So Dan is just slumped there, minding his own business and thinking rude thoughts at the world in general and mornings in particular, when Phil comes in, metaphorically bright-eyed and bushy-tailed because he’s been awake for an hour already at least, and says, “Hey, Dan?”
Dan makes a cranky sound that could charitably be described as a grumble.
“Dan,” Phil repeats, used to this routine.
“Yeah,” Dan says, and attempts to straighten himself up.
Phil watches his efforts with an amused, if condescending, patience. He looks fond.
Dan feels kind of fond back, so he makes an effort to smile.
Phil says, “Good morning,” which is confusing because Dan’s still sleepy but he has been up for twenty minutes already.
And then Phil kisses him.
Just leans forward, haphazardly presses their mouths together, rocks back on his heels, and leaves.
Which is also confusing.
Phil hadn’t seemed panicked or upset, so Dan isn’t either. No point, he figures.
He spends a long time telling himself that before it sticks, but whatever.
He doesn’t ask Phil about it. Phil either had a reason and will tell him, or Phil had no reason, because it wasn’t a big deal, and they don’t need to talk about it ever again.
That’s always worked out okay for Dan.
So he doesn’t ask Phil, whatever, and Phil doesn’t say anything, and things go back to normal.
For about two days.
And then it’s evening, and Phil is yawning and stretching and saying he’s going to bed, which is good, because Dan has been kicking him as he falls asleep over the last hour.
Phil says, “Goodnight,” and Dan says, “Mhm,” and Phil leans over and kisses him.
Phil doesn’t immediately run off this time—
It probably wouldn’t be fair to say Phil ran off last time, either, since he’d rocked back on his heels, looked at Dan questioningly, then gave a little shrug before leaving, but Dan’s not capable of interpreting what all that meant, so he’s ignoring it—
But this time Phil kisses him, still dry and kind of pointless, really, since Dan feels that if he’s going to have to panic about the end of their longstanding and, quite honestly, epic friendship, there ought to be some tongue as a catalyst, or at least some awkward licking, but—
But the kiss is dry and kind of pointless, and then Phil doesn’t step away while he repeats, “Night,” in a warm buzz against Dan’s lips.
And that makes Dan go kind of stupid and fuzzy all over.
What the fuck.
The thing is, Dan got over his crush ages ago.
Phil had been young and enthusiastic and kind of overwhelming; he hadn’t been like anyone Dan knew, and then they’d met and he actually was like that, and it was just...kind of overwhelming.
Dan liked being overwhelmed, it turned out.
But Phil got older and turned into a not-quite-as young, not-quite-as enthusiastic, embarrassingly underwhelming fucking dork, who had bad habits and a stupid smile and a funny-shaped head, and all those things made him Dan’s best friend. A best friend who sometimes, it had be said, failed miserably as a best friend, and would leave Dan to his own misery and/or social awkwardness while Phil got completely engrossed in a conversation all the way across the room with someone he’d never even met before, god Phil, while Dan got bombarded with attention from people who he’d rather have avoided, and then at the end of it all Phil would have the nerve to talk about what an interesting time he’d had.
Sometimes Phil was a disappointment, is what Dan is saying. But also, it turned out Phil was basically just human, and Dan got over his crush.
So this buzzy business is really unnecessary.
Dan, true to form, ignores it.
Phil goes to bed, and Dan watches a show until he realizes he doesn’t remember anything that’s happened, and then he goes to bed too.
Phil doesn’t usually come into Dan’s room.
That’s a lie.
Phil comes into his room all the time. It’s alright, though, because Dan goes into Phil’s room all the time. They’re friends, they live together, it’s inevitable.
Phil just doesn’t usually come into his room for any reason besides fetching Dan out of it, or to work together on something, or to bother him because he’s bored. Phil doesn’t usually come into Dan’s room just to stare at him from two feet away.
“Gah,” Dan says, sleep-muddled. “Phil.”
Phil smiles, pleased with himself. “Did I startle you?”
Dan says something like, “Merk.”
“I made pancakes,” Phil says.
“Mrph,” Dan says, but Phil knows that means he's coming, so that's okay.
A moment where it looks like Phil is hesitating, and then Phil leans forward and kisses Dan’s forehead.
“Mrph?” Dan says again, only it's less laziness this time and more a general expression of his entire state of being.
“Hurry up, I'm hungry,” Phil says cheerily over his shoulder as he leaves Dan’s room.
Phil has his mouth stuffed with pancakes when Dan makes it to the kitchen.
