written him off as a total loser he might still have a chance at least of redeeming himself if he can get them out of this.

Once they get there it’s obvious they aren’t the only ones from the party brought in.

Dan knows how this part goes, too. He knows most of the people sober enough or just near enough to the exits probably scattered and the ones caught out when the police busted in were either too drunk, stoned, high, or busy getting busy to have been paying attention.

He wants to reassure Phil more, tell him things like how they probably won’t even be arrested for real, since they haven’t fucking done anything wrong, but he keeps seeing the cop giving them dirty looks and he’s afraid anything he said right now would just get them the sort of attention they don’t need.

They’re taken to a room with little more than a table and a few chairs and told, quite literally, to shut up and wait. “We’ll deal with you later,” the officer tells them. “Don’t try anything.”

Dan wants to ask if he expects them to get their dicks out and fuck right there on the floor, but he bites his tongue. His buzz is almost completely gone at this point, and he really doesn’t want to spend the night in jail, and he really doesn’t want Phil to have to spend the night in jail. That detail feels absolutely paramount.

He is angry though. He reckons if Phil weren’t here radiating blind terror, there’d be nothing to stop Dan making things worse for himself by telling this overgrown bully with a badge exactly where he could stick it.

The slamming of the door echoes in the cold room once he’s gone, but Dan breathes a sigh of relief. He’s sure they’re not afforded any privacy in this room, but he can’t help turning towards
Phil and putting his hand on his leg again.

Phil doesn’t pull away, so that’s something at least.

“Don’t forget to breathe,” Dan says gently.

Phil’s voice is weak and small. “I only had a few drinks. I’ve never done drugs in my life.”

“I know,” Dan says. He doesn’t really, he only met Phil a couple of hours ago. But somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. He knows Phil is telling the truth. There’s no reason Phil would lie about this, anyway.

“Have you?” Phil asks suddenly.

“Done drugs?” Dan half-shrugs. “A couple times. Not tonight. Not since I was trying to impress people I barely knew at Reading Fest when I was sixteen by doing stupid things.”

“My mum would kill me,” Phil says. He doesn’t just sound scared now, he sounds - sad.

Sad to disappoint his parents. Dan’s not sure what that would even feel like.

“Are you close to your mum?” he asks, swallowing down something that might taste like bitterness if he let himself linger on it any. He has a feeling that keeping Phil talking in general is a good thing right now.

“Yeah,” Phil says. “I actually live back at home right now, which is sort of embarrassing but I finished uni last year and I haven’t found a steady job that pays me enough for my own flat yet.”

“I took a gap year and lived at home so I could save money,” Dan says. “Bit bullshit, isn’t it? Being old enough to live on your own but still being treated like a kid by your parents because they can’t look at you and see anything but the offspring they feel like they still have ownership of?”

Phil gives him a strange look and Dan wonders if he’s said too much. But then Phil is nodding and saying, “Yeah, actually. I get on with my parents really well, but it’s still frustrating how they treat me like I’m sixteen still.”

“How old are you, actually?” Dan suddenly asks. Maybe he still is the tiniest bit drunk because the bit about Phil having already graduated registered on a delay.

“Twenty-three,” Phil says. “What about you?”

Maybe there’s a reason Phil felt like such a man when he was pinning Dan against a linen closet shelf. Because he actually, like… is one, proper and adult and everything.

Dan briefly considers lying about his own age, but he figures if Phil was at a university party he can’t be too shocked when Dan says, “Nineteen.”

“Are we really not going to get arrested?” Phil blurts out.

“Mate, we haven’t done anything,” Dan reminds him. “It’s not illegal to drink. If there was harder stuff going on those people might be in for a shit night, but we won’t be.”

Unless Officer Homophobe has his way. But Dan’s a fan of little white lies sometimes when he thinks maybe he can will them into truth.

Phil nods. “Right. Right.”

Dan makes a split second decision to risk a joke and says, “Just try not to look quite so much like you’re smuggling cocaine up your butt next time that walking bin bag comes in here, yeah?”

Phil’s mouth drops open for a moment before snapping shut again. Dan’s afraid he’s erred in the gamble when a little smile breaks through Phil’s deer in headlights expression. “Shut up,” he mutters, kicking Dan’s foot.

