and now he's moved to full on swearing

Grade A Something

Pairing: Tony Stark x Reader
Words:   675

-Just a fun little Tony Stark one shot I wanted to write-

A/N: If you want to be tagged in anything, send me an ask. :)

Originally posted by dailymarvel

         You slammed the door, walking right to where Tony was standing. He had a smirk on his face as he talked with the rest of the Avengers. When he noticed you walk in, he smiled, “Hi, Sweetheart,” he said.

           “Don’t you dare,” you practically growled.

           “What’s wrong, Y/N?” he asked.

           “Tony Stark, you are a grade A son of a bitch,” you hissed at him, “I cannot believe you right now.”

           “What did I do?” Tony looked shocked.

           Everyone else was quiet, not daring to say a word or make a move.

           “I swear, you really are just so full of yourself. If you don’t know what you did, I’m not just going to stick around.”

           You turned on your heels and stormed out of the room, going back to the room you shared with Tony, slamming doors as you went.

           You heard Tony excuse himself from the group and make his way toward the room as well, following you.

Keep reading

Soundless

Summary: Punk looking Phil Lester moves to town and attends a school full of cliques. He doesn’t see his life going anywhere until he somehow manages to befriend the mute kid in school. Now he’s beginning to learn that life can take you anywhere, and is full of friends in unlikely places. But in the wake of a tragedy, Phil must learn to understand not just words, but actions. Because sometimes, the loudest cry for help can be soundless.

Warnings: Swearing, a bit of fluff

Word Count: 4,648

{Previous Chapter}

Chapter 2

Phil Lester also hated mornings. In fact, he hated just about everything.

“Phil, get up! You’re going to have to keep walking to school unless you start waking up earlier!”

Phil put his head underneath his pillow in attempts to drown out of mum’s voice. Why did school have to start so early? But Phil decided he rather walk to school everyday if it meant getting twenty extra minutes of sleep. The school itself wasn’t that far. It was a few blocks away. Nothing he couldn’t handle walking. Plus, the exercise would do him good.

With an obligatory groan he does every morning, Phil rolled out of bed and landed hardly on his floor.

“Phil?” his mum shouted up the stairs.

“I’m fine!” Phil yelled back grumpily. Slowly, he pushed himself off the floor and headed to the bathroom to start his every day morning routine.

He went downstairs and found his dad in the kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee. It struck Phil as unusual that is dad was even home this morning. Usually he’s gone by at least thirty past six.

“Phil! Nice to see you this morning,” his dad said cheerfully when he saw Phil.

Phil grumbled. “Why are you home?”

His dad chuckled. “Don’t have to go in until a little later today. Besides, I never saw you yesterday. How was your first day at the new school?” He took a sip of his coffee and immediately set it back down. Must be a little too hot.

“Mum didn’t tell you?” Surely she did. There was nothing that Phil couldn’t do without his dad knowing minutes after.

His dad shrugged. “She told me a few things. But I want to hear from you.”

Phil didn’t understand why, but he didn’t want to argue this morning. So he said, “Talked to a few people, suffered all day, and that’s about it. Nothing exciting happened.”

“Not yet,” his dad said.

“Not ever,” Phil retorted. “It’s school. Not the red carpet to the Brits. The only exciting thing that happens at school is when the bell rings at the end of the day.” Phil grabbed his bag by the door, just now remembering he had history homework to do last night. He was too busy thinking about other things, anyway. Not to mention he’s the new kid. Mrs. Wright was sure to be lenient on him. She seemed nice enough.

His dad snorted. “Make some friends. Then exciting things are bound to happen.”

“Like what? Me having to tell them I’m moving again and they’ll throw a party for my leave? No, thanks.” Phil hoisted the bag over his shoulder before heading out. He opened the door, and on his way out, he added, “I’m not making friends. So stop bothering me about it.” He shut the door behind him, not wanting to hear whatever it was his dad had to say.

******

Phil barely stepped on campus before Luke pounced on him. “Hey there, Philip!” he chirped.

“Just call me Phil. I hate when people say my whole name.” It was way too formal for him. Phil didn’t even think he looked like a Philip. In fact, he didn’t think he looked like an anything.

Luke stepped back. “Someone isn’t a morning person. Guess I should leave you alone until English and lunch then, yeah?”

Phil rolled his eyes. He wanted tot ell Luke to leave him alone forever, but he wasn’t that mean. Phil would just have to draw a fine line between acquaintances and friends. He didn’t plan on sticking around too long anyway.

“So,” Luke began as they stepped inside the school. “I had my old nannie save us some pizza for lunch today. It’s pepperoni. That cool?”  

Phil nodded. “Any pizza is cool.” Phil looked at his surroundings. Since he was on time today, the lobby and stairwells were crowded with people. It was a big school, but for some reason, Phil didn’t expect it to have this many people. He was curious about the number of students that actually attended here.

“Sweet. I’ll have to keep that in mind. I like any kind of pizza. Dan doesn’t. I always have to get him cheese. Talk about lack of pizzazz.” Luke rolled his eyes and chuckled.

“Are you and Dan best friends or something?” Phil asked.

Luke shrugged. “I don’t know about best friends. We really only hang out and talk at school. I don’t think he’s comfortable with going out or letting people over at his flat. He used to say it was because it was embarrassing because of his dad always being there, but I don’t know. That excuse is only good for so long.” True. Eventually he would have to get over it or he would have almost no social life. Not that he has an extravagant one now.

