“I’m going to kill him,” Dan proclaimed, slamming the apartment door behind him forcefully. Phil nodded accommodatingly, haphazardly tossing his jacket toward the couch. It missed; he didn’t particularly care. He could get it later.
“That seems a tad harsh,” Phil replied, sounding carefully detached. The last thing Dan needed right then was to feel like Phil was against him, but perhaps some logical reasoning would do him some good.
“No it fucking isn’t,” Dan continued, and Phil could hear him spitting as he talked. “I’m gonna fucking murder him and roast his fucking corpse over a fire, that’s what.”
“Dan,” Phil said gently, turning to face Dan fully. Dan was shaking, so much frustration etched onto his face that Phil wanted to hug him, although he could tell from Dan’s body language that physical touch would not be a good idea right then. “It’s going to be alright.”
“No it bloody isn’t! Who gave him the right? Who fucking—‘oh, Dan and Phil are getting married,’ ‘Dan and Phil are gay,’ look at these fucking homos,” Dan ranted, and Phil winced. “Why? Why did he think it was okay to say that?”
“It was a joke, Dan,” Phil pointed out softly, making his way to stand by the kitchen counter as Dan paced angrily back and forth. “It didn’t mean anything.”
“Everything means something! Have you seen our fans? I can’t catch a moment of break without someone calling me gay when I don’t even know what I am!” Dan fumed, and Phil nodded, deciding it would be best to just let him get it all out. “And I know I encourage it sometimes, but that’s my fault! He can’t do that! It’s not up to him! It’s my actual life, and he can’t just fuck around with it! I don’t care if he’s my friend!”
“What are you going to actually do about it, then?”
“I don’t fucking know!” Dan cried, and Phil felt a physical pain in his chest at the despair in Dan’s voice. “God, I can’t do anything! Everything I do is wrong, and I can’t even do anything about it.”
“Dan, it’s going to be fine,” Phil assured him. He’d perfected the art of putting all of his own discomfort aside in times like this, focusing all his love on Dan. There would be time later for him to freak out about people speculating about his sexuality online, or for him to overthink why Dan was so angry at the idea of them getting married. Dan needed him. “It’ll blow over. People will forget about it in a few days when the next internet drama happens.”
“No they won’t,” Dan moaned, sitting down at the kitchen table and putting his head in his hands. Phil quietly sat down across from him. “You know our fans, they’re fucking, fucking rabid! They won’t let this go until twenty-two passes, and we might not even still be around by then.”
“What?” Phil had thought conversations like these had been slowly decreasing in the past few months, but apparently he couldn’t let his guard down. “Dan, we’re not going to die anytime soon.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. Just, it’s statistically likely that I’m either going to self-destruct and leave you or you’re going to get tired of my bullshit and leave me and—can we not talk about this right now? Chris just shouldn’t be talking about it at all,” Dan rambled, and Phil felt his heart rate speed up as he swallowed.
“If you don’t think we’re going to stay together, we should talk about that,” Phil insisted, because that wasn’t just the kind of thing he could brush under the rug, no matter how upset Dan seemed.
“Look, it’s not that—it’s not that I don’t love you, okay? I really fucking love you. But god, we’re pretty much an internet couple at this point, and those never last. And we have the added bonus of having to hide it, and doing a really shitty job of it, and I don’t know if I can handle it. I just want to make people happy and live a normal life, why can’t I do both?”
“Dan, we can get through it. We’re made for each other,” Phil told him sincerely. He remembered telling Dan something similar two years prior, and how Dan hadn’t questioned it then. Now, Dan’s face just screwed up in a grimace.
“We barely made it through last year, Phil, how are we supposed to make it through ten more?” Dan posed miserably, and Phil ignored all his misgivings, reaching across the table to take Dan’s hand in his own.
“But we did make it through last year,” Phil reminded him firmly. “And now we know how to do it. We love each other, and people being assholes on the internet aren’t going to stop us.”