Dan resists the urge to rub his forehead and then, to be safe, stuffs his own mouth with pancakes.
The next morning, Dan wakes up to his alarm and stumbles blearily out to find that Phil hasn’t gotten up yet so he has turn the kettle on himself. The things he goes through, honestly.
Phil shuffles in a little while later, foreshadowed by the scuffing noises of his socks on the floor and fully heralded by the thud and “oww” as he jams his foot against the doorframe. Dan smirks but mostly has it under control by the time he turns around to face Phil.
Phil is fucking right there, startling Dan, but he’s trying to peer around Dan to look at the kettle hopefully.
“I just turned it on,” Dan sighs.
“Shh,” Phil says.
Dan rolls his eyes and steps around Phil to get bowls out of the cupboard. Next is spoons, and those are still clattering in the bowls when he turns around and Phil is right there. Again.
“Am I in your way?” Dan asks, exasperated.
Phil looks at him appraisingly, doesn’t answer.
“Um,” Dan says.
Phil puts a hand on his shoulder. Dan looks at it and doesn’t move.
Phil puts a hand on the back of Dan’s head. Dan looks at him. And doesn’t move.
Phil nods once, as if to himself, and kisses him.
And, okay, Dan has no idea what is going on. If he devoted any thought to this moment at all, he’d probably be annoyed by how unhelpful Phil has been, as far as explaining his own motivation and plans.
But it’s very early and Dan barely had the energy to turn the kettle on, he doesn’t have the energy to devote thought to this. So he does what’s natural and kisses back.
Phil makes a little surprised noise, and Dan decides he likes that, wow, so he licks into Phil’s mouth and, well. Somehow they spend five minutes making out against the kitchen counter.
Phil stops kissing him, breath hot on Dan’s face. “Dan,” he says.
“You didn’t put water in,” Phil says.
It takes Dan a moment to realize Phil’s talking about the kettle. “Oh my god,” Dan complains.
Phil huffs out an amused breath and keeps staring up at Dan.
Dan realizes he’s accidentally got Phil backed up against the counter and takes a hurried step back.
“Okay,” Phil says, smiling at him.
Dan smiles back, because he’s conditioned to by now.
So this merits proper thought. Dan needs to figure out why he put his tongue in his best friend’s mouth in the kitchen before he does something stupid.
As best as he can tell, Phil’s got a reason for all the kissing, and it’s one he expects Dan to be okay with. Since he knows Dan’s not the best at going with the flow, whatever his plan is must be one he thinks Dan would support. And Phil knows Dan pretty well, so it probably is a plan Dan would support. It may even be one that Phil thinks he’s already on board with.
Phil just forgot to actually tell him about it. Dan could ask, but since he’s willing to trust that Phil always means well and occasionally even knows what he’s doing, it could be fun just to try to figure out. There’s only so many reasons you need to kiss someone, and the most obvious is that it’s somehow related to a video. Maybe Phil’s going to talk about awkward kissing experiences and needs more material or something.
Which sounds fucking stupid, but Dan learned long ago not to underestimate Phil.
Or maybe Phil was trying to freak Dan out. And if that’s the case, Dan is definitely not going to let Phil win. Now they’ve properly made out and Dan didn’t say anything about it, it may not even happen again. Phil could very well be done. It’s not like it bothers Dan, so until Phil tells him what’s going on or stops, Dan will just have to try to figure it out as they go.
The kissing doesn’t stop.
Two weeks later, Dan has a hand in Phil’s hair and Phil’s hand on his spine and he basically can’t feel his mouth anymore, and they were supposed to have left for the BBC ten minutes ago.
Dan still has no idea why Phil is doing the kissing thing, but it’s definitely too late to ask now.
“It’s kind of nice,” Dan mumbles.
“Hm?” Phil asks. Phil is engrossed in his phone, but he’s sprawled mostly against Dan’s side and is a very nice source of warmth. He’d come in and upset Dan’s careful balance of slouch and laptop visibility, and Dan had bitched at him, and then there had been kissing and now Dan still has no laptop visibility, but he’s very warm and half-asleep instead, so he doesn’t bother complaining.
Except Phil, the fucker, is ignoring him.
“Nothing,” Dan says huffily. It’s not like he wanted to tell Phil that he liked the mysterious kissing plot; it’s just all the resulting physical closeness that’s nice, anyway, because it’s cold.
“Shh,” Phil says, and smacks a kiss against Dan’s lips again.
Dan blinks at the side of his face a couple of times, then drops his head back and huffs his annoyance up at the ceiling instead. Phil ignores him some more.
