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Ready Or Not

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'"Do you want to come out or not, Dan?"'

Dan hadn't given Phil an answer. He didn't have one.

Phil glanced at his boyfriend, sleeping restlessly on his side of the bed, and sighed. He remembered when their conversations at 3am would be about the universe and the inevitability of death, until Dan submitted to an existential crisis and Phil had to cuddle him to sleep.

Now they only argued.

Dan was in a rut. He wanted the world to know Phil was his. He looked up to Phil and loved him more than anything. But at the same time, he was afraid. Afraid of the fans they'd lose, of the negativity the media would no doubt show of them. Some of their close friends and family knew, but what about the people who weren't so close? Dan didn't want to lose them. What would they think?

It was a wonder either of them got any sleep at all these days.

The next morning, Phil shook Dan awake roughly.

"Babe, we slept in! We have our radio show today, we've got to go! Hurry up!" Phil shouted. He flicked on the light as he left their shared room, off to prepare a quick breakfast.

Dan groaned, rolling over in bed. He was tired. He'd had a restless sleep, drifting in and out of his much-preferred dream world and reality frequently throughout the night.

After a few more pathetic minutes of waiting in bed contemplating his life, he stood and quickly got dressed, grabbing a random pair of black jeans and a random black shirt.

When he came into the kitchen Phil was already dressed in his usual button-up tee and jeans, hurriedly going through a bowl of cereal. His mouth full, he waved his boyfriend over and gestured to another bowl.

Dan took a seat and ate leisurely, much to Phil's frustration. "We have to go now, Dan! This is a live show, we can't be late!"

Dan surrendered the rest of his breakfast and he let Phil drag him out the door.

By the time they reached the radio station, Dan was in an even worse mood. He refused to smile or even look at Phil, which affected his performance and usual cheery radio voice.

During one of their breaks, Phil spoke up.

"Dan, you need to talk to me."

"I've tried," Dan scoffed, shaking his head. "I've tried, really, and you're not helping me at all. I ask you what to do and you come up with some shit advice, telling me to just, 'come out if I want to, don't if I don't want to.'"

"That's because it's your decision," Phil sighed, crossing his arms and resting his weight on the table. "I'm ready when you are. It's okay if you're not. I can wait. I will wait. I don't want you to think you're holding me back. You're not."

Dan wiped the build-up of tears at his eyes, frustrated at himself for letting this get to him so easily. "I'm sorry. I love you. It's just--I don't--" He growled, getting angrier now. "Are we even allowed to? I mean, it's a big decision and--"

"Baby, it's okay. Ssh." Phil got up and headed toward Dan, who slammed his fist against the table, making Phil freeze in his tracks.

Unfortunately today the man in charge of their show was lazy and inattentive, so he checked his watch, saw that Dan and Phil's break was over, and put them back on live without making sure they were ready.

"It's not okay!!" Dan hissed, his tight voice booming through the radio worldwide. "I love you!! Dammit, Phil, I love you, and I want the whole world to know that but at the same time I don't and I'm sorry. I love you. I've always loved you." His voice cracked at the end and Phil picked up his pace, pulling Dan into a tight hug. He opened his mouth to soothe Dan but before he got a word out, the door slammed open.

"What are you doing?!" A familiar voice said. It was the other radio operator, the good one. The kind one. The smart one.

"I--what?" Phil sputtered, losing his grip on Dan.

"You're live! Right now!" he said, waving his arms frantically.

Phil slipped out a breathless "oh" as Dan paled, his eyes widening. "Phil--"

"Ssh," Phil cooed, wrapping an arm around Dan protectively. "Ssh. We've just got to get out of here before the media comes."

The radio operator nodded. He came fully into the room and scribbled something down on a piece of paper. He gave that to Phil along with his car keys. "There's my address in case you forgot. You can't go home now. And take my car, they'll think you're still here if yours is out there."

Phil nodded. "Thank you." He urged Dan toward the door before grabbing something quickly from his bag and pocketing it.

The next few minutes for Dan were a blur, tears slipping down his cheeks, he heard shouting around him, saw people scurrying around to fix the mistake he had made. Phil grabbed his hand and steered him the right way until they were in the car, where he almost forgot his seatbelt.

When they got to the radio operator's house, Dan was shaking uncontrollably and Phil felt a wave of guilt rush through him for not being a more helpful boyfriend, for not being able to do anything more than feed him promises he didn't know if he could keep.

He helped Dan up and hurried him into the house, where he settled Dan on the couch then made sure all the blinds were closed. He joined Dan after to calm him down.

"I love you," he murmured against Dan's ear, placing a kiss on the lobe.

Dan nodded, still shaking slightly. "I-I'm sorry. I'm okay." He sniffed, collecting his thoughts. "Are you?"

Phil nodded. "I want you off the Internet until tomorrow, okay? I promise that no matter that happens, we'll be fine. I won't let anything ruin this. Ruin us." He collected Dan in his arms.

Dan drifted off to sleep, his mind exhausted after the panic of coming out on live radio. Phil absentmindedly brushed his fingers through his boyfriend's hair, thinking about tomorrow and even further than that, their future together.

Now he was the one who was left scared, Dan sleeping rather quietly in his arms. Phil chuckled at himself when he realized now that he was shaking. He dug a hand into his pocket and took out what he had grabbed before they left the station; a tiny white box.

Phil reached a hand over and opened it, careful not to jostle Dan, and eyed the golden ring with admiration. Carved on it delicately was, 'Llamas & Lions, Dan & Phil' in a detailed cursive.

Phil shut the box and put it back in his pocket. He would have to spring the big question on Dan a bit later, when all the excitement wore down.

He could wait.

He would wait.