“I don’t know if I’ll even be out by twenty twenty-two,” Dan sighed, looking down at the table instead of at Phil. Phil tried not to take it personally. “I can’t imagine my family knowing. I can’t fucking imagine the world knowing. God, I can’t even imagine myself knowing! What is wrong with me? Even if we could get married, I’d never fucking go through with it because I’m too much of a coward! Why do you put up with me?”
“There is nothing wrong with you,” Phil pressed, squeezing Dan’s hand perhaps a little too tightly. “You’re in a tough situation and you’re doing the best you can. You just have to let me help you!”
“I want to, I want—I don’t want the entire internet to constantly talk about something I want so badly that can never happen,” Dan sniffled, and Phil hadn’t caught the exact moment Dan had started crying for real, but decided this was the correct time to scoot around to the other side of the table and wrap an arm around Dan’s side.
“It’ll be okay, I promise,” Phil mumbled quietly, and although Dan looked away from him, Phil was pretty sure that his presence was helping. There were a few moments when all Phil could hear were Dan’s quiet sobs, and he’d been in a state of mind where he constantly had to make sure Dan wasn’t going to leave him for so long that it was entirely natural to continue. “How about we make a promise that if we’re both still together by twenty twenty-two, and you’re out to your family, then we’ll get married? Because I’m confident that’ll happen.”
“Two men can’t even get married,” Dan reminded him, and Phil shrugged. It wasn’t really about the legal side of things, anyway. It was more of a romantic gesture.
“Then we’ll have our own little ceremony without inviting the Queen,” Phil decided, and smiled when he heard Dan’s tiny laugh. “And I’m sure everything will have sorted itself out in ten years.”
“Fine,” Dan agreed after a few seconds, clearly trying to sound begrudging but just sounding fond. Phil was so fucking in love with him it made him want to explode. “If that all somehow is true by twenty twenty-two, I’ll marry you.”
“Happy New Year!” Dan tasted a bit like expensive champagne when Phil kissed him at midnight, and Phil found himself wondering if he would now forever associate that taste with this moment. He grinned as he pulled away, his heart beating erratically as he looked back at Dan’s smiling face.
“So, um,” Phil laughed, suddenly forgetting everything he’d planned on saying. This felt like it might be better improvised anyway, though. “Happy twenty twenty-two.”
“We have to get married right now,” Dan said drily, the edges of his eyes crinkling even as he clearly tried to keep a straight face. He was so beautiful sometimes, Phil wasn’t sure how he managed it. “It’s the rule.”
“Actually,” Phil started, looking around shiftily to where Martyn, Cornelia, and Freja were sitting on the other side of the room. Martyn was giving him an encouraging nod, and Phil swallowed shakily before getting down on one knee. “About that…”
“Oh my god.” Dan’s eyes were wide, and he was staring at Phil like he wasn’t quite sure if he was joking or not. Phil almost wanted to laugh, nerves and amusement and overwhelming happiness too many emotions to just hold in. “Are you serious?”
“I made a promise,” Phil reminded him, grinning so hard his cheeks hurt as Dan shook out his hands in front of him excitedly. It had been almost ten years since that conversation, but Phil was certain that Dan hadn’t forgotten about it. He pulled the ring box out of his pocket, his hands shaking as he opened it. “We’re still together now, and I can’t imagine that ever changing, so, um, will you marry me?”
“You’re such a dork,” Dan told him, laughing and beaming like an idiot. Phil loved him like this, but would also rather appreciate not having to stay on his knee for too long. The floor wasn’t the most soft. “I can’t believe this is actually happening.”
“So that’s a yes?” Phil asked, because he was pretty sure Dan still hadn’t answered, which resulted in Dan letting out a shocked laugh that sounded almost like a wheeze as he nodded.
“I was so sure of my answer that I forgot to say it out loud,” Dan explained breathlessly, and Phil was kind of caught up in trying to figure out if Dan’s eyes always just shined like that or if there were tears in them. “Yes, Phil, fucking of course I’ll marry you.”
“Yay,” Phil said quietly, which prompted Dan to laugh again as Phil stood up, sliding the ring onto his finger and pulling him into another kiss. They were both smiling, happy, and secure, and Phil couldn’t think of a better way to get engaged.
They’d made it.