It was still only late afternoon, but the clouds above the city were dark.
Dan tugged on the hem of his oversized sweater. The grey fabric swallowed him up, billowing over his bare thighs that were paling and covered in goosebumps. He didn’t feel exposed in the slightest, in their own home, but the itching vulnerability he was so used to out in public still crawled beneath his skin.
It was fueled by fear.
Shadows danced around Dan’s figure, leaned against the doorframe, chest heaving shakingly. His voice rolled like a silent breath across his trembling, cracked lips. “Phil?”
Of course, it was of no use. He knew where Phil was, or at least was last when he’d been ushered into bed, and it was not within hearing distance.
The soles of his feet began to pad along the floor, wood creaking beneath him, tired eyes blinking furiously as yet another flash of lightning lit up the sky outside.
Rubbing his eyes, yawning, he pushed the door to the living room open. The windows rattled in the background as he made his way through the half-dark, stumbling towards the single blue light of a screen that illuminated his boyfriend’s face.
Phil looked both sleepy and beautiful, glasses falling off his nose and greasy black quiff disarray as he sat in their red armchair, hunched over his laptop. His eyelids were falling closed, and Dan felt a twinge of guilt rise in his throat, despite not being the one who insisted he get some rest, alone in their massive bed.
It did get quite lonely, sometimes, even when he needed the space.
The pressure of the outside world could became too much, and lately, he’d felt that. Christmas had come and gone, and family’s judging eyes had passed him by, and sometimes Dan simply needed Phil’s affections and closeness, and a hand to hold. His hand.
Once he came closer, shuffling feet and wringing hands, he slowed. His limbs felt heavy, like lead once more, weary and prickly, and like they needed to go. A few seconds passed, were he went unnoticed, another crack of thunder finally splitting the silence.
Bright and gorgeous and crystal blue, Phil’s gaze flickered up, the wringed, twisted expression on his face showing clearly that he sensed Dan’s concern.
His open arms took Dan in, enveloping his torso with gentleness and softness, and smooth fingers threaded through the overwhelming folds of fabric. Flesh on flesh met as their hands began to caress around the napes of their necks, tepid and exhausted kisses pressed onto Dan’s cheek, one after another.
If he had the energy to talk, he’d mention the coarseness of Phil’s chin, and Phil would mock him back. But, banter was out of the question when all he wanted to succumb to was sleep, not another laughing fit.
Secretly, he loved it.
The skin touched by Phil’s delicate lips burst into flame, a boiling ocean beneath the bright red sunrise, dazzling and untamed. And, despite the tiredness numbing his thoughts, Dan could still notice each earthy tone of Phil he felt in his lungs while he took in rugged breaths.
Dan still could not believe he’d fallen in love with such an unearthly human being. The reality that Phil Lester existed had sunk in, but not the fact that he actually did.
As he adjusted himself on Phil’s lap, legs slung across the arm of the chair, he could feel the beat of his heart.
With a single shaking breath, Dan closed his eyes and nuzzled his whole, sweaty face into the crook of Phil’s neck. The assurance in his voice was calming, like an icy wave, and steadied the stormy fear brewing within. His own breath seemed to steady Phil, too, bringing him to his senses.
One hand rubbed circles on his back, moving away from between his chill thighs, while the other continued typing away.
“I should’ve gone to bed as soon as the thunder began,” Phil’s deep, soothing voice whispered in Dan’s ear, the hairs on his back rising accordingly. “I’ll finish this up and then we can go to sleep, properly. Okay?”
To tell the truth, Dan could care less where they slept, as long as he needn’t face the dark and his fears any more. They took his sleep away, too often, and too quickly.
As Phil began to shift beneath him, the keys clicking at the touch of his fingertips, each muscle in Dan’s whole, somnolent body protested.
Finishing up, his boyfriend carefully closed the lid of his laptop. A tap on Dan’s shoulder demanded he move, but he physically could not. His senses were murky and muddy, swirling together even once his eyes were open, and the darkness behind his lids seemed evermore inviting.
“Babe, we can’t fall asleep here. We have to move.”
Dan couldn’t care. “Uhu…”
With a soft, fond sigh, Phil enveloped him again.
“You know I’m not strong enough to carry you all the way,” And yet, with the little consciousness he had left, Dan felt Phils arms move beneath him where they sat, bringing a smile to his face.
“Sure you are, mr. muscle..” Dan croaked, blinking his eyes open to see an amused Phil gazing down at him. “So, do.”
With a mock-exasperated expression, Phil knotted the grey sweater in his fists, and began to rise on shaking knees.
Then, as if commanded by the universe, another crack of thunder exploded with deafening noise.
Even with the deadweight Dan in his arms, it seemed like he flew ten feet high. Despite having confidence in him, Dan felt a rush of fear flow through his body at the jolt, but adrenaline soon replaced it.
Laughter bubbled up their throats, and a smirk crept upon Dan’s teary, flushed face, head thrown back in Phil’s arms. Unmatched, he smiled, his dimple coming out, even visible after dusk.
And there was love, in their voices, in their eyes. Always.