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Thunderstorms and Blankets

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The grumble of thunder almost cracked the sky as it rolled through the heavy, dark clouds. Each crash bounced and echoed through the city, tearing the silence of the darkness in two. The violent rumbles that shook the sky swirled towards the apartment before smashing against the already rattling windows.

Phil sat upright on his bed, his back firmly pressed against the wooden headboard with his legs outstretched on the vibrant duvet. His attention was fixed on the horrendous weather beyond his white-framed window. The violence of the wind attacked the trees; stray leaves flew aimlessly in every direction as each individual branch was forcefully bent out of place.

In his own bedroom a little way down the corridor, Dan - by contrast - had screwed himself into a ball, hidden beneath his own dingy duvet. He held his palms to him face, which had been forced between two pillows, and knees to his chin. With each new crackle of thunder, Dan would softly groan to himself before burrowing down further.

The power and intensity of the rumbling had masked the downpour of rain that fell outside. The usual pounding of water-against-glass had been muted by each clap, that had now become a constant, angry growl that rolled over London.

As the vicious cluster of rumbles fell calmer and descended into a grumpy whisper, Dan slid himself free from his cocoon, kicking the blankets from his feet. He pulled his body forward and sat on the edge of his bed, listening to the soft ticks of his clock that read 01:36am. He slowly rose to his feet and stepped towards the door, listening; was the storm over?

Dan had pattered from his bedroom and down the hallway slowly. He stood with his head craned into Phil's own door, straining to hear any movement from within; was he awake too? As Dan moved closer against the door, a thunderous roar shook his entire body. Simultaneously, the first streak of lightning staggered from the clouds and illuminated the hallway, the sky erupting around it.

Adrenaline chased through his body as Dan's heart exploded from his chest. He fastened his quivering fingers onto the door handle and pushed his way into Phil's bedroom with a crash. The older man's attention immediately turned to his trembling roommate in the doorway. Dan held his hands tightly in the sleeves of his oversized university hoodie and had wrapped his arms around his stomach.

"Dan?" Phil started, moving himself to stand up, "are you okay?" He continued, stepping towards his younger friend. Dan lowered his eyes and focused on the floor, shaking his head slightly, the storm brewing outside once more.

The two men stood opposite each other, their bodies perfectly in line with one another. Phil could now see the tears collecting in Dan's deep eyes, his face rapidly losing colour. The older man stepped closer and embraced his room mate, wrapping his own arms under his shoulders and onto his back.

"It's okay," Phil whispered into Dan's left shoulder, "you can stay here until it eases off," he continued, stepping back, inviting Dan further into his room.

Dan stood fixed in one position, with his hood now covering his face and hands still hidden in his sleeves as Phil manoeuvred around him. Despite wanting to witness the full effect of the storm, Phil shut each blind, reducing the intensity of each electric bolt for Dan. The coal-haired man briefly left his bedroom, leaving Dan alone once more; the wind and rain attacking his surroundings as the roars and strikes erupted beyond.

After six bolts of lightning and a vicious gust of wind that howled throughout the apartment, Phil returned to his own bedroom with an armful of supplies He stepped past Dan and dropped them into his bedding, moving them into various piles.

"Sorry," Phil murmured, glancing towards a trembling Dan, acknowledging his fear of being alone. "Come and sit down," he invited, "I brought snacks, films, games and your blanket," he gestured. As Dan manoeuvred towards the bed, Phil turned each lamp in the room on, illuminating the previous darkness.

Dan smiled slightly, the colour returning to his cheeks briefly as he wrapped himself into his blanket and clambered next to Phil. The two men sat with their backs against Phil's pillows, watching the television screen that sat between them. Dan had pulled his legs into his chest, resting his head on his knees, he continued to quiver with each new slash of light.

The sky growled before clapping louder than ever before, as if thunderous cloud were directly on top of the apartment. As Dan moaned softly - yet uncomfortably - and sunk further into Phil's bed, their surroundings were plunged into darkness; the lamps flicked off and the distant glow from the street lights no longer seeped in from beyond the blinds. One streak of electricity fell from the sky, illuminating the apartment for a brief second before falling back to black.

"What's happening!?" Dan cried - a terror filled panic in his voice. He grasped onto Phil's chest, as he attempted to locate his friend, and pulled himself from his blanket-nest. Dan picked himself up and shifted his entire torso into Phil's, their shoulders colliding, making the younger man feel safe.

"Hey," Phil started calmly, his voice soft, familiar and welcoming, "it's just a power cut, it'll be okay, I'll go and get some candles..."

"No!" Dan interrupted loudly, although it was impossible to see, he glanced in Phil's direction. "Please, I don't want to be on my own again," he continued in a quieter - yet still terrified - voice.

"Okay, I'll stay right here," Phil replied steadily, reaching out for his bed-side table, knocking over two books and his alarm clock. Phil located his laptop and brought it towards the two of them; the white glow it gave was enough to illuminate their direct surroundings. "What'd you wanna watch?" Phil questioned happily.

"I don't mind," Dan murmured from Phil's arm, having slipped there due to the most recent crackles and bolts. Phil groaned silently before giggling softly as he brought up Dan's favourite film. The older man could feel Dan's smile grow across his skin as his squashed cheeks rose into him.

As the hours ticked by and the next film started, the clouds stopped growling, the streams of light faded, and the rain began to fall more delicately. Phil pulled himself up slowly, carefully propping himself against his headboard once more.

"Dan?" Phil whispered into the darkness, "are you okay now?"

"Thank you, Phil," Dan mumbled sleepily in return, fidgeting and pressing further into Phil as he closed his eyes.