“Where is he?” Phil asked, suddenly curious. Phil didn’t like talking about people when they weren’t around, even if it wasn’t gossip. Most people would probably think otherwise, just from looking at the way Phil dresses and acts. But that’s stereotyping for ya.

“Probably with his dad. Or the counselor. Don’t tell him I told you about that. He doesn't’ really like people knowing he talks to the school counselor.”

So perhaps his silence was caused by something traumatizing in his life. Phil concluded that most people who talk to counselors, typically do so because of private matters or personal issues. Maybe Dan had some crazy past life no one knew about. Maybe that was the reason for his silence.

“What are you thinking about?” Luke asked, interrupting Phil’s thoughts.

“Nothing that matters,” he replied. Which was true. Dan’s life was none of his concern.

Luke gave him a skeptical look. “Trying to figure out Dan? Damn it. I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. But the words slipped out and it was too late. Shit.”

“What? No. Dan’s personal life is not my business. And frankly, it’s not yours, either. Don’t go about telling people he talks to the counselor. Pretend like you never even knew. He didn’t tell you that just for you to go telling me.” Phil felt like he was being a slight jerk to Luke, but he didn’t want Luke going around thinking it was okay to tell secrets or spread gossip.

“Hey, man. No need to get all defensive over the guy. He didn’t even tell me that he sees the counselor. I see him go in there every now and then. I don’t even think he knows that I know. You’re the only person I’ve accidentally told. I swear.”

Phil sighs. “Sorry. I just hate gossip and rumors. It’s annoying and carries way too much drama.” And Phil likes to stay as far away from drama as he can get. He has enough of it at home with his parents.

Luke nods. “I agree. Sorry?” he said, unsure if that’s what he’s supposed to say.

“Sure.”

“Good. Bell is about to ring. See you later?” Luke says.

“Yeah, see you.” Phil says, watching Luke head up the stairs to what he assumes is his first class. Phil remains in the same spot, even long after the bell rings and the halls become wider without the students in them. He’s about to head up to computers when he sees Dan coming out of a door near the main office. He’s not with his dad, so he must be with …

Dan waves at whoever is on the other side of the door, and lets it shut behind him. He adjusts his bag on his shoulder, spotting Phil in the process.

Phil’s face flushes. He’s worried Dan might be mad or something for seeing him, but when Dan smiles shyly and waves, Phil knows Dan must not really care what he saw. Phil waves back at Dan, who is now jogging up the stairs to his first class. Phil decides he should do the same.

*******

English comes surprisingly quick, and Phil cannot wait until lunch. He didn’t eat breakfast yet again this morning.

When Phil enters the classroom, he thinks he’s the first one there, which he hates, because it makes him seem like a nerd who’s ready to go to class and learn, but he’s quickly relieved when he sees Dan already in his seat. Phil sits down next to him, just as he did yesterday. Dan flashes a quick smile at him and goes back to writing something.

“We didn’t have homework, did we?” Phil asks, suddenly nervous. He already didn’t do his history homework. He didn’t want to add English on top of that.

Dan shakes his head, and Phil relaxes in his seat. So history was the only assignment he didn’t do. Good.

Fifteen seconds of silence pass, and suddenly, douche bag Scott enters the room. He’s got that look about him that says, “I’m trying to be cool but everyone knows I’m not.” Scott slides into his seat in front of Phil, and doesn’t even wait two seconds before spinning around. Phil sighs.

“Ah, Phil Lester. How are you today? Spectacular, I hope.” He smiles with all his teeth. Clearly he’s plotting something.  

“The only spectacular day I would have is one where you don’t talk to me. So that’s completely shattered.” Scott has only talked to Phil once, but that was one too many times for Phil. He didn’t want to associate himself with a bully.

Scott squints. “Whatever. Give up talking to Dan yet? I bet you were annoyed that he didn’t answer.” Scott’s gaze shoots to Dan, who doesn’t bother looking up from his paper. A blush creeps up from Dan’s neck.

“What’s your problem with Dan?” Phil asks. “He’s probably not done a thing to you. Like, ever.” Dan seemed to nice to do anything to Scott. Let alone anyone.

Scott scoffs. “I talked to him and he didn’t answer. Talk about rude and disrespectful.”

“Kind of like you’re being now?” Phil fires at Scott.

“If anyone here is being rude, it’s certainly you, Phil Lester. I’m just trying to have a nice conversation, and all you’re doing is making harsh assumptions.”

Phil laughs and rolls his eyes. “It’s not assumptions if it’s the truth. Tell me, has Dan ever actually done something to offend you? Hurt your feelings? I bet he hasn’t ever said a word to you.”

Scott laughs loudly. “Damn straight he hasn’t said a word to me! He hasn’t said one to you either, I’d bet!”

“Oh, Jesus Christ. Fuck off, Scott! You know that’s not what I meant. Just because he doesn’t talk, doesn’t mean he can’t communicate. You’re a fucking jerk,” Phil spits. “No wonder why you don’t have any friends.”

Anger fills Scott’s face. “You want to fucking talk? Where are all of your friends? Hmm?”

Phil exploded. Everything he tried to keep in had to be unleashed. “I just fucking moved here! You expect everyone to come up to me and automatically be my friend? Is that how shit works? Did you come straight out of the womb with a basket of friends? Probably fucking not. So fuck off, Scott. You’re a piece if shit.” Phil looked around to room to find a snickering Luke, an angry teacher, and a bunch of wide eyed kids. Most of the kids were trying not to laugh, only because the teacher was there and it would fuel the fire.

