The Black Jacket
Fandom/Character(s): YouTube(rs) - Dan Howell/danisnotonfire
Original Idea: I came up with this about a half hour before I fell asleep.
When I woke up at the convention in the eerily abandoned green room, my phone was going crazy and there was a black jacket draped over my upper body. It wasn’t mine. My headache and nausea had receded but I could still feel a dull throbbing in my temples. I looked down at my phone curiously.
It was Twitter notifications. Most of them were mentioning me, and danisnotonfire. I couldn’t get any context though because all the tweets were just saying things like, “Aww!” and, “How cute!” and, “Seriously?! Wow!” and “OMG I SHIP IT!”
I was really confused. I was very much a small-time YouTuber but I had a dedicated and loyal set of fans. I hadn’t even properly met Dan yet. So I had no idea what was happening or why anyone was shipping anything. As much as I wished that I knew him well enough that subscribers would ship us (he was very much one of my celebrity crushes), I didn’t. So they wouldn’t. So what on Earth was going on?!
Before my poor phone could explode I turned the Twitter notifications off and exited the app.
I was only five-foot-one so I was small enough to be curled up over three chairs in a corner of the green room—where the guests could get snacks and stuff without being bombarded by fans. Usually there were three or four other YouTubers in the room just hanging out and resting, but it was empty. The Post-It note I’d stuck to the first of my chairs saying, “Migraine, please do not disturb” was still there, with copies in different handwriting on the other two chairs I was on. But those both had further words written. “Please be quiet and just let her sleep.” I didn’t recognize the handwriting and there was no name at the bottom or anything.
I sat up straight on the middle chair and pulled the black jacket on properly since I was sitting directly under the air conditioner. The sleeves and torso were way too long for me, but it combated the chill of the green room comfortably. With my hands buried in the sleeves I wrapped the zipper edges around my body and sat there, huddled, wondering who was kind enough to loan me their jacket.
The door to the green room opened and for a moment I heard a swell of enthusiastic fans’ screaming and cheering. Someone entered and the door closed.
It was Dan.
Ignoring my usual social anxiety, I stood up and tentatively approached him as he leafed through the snacks. “E-excuse me, Mr. Howell?” I asked with a voice shaking from nerves and cold, tugging on his black T-shirt sleeve with my hand still lost somewhere in the too-long jacket.
He whirled around, practically not seeing me due to the foot-and-two-inches difference in our heights. “Whoa, kid, that’s way too formal! Not to mention weird! Just call me Dan, please! Mr. Howell’s my dad,” he replied vehemently.
I blinked in surprise. “Oh. Alright. Dan. Um, could you tell me why everyone on Twitter keeps mentioning you and me with weirdly vague comments?” I requested, intimidated and trying not to freak out at standing eight inches away from one of the first YouTubers who inspired me to try it out myself.
He smiled—that handsome, half-smirk that made his dimples sink into his cheeks. My internal fangirl-heart melted but I was still scared to talk to him—to make a good impression. It was a dream of mine to be friends with him (at the very least) and I only got one chance. “Oh that,” he commented, amusement making his brown eyes light up with laughter. “You’ve been asleep for almost three hours. During that time I went up on stage with Phil. I told the audience that I’d put my jacket on you while you were sleeping because you had goosebumps on your arms and you looked cold. Literally half the audience went, ‘Awww!’ It was pretty funny.”
My jaw dropped open. “You… you know who I am?” I stammered in disbelief.
He smiled wider. “Well sure! I love your channel. Never fails to make me laugh. Keep meaning to subscribe. Keep forgetting. Mm. Sorry about that.”
It was very rare to get me speechless. But I couldn’t think of anything to say. My mouth just hung open like my jaw had a loose hinge and I heard my vocal chords try and make noises in the back of my throat, but nothing came out.
Finally I managed a weak, “Thank you.”
He gave me a smothering hug. “Don’t be scared, kid. I’m nothing to be scared of, trust me. I’m about as violent and intimidating as a pink—”
“—butterfly that’s got stuck on a marshmallow,” I finished automatically.
He laughed lightly. “So you’ve seen that one, eh?” Dan joked.
I blushed embarrassedly and looked down at the toes of my Converse hi-tops. “I’ve seen most of them,” I admitted, refusing to look him in the eye.
“Well it’s a good thing to know that on the internet we’re all just massive stalkers,” he remarked with a chuckle. I gave a quick, high-pitched, uncharacteristic giggle and snuck a glance up at him through the curtain of my hair falling across my face. He was still grinning with good humor.
“Yeah,” I agreed quietly, moving to shrug out of his jacket.
“No, no! Keep it on if you’re still cold. Like I said, I don’t really need it,” he pushed, grabbing my hand and making it release the fabric. I stared at him in shock. His hands were long! I mean, I had tiny baby Cinderella hands but even if my hands were normal-person-sized his hands would look long by comparison.
My phone buzzed with a text from the convention manager. You’re on in ten minutes! Good luck!
I pulled the way-too-big jacket off of my little body and shoved it into Dan’s hands. “I gotta go! I’m gonna be on soon. Thank you so much for being so kind to me. Tell Phil I said hi and I think he’s awesome. Maybe later we can talk more.”
I moved to leave. “Yeah definitely!” Dan called as I slid out the door.
I barely made it to the stage in time. The announcer was calling my name and the name of my best friend—who was a popular female gamer and had about three-million more subscribers than me. I jumped through the curtains and grabbed a microphone. “Heyo!” I greeted cheerily as my friend entered from the other side.
The moderator instantly started with the fan questions—since there were several people lined up and most of them were probably for my friend.
But the first girl’s question was for me. “Is it true what Dan said? That he let you borrow his jacket while you were asleep?”
I grinned—I couldn’t help it. “Yeah. Yeah. I had a dehydration headache so I took a painkiller but it made me feel sick so I had to also take an anti-nausea pill—which made me really drowsy. So I just napped off the pain and the nausea backstage and didn’t even realize I was cold while I slept until I woke up wrapped up in warmth.” I paused for a moment while my best friend laughed. “You know,” I continued, “it just really goes to show how good of a man he’s grown up to be. Like I don’t even know him, technically, and he’s just so kind that he’ll let me borrow his jacket while I’m asleep.”
“That’s adorable. I so ship it,” my best friend added casually. I rolled my eyes while there were a few cheers of agreement.
I rolled my eyes. “Guys, let’s not blow this out of proportion,” I started. “He was just being nice. There’s nothing else behind it.”
“Are you sure about that?” my best friend teased.
“Yes,” I pressed.
“Too bad. I still ship it.”
Laughter echoed through the hall.
By the time I got off the stage, I was tired and a bit frustrated with my best friend’s constant teasing about it. That was just the way she was. It had been the same way my entire life—any time I showed interest in a guy or a guy showed interest in me, it was a guarantee that I’d get some teasing from her until I either dated him or hated him.
I found Dan in the green room drinking what looked like a coffee and munching on some crisps.
“I’m so sorry,” he commented. “I didn’t mean for all of that to happen.”
“What do you mean?”
“I watched your panel. I didn’t mean for you to get so harassed.”
I waved it off. “That’s just the way she is.”
“Let me make it up to you,” he offered.
“How?” I asked, bordering on flirtatious.
“Tomorrow morning, let me treat you to breakfast. We can talk more.”
I grinned. “Okay. I’d be glad to join you.”