Dan has kind of lost track of how often and what kind of kissing they’re prone to committing, because it’s been a month—or a little more, he really hasn’t been keeping track—and it’s just part of the routine now.
But there are still limits.
They’re out with friends, and Dan’s being that antisocial jerk who’s always on their phone. He doesn’t feel bad, because it’s not his fault Twitter is more interesting than Phil repeating a story Dan’s listened to him tell various people all week. Phil will understand. It’s not as if he listens to Dan except maybe half the time.
Conversation moves on, but Dan is fully engrossed now. He snorts at something on his phone, and looks up when everyone starts laughing at him. “What,” he says, rolling his eyes and looking at Phil for support.
Phil is smiling, and he leans closer to Dan. “Okay?” he asks, almost in an undertone.
Dan thinks Phil is checking if he’s all right, and he’s confused, because he’s just on his phone. It’s not like he’s ill or sulking or anything. He makes a face at Phil. “Uh, yeah.”
Phil makes a face back, and Dan refuses to smile, looking back down at his phone instead.
Phil angles his head a little and kisses Dan.
Right there. In public. In front of everyone.
Their friends stop talking. Dan jerks his head back, sputtering out a laugh. “Excuse you!”
“Woah,” Jamie says.
There’s a really awful expression on Phil’s face for a second before habit kicks in and he smiles easily.
“Wow, Phil!” Dan says, because they know how this goes. There’s no way out but through. “Personal space!”
“Oops,” Phil says, grinning.
“Really?” Jamie says skeptically, but everyone else rolls their eyes and moves on.
Dan is careful to stay angled away from Phil the rest of the night, tension vibrating down his spine.
They don’t say anything on the way home. The taxi drops them off and Phil goes straight up, leaving Dan to pay. Dan doesn’t want to talk to Phil, but it’s probably time to figure out what’s been going on.
Instead of hiding like Dan had worried about, Phil is waiting for him in the lounge.
“You said it was okay,” Phil bursts out with as soon as Dan looks at him.
“I said—I thought you were asking if I was alright! Me, personally! Not for permission to—” He falters, but Phil doesn’t notice.
“No!” Phil says. “I was—well.” He deflates a bit, looking maybe a bit sheepish. “I know we should’ve talked about it more, but we haven’t really talked about anything and it just seemed like a good moment to go for it.”
A good moment to go for it? “A good moment to kiss me in front of half our friends?” Dan asks incredulously. “Why would you even think I’d agree that’s a good idea? When would kissing me in front of anyone be a good idea?”
Phil frowns. “Are we hiding it completely then?” he asks, sounding cautious and maybe a bit upset.
“Hiding—” Dan has a horrible, horrible thought. It’s one that had been lurking for weeks, but it has now thrown itself into the light and will no longer be ignored. “Phil, are we—”
Phil waits, frowning.
“Are we, is this, like, have we been kissing non-platonically?” Dan has no idea what he’s asking, but he knows he really needs to know.
“Instead of kissing platonically?” Phil asks. He looks extremely confused, but Dan has no sympathy. That has been Dan’s entire emotional range for the past month. Suppressed, admittedly, but still.
Dan draws in a breath. “Have you been thinking that we’re kissing because we’re, I don’t know, doing something? Dating or whatever?”
The thing is, Dan got over his crush ages ago.
He had one because, before he met Phil, Phil was this idealized version of a person: never annoyed, never insensitive, never boring.
Then he got over it, because he met Phil, and Phil had bad hair more than he had good, and he even had a bad temper, sometimes, because everyone does.
But mostly, Dan got over his crush because, before he got over it, he told Phil about it.
Phil’s face gets the awful expression again, but this time it doesn’t go away. Dan doesn’t want to look at it, so he stares at the wall past Phil’s shoulder instead.
“We haven’t been on dates, I guess,” Phil says, and his voice is thin and uneven in a way it usually isn’t.
Dan doesn’t want to make him sound like that. “You know what I’m asking,” he says; then, letting his voice go plaintive, “Phil, I don’t know.”
“Then yeah, sure,” Phil says. “We’ve been kissing platonically, because kissing’s nice. Don’t worry about it.”
They’ve never kissed platonically. Dan firmly believes it is possible, he and Phil have just never done it.
Their kissing, prior to Phil’s experiment or moment of self-discovery or whatever the hell is going on, mostly consisted of Dan making a monumental idiot of himself.
“Tell me what’s been going on,” Dan says. “What have you been doing?”
