7:30 Every Morning
Prompt: teenagers au
Warnings: swearing, very little homophobia
Shit, Dan was late. He was really late. He hadn’t realised how fast the time flew when he was listening to music, but the time was 8:24 and school started at 8:30. Being late was okay, it never really mattered - unless you were on your last strike of in-punctuality. Like Dan was. That meant meetings-with-your-parents serious, and detentions. Loads of them. So he did something he never thought he’d do.
Dan Howell ran for it. The school was in sight, but he couldn’t even see students milling around the front gate. Maybe he was even later than he thought? Out of breath, he stopped for a minute to check his phone. 8:29. He had made it, but… where was everyone? There was only one boy sitting on the steps in front of the locked gate. Raven black hair covered his face and Dan could see he was listening to music on his phone, using red earphones the same brand as Dan. Then he looked up, revealing piercing blue eyes and a defined, pale face. Dan recognised him as a really cute boy from a few years above, Phil. They had never spoken, but Dan definitely used to have a bit of a crush on him back when he had first come to terms with his sexuality. Holding back a blush, he tapped Phil on the shoulder, asking him for the time.
Phil frowned at Dan’s phone in his hand, but unlocked his own to pause his music and display the time, as well as the album cover for ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ by My Chemical Romance. Dan grinned, until he noticed the numbers at the top.
“Seven thirty!? My phone is an hour late!” Dan was outraged. He knew it had to be his brother messing with the time zones on his phone. Sometimes, the average sibling rivalry was a lot more than he bargained for. Phil looked confused, but when Dan didn’t elaborate, he unpaused the song and locked his phone again.
Silence fell upon the two boys as Dan considered his next move. He didn’t particularly want to go back home and see Adrian’s gloating smirk at his fiftieth successful prank, and there was nowhere else to go since he didn’t have many good friends that would let him come over at this early hour. Listening to music was the best option, so he sat down next to Phil, pulling his phone out again and searching his pockets for his earphones. They weren’t there. Dan briefly remembered throwing them on the floor of his messy bedroom in a hurry to quickly get dressed and leave for school. He had even skipped breakfast! But, as always, the most important thing was his music, and, without annoying Phil, he couldn’t really listen to any.
So that sucked.
Just then Phil nudged him, seemingly getting what was going on. Dan looked at him questioningly, and as a reply, Phil offered on earbud of his earphones, which Dan happily accepted. Phil still hadn’t uttered a word, but he was very expressive through his eyes and actions - like right now he had a very kind face and and was doing a very kind act. Music is sacred, and there’s always that constant fear that people will judge you based on your music tastes and how loud you listen to it and so on. But it just so happened that Dan very much agreed with Phil that Muse was the best ever, that you could never go wrong with TOP, and that MCR, FOB and Panic! were the holy trinity. So when Phil smiled in appreciation, Dan did too - unknowingly, though Phil noticed out of the corner of his eye.
It was funny how the hour passed to easily after that. It was interrupted half-way by a teacher unlocking the gates at 8:00, but Phil wordlessly paused his music, picked up his bag and sat down on a wall, this time inside the gates, beckoning Dan to join him. And despite the homework he really should have been doing, and the test in the afternoon he really should have been revising for, Dan sat down with no hesitation at all.
That’s how it started. Dan woke up an hour earlier every morning - because who doesn’t need the extra half hour of their daily routine to straighten hobbit hair? His family was asleep, so he had the whole house to himself while he made breakfast and showered. It was peaceful, silence echoing around the deserted kitchen, and Dan was relaxed while he ate his cereal. Instead of listening to music while getting ready (to escape the noise of the people usually around him), he saved his eardrums for Phil, as they would always meet up at the same time and share music. With his own splitter and headphones, Dan would always be happy sharing Phil’s phone, since the music was no different to his own, and when Phil showed him something new, it was always something he liked - completely truthfully, their music tastes just… fit.
