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How Could I Not?

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“It’s sent.” 

He puts his face in his hands and rubs at his eyes, hoping some of the nerves will smooth out. He feels a hand on his shoulder, and instinctually leans toward it. The arm reaches around him to rest at his hip, pulling him closer. He pulls his hands away from his face and looks over.

Phil is sat smiling softly next to him, just like he always is. Whether a smile is there or not, he’s always there, always right beside Dan. 

“I’m proud of you.” Dan doesn’t say anything, just holds Phil’s gaze. He knows. Phil knows that Dan knows, but it’s still nice to hear. Phil knows that too.

They keep staring for a bit, Dan lost in worry, and Phil never wanting to look away until Dan is ready.

Dan sighs and closes his eyes to lean into Phil for a hug. Phil settles a kiss on Dan’s head and pulls back enough to look at his eyes.

“You okay?” Phil asks, looking for an answer in Dan's expression.

Dan sighs. He does a quick assessment. He’s exhausted. He’s not quite terrified , not like he thought he’d be. But he’s on edge. He hasn’t fully processed what he just did, what he just changed forever. The email is sent. He can’t take it back. He doesn’t really know how to feel about that. 

Dan manages a tight lipped smile, as Phil reaches forward to squeeze his hand. “Yeah.” It comes out weak, like a croak. It sounds a bit like how he feels, but he’s decided that overall, yes, he is okay. He says as much. “I’m okay, just… don’t know how to feel.”

Phil squeezes his hand again then let’s go. He leans toward the coffee table to shut Dan’s laptop, pushing it a few centimeters away. “We’ll check it later,” he says firmly.

He returns to Dan’s side, but remains sitting with their thighs pressed together, allowing for Dan to decide whether he needs space or closeness.

Dan appreciates the gesture, but ignores it completely in favor of resting his head on Phil’s shoulder, hands reaching for his bicep. He sighs again. “They know,” he says blankly.

“They do.” Phil’s voice remains calm and steady, as if speaking about the weather. “But that’s okay, right?”

Dan huffs out a bitter laugh, “Guess that depends on them.”

Phil hums, pressing a kiss to Dan’s forehead. “It’ll be okay.”

Dan sighs once again.

Before Dan can think too hard, Phil straightens, a bit too quickly. “Hey oh. Sorry.”

Dan just laughs. In classic Phil fashion, his thought caused him to forget his surroundings, his surroundings being the Daniel resting quietly on his shoulder. “What is it?” he asks, amused.  He even manages a smile.

Phil giggles at his own lack of spatial awareness before continuing, “I was just gonna say that we haven’t re-watched Buffy in a while.” He snuggles back into Dan. “Thought you might need a distraction.”

Dan's chest warms a bit at the giant man child that he somehow gets a forever with. “I love you.”

He lifts his head to press his lips to Phil’s softly. It doesn’t last long, but it’s enough.  

“I love you, too” Phil’s voice comes back warm and fond and steady. 

Dan giggles. “Yeah?” He lifts his hand to Phil’s cheek, thumb stroking over the soft cheekbone. “Even after the –” he pauses to chuckle, then, manages to put on his satirical, dramatic voice, “ the lifetime of troubles .”

Phil smiles back at him, a slight crease between his brows. “You know I do.” The arm around Dan’s waist pulls tighter. 

Dan smiles. He knows. Of course he knows. 

Phil pulls Dan into a kiss.

 

“How could I not?”



---



Once the video reaches its conclusion, Dan leans forward to pause it, eager to hear what Phil has to say.

“So? What do we think?” He’s only slightly nervous. Phil read through the script before Dan filmed it, and none of it was new information anyway. They’ve talked about all of it over the years, and even more when Dan decided he wanted to script a coming out video. 

Plus, it’s Phil. 

Phil just pulls Dan closer in response, an arm tightening around his waist. He burrows his face into Dan’s neck, pressing an innocent kiss to the skin there, and mumbling a soft, “I love you.” 

Dan just chuckles, kissing Phil’s forehead. “So, good?”

Phil pulls back slowly, to kiss Dan on the lips, letting it linger for a bit, sensing that Dan needs it. Phil hums into it, and Dan can feel his chest swelling, both with love and pride. 

“Really good.” Phil finally responds, pulling back to peck Dan on the nose. Dan can’t help but chuckle.

