Jamaica is beautiful, but Dan more so.
Dan, through the lens of Phil's camera, is long and tan and dimpled and damp. He's bustling with nervous energy and lit in a way Phil's rarely seen in the company of others. He seems impossibly young in one moment and in the next so much more confident and capable than Phil himself feels.
He's horribly in love and completely biased but he thinks that there is no one more beautiful or funny or full of potential on this whole trip than Dan.
"Don't shave," Dan says.
He's sitting on the counter, long legs dangling while he watches Phil brush his teeth. They've slept past sunrise, almost past breakfast.
Phil spits into the sink. "You want me to be a manly man?"
"You're always a manly man." Dan bends his body neatly, pressing their mouths together in a kiss that licks in deep. "Mmm, minty manly man."
"I'll not shave if you don't do your hair." Phil swipes at the spot of toothpaste transferred onto the corner of Dan's mouth.
"Hmm." Dan's eyes shut briefly as he considers it, or maybe just because Phil's still got a hand on his face and he likes it. "Deal."
Artificial sugar pumping through their veins. They're walking around, breakfast over and done with. They stayed at the table just long enough to not be considered rude before slipping off.
They want to explore, and maybe do some kissing. (Phil's phrasing, specially designed to make Dan giggle.)
"You taste like-"
"A loopy fruit?"
Dan snickers and drops his face to Phil's neck to muffle it. "You idiot. That was bad, that was so bad."
Being here together and all alone is such a weird feeling. It's almost like they're getting away with something they shouldn't be allowed to. Five days, a hotel room to themselves, everything paid for, and a gorgeous boy who wants nothing more than to spend every moment with him. This doesn't happen in real life, does it?
"Your idiot." Phil's arms go around him and Dan stops laughing just to smile.
The comment is rewarded with another kiss.
"Ow!" Phil comes up from the water sputtering. "You hurt me!"
"What?" Dan's legs kick furiously. He's gasping for breath, clutching at the camera, laughing. "What did I do?"
All these group activities planned out for them seemed designed Phil to hurt himself. Dan is not willing to take credit without question.
"Elbow." Phil whines and underneath the water hooks one leg around Dan's to drag him in closer. His bottom lip juts out in a pout. "Hurts."
"Shall I kiss it better?" Dan asks. His elbow is throbbing slightly, he'll cop to that one. "Where did I elbow you?"
The boat is still here, somewhere. It doesn't occur to them to care just yet.
"All sorts of places," Phil says, impish smile. "And you have to kiss them all."
Dan laughs and raises the camera. "Still filming!"
The motion sickness hits two hours in.
"It was inevitable," Phil says. He's laying perfectly still on the boat. As a courtesy, no one is filming them.
"Come here," Dan says, patting his lap. He sitting against the side of the boat by Phil, long legs spread out.
Phil puts his head in Dan's lap and Dan plays with his hair, damp clumps of it between his fingers. He rubs at Phil's scalp until Phil lets out a low throaty moan. He opens his eyes and smiles up at Dan. "You take good care of me."
Dan's face goes all soft. He's wide open when he looks at Phil like this. He brushes Phil's fringe back from his forehead. "I want to."
They sit around a crowded table in a dimly lit restaurant.
Phil's looking one way and Dan the other, caught in separate conversations, but reassured by the presence of each other. They keep checking in with minor touches and looks, quick little whispers.
They got ready together and now they're out to dinner with friends who are neither Phil's friends nor Dan's friends. They look at Dan and Phil as a unit, a couple.
Phil isn't sure if Dan likes it as much as he does, but he hopes so.
"Phil, Phil, Phil!" Dan's sat on the sand, the old dog licking his face. "Can we take her home?"
"I've never had a dog," Phil says.
"She'd be a perfect one. Wouldn't you, darling?" Dan coos at the dog. Her tail is wagging happily. "
There are a few more, some shy and one prancing around with a rock in his mouth, but this one's attached herself to them. Her body wriggles happily between them as Phil starts petting her, too.
"Do you think she'd fit in my carry on bag?" Dan asks.
Phil is suddenly distracted by the idea of himself, and Dan, and a dog. Home has been a nebulous concept for the past year; Phil's gone from uni to his parents house and now he's looking for his own because in a few more months Dan will be in Manchester and they haven't really talked about it yet but Phil wants a place to call his so that maybe it can eventually be theirs.
It's silly to be afraid that Dan might say no. They've been together for eight months. They spend all their time trying to find ways to be in the same place. Dan won't say no. He wouldn't. They're in love. That's not scary.
(That's a lie. It's terrifying.)
"We'll come back for her," Phil decides. He takes a breath and takes a risk. "When we're in our own place."
Dan's smile is blinding. He doesn't say anything but the smile stays and stays and stays, like he's helpless to get rid of it.
Yeah. Phil's got nothing to worry about.
"This is so scary," Phil says.
Dan stares at the long, long distance to the water's surface. "It's not that scary."
"It's so scary," Phil whines.
He's a few steps up from Dan, who stands on the platform.
"I've done scarier things," Dan says.
"Like what?" Phil asks.
Dan doesn't break his stare down to the water's surface.
He doesn't look at Phil when says, "Like kissing you for the first time."