“Why don’t you come over here and make me?” He knows Phil won’t, he just can’t help going for the flirt when Phil makes it so easy.

“If we ever get out of here maybe I will.”

It’s a testament to the intensity of Dan’s crush that he could be feeling all tingly and warm inside while sat in a room at the police station in the middle of the night waiting to find out whether or not he’s going to wake up in a cell tomorrow morning.

“Yeah?” he asks, because he wants to keep Phil talking, especially if it’s about the possibility of salvaging their hookup.

“Big if,” Phil clarifies. “That officer has it in for us.”

“We can start a life together in jail,” Dan says. “I look good in stripes and we can get matching prison tats.”

Phil frowns. “Don’t even joke. You’re too pretty to go to prison.”

Dan smiles. “You think I’m pretty?”

Phil turns bashful. “Shut up. You know I do.”

“No I don’t,” Dan says. He might be teasing. He never claimed to be anything but a bit of a shit. “Not until you tell me.”

“Thought I did enough showing earlier that I didn’t have to.”

Dan full on grins. “Not quite enough, apparently.”

“Apparently,” Phil agrees, and holds eye contact with Dan for enough seconds to send warmth coursing through him. “My mum would also kill me if I got a tat, though.”

“What if… wait, loophole… you get the prison tat, but it says mum on it? In a heart?”

Phil laughs. “That might actually work.”

“Solved, then.” Dan nods as though it’s a done deal.

“And what’ll yours be?”


“A penis,” Dan says, immediately. “Might need you to model for it.”

Phil laughs so loudly that he immediately covers his mouth with his hand. He stares at the door, like he’s afraid someone is going to bust into the room and slap some cuffs onto him.

“Phil,” Dan says, putting a hand on his arm. “It’s okay. I promise.”

Phil looks at him hopefully. “Really? You actually know that?”

Of course Dan doesn’t. “I do,” he says. “Definitely.”

Phil smiles. “I bet Officer McPoophead would love if you got a tattoo of giant cock.”

“Oh, giant, eh?” Dan cocks an eyebrow.

Phil’s hands fly up to cover his mouth again. “That’s not what I meant!” he squeaks.

“It totally is, don’t lie.”

Phil just sits there and blushes beneath his own fingers. He’s so sheepish and nerdy and adorable that Dan finds it a genuine struggle not to knock him off his chair and just cuddle the absolute fuck out of him.

“Maybe I’ll find out someday?” Dan asks, voice pitching up at the end in nervousness. He doesn’t even really have the excuse of inebriation anymore for his suggestiveness.

“You’re a horny little bastard, aren’t you?”

He’s smiling, so Dan knows he doesn’t need to worry that he’s causing offence.

“Yeah,” he admits easily. “Reckon I am. But that’s as much your fault as it is mine.”

“Reckon there is a good chance you’ll find out, then.” Phil’s eyes do a soft thing that makes Dan’s stomach flip unexpectedly… then outside someone walks by with heavy steps and Phil jumps. “If my mum doesn’t kill me first.”

“How did you make it all the way through university without being at any wild house parties that got shut down by the police?” Dan asks.

“I was at some!” Phil sounds defensive, but not in a serious way. “I just… probably left before things got too wild. I like sleep! I was definitely always gone by the time it got shut down.”

“That’s so adorable,” Dan says, without even really meaning to.

Phil covers his face with his hands. “Oh no.”

“What, hey.” Dan grabs Phil’s wrist and tugs.

“Adorable - that’s like, just what I want every fit guy to say about me.” Phil scrunches his face up.

“Shut up, I like adorable. It’s a lot better than like… rwar, look what a man I am, I have muscles and can crunch beer cans on my forehead.”

“How do people even do that?” Phil exclaims, forgetting his embarrassment. “That would hurt so much!”

“I have no idea,” Dan says. “It probably does hurt. Toxic masculinity is a curse. I’d rather just like, drink the beer and recycle the can.”

Phil laughs. “Maybe you’re the adorable one.”