“Phil?” Mr. Rathbone prompted.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll go to the office.” Phil gathered his bag and stood up, trying his best to ignore a smug looking Scott. He walked behind Dan when Dan grabbed his wrist and shoved something in Phil’s hand before he got by. Phil clutched the paper like object as he sauntered out of the room.

In the hallway, Phil shut the door to the classroom and leaned against the wall, opening his fist to see what Dan gave him. It was a slightly crumbled, folded up piece of paper. Phil opened it, trying to smooth it out to read it better.

You didn’t have to do that. But thanks.

Phil smirked at the words before folding the paper back up and shoving it in his pocket. You didn’t have to write me that note thanking me, Phil thought. But thanks. And with that, Phil headed to the office.

Phil had to wait almost twenty minutes for Mr. Bureau to show up. He had no idea what he was doing, he was just told that the principal was out and would be back shortly. Apparently, shortly is not short.

The door to the officer opened, finally, and in strode Mr. Bureau. He made a look of surprise when he saw Phil slouching in one of the chairs in the room. “Philip Lester, right?”

“Yes,” Phil said, sighing.

“To what do I owe the pleasure?”

So he didn’t know what happened in English. Phil could lie, say he was having a hard time fitting in at the school, but figured he was better off telling the truth. He might get in trouble for it, but so would Scott. And Scott needed a lesson.

“Well …” Phil trailed off. Mr. Bureau sat in his seat behind the desk and folded his hands, listening closely. “I was sent to the office because I was … in a, I guess, heated argument with Scott.”

Mr. Bureau sighed. “Scott Daly?” he asked.

Phil shrugged. “I don’t know his last name. Has English with me is all I can say.”

“With Mr. Rathbone?”

“Yes.”

“Then that’s the one.” He leaned back in his chair, looking slightly annoyed, much to Phil’s surprise. Obviously Scott was a troubled one when it came to other students. Mr. Bureau’s behavior confirmed as much. “Tell me what happened. Why were you two arguing?”

Phil relaxed in his chair. Maybe he wouldn’t be in as much trouble as he previously thought. “You know Dan Howell.” It wasn’t a question. The principal nodded anyway. “He was being mean to him. And me, really. But I don’t care about me. He was being rude to Dan for literally no reason. Scott says I shouldn’t be friends with him because he doesn’t talk.”

A flash of anger crosses the principal’s face, but he quickly recollects himself. “I’m going to tell you something, but it doesn’t leave this office, alright?”

Phil swallowed nervously. “Yes, sir.”

“Scott and Dan … they have a past. I’m not at liberty to say, but I can tell you they used to be friends. Just … I’m glad you’re standing up for Dan. I truly am. People tend to … ignore Dan because of his … quietness, yes. But be careful with Scott and Dan in the same spot. I’m afraid one of these days they’re going to clash and it won’t be pretty. Of course, there’s nothing I can really do about it. I’m only the principal here. I can’t do anything unless they do actually start something. It’s one reason why Officer Howell stays at the school so much.”

Phil was surprised at the amount of things Mr. Bureau was telling him. Hell, Phil wasn’t even sure if he was allowed to tell him these things. Not only that, but Phil felt a bit guilty for listening to it. It wasn’t his business, not really. But he’d be damned if he said he wasn’t curious whilst listening to it.

“I just … I want Dan to have friends. I’ve known that kid for years. Real nice boy, he is. But I worry about him. I’m glad you stood up for him.”

Phil proceeded cautiously. “So … I’m not in trouble for freaking out on him?” Not that he’d care if he was. He just preferred to avoid trouble altogether.

Mr. Bureau chuckled. “No, it’s all good. Just, if Scott asks or Mr. Rathbone does, say you got a warning or something. Deal?”

“Deal.”

“Alright then. Back to class with ya.” Mr. Bureau stood up and led Phil out of his office back into the lobby. He smile at Phil, and retreated back into his office.

Phil didn’t particularly feel like going back to class. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with Scott yet. Or ever, really. Class would be over soon anyway, and then it would be time for lunch. Phil could hide out somewhere for another thirty minutes.

He skipped out on the bathrooms, and sneaked outside to where he and Dan and Luke sat yesterday for lunch. Surprisingly, it was another sunny day out. Barely any clouds. So he tossed his bag on the patch of pavement and lied down on the grass to relax for a bit. He stared up at the sky, thinking about the limitless possibilities it could offer. It was weird to think that millions of other people across the world were looking at the same bit of sky.

Phil’s eyes began to flutter as he thought about the world. Eventually, he dozed off, completely forgetting about his problems for a while.

*******

“He’s not dead, Dan. Just lazy,” an all too familiar voice said. A shadow loomed over Phil’s face, blocking out the sunlight. “Wakey, wakey,” Luke chimed. “It’s time for lunch!”

Phil stretched out on the grass, opening his eyes to find Luke and Dan. Luke stood over Phil, a smile dancing on his lips, while Dan stood a few steps away, looking slightly concerned.

“Dan tried to wake you,” Luke says lowly. “Why didn’t you get up?”

Phil almost said he couldn’t hear him, but his mind caught up before his words, telling him those weren’t the right choice. So he said, “Heavy sleeper. Takes a lot to wake me.” It was only the half truth. Phil could sleep through a thunderstorms in the middle of the night, but as soon as he heard a voice, he was up and at ‘em. Since Dan can’t–won’t–talk … well …

“Well. It’s time for pizza anyway. Go back to sleep when you go home.”

