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Winston

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It was something they’d always talked about; they’d discussed it many times since they’d moved into their new house. It had only taken them a few months since their decision to move to actually find somewhere that suited both of their needs. The place they had finally chosen was quaint, as were many on the outskirts of inner parts of London, but it had character, more than could be said for most. There was even a small patch of grass behind the house that could constitute as a garden of their own, something they’d never had before.

Getting a house together had been a big enough decision for the two of them to make, but this was something new, something more. It wasn’t something real, not really, just a thought they’d both shared. While they’d talked about it a little, it didn’t seem like it’d become reality for a while, if not ever.

Phil had always thought that he’d be the one to finally crack and get one, probably without Dan’s knowing. It was something he’d wanted since the day he’d moved out of his childhood home to live on his own, he’d just been too busy and too hesitant to actually go through with it and get one.

Therefore, the last thing he had expected was to come home on a rainy Thursday, having had a stressful journey home on the tube after a long day out, to find Dan curled up on the sofa, clearly hiding something from view.

“Dan,” Phil started apprehensively, gaining the attention of his younger friend as he stepped into the room. “What you got there?”

Upon hearing Phil’s voice, Dan turned his head, but kept his body curled towards the back of the sofa. He was trying to hide whatever it was, that much was clear, but Phil knew that it wouldn’t be long until he found out what it was.

“How was your day?” Dan asked, clearly trying to deflect the conversation.

Instead of saying anything, Phil decided to indulge Dan before starting with the question again. “It was alright; the underground was horrible as usual.”

“Nothing interesting happen?” The gleam in Dan’s coffee-coloured eyes showed how he believed he’d deterred the older boy.

Phil took a step closer, choosing to ignore the question directed towards him in favour of trying to get a glimpse at whatever it was that Dan had. “Danny, what’re you hiding from me?”

“Don’t freak out,” Dan murmured quietly, his eyes wide, giving his best puppy-dog look like he did whenever he’d done something that he thought Phil would disapprove of. “But I bought something.”

Dan turned completely then, bringing forward the ‘something’ so that Phil could see it clearly unlike before. He was wearing his trademark black jeans and black-on-black jumper, but still managed to pull off that innocent, please-don’t-hate-me look that Phil couldn’t ever actually say no to, even if he did fight against it every once in a while – he couldn’t let Dan think he was that soft.

“It’s not just for me, obviously.” Dan smiled nervously, shaking his head slightly in amusement, “I thought we could share her – that’s if you want her, of course.”

“A puppy.”

“Yeah, I bought us a puppy. I know that we haven’t really talked about it properly, but–”

“You bought a puppy, you bought us a puppy?” Phil stepped forward so he could kneel in front of where Dan was still tensely sitting, said creature asleep in his lap.

The dog wasn’t exactly small, not like you’d expect most puppies to be, in fact it was about the size of their neighbour’s fully grown cat. She was white with black patches scattered across her body, each of her paws were white apart from her back left one which was black all the way up to the joint. Her nose twitched in her sleep, causing Phil to release a small ‘aw’ and letting Dan know that no matter what argument the raven haired man came up with, he was ultimately going to give in.

“She’s ours?” Phil reached out as if to touch her, but stopped short, not wanting to wake the sleeping animal while she looked so peaceful and content. Instead, he looked up into Dan’s deep brown eyes, seeing the hope and excitement in them. “Really?”

“Yeah, of course. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t the truth.” Dan almost looked affronted, but the overall look was ruined by the smile that was slowly spreading across his face.

A small whine interrupted Phil’s reply, stopping him with his mouth already forming his next words. Glancing down at the puppy, they could both see her stretching her legs out before sluggishly blinking her eyes open.

“I thought she represented both of us,” Dan spoke softly at the happy noise Phil made at seeing her eyes; one brown, almost black it was that dark, and one clear blue, almost matching Phil’s own.

“What’s her name?”

“She doesn’t have one yet,” Dan replied, how unsure he was clear from his tone of voice, “I thought that maybe we could name her together?”

 

*

 

“For the last time, Phil, we are not naming her Winston. I don’t care what your argument is this time, I will not let her have a name as stupid as that.”

“But, Winston…”

“She’s a girl, Phil, a girl. What girls do you know called Winston?” Dan threw his hands up in the air, exasperation laced throughout his tone.

Phil just sighed, running his left hand along the puppy’s spine, feeling the soft fur underneath his fingertips. It hadn’t even been twenty-four hours since he’d come home to find Dan with the new addition to their household, but they had already argued multiple times over what the best name for the puppy would be.

“You know,” Dan began, sitting down next to Phil, nudging their shoulders together, and earning a slight smile from the blue-eyed man. “She kind of looks like that Oreo ice-cream that you seem obsessed with lately…”

“Oreo? Really, Dan?” Phil laughed, little crinkles appearing by the side of his eyes. “You said no to Winston, but you want to name her Oreo?”

Phil sighed again when he saw how hopeful Dan looked again, just the same as he had done the day before. It took him a moment to see something beneath that look, making Phil huff another laugh.

“You already named her, didn’t you? You just wanted to make it seem like I had a chance of choosing.”

Dan rolled his eyes, “No, of course not.” There was little conviction held within his voice, but Phil could tell that he was telling the truth, at least partially.

Oreo – or Winston, as Phil still preferred – wasn’t paying any attention to the two men, instead she was playing with the chew toy Dan had bought for her the day before, tugging on it uselessly. Her eyes still continued to take everything in, occasionally glancing around at her surroundings to take in anything new. Since she'd been brought into the home, she’d been into everything, trying to get into and onto everything, including the sofa, which she was still too small to get onto without a little help.

“We can call her Winston, if you really want.” Dan held a hand up to stop Phil from responding, a smirk forming on his lips, “But I’m still going to call her Oreo.”