“Well, if we need to counter our inherent adorableness to the world at least we can brag about the hard time we’ve done.” Dan grins, hoping Phil’s ready to be teased about it just a bit.

“My brother will be so impressed.”


Phil nods, then frowns. “Or else he’ll just threaten to tell my mum. It’s perfect blackmail material.”

“You should know that I’m basically picturing your mother as some kind of she-demon now,” Dan informs him.

“No! She’s lovely. She just… expects me to be good.”

Dan snorts. “Can’t relate.”

“Your mum expects you to be bad?”

Dan shrugs, regretting letting the conversation get anywhere near his relationship with his family. “Doubt she expects anything from me, honestly.” His voice is bitter where he’d aimed for aloof, and he hates the way it makes Phil’s face fall.

“I’m not bad, though,” Dan adds quickly.

“I didn’t think you were,” Phil says softly. “Even though you’ve been arrested before.”

Dan reaches out and gives Phil’s shoulder a quick shove. “Hey. Don’t judge me.”

“I’m not! I’m just a little curious. I’ve never kissed a bad boy before.”

Dan can’t help laughing. “I’m not, trust me. I’m a giant nerd who had a bad childhood, and sometimes I talk shit when I should shut up, that’s all. I’m closer to Winnie the fucking Pooh than a bad boy.”

Phil tilts his head to the side and takes a moment to look at Dan’s face before he says, “You don’t kiss like Winnie the Pooh.”

Dan smirks. “How d’you know what he kisses like?”

“You’re not good at taking compliments, are you?”

That pulls Dan up short. Maybe he isn’t.

“I guess I’m out of practice,” he says, trying to keep his tone light and failing miserably.

“I think you’re hot.” Phil stares right into his eyes.

Dan feels like he’s melting. He’s almost forgotten where they are. “I think you are.”

Their eyes are ripped away from burning holes into the other’s when the doorknob turns and a different officer steps into the room.

Phil immediately looks petrified again.

“Boys,” the officer says. It’s a woman this time, hair pulled back into a tight bun. “The officer that brought you in said you were giving him trouble. Are you going to make this difficult on me?”

“We weren’t giving him trouble,” Dan says, trying to keep his tone controlled despite the renewed anger surging through him. “We were just trying to explain that we haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Are you saying you weren’t at that party?” She asks, lowering her clipboard and eyeing them both up and down.

“We were there,” Dan says. “But we only had a few drinks. We aren’t on anything. You can test us.”

“Yeah.” Phil suddenly speaks up. “Test us.”

She looks back and forth between them. Dan can see the wheels turning in her mind. She walks in closer and stares into their eyes, first Phil then Dan.

Dan’s not sure exactly what gives them away. Maybe it’s how close they were sitting when she walked in. Maybe it’s the love bite on Phil’s neck.

Maybe it really is true that people can just look at him and tell. He shoves that uncomfortable thought away and buries it with all the rest.

“You don’t even seem drunk,” she says. “Testing you would be a waste of our time and resources.”

The relief Dan feels is strong. “Can we go?”

“I’ll escort you out. Maybe next time leave the party before the police arrive, yeah?” she says, shaking her head at them.

“Or before any homophobic cops catch us having the audacity to not be straight?”

He definitely shouldn’t have said that, but he just can’t help it. They shouldn’t be here. It’s not fair, and he can’t force himself to take kindly to being scolded when his only crime was kissing a boy instead of a girl.

He waits to be reprimanded or worse, but it never comes. The officer just gives him a look and an infinitesimal little nod before opening the door and ushering them out. “Come on, then. I’m sure you’ve better places to be.”

Dan grabs Phil’s hand on their way down the hall. It’s as much a fuck you to anyone who doesn’t like it as it is a display of affection, but Phil grips it back tightly. Maybe he wants to say fuck you as well.

“You’re wrong,” Phil says, once they’re outside and the cool night air is kissing their skin.

“Am I?” Dan asks, amused. “About what?”

“You said you’re not a bad boy. You are. In like, a good way.” He drops Dan’s hand and shoves his own in the pockets of his jeans. “You’re kind of amazing.”