Then Phil’s reaching up to cup Dan’s cheek, not to pull him closer, but just to stroke the soft skin there and stare at Dan’s eyes as if in awe. They sit like that for a few seconds until Phil's lips curl into a smile. “I don’t know how your brain works so well.”

At that Dan crumbles, falling forward to pull Phil into a tight hug. He rests his cheek on Phil’s collarbone, and Phil tucks Dan under his chin. Dan finally starts to feel what this all means, starts to process what he’s doing. There are no tears. They’ve gotten all of those out before scripting when Dan had to tell Phil the one thing he didn’t know about Dan. The one thing Dan had never had the heart to tell him. He’s sure that tears will come when it’s time to upload, when reality sets in fully, when people start to see the video and respond. But for now Dan feels empty of anything but anxiety and exhaustion and love.

“They’re going to know,” Dan mumbles into Phil’s chest. A hand comes up to card through Dan’s hair, then slides down to land on his back.

“They are.” Phil is always so calm through all of this. Dan supposes the anxiety will come once it’s Phil’s turn, but they both know that this will effectively out Phil, too. And yet Phil remains a stable force of calm.

“Are we ready for that?” He pulls Phil even closer as if it will protect him from everything they’ve been through. As if it will wipe away the nights when Dan felt lost, and the only way he could think to handle it was to deny himself the one thing that felt right.

I think so.” Phil’s hand begins to rub grounding circles into Dan’s back. “Do you?”

Dan lets himself pause to breathe Phil in, exhaling a sigh that’s contented by Phil’s comfort, while still tainted with the exhaustion of the past year. “Yeah. I guess we are.” He pauses to sigh. “ I guess I just wish I had a little more certainty.”

Phil seems to think it over for a minute. “Yeah. That makes sense. But it went better than you had expected with family. You made it through that, and that was the hard part.” He presses a kiss to Dan’s curls. “We know that our audience is filled with gays ” Dan huffs a laugh at that “ and anyone who will be upset by it at this point probably doesn’t belong on your channel anyway.”

“Yeah,” Dan huffs out a sigh. “Yeah, I know.” He tilts his head up to look at Phil. “Thanks.” He presses a kiss to Phil’s jaw, then cuddles back into Phil’s chest.

“And hey,” Phil continues, smiling cheekily. “Maybe a bit of uncertainty is okay.”

Dan chuckles lowly. “No.”

Phil laughs. “I know, babe.”

Phil’s hand moves back up to Dan’s hair. He combs his fingers into the curls, and holds Dan’s head firmly against his chest. Phil’s lips press against Dan’s forehead, and he holds them there. “I’m proud of you.” Phil mumbles the words against Dan’s skin.

Dan smiles. “Yeah, I know.”

“You know I think my head might explode when I watch the video after its fully edited.”

Dan laughs at that and pulls back to kiss his wonderful boyfriend. “I love you.”

Phil grins, always happy to be the source of Dan’s laughter. “Love you, too.”



---



 “Hey.”

Dan gently lifts his knee to nudge the cheek that lies atop it. Phil lets out a grunt in response. Dan chuckles lowly.

“Philly,” Dan whispers, staring fondly at the barely conscious man in his lap. 

Phil turns with a grunt so he’s facing the ceiling. He flings an arm over his eyes. “Can’t you tell I’m trying to sleep,” Phil groans.

Dan just smiles. He’s feeling warm tonight. Cuddles aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. They’ve been busy with VidCon and Nevada, and they generally require less constant physical touch from the other than they did nine years ago. But then there are nights like these. There are nights of home cooked meals and maybe wine, nights of closeness and warmth on the sofa with something on the TV. 

“We should go to bed,” Dan says, combing his fingers through Phil’s hair. 

Phil hums with a sleepy smile, leaning into Dan’s touch. “Yeah okay.”

 

They head to the bedroom, Dan’s arm holding Phil up around the waist. They manage to sleepily brush their teeth before undressing and climbing into bed. They each lie separate for a good twenty seconds before Phil rolls practically on top of Dan, wrapping his arms around Dan’s waist, and burrowing into his neck. He pulls his knees up to overlap Dan’s thighs and Dan can’t help but smile.

“I’m a koala,” Phil mumbles through a yawn.

Dan chuckles. “You’re a dork.” He presses a kiss to Phil’s head all the same. He snakes an arm around Phil’s back and squeezes.

Phil hums. “You love me.”

Dan sighs dreamily. “How could I not?”