“I want to go back to sleep now,” Phil grumbled. “It’s much nicer out here.” He looked up at the vast sky once more.

Luke snickered. “Hang out with Dan once, and he’s already turned you into a softy.” He made a tsk noise with his tongue. “I pegged you for the–”

“Silent, emo type. Yeah, I got that yesterday from your conversation you let me have no part of.” Phil frowned at him.

Luke bit back a smile. “Sorry there, mate. Had to get to class.”

“MmmHmm. Whatever. Go get the pizza. I’m hungry.”

“Aye.” Luke walks back inside, leaving Dan and Phil alone.

Dan walks over to Phil, making a gesture with his hands. He’s asking if Phil read the note.

“I did read the note. It was really no problem. I hate all jerks like Scott. There’ll probably be another something like that tomorrow.” Phil waves his hand dismissively.

Dan sighs, grabbing a seat on the ground next to Phil. He looks up to the sky, closing his eyes and embracing the sunlight.

Phil never noticed it before, but Dan’s skin was actually really smooth. The light hit it just right, making Dan seem almost porcelain. His brown hair glistened in the sun, and just for a brief moment, Phil wishes he could see Dan’s eyes under the sun. He imagined they look like the color of fresh mud after it rains. He shook his head. Why was he thinking about that?

Dan opened one eye, catching Phil’s in the process. He smirked.

“What?” Phil asked. Dan only shook his head.

Phil wanted to push further, but couldn’t, as Luke arrived back with a few slices of pizza and some soda to drink.

They talked mostly about Phil–where he came from, why he moved to a boring town, if he was going to move again soon. Most of the questions were answered with “I don’t know” and “probably.” Before any of them knew it, the bell rang and it was time for the last class of the day. As they walked back inside, Officer Howell stood by the back door to the cafeteria, shaking his head disapprovingly. Luke smiled sheepishly, Dan ducked around everyone and went to his dad, and Phil remained neutral. It was evident that Dan was attempting to explain why they were all outside again, when clearly, his dad had told them to stop going out there. Whatever he said–or tried to say–must have been good enough, because both of the Howell’s strode out of the cafeteria wearing smiles.

“Interesting,” Luke said.

Phil went to respond, but closed his mouth when he realized Luke was already gone. He really needed to stop doing that.

******

His mum had made spaghetti for dinner, and she gave Phil no choice but to sit at the table and eat it. His family didn’t usually sit at the table and eat dinner, only on rare occasions and holidays. So he was a bit lost on why she was making him eat with them today. It was awkward and full of tension between everyone.

The only sound was forks scraping along the plates, and Phil cringed at every noise. He hated that sound. He rather listen to someone scrap a chalkboard all day.

After almost ten minutes of unbearable silence, the door bell rang. Phil heaved out a sigh and sat back in his chair. He was about to offer to go get it, when his mum said, “No, stay. I’ll go get the door.” She must really want him to suffer.

“Oh, hi,” he heard his mum say from the door. His Dad looked at Phil questionably. Phil only shrugged. “Yes, we were just eating dinner. No, no, it’s no problem. Please, come in.” Now his dad and Phil were intrigued. Who would be coming to their house right now? None of them knew anyone in this town yet.

His mum stepped around the corner, followed by Officer Howell. Phil was briefly mortified that Dan would follow, but after a few short seconds, it was clear he wasn’t here. Phil let out a breath.

“Hello, Philip,” Officer Howell said.

“Hi,” Phil replied. Why was he here? To tell his parents he can’t follow the rules at school and keeps eating outside when he was told not to? By a police officer, no less.

“I’m sorry to intrude on your dinner,” Officer Howell said.

“Oh, it’s really no problem. We love company,” his mum said. Phil wanted to roll his eyes at the false statement. His mum liked company for a total of two minutes. After that, she wishes they would get out.

Officer Howell leans against the doorway to the kitchen, acting way too casual for this to be a formal talk about Phil’s defiance to listen. “I’m actually here to thank your son in person for what he did today.”

Phil dropped his fork when all eyes turned to him. “Um … what did I do?”

Officer Howell chuckled. “You stood up for my son today. Dan. I know Scott is a real ass hole, but no one ever pays attention to them. You’re the first. And yeah, Dan can handle himself, mostly, but to have some back up … I felt slightly better about letting him go to school and attend classes without me.”

“Oh?” Was all Phil could manage to say. “You’re … welcome, I guess.” He didn’t know what the proper response was.

The officer smiled. “Yes, I have been wanting to have Dan home schooled for the past so many years because of his … lack of communication. But I know he’d hate me for it. So I let him attend public school and whatnot. I just always feel so guilty when kids bully him and rough him up. I’m not there to catch it every time, so I can’t always do something about it. And Dan refuses to open up and tell me what’s going on in his life, so when he told me about you today in English, I had to say something to you. I didn’t want that to go unnoticed.” He scratches the back of his neck nervously. Phil just now noticed it, but he looked so much like Dan.

“It’s no problem, really,” Phil said nervously. Now he was going to have to explain to his parents what went down today. Damn Officer Howell for coming at such a bad time.

“Well, thank you, Philip. It means a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Well, I’ll be heading out now. Sorry for intruding on your meal. Just, it’s a busy day when you’re a police officer. Now was my only time to come.”

Finally, his mum spoke up. “It’s not problem! Here, let me show you out.”

Officer Howell tipped his head at Phil and his dad before following Phil’s mum back to the front door.