Dan’s not prepared for that at all. He mirrors Phil and shoves his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

He wants to thank Phil. He wants to ask Phil if he’s sure he means that. He wants to argue and tell Phil that he’s really not.

But mostly he just…

Doesn’t want to say goodbye to Phil yet.

“Are you hungry?” he blurts out.

Phil answers without hesitation. “Always.”


There’s a 24 hour McDonalds near the police station, so they end up sat under fluorescent lights eating greasy fries and chicken nuggets.

“I don’t think I’m drunk anymore at all,” Phil says, shoving at least five fries into his mouth at once.

Dan watches him chew for a moment, mildly disgusted in a way that paradoxically does not hinder his attraction to Phil at all.

Then he shoves the same number of fries in his own mouth, because he’s fucking starving. He can’t even remember the last time he ate, maybe at the halls for lunch - twelve hours ago now, easily.

“I’m definitely not,” Dan says. “But I’m not tired, either.”

Phil looks at his phone and frowns. “Shit.”


Phil turns his phone around so Dan can see the black screen.


“That explains why I haven’t been getting any calls or texts,” Phil mutters, shoving it back into his pocket.

“From your mum?” Dan asks.

Phil shakes his head “My best mate. I was supposed to stay over at his tonight. No buses running back to Rawtenstall at this time.”

Dan pulls his own phone out. As much as he’d like to just stay sat right here with Phil all night long, he can’t. He can’t take advantage like that. He holds his mobile out for Phil to take, but Phil just looks at it and frowns some more.

“Don’t have his number memorized,” Phil says quietly. “Shit.”

“You could… send him a message on Facebook or something?” Dan suggests.

“Oh.” His voice perks up a bit. “Yeah. That’s a good idea. You’re clever.” He takes the phone and after a few moments looks back up at Dan. “I don’t know what to say. ‘Hey mate, not dead. Kind of got arrested but I’m alright?”

Dan chuckles. “Yeah. Brilliant.”

Phil chews on his lip. “I don’t know what to do, though. I don’t have enough cash for a taxi and I don’t remember his address.”

Phil is just frazzled from the night’s craziness. He’s not thinking clearly. Dan reckons he could help Phil find a way back to his mate’s house if he wanted to.

But he doesn’t want to. Not at all.

“Ugh, what should I do?” Phil mutters, almost quiet enough that Dan’s not sure he’s even supposed to answer it.

But he does. “You should come back to mine.”

“I’m…” Phil blinks owlishly at him.

“If you want to,” Dan adds.

Phil keeps staring at him then finally says, “Yeah.”

“So tell him you’re staying with a friend who lives closer.”

“Friend?” Phil asks.

Dan half-shrugs. “Unless you want to explain exactly how we met…”

“Um.” Phil makes a face. “Maybe not. At least, not over Facebook.”

“Oh, are you the kiss and tell sort?” Dan smirks.

“No!” Phil says. “Just… the bragging about a fit guy who wants to kiss me sort.”

“Well.” Dan coughs. “Guess that’s alright, then.”

“And it’s not even a lie this time,” Phil says.

“What, you’ve lied about fit guys in the past?” Dan takes a drink of his coke. “I want to hear that story.”

“Just, when I started university, I wanted people to like me. So I made up a bunch of lies about people I’d fooled around with. Not - not guys. I wasn’t… I didn’t come out to my housemates until later on. But I had the most ridiculous stories! They had to know I was lying.”

“Tell me.”

“I said I met one girl in California on a snowboarding trip.”

“Does it even snow in California? Isn’t that like, beaches and Baywatch?”

Phil shrugs. “Parts of it, I think? I’m not sure, I’ve never been. But I told one of them I had a girlfriend in Canada-”

“You did not.” Dan practically wheezes with laughter.

“I didn’t even remember that it was the song until later, but it must have been like, stuck in my head? And then I just said it.”

“Did she cook like your mother, and suck like a-”

“Dan!” Phil laughs and throws a fry at him. “Alright I’m gonna tell Ian I’m staying with a mate, but only if you forget everything I just told you.”

“Deal. You good to walk?” Dan asks. “It’s not that far.”

Phil nods as he types out his message on Dan’s phone. “Where do you live?”

