Dan’s been following the bead of sweat down Phil’s neck, watching it dip below the collar of a too small t-shirt. Not that he’s complaining, too small is - good. Too small is biceps and skin and material that sticks.
"Pervert,” Phil calls, eyes in the back of his head when it comes to Dan and his - hobbies. Because Phil has gardening and Dan has watching Phil garden, which counts.
It’s not a big garden, definitely nothing extravagant, just something pretty. Something with enough privacy for them to be idiots in the summer, no neighbours able to spy on a kiss or some hands or - whatever.
“You have shirts that fit,” Dan says, wandering down the path just so he can - bug. Poke and prod and insist Phil plant something other than more trees that will never grow because they don’t get enough sunlight. “This is all by design, you want me to look.”
“Alright,” Phil snorts. “Hannibal.”
“Fuck off.” Dan slumps, sets himself up on the little brick wall surrounding all the colours of the rainbow. He doesn’t know when Phil went from hobbyist to full blown - flower collector? Their kitchen sides are covered in packets of seeds, Phil’s nails always filled with dirt, the vases on various shelves now constantly stocked.
And it’s - nice? It’s nice. Phil has something to keep him occupied. Dan just likes to steal away the attention, sometimes. Insert himself amongst the leaves and hope Phil chooses to water him. Apart from once Phil did literally water him, tipped a watering can over Dan’s head and started an entire war.
"What’d you want?” Phil asks, one hand on the ground and the other on Dan’s knee. Because he gets it, that sometimes Dan comes out here to stare and other times he comes out because - something more.
“Talk to me?” Dan asks, nudging Phil’s knee with the toe of his trainer. He thinks they’re going to end up covered in dirt, the pristine white he’s been trying to keep up - gone. But it’s fine, he doesn’t suit white trainers anyway.
“Okay,” Phil hums, brushing his dirty mitts all over Dan’s jeans just because he knows he’ll get away with it. “I think I’m accidentally growing poison.”
Dan honks and Phil smiles and calls him a, “goose.”
“How are you growing poison?”
“I don’t know, I got some seeds of a dodgy website?” Phil says, carefully pulling on a gardening glove. “Not drugs.”
“Booo,” Dan laughs, “I think if you were growing poison you’d be all rashy, I haven’t noticed a rash.”
“You’re too distracted by my dick to look at my skin,” Phil argues, rolling his shirt sleeves up to hunt for something Dan is sure doesn’t exist. “See!” Phil yelps, pointing at a tiny dot just below his elbow.
“You’ve always had that,” Dan says, and he knows - he knows. He knows every inch of Phil, laid in a too small bed in Rawtenstall and fucking studied him, committed it all to memory before he even knew what the word love really meant.
“It’s a rash,” Phil mumbles, all huffy as he struggles to get the sleeve back down. Dan helps him, just because it’s an excuse to be touchy, just because sometimes the heat Phil gives off makes Dan feel a little more tethered to the earth.
“I like this.” Dan brushes his fingers over something blue, something that reminds him of—eyes. “They new?”
“I might’ve got them from the garden centre because I didn’t want to wait for them to grow,” Phil admits, chewing on his bottom lip like Dan is about to tell him off. “I promise I’ve grown everything else.”
“I don’t care, you berk.” Dan laughs, hand sliding along the garden wall until it reaches Phil’s - covering, skin against skin. “You can do whatever you want out here as long as you’re paying for it.”
“I’ve got a secret account in Sweden.”
“No,” Dan snorts. “I’m trying to buy Abba.”
“Are we recreating Mamma Mia?” Phil asks, the hand that isn’t covered up by Dan’s buried in the dirt. “I think I’d look good in shiny flares.”
“You’re playing the island.”
“Noooo,” Phil whines. “Men aren’t islands? No man is the sea? Something… island and men.”
Dan blinks, and it still shocks him that Phil can spout out absolute nonsense and he’s able to make complete sense of it all. “No man is an island?”
“Yes!” Phil smiles, covering Dan in dirt when he rips his hand out of the little pile too quickly.
It doesn’t exactly end in war, but it does end in a shower floor covered in mud and - something else.