He jumps. The hurtle through the air is good, but it's even more worth it to look up once he's shaken the water clear and see Phil ready to follow right behind.
The air is salty and warm, and so is Dan's skin as Phil licks his way down.
The windows are flung open. It feels decadent, what they're doing now. It feels wild and uninhibited and exactly what they both wanted out of this trip.
To just be. To just be with each other.
The freedom of their own room with no parents lingering is heady. They had champagne with dinner and smuggled a bottle and desserts back to their room and kissed and ate and drank now it's led them here, dirtying the sheets in this paradise room they never want to leave.
"I'm not sure," Dan says afterward, when they're stretched out together on top of the bed. "That I've ever been this happy in my entire life."
"Wow." Phil's voice is soft. He drops a kiss just above Dan's nipple. He rests his head there, listening to Dan's heart. "I've been this happy before."
"When?" Dan asks, something slightly wounded in his voice.
Phil smiles. "The first time you kissed me."
"This is fucking ridiculous," Dan says, plush lion head in his hands.
"You love me," Phil reminds him.
"I'm not helping you edit this."
Phil just smiles.
"Well, I'm not doing the annotations," Dan threatens.
Phil smiles more and tucks the duvet around him.
Dan pauses. "I do love you, though."
"Sore?" Phil asks, catching the faintest wince when Dan sits down.
Dan shoots him a look. "Sore."
"Oh?" Phil asks. Then: "Oh!"
He snickers into his breakfast bowl.
Dan kicks him under the table. "Like, four times in a few days, I'm not used to that, okay?"
"I'm sorry," Phil says. "It's not funny."
Dan relents. "It kind of is. But it's your fault, still. You can make it up to me later.."
"I will." Phil puts his hand on Dan's high and rubs slightly. "We can do it the other way 'round tonight."
Dan's eyebrows jump up. "Yeah?"
Phil nods, looking down at his meal and trying not to feel awkward. It's not that he hasn't let Dan fuck him for any single particular reason. It's just - Dan wanted to be on the bottom at first, and most of the time they've got to deal with nosy parents and siblings and thin walls or friends around and they don't have time to go that far anyway.
"You don't have to, you know," Dan says.
"I want to." Phil's hand is still on Dan's thigh. He squeezes a little. "I really... really want to."
"Um." Dan licks his lips. "Well. Shit. Do we have to do this thing today, can we just like, go back to the room now-"
Phil laughs. "Yeah, I think we have to."
They get a little too drunk on sun and Red Stripe and the fact that they all declare it a camera-free night.
Maybe they end up making out in the corner. So what, sue them. They're in fucking Jamaica.
"I want to adopt you," Alli says, sighing at them as she walks past the their tangle of limbs on the stairs.
"She means you," Phil says to Dan.
"I mean both of you!"
"I'm older than you are," Phil informs her. "You can't adopt me."
She wobbles on her feet. She's very drunk. "Well," she says. "We can just adopt him, then. Together. You're gay, Charles won't care."
"I'm not gay," Phil says.
"Phil can't adopt me, that's gross," Dan says, at the exact same time.
She squints at them. "Ohhh, oh. Because you're - fucking. I mean, like. Sweetly. You're lovebird fucking."
Dan turns his face into Phil's shoulder. "Congratulations, you're already an embarrassing mum."
She claps, delighted, and turns around. "Charles! Did you hear that? I'm an embarrassing mum!"
Phil's head is tipped upside down. When he opens his eyes, all he can see is moonlight on the water.
Dan's got a hand down his pants, stroking him off while he stares at the way Phil is stretched against the edge of the infinity pool. "You look so good." He sounds choked with want. "Need a picture of you just like this."
It's a miracle that no one else is out here. It's an adrenaline rush. Phil is so close, hands curling around the ledge of the pool to keep himself in place, body taught. Dan's hand feels slower for the resistance of the water and it's made for a delicious building up but, oh-
They're still a little drunk, but it's their last night and... well, they're definitely making memories.
He gasps and feels Dan's hand squeezing just so, just the way that draws it out of Phil best. He can see his come cloudy in the water when he looks down and when he lets his head fall back again, endless sea.
"I wanted to live here forever," Dan says in a mournful voice.
The hotel room is littered with their things, both all mixed together. Laundry is piled together. Two toothbrushes on the sink. Phil's wearing Dan's underwear, because he didn't pack enough and Dan overpacked.
They've been playing house in a way they can't in either of their family homes. It's been intoxicating.
Phil walks up behind him, careful not to rest his chin on the sunburnt stretches of shoulder. "Maybe if we just don't leave they won't notice?"
Dan sighs. "Please."
He slides his hands into Dan's pockets and resolutely does not think about how they get to leave here together but once they're back in England he's only got a few more days before Dan has to go back home again. "We'll just have to be good enough on youtube that all the companies want to send us to exciting exotic locations."
"Yeah..." Dan's voice fades out. "Hey, it's raining."
"Wouldn't have been able to go to the water anyway, see?" Phil's trying to cheer him up.
"But we could have stayed in bed all day in the rain." Dan presses back into him.
"We will," Phil promises.
He'd promise Dan anything right now, but this one he means.