“Ready to tell us what really happened with your day?” Phil’s dad prompted. Phil had lied and said nothing happened at school today worth talking about, when they asked him how his day was earlier during dinner.

Phil sighed. “Not really.” He pushed the spaghetti around on his plate. He wasn’t hungry anymore.

“Well, get ready. Your mum will want to know everything.”

“Unfortunately,” Phil mumbled.

As if on cue, his mum entered the kitchen with an expectant look on her face. So with a huff, Phil leaned back in his chair and retold the story for the second time today.

*******

“I don’t know,” Phil heard his mum say late that night. She was talking to Phil’s dad in the living room downstairs. “I don’t want Phil making enemies out of the school bully. You know he’s had drama with some in the past.” Worry laced her words.

“I know,” his dad replied. “But it sounds like he’s got a few people who have his back if anything happened. That Luke boy he talked about, and Dan.”

His mum sighed. “I don’t want this to sound rude,” (which means it will be) “but what is Dan going to do? He doesn’t talk. Can’t backlash or tell a teacher if something is going wrong.”

Heat boiled under Phil’s skin. Why is it that everyone thinks Dan is some helpless creature because he doesn’t speak? He can still move and communicate, just not with words.

“Haven’t you ever heard ‘actions speak louder than words?’ Phil will be fine. Dan will be there for him in case something happens. I know it.”

“I hope you’re right,” she said.

Phil tiptoed back to his room, and had to refrain from slamming his door. Everyone thinks Dan is helpless, and apparently, Phil is too. Yes, Phil had problems with kids at other schools, but it’s nothing he couldn’t handle. Scott is no different. He’s one person among many.

As for Dan, Phil still knew little to nothing about him and his past. He wanted to keep it that way. He didn’t want to open old wounds, or be that nosy guy no one likes because he’s up in everyone’s business. But there was that one part of him that couldn’t help but wonder if knowing Dan’s past would help Phil be able to protect him in the future.

Phil shoved all thoughts aside. Dan didn’t need his protection. He’s not helpless, he kept reminding himself. But everyone else seems to think he his. So there must be something about him people are trying to protect him from. What is it?

Phil closed his eyes to fall asleep. He was going to have to get over the fact that he would never know the truth about Dan.

{Next Chapter}

Soundless

Summary: Punk looking Phil Lester moves to town and attends a school full of cliques. He doesn’t see his life going anywhere until he somehow manages to befriend the mute kid in school. Now he’s beginning to learn that life can take you anywhere, and is full of friends in unlikely places. But in the wake of a tragedy, Phil must learn to understand not just words, but actions. Because sometimes, the loudest cry for help can be soundless.

Warnings: Swearing, Violence 

Word Count: 3,960

{Previous Chapter}

Chapter 3

The rest of the week was a drag. It was the same everyday: groan when waking up, skip breakfast, sulk until lunch, be curious about Dan, be annoyed with Luke, fight with Scott, and then go home. Phil’s life was this endless cycle of the same routine, and he was getting tired of it.

It was Saturday morning–or afternoon rather–and Phil didn’t know what to do with his life. He didn’t have anywhere to go or friends to hang out with, and he didn’t particularly want to stay at home with his parents all day. He supposed he could ask Luke what he was up to, but he didn’t want to hang out with him. Seeing him in English and at lunch was enough for Phil.

There was only one person Phil didn’t get annoyed with, surprisingly, and that person was Dan. But according to Luke, Dan doesn’t like to hang out with people outside of school. So he was out of the question.

It was raining hard outside. Phil could hear the heavy drops of water splattering against his window, making the day seem calm yet eerie. It rained quite a lot where he lived, and whereas most people get tired of the rain, Phil actually prefers it. Maybe it’s because of his “emo” like nature. He snorted a laugh.

“Phil, why don’t you actually try getting out of bed at a decent time?” his mum asked from his doorway. “I came to make sure you were still alive.”

“Barely,” he mumbled into his pillow. “It’s not like I had anything better to do today. Why would I get up earlier if I had nothing to do? That just means I would have to suffer a few more hours of boredom everyday.”

Phil’s mum chuckled. “With that kind of attitude, you will always be bored. Why don’t you go out and do something today? Explore the town?” she suggested.

“It’s raining.”

“Your point? A little rain never stopped you from doing anything.”

“Mum–”

“Leave the house. I don’t care if it’s by yourself or with a friend, but I want you gone for at least an hour today,” she said.

Was she being serious? “An hour!?” I’m sure this town doesn’t even have an hours worth of things to do,” Phil whined.

“Well, I guess if you go out, you’ll find out if that statement rings true,” she said happily. “So, get up!” she said loudly. Phil shoved his head under his pillow and groaned. He was really getting tired of waking up.

******

Phil sat in the woods. There was a long stretch of trees on the far end of town, right outside the shopping district. Phil was able to sit inside the treeline, and watch everyone who passed in and out of shops. It was quite relaxing, if he said so himself.

He checked his phone to see he still had twenty minutes before his mum said he was allowed back inside. He was annoyed that she even made him go out and “do something.” He thought about heading home early and saying to hell with it, but that’s when he spotted Dan Howell wandering down the middle of the road, soaking wet from the rain. He had no jacket or umbrella on him, and no one around him offered him one. In fact, everyone around him acted as if he wasn’t there.

