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in the kitchen

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Phil is on a boat that’s a ferris wheel that’s a roller coaster that’s a plane during landing that’s a lift hoisting them bouncing and jiggling up over an Australian rainforest while birds fly under and around them. He wakes with a squawk in his throat, maybe a bird’s, maybe Dan’s, and by all rights the lift plane cart boat should have stopped moving because it is actually just the new blue sofa except it’s not. He’s swinging forwards and forwards like he’s on a hammock but it’s moving the wrong way, and when he sits up he thinks maybe he’s going to be sick.

“You gonna be sick?” Dan says. He’s on the sofa too, but he doesn’t appear to be feeling the motion at all. He’s crouched down, hunched tight over the controller the way he only does when he’s been playing for many hours in a row without taking a break.

“Uh,” Phil grunts. He heaves himself up to standing. Dan throws the controller on the sofa and follows him, fingers on Phil’s elbow, and then he’s gone, crashing back down, a collapsed sack of meat and bones on the soft green-blue velvet, face deadly pale, legs bent at a stupid angle.

Phil feels a whole new sense of dizziness, the back of his head spinning out in a wee-woo kind of feeling of what life will even be like without Dan in it to play loud obnoxious games right next to his head when he’s feeling sick and bothered or put his big dry hand on Phil’s clammy forehead just to check on him. His throat constricting, he sinks down awkwardly and reaches out to… slap him? Caress him? Kiss him goodbye? Phil doesn’t know and then Dan’s eyes blink open.

“Whoah,” he says, pupils doing something weird, a bit of blood rushing under the surface of his cheek now. Phil’s hand is there already and he looks at it, then at Dan. This is a weird time. “That hasn’t happened in a while.” Dan sits up, takes Phil’s hand from his cheek and just holds it, smiling goofily, so Phil has to use his other less good hand to punch him. “Ow! What the fuck, bitch!”

“Don’t do that,” he pouts and slumps but thankfully Dan’s chest is right there, grungy t-shirt with a suspicious spill on it and a tear by the right sleeve. Phil bores his hurty floaty skull into Dan’s shoulder until he writhes to get away, ease the pressure, and Phil sticks his nose in his armpit instead, relenting.

Dan squirms again because he’s ticklish right there and never lets Phil get a good sniff but Phil is mean and doesn’t care and also it’s good and warm here and all smells make him want to be sick anyway so. Not that anything about Dan ever makes him sick except maybe what he just did. Phil pinches him for good measure and Dan jumps and writhes and makes the bird noise. But he still sinks his good big arms around Phil’s shoulders and back and just breathes and lets him be a gremlin for another few seconds.

“Did I scare you?”

Phil blinks back tears which are just tears of frustration. “Who’s gonna put up with me?”

“I am”.

Dan says it so quickly and easily. Phil pokes him in the ribs and draws away.

“No, I mean.” He flops his wrist around.

“Not relevant.” Dan is smiling like it’s all fine. “Didn’t you read all the fics? I’m definitely gonna outlive you.”

“Don’t joke.” Phil frowns. “Murder suicide pact,” he reminds him.

Dan just laughs and it irritates Phil or maybe it’s just everything in the entire world that’s irritating right now.

“What time is it?” He asks and then yawns, giant crack of jaws that makes them both blink.

“Good tonsils, mate.”

Phil would roll his eyes but it would just make the boat start rolling again so he just frowns and pouts and Dan scrambles for the controller, checks the home screen.

“Uh. Eleven.”

He looks a bit struck at this realisation, which Phil probably would too except at this point he’s used to taking five hour naps.

“What’s for dinner?” He says, which is a very cruel mean heartless thing to say. At least that’s what Dan’s face says because he knows it’s his turn and he knows he forgot to plan it and he knows even in London there’s only the sketchy places open for delivery after midnight. His eyes get shifty and he shrinks a little bit, but Phil refuses to feel sorry for him because he’s tired and nauseous and it’s possible he didn’t eat today and somehow he’s in the mood to make all of it Dan’s problem, maybe punish him a bit for dying just now and leaving Phil alone to while away existence for— several seconds.