And when their knees brushed together, Dan blushed and looked away, the warm feeling spreading through his body making his cheeks fuchsia. He looked back, hopefully the colour gone from his cheeks, and Phil was smiling to himself, then to Dan when he noticed the brunette’s eyes on him. They locked eyes for a moment, Phil staring unbashfully while Dan doing the opposite. When a teacher came out - thankfully interrupting Dan’s mini heart attack - Phil stood up as always, pausing his music and taking his earphones out. This time, however, he offered his hand out for Dan. All Dan did was stare disbelievingly; Phil was standing and Dan was sitting on the steps, earphones in hand. He accepted Phil’s help, and was pulled to his feet by muscular arms. Not that he noticed.
They went inside the school gates, sitting down on the wall again. As it was the norm for them, Dan sat close to Phil in order to share his phone, but Phil made no move to play the music again.
“Dan, I feel like we haven’t talked at all and - well, I’ve always been here alone, but now you sit with me and I think I’m wasting an opportunity to get to know you.” Phil spoke, breaking the comfortable barrier of silence between them. Not that Dan minded at all, he liked Phil a lot and was somewhat excited to start a proper friendship with him - actual talking included.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Dan said, but Phil didn’t seem to expect Dan to agree, so he just looked surprised. “Anyway, why do you come here so early?”
Phil bit his lip, and Dan tried to ignore just how sexy that was. “My brother’s an asshole.”
When Phil didn’t elaborate, Dan prompted him. “Older or younger?”
“Older. His name is Martyn, and he doesn’t go to this school anymore. He still lives with me though, and ever since I… since some stuff happened, he’s been really horrible to me, so I avoid him now.” Phil didn’t look at Dan once when he admitted this. “What about you anyway?”
It was a feeble attempt to change the subject, and Dan noticed this. “Dunno, the idea of not being late anymore and listening to quality music without having to waste my own phone battery kinda appealed to me.” He said vaguely. There wasn’t really any importance to his story, Phil’s sounded a lot more troubling. “Ever since you what, though?”
The nervousness was catching, as Dan swallowed in anticipation. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt like if Phil was to say what was on his mind, it would be some massive confession that he’d only told his family. Phil cleared his throat. “Um, ever since, I, told them, um, I’m… uh, I’m gay?” He phrased it as a question, quickly broke eye contact with Dan. Though when he looked up, Dan was frowning.
“I can’t believe you have a homophobic brother! It’s not the Stone Age anymore, gay marriage is even legal in America! I’m so sorry you had to go through that Phil.” Dan was honestly extremely upset for Phil. He was bisexual anyway, and even though he hadn’t explicitly told anyone other than himself in front of the mirror, he didn’t really think anyone would be particularly bothered by it.
Phil peaked at Dan from behind his fringe. “You mean you don’t mind?” He asked.
“Of course! I’m not a complete dick. Nor a hypocrite.” Dan said, coming out as nonchalantly as he could. Phil eyes just widened, showing off that beautiful ocean blue.
“You mean you’re…?”
“Bisexual, yeah.” Phi looked clueless, so Dan filled him in. “It means I like girls and boys. There are loads of different sexualities, you have no idea! The internet hobos - including myself - are extremely up to date with these things. Tumblr is a wonderful place, my friend!” Phil laughed at that, so Dan guessed he knew what he meant.
Conversation trailed off after that, but Dan didn’t mind. Phil turned on his music again, and as 'Sarah Smiles’ (P!ATD) played, he couldn’t help the happy, loved-up theme of the music get to his brain. Was Phil… glowing? Yes, his eyes were always bright and skin pale enough to be a vampire, but there was a new, happy glow about him that made Dan erupt into a grin.
“What?” Phil asked. Dan didn’t realise he had been staring.
He could kiss him right now. Dan could kiss Phil and Phil would kiss back, then they’d rest their foreheads together and sigh happily. But he didn’t.
The next day, Dan was late. He had stayed up late last night, going through Tumblr and Wikipedia and searching up different sexualities and how to come out and taking surveys to see which Disney princess he was (the result was Belle). This made him forget to set his alarm for 6:30, and due to his messed up body clock, he slept until eight and had to do the whole panic thing where he runs around finding clothes and grabbing books. Unfortunately for him, Dan had to skip straightening his hair, since he at least wanted to speak to Phil before school started.