Phil got up off the muddy ground, and was going to head over to Dan and loan him his jacket, but Dan looked suspicious. He seemed to be taking in all his surroundings, noting everyone around him. Dan began skimming the trees Phil was hiding in, and out impulse, Phil leaped behind a thick tree to hide. He made himself seem as skinny as possible to his whole body would fit behind the trunk. He didn’t think he would have a problem with it, considering he was already small like a twig.

Phil waited a few minutes before peeking around the tree, only to find Dan gone. “Damn,” he muttered. Where did he go? Phil turned around, and that’s when he spotted Dan.

Dan was quite a bit away, almost far enough to where Phil couldn’t see him. Dan was walking quickly, trying to dodge the tree branches and fallen over logs.

Phil debated. Should he follow Dan or leave him be? If Phil followed him, that might be too nosy and intrusive. But Dan was being so damn suspicious. Why was he out wandering the woods, while it was pouring, without an umbrella or jacket at the very least? It was too off for Dan. So Phil followed.

It took him a minute to catch up. At first, he thought he had lost Dan for good. But he spotted him standing in a decent sized clearing, wide enough for the rain to fall freely and not hit anything on the way down. It looked straight out of a movie: the small opening the trees left for the sky to rain down its worst, the small bit of sun peeking behind the clouds, shining in the small portion of the circle, and a lonely boy standing in the middle of it all, looking like he’s contemplating his own life and everything that went wrong in it. But why was Dan here? In this lonely clearing? It was obvious that people don’t know about it. It was too deep in the woods. They couldn’t be seen here. That must be the point.

Phil remained still and silent behind a tree, watching Dan as he ever so slowly, got down on his knees and bowed his head. Was he praying? Phil never thought Dan to be the religious type.

Dan’s body began to wrack, and that’s when Phil knew he was “crying.” No noise came from Dan. Only his body shook with the illusion of crying. Phil wanted to so badly walk over to Dan and comfort him–whatever it was he was upset over. But he knew he couldn’t. What if Dan got mad that Phil followed him into the woods? Obviously this was a private moment Dan didn’t want anyone to see. Phil couldn’t just reveal himself now.

After a few minutes of silent crying, Dan stretched out on the squishy ground, and lied on his back to face up at the sky. It was still pouring, and he was still soaking wet. Phil cringed at the fact that Dan was lying on freshly rained on grass. He hated the sound it made and the way it felt after a good rain. Dan didn’t seem to mind it, however.

“What are you doing here?” an ominous voice asked behind Phil.

Phil whirled around to come face to face with none other than Scott. Scott as soaking wet as well–no umbrella, no jacket. What the hell was wrong with people in this town?

“Answer me!” Scott whispered harshly so Dan wouldn’t hear.

“I don’t have to answer to you,” Phil spit back. “It’s none of your business what I’m doing out here.”

Scott’s eyes showed anger, hatred. He actually looked a bit terrifying. “I bet you wouldn’t want Dan over there to know you’re here.”

Instinctively, Phil looked over his shoulder at Dan, who was still lying on the grass, letting the rain fall on him. “I was already out in the woods,” Phil said. “I just happened to see Dan passing through, so I followed him.”

“Well, leave,” Scott said darkly. “I don’t want to see you here ever again.”

Phil rolled his eyes. “That’s rich. You don’t even like Dan. What’s it matter what I do around him?” As soon as the words left his mouth, Phil remembered what Mr. Bureau said to him earlier in the week about Scott and Dan having a past together. Now if it was good or bad, Phil didn’t know.

“I said leave!” Scott shouted. This time, Dan did hear them. He shot off the ground and immediately caught Phil’s eyes. He looked over at the seething Scott, unsure of what to make of this encounter. “Now!” Scott screamed at Phil.

“Fuck off, Scott! Don’t talk to me like that.” He had no right.

Scott’s eyes flared with anger, and that’s when he pushed Phil.

Phil fell into a tree, catching himself before he could hit the muddy ground. He charged at Scott, who was slightly prepared for the attack, but not fully as he fell to the ground, taking Phil with him. Scott began throwing hooks, and he landing one right in Phil’s jaw. Phil threw one back, hitting Scott square in the nose. Blood gushed from it, covering Phil’s fingers in blood.

Strong hands grabbed Phil from under the arms, yanking him off of Scott. He almost threw a punch at the person lifting him up, but didn’t when he caught the warm gaze of Dan’s eyes. That was when everything stopped. Phil shrugged Dan off, stepping away from Scott who was still lying on the ground. He was gingerly touching his nose, wincing each time he did.  

Phil let the rain wash away the slick blood on his fingers, though it didn’t help the dried blood under his fingernails. He would have to scrape it out when he got home.

The three boys looked at each other in silence. All were soaking wet and now covered in mud. Phil used to be dry, for the most part. Now he wasn’t. Scott and Dan still looked the same, only covered in slightly more mud than they previously were.

“Don’t ever touch me again,” Phil threatened to Scott.  His voice was dark, deep.

“Don’t come out here again,” Scott threatened back.

Phil scoffed. “You can’t tell me where I can and can’t go. These woods aren’t yours, Scott.”

“You want to see about that?” he says.

This time, Dan rolled his eyes. He stepped in front of Phil, blocking his vision of Scott. Dan leaned down and inspected Scott’s nose.

“It’s probably not broken,” Phil says. “Just a little bleeding is all.”

“I should tell the police you assaulted me,” Scott says, spitting on the ground.

Phil laughed. “Why? So I can tell them you hit me back? There’s a witness here,” Phil said, gesturing to Dan. “He saw both of us hit each other.” Not to mention that Dan’s dad is a police officer. Surely he would believe anything Dan told him.