Phil looks at him like he’s an idiot. “What do you think we’ve been doing? What have you been doing?”
“You started it!” Dan says. “I was just trying to figure out what you were planning.” Yes, he hadn’t been trying very hard, and no, he has no excuse for the way he went along with it, but none of that matters, in his opinion, because Phil has no right to be upset about any of it. Because Phil started it.
“I wasn’t planning anything,” Phil says. “I kissed you. Did you really think that had a reason behind it besides I wanted to?”
“Yes!” Dan says.
“Why?” Phil narrows his eyes, looking more disconcerted than upset.
“Because you don’t want to!” Dan says.
“You know that’s not true,” Phil says, and Dan has had it.
“Hey,” Dan whispers into the dark of Phil’s room.
Phil, sprawled on his back with very little concern as to how Dan is supposed to fit alongside him without draping himself bodily over Phil, turns his head and ends up about six inches from Dan’s face.
Dan wiggles up the bed a little and makes the space three inches. “Hey,” he repeats.
“Hey,” Phil parrots back, smiling slow and silly at him. It’s a completely ridiculous expression, and Dan is pretty much in awe of the fact that Phil will just do things like that, say and do things that should be completely embarrassing, but they’re not, because he’s not embarrassed by them. Dan can barely talk to his parents sometimes without feeling overwhelmed.
“Thanks,” Dan whispers.
“For what?” Phil whispers back.
Dan shrugs, an awkward motion that makes his whole body move on the bed and makes Phil’s smile brighten. He doesn’t know how to say what he means: how to say, thank you for making it easier for me to be calm; thank you for making me feel like my head is going to explode, but in a nice way; thank you for making me want to squeeze my whole self inside you.
It’s not even sexual, but Dan feels like he needs to be as close as possible to Phil or Phil won’t understand, and Phil has to understand. Dan makes the three inches zero and kisses him.
Phil’s breath fans across his face, and Dan, having exerted his courage, freezes.
And then Phil sighs, sounding like relief, and puts a hand on Dan’s face to kiss him back. He’s gentle, and then he’s playful, light and fun, like a game, and Dan’s angry, because Phil doesn’t understand. He rolls over, plants his arm on Phil’s chest to hold him still, and kisses him hard, trying like this to give Phil all the words he can’t make himself say.
Dan can do this, is good at this. He knows how to kiss, and he knows how to make people feel good, and the things he doesn’t know, Phil can show him, and Dan trusts him enough to let him. He makes an encouraging noise when Phil grabs at him, and Dan ends up sprawled on top of him, tangled up and warm all over.
They kiss for what feels like forever, until Dan can feel himself sweating and that Phil is hard. Phil’s hands stay in mostly appropriate places, and finally Dan gets impatient, wedges a hand between them and slides it up under Phil’s shirt.
He finds himself unceremoniously rolled off as Phil sits up.
“No,” Phil says.
“Uh,” Dan says, and pushes himself up on a palm, feeling abruptly vulnerable. The room is dark, Phil’s eyes are huge, they’re both wearing too many clothes—and Phil is saying no.
“You,” Dan says, at a pitch which probably conveys his distress, if Phil’s immediately alarmed face is anything to go by, “were the one who rejected me.”
It would normally be extremely difficult to get Dan to admit anything like that, especially out loud, but Phil’s expression of complete cluelessness leaves him no other option.
“I didn't,” Phil says. “When?”
Dan can feel his face heating, but he fights it down because this is not his fault. Or something. “Uh, after I kissed you on your bed. When I told you that what we were doing was nice and all, but we should also try having more sex.”
Phil snorts, and then looks annoyed at himself for the reaction. Dan sympathizes—this is not the time for humour. “I don't remember exactly, but I think you probably would've said something more like ‘I really like you,’ and had difficulty saying even that.”
“Oh, shut up,” Dan says irritably. He was making a point and Phil knows it. “I said whatever, and you said we should just be friends.”
Phil tips his head to the side and, slowly, looks like he’s come to a very comfortable conclusion. Dan hates him sometimes.
“Oh,” Phil says. “That explains a lot.”
Dan grits his teeth. “What do you mean? What does it explain?”
“Why you were so patient,” Phil says. “I thought we’d argue about it at least once, but you never brought it up.”
Dan can connect the dots enough to figure out what Phil’s talking about right now. “You thought I’d try to argue you into agreeing to date me?” he asks, incredulous. He’s never lacked for pride—where the hell does Phil get this stuff?
Phil wrinkles his nose. “No,” he says. “I thought you’d try to convince me that we didn’t need to wait.”