Of course, it was a bit weird that he was only late to be early and meet Phil, so technically Dan was on time, but he didn’t see it that way. And neither, apparently, did Phil, as he definitely shot Dan a surly look his way. Dan wanted to go and talk to him, but the bell had rung and the two were in different years, forcing him to wait until break to look for him. However, he couldn’t find Phil anywhere; it was like he had disappeared. What he didn’t know was that Phil left school during both break and lunch to eat, as he didn’t have many friends and wasn’t really social enough to care. The annoying situation meant that, unless Dan was to stalk him, he wouldn’t get to see Phil until that next morning - if he wasn’t avoiding Dan.
Luckily enough, Phil’s brother was enough of a dick for him to not be able to bear his company at all, so Phil arrived at his usual time of 7:20 and put his earphones in. Dan, this time waking up at the correct time, joined him ten minutes later, sitting down besides Phil and hoping he wasn’t mad. To his surprise, Phil took out his earphones from the phone and held his hand out to him. Dan handed over his splitters. Moments later they were nodding their heads along to My Chemical Romance’s 'It’s Not a Fashion Statement It’s Death’.
Everything was going as normal, but Dan couldn’t help but to feel some… tension around the two. Phil clearly had something on his mind, but he didn’t look like he’d be updating Dan about it anytime soon. The brunette boy decided to break the newly-found uneasy silence around them, nudging the other with his elbow. Phil paused his music, watching Dan with curiosity and waiting for him to say something.
“Sorry I was late yesterday, I overslept. Wikipedia tangents are so unpredictable sometimes.” Phil chuckled a little a that, albeit possibly a little forced, but Dan smiled, happy he was getting through to him. “How boring was yesterday, without my company and all? Miss me much?” Dan asked cheekily.
Phil rolled his eyes, though he was smiling. “Meh, same old, same old. Me and the caretaker, though - I think we really hit it off yesterday. You were nowhere to be seen, and be is just such great company - you’re not really needed anymore.” Dan couldn’t tell he was joking until he broke into a grin, draping his arms around Dan’s waist in a friendly, laid back manner, drawing him close as one would squeeze another’s hand. There was nothing amorous or suggestive about it at all, Dan reminded himself over and over again as he leaned into Phil’s touch.
Peacefully, the boys stayed that way for what seemed like a very long time. Neither pulled away, nor did Dan or Phil turn the music back on at any point. Dan liked it like that. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on in his head, or Phil’s for that matter, but that moment of mindfulness was extremely welcome. Of course, the one thing that may have been definitely far better would have been for Phil to lean in, looking down at Dan’s mouth with lust and desire, then suddenly Phil’s lips on his, softly, sweetly kissing him with loving and tender care.
But that didn’t happen.
Soon, another week passed, and Dan felt like something wasn’t right. It was the weekend again, but this one was lonelier than most. He only saw Phil on schooldays early in the morning, and was almost… craving more. Phil was all that was on his mind, whenever he had a moment to his self, or just a bit of time where he could let his mind wander, it always returned to Phil’s crystal blue eyes and jet black fringe.
Of course, it didn’t come with the baggage it came with before; Dan was no longer questioning his sexuality, and had fully accepted it. But before he could even think to make any sort of move on Phil, it was best to be certain of the reaction of his parents.
Dan had never been afraid of what people thought of him - at least, never before. It never really bothered him. And now… it was about his family: mum, dad, Adrian. Thinking about Phil reminded him that coming out wasn’t always so easy.
When Monday rolled around, Dan decided on going to Phil for advice. He had already had previous experience with the exact situation Dan was dealing with, so it seemed the obvious choice.
Phil was already sitting on his steps, nodding his head along to the music, though when he noticed Dan he took out his earphones. “Hey.” He smiled, lighting up both his face and Dan’s.
Dan swallowed nervously. “I was wondering if I could talk to you about something?” He asked. Phil nodded, patting the space on the ground beside him and setting aside his phone.
“Whatever you need, Dan.” Phil smiled again, making Dan feel far more comfortable and reassured as he smiled back.
“I want to ask you about… coming out.” Dan looked at Phil nervously, and Phil stared at his lap somewhat guiltily for a few minutes before looking up and replying.