“Dan won’t say shit, will you?” Scott said harshly. “You haven’t uttered a word in years, and you’re most certainly not going to now, are you?”

Judging by the sound of Scott’s voice, which was low and threatening, Phil concluded that they must have some deeper meaning to them. A meaning Phil has no clue about.

Dan flinched at Scott’s words, saying nothing. All he did was back away, getting closer to Phil. Dan stopped in front of him, taking on a sort of protective stance.

Phil was entranced by the scene. He didn’t know what to make of the tension between Scott and Dan, and Dan’s need to feel protective over him. He was flattered, in an odd sort of way, but also slightly annoyed. He could handle Scott. He was just another average school bully.

“Yeah, hide your boyfriend, there. If I wanted to hurt him, I would have.” Scott looks pas Dan, directly at Phil. “This is a warning. I don’t want to see you out here again.”

“Whatever,” Phil said, shrugging it off. The chances of him actually coming back to these woods to hang out were slim, but now that Scott told him to stay away, well … “You can expect to see me here again. These aren’t your woods. If I want to come here, I will.”

Scott snorted. “And next time you do, I will hurt you. To the point where you wish I would have killed you instead.” Scott stood up, throwing a warning glare at Dan and Phil before storming out of the woods and back to wherever he came from.

“Moron,” Phil muttered.

Dan spun around, panic lacing his features. He grasped Phil by the shoulders, shaking him slightly while shaking his head side to side. He was trying to tell Phil something–warn him about something. But what?

“Dan, I–I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me.” Phil felt bad for making Dan’s silence seem so … inconvenient, but there was only so much Phil could retain and comprehend with a few hand signals and head shakes. He was going to have to write this one out.

Dan patted down his soaked hoodie, reaching in the pocket for his cell phone. He kept his phone is a clear baggie, making it dry and safe. He’ll protect his phone but not himself? Phil thought. Dan began typing rapidly on his phone, handing i tto Phil when he was done. The message read:

Don’t come out in the woods again. Please. Scott is serious.

“Yeah, well Scott doesn’t scare me,” Phil replied with a frown. “Why are you even afraid of him? Why is anyone? He hits like a small dog and only uses words as his attack. They’re not even harsh half the time.” Phil folded his arms across his chest. He was annoyed with the day, and he’s only been awake for a little over an hour.

Dan snatched the phone from Phil’s hand, and typed something else.

I don’t want him to hurt you.

He’s not going to,” Phil assured. “I’ve dealt with violent bullies before. He barely even counts as a bully. He’s just someone who is more annoying than most.”

Dan didn’t seem too convinced. If anything, he looked terrified. Phil couldn’t place why, though. Scott and Dan must have had a rough past.

“It’s all good, I promise. I probably won’t come back here again. I was only out here because my mum told me to leave the house and not come back for an hour. I was hanging out, saw you, and then–” Phil stopped there. Does he tell Dan he followed him to the clearing?

Dan nodded slowly, as if he knew what was going to come next anyway. He knew Phil had followed him.

“Sorry,” Phil said. “I was just curious as to what you were doing going deeper into the woods.”

Dan shrugged. He must not be too bothered by it. But he doesn’t answer what exactly it was that he was doing out in the woods in that clearing. It also doesn’t explain why Scott was out here, too. Was it a coincidence that they were all out here at the same time? Phil liked to think not. For him, at least. Maybe Scott had some other motives neither of them knew about.

“Well, my hour is probably up. I should go home.”

Dan nodded, and began walking in the direction he came. He looked back at Phil, jerking his chin towards the exit of the woods. Phil followed. Dan must be ready to go home as well. Phil didn’t blame him.

They both walked in silence, much to Phil’s dismay. Dan didn’t talk (which wasn’t unusual) and Phil remained quiet, not wanting to say anything, because if he did, he would end up rambling about unimportant things. He didn’t figure Dan wanted to hear any of his pointless nonsense.

They arrived on Phil’s street, and finally, the rain let up. It was barely drizzling now, causing Dan to shiver. His teeth clattered together.

“Perhaps next time you should wear a heavier coat?” Phil said, laughing a little to lighten the mood.

Dan looked glum.

“Then maybe not.”

Dan smiled.

“I–”

“Philip Lester!” A voice yelled behind him. He knew the voice all too well. His mum stood at the front door, eyes wide. “What are you two doing soaking wet!? Get in here!”

Shit. “He’s got to get going, mum!” Phil yelled. On any other day of the week, Phil wouldn’t care if Dan went inside his house to just hang out. But today … no. Phil wanted to be left alone after that episode on the woods.

“I don’t care! Both of you, come inside and dry off before you get sick.”

Phil rolled his eyes when only Dan could see. “What is it with mothers thinking that one drop of water out in the cold will get you sick?” he muttered.

“Phil!”

“Fine!” he yelled back. “I guess …”

Dan nodded, a smile playing on his lips. He gestured for Phil to go first, so he did, and Dan followed.

Phil’s heart hammered with nerves. Why was he so nervous? He’s talked to Dan everyday for the past week. It must be because Dan was going inside of Phil’s home. Entering someone’s house was a sacred act. It was inviting them inside your personal space–a place where one can learn all about you. It freaked Phil out.

“What have you been doing?!” Phil’s mum exclaimed when they walked through the door. “You’re covered in mud! And you … oh my. You’re soaked!” she said to Dan.

It just now occurred to Phil that his mum had no idea that Dan Howell was standing in their entryway, shivering from the lingering rain on his skin. He should probably tell her.