“Um… it’s possible I live in halls.”

Phil smiles, handing the phone back. “Really?”

“Have you changed your mind?” Dan asks.

“Course not.” Phil puts his last solitary fry between his teeth. “It’ll be cozy, right?”

“I’m going to be honest with you, it’s fucking microscopic.”

“Like I said. Cozy.”


There’s a minor chance that Dan might be slightly bricking it as they walk out of McDonalds.

He’s never actually brought a guy back to his room before. He’s never even come close to vibing with someone enough to want to. He likes his own space; none of his previous messy hookups were people who seemed worthy of offering it up.

At least he doesn’t think he has to worry about the other guys in the halls thinking anything is strange about it. People crash all the time after parties, stumbling in drunk and sleeping wherever they land.

Dan hopes Phil lands right in his bed.

“I can’t believe I’m not sleepy yet,” Phil says. “It’s so late.”

“Yeah, it’s late.” Dan probably wouldn’t be asleep yet even if he hadn’t gone out, but he wants to pretend to be a normal person with a semi-functional sleep schedule. “And you do like your sleep, don’t you?”

“Shut up.” Phil grins sheepishly. “Why did I even tell you that?”

“Because you’re cute like that.” Dan tilts his head slightly and risks a look over at Phil to try and see how Phil reacts.

“You’ve got to stop that.”

“What?” Dan feigns ignorance. “You are!”

“I’m not. I’m rugged and manly and mysterious.”

“What did we say about toxic masculinity, mate?” Dan reminds him. “What if I like cute?”

Suddenly Dan is being tugged towards Phil and he yelps a little before his mouth is being kissed by Phil’s and his back is pressed up against the brick wall of a shop along the route. Phil’s hands push up under Dan’s shirt and splay their long fingers against his ribs as he bites at Dan’s bottom lip.

“I’m not cute,” he says in a low voice, a voice that makes heat fizzle in Dan’s stomach.

Dan is full on swooning, but he somehow still finds it in himself to prolong this moment a little more by teasing. “Mm, not convinced.”

“We’re in public,” Phil says. His lips brush Dan’s throat. “Can’t convince you here.”

“I don’t see anyone,” Dan argues. He hasn’t actually looked, but that’s hardly the point.

Phill giggles and pushes his face into Dan’s neck. “Shut up.”

Dan grins fondly, wrapping his arms around Phil’s lower back to hug him. “I’m sorry but even when you’re being all sexy and irresistible you’re cute.”

“You think I’m sexy?”

Dan takes Phil’s hand and presses it against the bulge between his legs.

“Oh.” Phil keeps his hand there even after Dan has dropped his.

He squeezes just a bit and Dan gasps. “Fuck. Yeah.”

Phil’s eyes get a bit of a glazed over look and Dan wants to chase that as far as it will go, but then Phil is pulling away. “I don’t want to risk getting arrested a second time.”

Dan laughs. “We weren’t even really arrested. Besides, I said I’d get us out of it, and I did, didn’t I?”

“You did,” Phil agrees, a smile softening the intense look of want on his face. “My hero.”

Dan actually knows he didn’t really do too much. Phil probably wouldn’t have been taken in at all if not for what the officer caught them doing in that closet.

But he’ll take the credit. “Come on,” he says. “We’re not too far.”

“Haven’t been here in ages,” Phil says, following Dan through the perpetually damp streets.

“Did you go here?” Dan asks. They’re talking in quiet voices even though the city around them still shows signs of Saturday night life, even with the hour pushing past one in the morning.

Phil shakes his head. “Just for a tour once. This was too close to home, I wanted to feel more independent.”

“Where’d you end up then?” Dan asks.

“I went to York,” Phil says. “I liked it. I miss it.” His voice sounds wistful.

“I kind of hate it here,” Dan admits. “All I do is party on the weekends and not go to class.”

“It sounds like you have loads of friends, at least?” Phil asks. “If you’re out all the time.”

“You’d think, right? But the only time I really talk to the people in my halls are when they’re telling me where they’re going to drink. I spend most of my time in my room.” Dan pauses. “Fuck, I’m not really selling myself as sexy here, am I?”