“I’m sorry, I probably scared you you about coming out by telling you about my brother. It doesn’t always go like that, Dan, and not everyone is a homophobe. Sometimes you have to take risks so you don’t hold back who you are and what you want; it’s better than pretending to be someone you’re not.” Phil cupped Dan’s cheek in the palm of his hand and Dan nuzzled into it ever so slightly. “If your parents love you, they will accept you.” As he said this, Phil removed his hand.
“Thank you Phil, really. I think… I may be actually ready to do this.”
Phil smiled at Dan, a proud expression on his face. “Good. And if you need any help, I’m here for you.”
Dan chewed his lip. He wanted to ask for one more thing but was unsure whether Phil would find it strange or not. “Maybe, um, you could help?” Phil’s response was to look at him quizzically. “I mean, you could, well-”
“Pretend to be your boyfriend?” Phil guessed. He had been thinking the exact same thing, though he wasn’t sure exactly how he had found the courage to say anything. Dan nodded sheepishly. “I’d be happy to do that, anything to help! I know how hard it is, when you’re so nervous of their reactions. And I’ll be there for you no matter what.” He took Dan’s hand and smiled.
“Would you, maybe, come over after school? My parents wont be home until a bit later, so we could just hang out and get our story straight?” Dan suggested, taking another risky leap into the unknown.
“Sure.” Phil smiled again.
The rest of the school day was just plainly irrelevant. Dan didn’t care about the area of a triangle using sine, he didn’t care what Shakespeare symbolised though his repeated use of verse, he didn’t care about the direction of blood flow through the heart. All that mattered was that Phil freaking Lester was coming over to his house. As if that wasn’t nerve-wrecking enough, they would be discussing their (fake) relationship. And coming out.
Dan wasn’t the loneliest kid in school - that was probably Phil, at least before he met Dan - he had a few mutual friends though seating arrangements and groups in classes. As long as he kept on good terms with them, Dan was fine with it. But now he really needed someone he was close to, that wasn’t Phil, so he could talk about Phil. And after school, Dan started panicking. Where would they meet? When? What would they talk about? Should they walk or take the bus? What should they eat? Should Dan change out of his uniform? How should he introduce Phil to his parents? Is the fake boyfriend thing a bad idea?
However, he saw Phil already waiting by the gate. He was staring off into the distance, so Dan jokingly waved a hand in front of his eyes, announcing his presence. Phil grinned, lighting up his whole face, and offered his hand out to Dan, who had to remind himself that it was all an act, and not a sign that Phil liked him. The two made their way to Dan’s empty house, walking the whole way and talking about the many mutual interests they had. Once they started on their similar music tastes, the conversation found it’s way to video games and movies, as well as tumblr and youtube. Dan led Phil up to his room, untidied and covered in band posters. The first thing Phil commented on was the piano, sitting on the stool and lightly brushing the keys.
“Do you play?” He asked, and Dan replied in affirmative. “Will you play for me?” Phil smiled cheekily.
Dan hesitated, but then grinned back and pushed Phil off the stool playfully to sit on it himself. Taking a deep breath, he placed his fingers on the piano and began to play 'Inguene’, letting the music wash over him. When he looked up again, Phil had his eyes closed and was leaning against the wall. The music stopped playing, and Phil opened his eyes, blushing at Dan’s amused stare.
“Shall we discuss details?” Phil changed the subject hastily. “That was beautiful by the way.” He added.
Dan’s blush was darker than Phil’s, but he stuttered “Thank you” and sat down on his bed, inviting the other boy next to him. “So, how long have we been dating? My mum’ll want the story of how we met.”
Phil giggled, and Dan almost died in shock at how cute that was. “Well, my mum always said that the best way to lie is to stay as close as possible to the truth. So why not just tell the real story of how we met, about a month ago, adding that we started dating then as well. That’ll also clear up where you’ve been disappearing early in the morning every day. Then everything’s sorted!”
“Sounds airtight to me.” Dan smiled. “Now I can focus my mind on worrying about how they’ll react.” Seeing how forlorn and nervous Dan looked, Phil scooted closer to Dan and wrapped an arm around him. Dan found himself leaning into his touch, unsurprised at his urge but very surprised at his confidence. Phil rubbed his hand up and down Dan’s arms, comforting him, and though he made Dan’s heart beat faster, it also calmed him down and made him feel more at ease.