“Were you two mud wrestling?”

Phil shot a glance at Dan, who waggled his eyebrows up and down. Phil’s face heated up immediately. “Uh … um, no,” Phil stammered out. “Just got rained on and slid a bit on the grass. Ended up falling at one point. Hence the mud.” He didn’t need to tell his mum he got into a fight in the middle of the woods. It wasn’t that serious.

She made a “tsk” noise with her tongue. “Go upstairs and find something dry to wear. Get something for your friend, too. I’ll make some hot chocolate or something.” His mum shooed them away.

“Mum, D–”

Dan placed a hand on Phil’s shoulder, shaking his head no. So he must want to stay then.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Nothing. Come on,” Phil said to Dan. He took Dan up the stairs and to his room. Phil began digging through his dresser for something to wear, as Dan stood idly in the middle of the room, looking around. “Now, you’re like a fucking giant, so I don’t know if I have anything that will fit comfortably.” He plucked a black jumper from a pile in his second drawer. “We are about the same height, so that shouldn’t be a problem. You just have larger muscles than me, so …” he was rambling. He really needed to cut it out.

Phil spun around to hand Dan the dry clothes. Dan was holding up a piece of paper that said:

Very dark in here. Like your attitude. I like it.

Phil became immediately flustered. The look on his face must have been noticeable, as Dan scribbled something else onto the paper.  

I like how your room represents who you are inside.

Oh,” Phil said, his face flushing. “Thanks.” He looked for something else to day. Anything at this point would be good. “Where did you get the pen and paper?”

Dan smiled, pointing to the notepad next to Phil’s small TV.

“Ah,” Phil said. This was beginning to get awkward. “I’ll go in the bathroom and change. You change in here.” Phil gathered his clothes up into a ball and headed out of his room, shutting the door behind him.

Once in the bathroom, he shut and locked the door, slowly sinking down to the floor. “I’m so stupid,” he muttered. “Always rambling about shit. Fuck.” He threw off his muddy clothes, tossing them into the hamper, contaminating all of his other laundry with water and mud. He pulled on his deep blue jumper and sweatpants before hurrying back to his bedroom. As he opened the door, he was stunned by the sight.

Dan stood in the middle of Phil’s room, with only a pair on pants on. He was fiddling with the shirt, trying to get it to face the right way, but what Phil was really focused on was Dan’s back. It was muscular and covered in scars. The scars varied in different sized and thickness. It looked bad. Well, not as bad as what it probably looked when he first got the scars. But they lined every curve and edge of his back.

Phil wanted to move; jump back behind the door and pretend he didn’t see anything. But all was too late when Dan began pulling the shirt over his head and turned around, catching Phil’s blue eyes mid-stare.

The funny thing was, Dan didn’t look horrified, or even bothered by the fact that Phil saw all the scars on his body. If anything, he looked sympathetic. Dan grabbed another sheet of paper and scribbled on it.

They’re old. Don’t worry about them, I’m fine.

Phil stared at the chicken scratched letters without uttering a word. Dan added:

Just don’t tell anyone. Please.

Phil nodded. “I … won’t tell a soul. I should have knocked. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t thinking since this–”

Dan cut him off by putting his finger to Phil’s mouth. He smiled as he wrote:

You’re rambling drives me crazy. Stop!

Phil smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. Can’t help it.”

“Phil! The cocoa is ready!” his mum called from downstairs.

Phil was silently relieved that his mum interrupted them, as Phil didn’t have a reason to be so awkward anymore about Dan’s body. Or rather, his scars. “Well, guess we better get it while it’s hot. Maybe we could watch an anime or something while my mum washes our clothes?”

Dan nodded eagerly. So he liked anime. That was a good bonus in Phil’s book.

The two went downstairs and grabbed their cups of cocoa from the kitchen counter. Phil grabbed some marshmallows from the cupboard. He plopped a few in his drink, then threw some into Dan’s. “I’ll be right up,” Phil told Dan.

Dan nodded curtly, heading back upstairs to Phil’s room.

“Your friend is pretty quiet,” Phil’s mum said from the laundry room. “Is he shy?”

Phil swallowed. He couldn’t avoid telling her forever. He didn’t fear that his mum would disapprove of their friendship, but he knew she would be all weird about it once she knew who was in their house. “He’s not shy,” Phil said. “That’s Dan Howell.”

His mum had a blank stare on her face. “Oh. Well, then…”

Phil groaned. “Mum, don’t be weird now. Dan is just like anyone else in this town.”

“I wasn’t going to be weird,” she said. “I’m just curious.”

“Isn’t everyone?” Phil mumbled. “Please … just leave us–him–alone.”

His mum chuckled. “I wasn’t going to do anything, Phil. Stop being dramatic and go upstairs. He’s waiting on you.”

Phil sighed, taking his cup of cocoa upstairs to the waiting Dan. Phil put on SAO to watch, which made Dan rather happy.

Dan fully submerged himself in the show, but Phil’s thoughts were elsewhere. Every now and then, he’d catch himself staring at Dan’s back. Of course, Dan had a jumper on now, so Phil couldn’t see what lied underneath. What Phil did now, however, was that it wasn’t just scars underneath that shirt. It was also secrets and curiosity, mixed with a dash of pain.

Even long after Dan changed back into his regular clothes and went home, Phil’s thought still lingered on Dan. Now, more than ever, Phil wondered who Daniel Howell really was behind his silence.

{Next Chapter}