“You don’t have to,” Phil says. “I already think you are, remember?”

“Yeah, but you could change your mind.”

Phil ignores that. “Manchester is actually really great if you explore it with the right people. You should let me take you on a proper tour sometime. I could take you to the Starbucks with the good sofas and up on the wheel. Ooh, and Shakeaway.”

Dan smiles and stops himself from calling Phil cute again, but he’s definitely thinking it. “That sounds really fun. I’d like that.”

“Yeah?” Phil asks. “You’d wanna hang out with me after tonight?”

“Oh.” Dan’s smile falters. “Do you not want to?”

“Yeah, course I do. Just wasn’t sure if you wanted this—” He gestures in the space between them. “—to be a one-time thing or not.”

“You’re an overthinker, aren’t you?”

“Shut up,” Phil mutters.

“It’s ok. I am too.” Dan bumps his shoulder into Phil’s. “Anyway, I’d love to see Manchester through your eyes.”

“So it’s…” Phil hesitates. “A date?”

Dan knows he’s doing that dumb smiling thing where his dimple gets like five miles deep and he looks like he’s a kid again but he can’t help it. His face won’t do cool things right now. “Yeah. It’s a date.”


“You weren’t kidding,” Phil says, stepping into Dan’s room. “This is tiny.”

“A literal prison cell.” Dan kicks his trainers off and then stretches his arms over his head, a yawn catching him off guard. Just being in this room has a soporific effect.

“Sleepy?” Phil asks.

Dan looks at him, suddenly realizing that this is it - they’re here, and alone. “Not that sleepy,” he says, and tries to casually lean back against the wall… misjudging the distance and stumbling. “Fuck.”

Phil is not so nice that he doesn’t laugh at Dan just a little bit. He covers his mouth with his hand while he does it and Dan’s heart does somersaults. This bloke is genuinely adorable.

Dan can’t recall ever feeling this smitten with anyone since… well, since Ben.

“Is this karma for the cute thing?” he mutters, flopping down to sit on the edge of his bed.

“Maybe a little.” Phil sits next to him. “Maybe it just means we’re both cute.”

Dan puts his hand on Phil’s thigh, running his thumb over the denim. “I think you’re a lot more than cute.”

Phil looks at him and Dan feels like he’s drowning in how blue those eyes are, how much intensity they hold in their unblinking gaze.

“I think you should turn off the lights and we should get into your bed,” Phil says quietly.

Dan leans in and kisses him, hitching a leg over his lap to straddle him and pushing him down onto his back. Phil makes a little noise in the back of his throat and pulls up on Dan’s shirt. Dan ducks his head and lets Phil pull it off entirely, shuddering a little as Phil runs a hand down his chest.

He grips Dan’s waist and rolls them over so he’s on top, dipping his face down to press his lips to Dan’s neck. “You’re a lot more than cute too.”

Dan shoves his hands up the back of Phil’s shirt, wanting Phil just as unclothed as Dan is. Phil sits up and tugs it over his head, laughing a bit when it gets stuck over his skull. It only takes a few seconds but both of them are grinning when Phil leans back down to kiss Dan again. “My head’s too big.”

“I think it’s just right,” Dan says, then slides his hands into Phil’s jeans to cup his ass. “I think this is just right, too.”

They’re both breathing heavier and the room quickly fills with the sound of wet, heated making out. It doesn’t take much longer for Dan’s jeans to feel too restrictive. “Hold on,” he says, pushing Phil off of him just long enough to stand up and shimmy out of his skinnies.

Phil watches unashamedly, reaching down to palm himself. Dan’s mouth waters at the sight. He wants to feel that hand on him, wants to be the one touching Phil, suddenly wants everything so much and right the fuck now.

“You too,” Dan says. Phil gets it, lifting his ass and getting out of his jeans with a bit more ease than Dan had. Laughter bursts out of Dan.

“Uh,” Phil says, frowning slightly. “That’s not the reaction I usually hope for.”

“Sorry, but, mate.” Dan grins and gets back on the bed, straddling Phil’s upper thighs and looking down. “You’ve got donuts on your dick.”