Phil looks understanding and elaborates, “Since that’s what I said. That we should wait.”
“Just not yet,” Phil says.
“Right, okay,” Dan answers, ears and face and throat burning. Even his palms feel like they’re itching.
“We just met,” Phil continues, looking concerned, and Dan feels shame flush up his face. “Comparatively. I just think we should be friends first.”
Under that, Dan can feel but not quite hear so many implications: things about Dan’s age and Phil’s experience and fanbase and their relative relationship, things Dan knows enough to know Phil will never say.
“I’m sure we’ll be good friends,” Phil says.
And Dan swallows his embarrassed anger and reminds himself that, more than anything, he does want to be friends with Phil.
And as they move past it, he is.
“You said we’d be good friends,” Dan points out, because he remembers that detail.
“And we are!” Phil says, sounding almost offended. “But before that, I mean. I said we shouldn’t, yet.”
Dan has a very, very vague memory of a wrinkle-browed Phil peering closely at him. He hadn’t been disgusted, that was never a question, because Dan wouldn’t have been able to face him ever again if he had been. He also hadn’t been confused or otherwise upset. He can’t, to be fair, say what Phil had said.
“I said to you,” Phil says, sounding exaggeratedly patient but looking very wild in the eyes, “That I really liked you, but we'd just met and we should wait a while.”
And finally, ages later, something in Dan’s head clicks.
“Oh,” he says stupidly.
Phil, because he’s a better person than most, doesn’t waste time being stubborn or annoyed or even worried. He just looks hopeful.
“You mean you thought we should just be friends first,” Dan says. “Not just friends.”
Phil sighs. “Yes.”
“Oh,” Dan says again. A pause, during which Phil peers closely at him, and Dan adds peevishly, “That does explain a lot. You could've said something.”
“I did—never mind,” Phil says, scowling a little.
“I mean when you decided to start kissing me all the time!” Dan says. “‘Hey Dan, I like you,’ or something, it’s not hard!”
“I thought kissing you would get the same point across!” Phil says.
“No!” Dan says, kind of screechily. “Did my utter confusion the first few times not make that clear!”
“I thought you needed some time to process,” Phil says defensively. “It's a big change! Or you were deciding whether you wanted to, still.”
“Phil,” Dan says, wounded.
“And then when you started kissing back,” Phil continues pointedly, “I thought you'd decided we just didn't need to talk about it.”
Dan snorts. “Yeah, because who needs to talk about something like this!”
“Well, you’ve never been eager to talk before,” Phil says. Dan makes a rude noise, but Phil talks over him, “And I didn't think it was hard to figure out! How was I supposed to know you'd think I was doing it for fun? Because you’d forgotten—”
“You'd know if you'd asked!” Dan yelps. “And I didn't forget. I blocked it out! Because you rejected me.”
Phil deflates. “I didn’t.”
“Yeah, well,” Dan says, and forces himself to stop hunching under the weight of past humiliation. “So you should’ve said something.”
“I only did what you did,” Phil says. “And I liked just kissing you. It was a lot less stressful than figuring out how to bring it up.”
“Yeah,” Dan says, because he can see that. “But you should’ve. It would’ve been fair punishment for making me think you rejected me six years ago.”
“You’re not allowed to hold that against me for the rest of our lives,” Phil says; futilely, since Dan has already filed it away under the ‘things to hold over Phil’s head’ category.
Phil protests against the unfairness, and when Dan refuses to relent, basically decides to deal with it by kissing Dan some more.
Intellectually, Dan does realize that snogging and sex is not a solution to anything, and they'll really need to get past Phil’s indignation and Dan’s derailment tactics and their mutual communication aversion at some point, sure. They'll need to talk about it, ugh.
It'll probably take years, honestly. In the meantime:
When Dan was younger, he thought sex with Phil would be overwhelming and maybe a little uncomfortable the first time, because Phil had hinted he knew what to do with guys but Dan had no clue, and Dan was desperate to please with the occasional fit of proving he was an Independent Adult.
Now, it turns out sex with Phil is sex; it’s fun and a little awkward, and it is very embarrassing for the both of them, because Dan still doesn't have much of a clue what to do with guys and Phil is entirely out of practice.
Because that's what six years of waiting and self-enforced celibacy gets you, Phil.
“I was right,” Phil mutters into Dan’s hair. He’s talking about the waiting, probably, and not the enforced celibacy part.
“So was I,” Dan grumbles back, and he’s talking about everything else.
“Shh,” Phil says, and kisses him again.