“Don’t worry,” Phil murmured quietly, his breath hot on the top of Dan’s hair. “Everything will be fine. And if we don’t get the preferred outcome, I’ll stay by your side and help you through it.”
Dan looked up at Phil with eyes so full of innocence and worry and trust. “Promise?”
Placing a kiss to Dan’s forehead, Phil smiled. “Promise.” But Dan didn’t really have the time to silently scream about the deep blush flooding his face from the tingling spot on his forehead that the hottest boy in the world had kissed so softly but so lovingly, since from downstairs, he could hear his mother entering through the door while talking on the phone to his father.
“Oh shit, she’s early.” Dan whispered, looking at Phil while his stomach lurched. “Do we have to do this now?”
“It’s now or never Dan. We can wait for your father to come home first, but I think we should get it out of the way first. Okay?” Dan nodded. “So how do you want me to act? Should I call you by your name or a pet name? How should I address them? Do you want me to be touchy or not?” It then occurred to Dan just how nervous Phil was.
“You really don’t have to do this, you’re not actually my boyfriend. These strings aren’t yet attached to you.” He joked.
“No, I want to.” Phil argued.
Dan thought for a bit. “Well, in that case, just act as if you were really my boyfriend.”
“But if you were really my boyfriend and I was being introduced to your parents, I would have no idea how to act, so I’d ask you!” Dan chuckled at that. Downstairs, his mother was finishing her phone call.
“Dan, I’m home!” She called up the stairs.
“I’m going to have to go down now. And it doesn’t really matter what they think about you, this is all fake, and we’re going to have to 'break up’ at some point too.” Phil looked down, playing with his hands. “What?” Dan asked.
“It’s just… I do care what they think of me because… well, I want to be your real boyfriend someday, if you’d say yes of course.”
Dan gaped at him. “You… you really mean that?” When Phil nodded, Dan couldn’t contain his happiness. He flung his arms around Phil and embraced him tightly. “Yes. Of course I will be your boyfriend.” He didn’t want to ever let go, but from downstairs his mum was calling him again. “Coming mum!” He reluctantly untangled himself from his BOYFRIEND and called down to his mum. “At least I’m not lying to her any more. And to answer your question, be yourself and be comfortable with that. I’ve never brought anyone home before, let alone a boy, so I don’t really know how you should act, but that seems like the safest bet.”
Phil held out his arm as Dan opened the door, beckoning for Dan to hold on. “What a gentleman.” Dan commented, leaving the room with his boyfriend. “Mum?” He called out. “I’ve got someone here. Someone special.” Dan smiled at Phil, who only blushed. The two went down the stairs, letting go of each other when they met Dan’s mum in the kitchen. “Mum, this is Phil.” His mum gave him a quizzical look. “He’s my boyfriend?” Dan’s voice got higher at the end of the phrase, making it sound like a question.
Mrs Howell stayed silent for a minute, then raised the phone to her ear. “Didn’t I tell you, Howard? I knew Dan was going to come out, I said so! You just heard it with your own ears. I’m going to go now, come home soon! Love you.” She put the phone down. “Sorry, Sweetie. Your dad and I were having a disagreement on when you were going to come out to us. Phil, was it? Welcome to the family.” Phil, who was shifting uncomfortably before this, grinned slightly and and blushed.
“Thanks, Mrs Howell.”
“Just call me Katherine.” Phil’s smile grew. “You treating my son well?”
“Muum.” Dan moaned.
“Um, we haven’t really been going out very long… but yeah, I’d never do anything to hurt him at all.” Phil looked at Dan when he said this, giving him a sweet smile.
“Well that’s good. Do you go to school together? Is that why Dan keeps sneaking off early every morning?”
Phil looked sheepish. “Um, we don’t… we’re not in the same year, but we meet up every morning.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet you two. I expect to be seeing a lot more of you, Phil, but you can go upstairs now. Stay safe!” She joked.
The two boys went back upstairs, both blushing furiously. “I think that went quite well.” Dan said. Phil bit his lip.
“There is just one more think I want to do.” Phil said quietly, edging closer to Dan. Dan closed his eyes, easily guessing what was happening. Phil was taller, so Dan tilted his head slightly upwards, and their lips connected.