“I think… I can make toast?” Dan says placatingly as if he thinks they can just skip right past the screamy bit and the mutual recriminations and the loud discussion about shared responsibilities and the part where Phil pulls the sick card and— maybe he can, because Phil is tired and achy and his stomach is a black hole that has moved past the sensation of actual hunger and onto what is surely the act of digesting itself. Still, he lets the Potential for an argument hang in the air just a few seconds longer, just to watch Dan squirm, just to remind him that it takes two to tango buddy, and if Phil wants to fight there will be a goddamn fight but also he never actually wants to fight Dan who looks guilty and grey and still a bit… slack from not having any blood in his brain for not fun sexy reasons.

“Ten,” Phil says.

“I will make you ten toasts,” Dan promises, the way you would promise your first born to a fairy tale witch or the way you would swear you didn’t murder that man or maybe just the way you would agree when the officiator says “to honor and obey” except Phil obviously doesn’t know how Dan would say that last one or to be fair any of them. “We do have beans,” Dan says as well, apologetic and hesitant because he knows—

“Blegh,” Phil says because duh.

“Gonna stand up now,” Dan tells his long weird body as if that will make it better prepared to actually manage to pump his blood all six feet up to his brain, and maybe it works. At least this time he doesn’t collapse again. If they both sigh with relief that’s nobody’s business. It’s their house, they can do what they want. They can take five hour naps in the evening or play video games until all the blood rushed out of their brains and they can go to the kitchen together even though surely beans on toast is not strictly a two-man job.

Dan takes his hand on the way to kitchen, which is a very dumb very soft thing that makes Phil feel stupid and emotional. He stares at the back of Dan’s head, the curve of his ear, the slump of his shoulders. Except then they’re in the bathroom and Dan is whistling as he picks a dead leaf off the bathroom plant and Phil stares at him with a new emotion, something like frustration and adoration and exasperation and love, just stands in the doorway at an awkward angle to Dan who is still holding his hand and has started talking about the water to steam ratio for bathroom plants.

“Dan!”

“Wot.”

“Toast.”

“Ohhh,” Dan says and doesn’t even pretend he already knew that, and this time they make it to the kitchen, unlinking of hands and clinking of cutlery as Phil gets the knives and forks out, plates, the click of the gas coming on.

Probably Dan could just as well heat the beans in the microwave but he doesn’t, he still puts them on the stove in a pan the way Nana always did, and Phil knows this and he’s not prepared to go another round in their discussion about the time he exploded the beans in the microwave except it was just one or two bean carcasses and the sauce Wasn’t too hot, Dan just has a sensitive tongue. So he doesn’t say anything, just takes a spoon out and plops it in the pan and takes up station there because Dan said he would make ten toasts so he damn well better get started.

Except Dan clearly isn’t even feeling punished anymore. He’s just humming as he pushes the toaster handle down and as he comes up and kisses the back of Phil’s neck and as he slides his blunt fingers past the elastic of Phil’s pyjama bottoms and scratches his fingernails over the skin and crinkly hair on Phil’s thighs. If Phil pushes his ass back against Dan’s crotch it’s simply just a force of habit, it’s not a reward, and if he chubs up a bit it’s just because he’s had a good long rest and not because he wants Dan to ignore their impromptu dinner and do more interesting things instead.

“Unsanitary,” Phil mumbles and rests the back of his head on Dan’s shoulder, which is a weird sensation because it isn’t any sensation at all, his head just stops moving and he has to assume it’s because it’s resting on Dan’s shoulder but it could also be pushing awkwardly on Dan’s chin or a wall or a rhinoceros standing there except it would be quite a handsy rhino so he thinks he’s alright. Dan just hums some more and chews on Phil’s neck except it’s nice, it’s actually very soft and careful and not Very wet, Or sharp, really, rather the gentle way he gets when he’s afraid Phil is feeling very sick. Which maybe Phil is.

The toaster pops and Dan lets go and Phil makes a noise of complaint. But he remembers to stir the beans, which are bubbling in a very gross way, honestly. It’s fine, though, because he loves Dan and Dan loves farty beans on toast and so it is simply Phil’s lot in life to provide.

He turns to watch Dan plonk a new set of toast slices in the toaster, and Dan leans on the opposite counter, watches right back, smiles.