“I like donuts.” Phil sulks and speaks in a defensive voice, though he’s laughing a bit too.

“You’re definitely giving me a craving…” Dan lets his eyes linger. The pants are teal with pink iced donuts on them. He bites his lip and then dips his head down to press a kiss to the clothed length of hardness clearly visible through the stretched tight material of Phil’s boxer briefs.

Phil gasps quietly. “Dan.”

Dan lifts his head to look at Phil’s face.

Phil sits up and reaches down for Dan. “Come here?”

Dan tries not to feel rejected as he climbs into Phil’s lap. Soft cool fingers touch his waist gently and lips kiss his chest, so the blow is softened almost as soon as it’s delivered. He can feel Phil quite clearly now with nothing but two thin pairs of pants between them, and it definitely feels like he’s just as excited as Dan is.

“I have to confess something,” Phil whispers, mouth still brushing Dan’s skin.

Dan slides his fingers into Phil’s hair and grips it ever so gently, tugging to pull his head back far enough that they can look at each other. “Tell me.” His heart is hammering, afraid of what secret might come falling from Phil’s kissed-pink lips.

“I’m nervous.”

Dan can’t help but smile. “Really? Why?”

Phil nuzzles his face against Dan’s chest, kissing until he gets to Dan’s nipple, and then kissing that too before he speaks again. “I haven’t really done this that much.”

Someday, Dan’s sure, he’ll look back at this moment and understand that it was the moment something warm and sure settled in his heart. He climbs off of Phil’s lap and steps back the few feet it takes to get to the light switch. “Get under the covers,” he says, then plunges his dank little dorm room into darkness.

When he feels his way into the bed and under the duvet, Phil is there waiting for him. He opens his arms and Dan snuggles into them, slinging a leg over Phil’s hip.

“I’m sorry,” Phil says quietly into the darkness. “Did I ruin everything?”

Dan leans forward blindly, mouth searching until it finds Phil’s. He kisses him wet and deep, hand sliding down his back to cup his ass again, this time without any trousers getting in the way. “Nothing is ruined, Phil. We nearly went to jail tonight and I reckon it’s been the best night of my life.”

Phil laughs in a surprised, breathless way. “I didn’t think tonight would end like this. I was surprised enough at the party when you actually flirted back, but I thought someone as fit as you… I’d have been happy with just what we did in that closet.”

Hearing someone as cute as Phil say things like that about Dan is a surreal experience. He’s not dumb, he knows he’s passably attractive, but it’s not like that ever did anything for him during secondary school.

He pushes one knee between Phil’s thighs and rocks forward into him, letting his body try and convey the things that he’s not sure he trusts his mouth to say right now.

Phil doesn’t object to that. His hands splay big and warm over Dan’s back and he kisses back with just as much enthusiasm, gasping a little when Dan lifts his thigh up to press against Phil’s balls.

“Can I touch you?” Phil asks, breath damp on Dan’s cheek.

Dan swallows hard and nods. Phil starts kissing his neck again as his hand slides between their bodies, cupping Dan just like he had out on the street earlier.

It feels so good. Dan wants to move into the touch, to encourage Phil to do more and more quickly, but he doesn’t. This is nice, too - being touched like he’s something special. It makes it all the hotter when Phil does finally push his hand into Dan’s pants and grip him with warm, dry fingers.

“Are you still nervous?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Good,” Dan says, stroking his hand up the arm Phil’s using to make him feel so good. “But you don’t have to do—”

Phil twists his wrist in a particularly delicious way and Dan has no choice but to eat his words. “Fuck. You’re really good at this. I dunno if that’s what you were nervous about, but—”

“Dan,” Phil interrupts, stilling the movement of his hand. “Shush.”

Dan huffs a laugh. “Maybe I’m the nervous one now.”


He’s too tired and happy to try to be cool, so he goes ahead and tells the truth. “Because I really like you, Phil. This feels too good to be true.”

“Well it’s not. So shut up and let me make you come.”

Dan’s stomach flips and the blood in his veins runs hot and all of it downwards, focused in one spot between his legs where Phil has a grip on him, tugging and twisting and surprisingly deft for being constrained by underwear and darkness and a night of extreme stress and heavy drinking.

