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There are advantages to being surrounded by people who know you vaguely, Phil thinks.

Well, there are also disadvantages, but he’s choosing to be an optimist right now.

So yeah, they have to sneak away for a little while when their stomachs are growling and all they really want is food and to be alone. They get their greasy London pizza and eat it at the fountain and look up at the few stars they can see through the light pollution of such a big city and Phil leans in for a kiss without giving too much thought to who may be watching them.

He’s a little bit tipsy, and… he’s allowed. Dan is probably kind of almost his boyfriend, after all. And he’s got these lips that just beg to be kissed. By Phil, though. Only Phil now.

Anyway. So they have to sneak away for moments like these, and that’s a little bit annoying.

But it comes in handy when the Halloween gathering is finally coming to an end and they’re not ready to say goodbye to each other yet. It’s an advantage to be surrounded by people who know you vaguely when it means you get invited back to someone’s flat for an after-after-party that means you don’t have to put your very fit, very kissable eighteen year old probably kind of almost boyfriend on a train back to Wokingham just yet.

Phil should probably start making sure he has enough money on his credit card to book a hotel room for situations like this.

The thought is staggering. A hotel room with Dan.

But a two bedroom flat with a fridge full of Malibu and cokes and a variety of people who don’t give two shits that Dan and Phil choose to remain plastered together all night? That’ll do nicely for now.

Phil’s never felt this giddy, he’s quite sure of that. He’s also quite sure it has nothing to do with the alcohol and everything to do with the lovely boy whose head is resting on his shoulder as they sit crammed on a sofa with four other people watching a horror film in honour of the holiday.

Dan is so cuddly. He’s so soft and warm and cuddly.

He’s also long and hot and delicious but Phil’s trying not to think about those particular adjectives. He and Dan have got a place to stay for the night but not a place to be alone.

What would they even do if they were alone? He’s not sure. The time they’d spent together in Phil’s house was devoted mostly to kissing. Kissing and filming and a tiny bit of sleeping and then more kissing.

Dan’s a good kisser. Phil doesn’t love thinking about how many people Dan’s had practice kissing. He knows it’s been a lot. A lot more than Phil, that’s for sure.

But he also knows that when Dan says Phil makes him feel something he’s never felt before, he means it. He can’t say why he knows, he just does. And he knows he feels exactly the same way. He’s known it from the very first kiss, in a glass box in the sky on a sunny October afternoon.

It wasn’t that long ago. But technically it isn’t October anymore.

Phil turns his head and sees that Dan has fallen asleep. He looks like an angel, soft brown hair falling over his eyes and face all decorated in smudged sharpie whiskers. If there weren’t people all around Phil would definitely kiss his forehead, but as it is he’ll settle for reaching up and brushing his fringe to the side.

Dan’s eyes blink open and he lifts his head. “What?”

“Sorry,” Phil says. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Wasn’t sleeping.”

Phil laughs. Dan looks like a little kid. “You were. On my shoulder.”

“I never sleep,” Dan argues.

“Maybe you do when you can use me as your pillow.”

“You’re too bony to make a good pillow.”

“Your snores beg to differ.”

Dan shoves him. “I do not snore!”

Phil smiles. He grins. Dan makes all Phil’s smiles feel like more, like smiles on steroids. “Not this time,” he says.

“No time,” Dan insists. “Stop spreading rumours.”

“I’ll spread your mum,” Phil bants back without thinking.

Dan makes a face, an expression of shock and horror. “Never say that again.”

“Sorry,” Phil laughs.

“Did you wake me up just to be nasty?”

“Thought you weren’t sleeping,” Phil teases.

“Oi.”

Dan and Phil both turn their heads towards the voice of the girl sat down the sofa from them.

“Get a room,” she says.

Phil wants to shrink back and hide his head in embarrassment, but Dan just says, “Not a bad idea.”

-

There are no unoccupied beds left, so they make do with a wadded up hoodie for a pillow, a scratchy knitted wool blanket and a corner of the floor in the lounge where Dan can lay his head on Phil’s chest and no one else can hear them when they speak in hushed voices.

It’s not exactly comfortable. Phil knows there’s no way he’s going to fall asleep tonight, but if anything, he’s glad. Every minute he gets to spend with Dan is worth its weight in gold.

Dan seems to be thinking the same thing. “I wish this night could last forever.” He hugs around Phil’s waist.

“Me too.” Phil strokes his hair. It’s so soft.

“Are you still drunk?” Dan asks.

Phil shakes his head. “Don’t think so.”

“I might be, a little. I keep wanting to say cheesy things.”

“Say them. I want to hear them.”

Dan tilts his head up to look at Phil’s face. “I’m just… happy.”

“That’s not even cheesy.”

“It feels cheesy.”

“Why?” Phil asks.

“Because I’m never happy.”

Phil squeezes Dan tighter. He hates when Dan talks like that. It scares him. He doesn’t understand it. “I want you to be happy always.”

“I’ll be happy when I never have to go back to stupid fucking Wokingham again.”

“You should just move into the spare bedroom at my parents’ house. Or my house, I guess. It’s my house again.” It makes him feel a bit stupid. He’ll be turning twenty three soon.

Dan interrupts his self pitying. “I would, you know.”

Phil just smiles.

“We could film all the time,” Dan says. “It’d be brilliant.”

Phil hates that his stomach twists at those words. He tells himself that Dan likes him for who he is, separate from AmazingPhil, but he’s not actually sure of that.

“Yeah,” he says, trying not to let his insecurities ruin what so far has been a perfect day. “And other things.”

Dan lifts his head and gives Phil a surprised look.

“Like play video games, or whatever,” Phil mumbles, ready to die of embarrassment.

“I hope that’s not what you meant.”

“What do you hope I meant?” His heart is hammering against his chest now.

Dan hides his face in Phil’s shirt. Phil feels giddy again. “Tell me,” he whispers excitedly.

Dan shakes his head.

“Tell me!”

“You already know.” His voice is muffled by the fabric, but Phil can hear the sheepishness in it.

“Not specifically, I don’t.”

“I didn’t actually have a specific in mind,” Dan says. He finally lifts his head. “Just you.”

Phil closes his eyes. “I wish I could kiss you,” he whispers.

“Me too.”

“Yeah?”

“Of course, Phil, you twat.”

Phil laughs. Only Dan could call him a twat and make it sound like a term of endearment. “Next time?”

“Yes please.”

-

They stay up all night talking, and when the owner of the flat finally kicks them out after the sun has risen, they walk to the train station together. Dan’s train comes first, and the hug they give each other before he boards is almost warm and tight enough to make up for the fact that it isn’t a kiss.

“I hope next time is soon,” Dan says as his parting words.

Phil reaches up and rubs gently at the remnants of ink on Dan’s nose. “It will be. I promise.”