Dan shuts up, though, letting his head sink back into the pillow and his teeth into his lip. Little noises escape here and there when he can’t help but vocalize the way Phil is making him feel, and Phil’s mouth is still on his neck, kissing every once in a while but mostly just breathing warm against sensitive skin and driving Dan a little bit mad.

When he does come it’s with Phil’s name on his tongue chased away only by Phil’s mouth on his.

“That was so hot,” Phil says, looking at Dan with what Dan feels is a very misplaced sense of awe.

Or maybe it’s not misplaced. Dan can’t think of anything hotter than watching Phil come, so maybe he gets it.

“Your turn,” he says, and tries to pull a sexy move by getting on top of Phil.

He just doesn’t account for how Phil’s holding one hand awkwardly out. Phil shimmies half away and says, “Wait, I just need—”

“Oh.” Dan almost says wipe it on the sheets but he decides to go one step above embarrassing teenage cliche and hands Phil a T-shirt instead.

“Thanks,” Phil mumbles, face red.

Dan gives up all attempts at being cool this time and just says, “Can I make you come now?”

Phil nods frantically. “Please.”

He just came his brains out but his dick still twitches when he touches Phil for the first time. He loves this - loves it in a way he used to hate himself for. There’s no hate right now though, just the sheer hedonistic joy of warm hard flesh against his fingers, that very specific texture of soft on firm, pulsing with blood and life and arousal. Things Dan caused, because Phil wants him.

Phil really wants him, and Dan wants Phil to feel just as good as he does right now. This time Phil doesn’t shimmy away when Dan gets on top of him. He spreads his legs for Dan to fit between and Dan pulls Phil’s pants down just enough for him to bob free. Dan wraps his hand around it again and makes a noise of appreciation for how thick and good and right it feels against his palm.

Phil sighs happily, running his hands up the sides of Dan’s thighs. The way he touches Dan is so gentle, so tender. It makes Dan’s heart swell in a way it certainly never has when he’s got another boy’s cock in his hand.

“My turn for a confession?” Dan asks.

Phil nods.

“I’ve done this a lot.”

“Oh,” Phil says. Not put out, not upset, but maybe something in the same universe. “Yeah?”

“Only since I came here. I barely survived all the shit people threw at me back home for being gay and I wasn’t even out.”

He doesn’t know why he’s choosing now to tell Phil these things, these very decidedly unsexy things. He squeezes Phil’s hardness to try to remind himself that he’s got a job to do, a job he really wants to do.

“Shit,” Phil says softly. It sounds like sympathy and gravity and pleasure all rolled into one.

“It’s never felt like this,” Dan whispers.

“For me either.” Phil’s soft hands tug at Dan’s shoulders, pulling him down so their chests press together and their mouths meet and they kiss with a new kind of affection.

Dan squeezes and strokes and Phil makes little noises that seem designed to make Dan addicted to them. He kisses Phil’s perfect mouth and it doesn’t take long at all before those noises are bitten off and there is wet warmth between his fingers.

He keeps stroking slowly until Phil starts to soften, wondering idly if next time Phil will let him use his mouth.

Because there will be a next time. Dan doesn’t want to imagine there won’t be. He doesn’t want the dull ache of loneliness in his chest to come back, the one that’s sat heavy there for years. Phil had somehow managed to chase it away in one night; Dan can only dream of the kind of happiness that might come from getting to know him for real.

As if reading Dan’s mind, Phil’s arms close around Dan’s waist and he whispers, “Is this alright? I like cuddles after but I know not everyone does.”

Dan laughs and hopes the kiss he gives Phil communicates his resounding yes. Phil kisses back without question, but exhaustion is creeping up on both of them and the kiss stays sweet and sleepy and lingers until their mouths barely move.

“Hey Dan?” Phil murmurs, pulling away and laying his head down on the pillow.

“Mm.” He can’t even form words anymore, apparently.

“You know that date we talked about?”


“Can we do it tomorrow?”

Dan’s insides feel like they’ve fully turned to mush. There really will be a next time after all.

“Yeah,” he says, smiling. “We can definitely do it tomorrow.”