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Never Left Home

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It's quite a climb to get there if you were to take the stairs, but the building does have several functioning lifts, unlike their old flat. That's actually the first difference Phil remarked on when they were viewing the place three or so months ago. Dan was the next one to speak; a quiet, breathless wow escaping his lips as they both looked out the window of what would eventually become their new apartment.

 

This building is tall and new and there is a man downstairs who won't let anyone in unless they've been announced, and it's fancier than they'd ever thought they'd get, and as of about two weeks ago, the entire top floor belongs to them. It's all on paper, with both of their signatures confirming the fact.

So much is different, more than they thought. For one, they no longer have a landlord. Instead, they have this -- this new apartment, this penthouse, although Phil calls it their castle, because to them, it's bloody enormous. They have air-con, they have lots of storage and about a hundred thousand boxes to unpack, all of that awaiting them upstairs.

It's exciting. Maybe a tad scary.

 

It's just the two of them as they take the lift all the way to the top floor. They don't say too much. Dan makes a half-hearted joke, something about how in a month, they'll both have gained so much weight from no longer having to take the stairs, they won't even fit into the lift.

Phil smiles. He grabs Dan's hand without hesitation. Their fingers entwine. They fall silent again.

 

The new set of keys feels heavy and unfamiliar. The surroundings are almost eerily quiet. Warmth spills all over their bodies, starting where their hands are joined.

Phil fumbles with the keys for a while before at last letting the two of them in.

 

They haven't actually been here for a while. Their last visit was before their trip to Australia. During that time, other people moved their things and left them here in boxes for Dan and Phil to unpack. Their old flat is all but empty now, and they are here, and this time, they are here to stay.

 

They step inside the dark apartment and shut the door.

 

-

 

They don't have near enough furniture to furnish this whole place, they realize. What they've brought over from their last flat was left in the appropriate rooms, but they will need to go shopping, and soon. Neither of them anticipated how small their old apartment was in comparison to this one.

 

They explore the place as if seeing it for the first time, quietly discussing what changes they would still like to make. Paint the kitchen, maybe. Get some new curtains for the lounge. Sort out the filming locations, maybe a touch of paint for that too. They already agreed on the bedroom, so not much to discuss there. They'll paint it themselves before their new bed arrives next week.

They should also fix up the not quite yet but someday room, but there's lots of time for that.

A year, two years, who knows. Plenty of time to decide on the perfect shade for the walls and whether they'd want the general theme of the room to be centered around pandas or giraffes. So far, in all the times they talked about that room, they were never able to reach a conclusion. Something tells them that until it's time, it will be used as a guest bedroom. Phil's parents are dying to visit.

 

The place is spacious and freshly renovated. Not that the building is old, not by any stretch, but still. They have four bedrooms, the lounge, two bathrooms and a large terrace. This is far more than either of them had ever expected. In the back of their minds, they both marvel at the fact that they were actually able to afford it.

They love it. It was love at first sight. But even so, on this first night, it's not quite home yet.

Their television and their computers are all still packed up. Using Dan's laptop, the one thing he refused to part with, they sit down on their old sofa and upload the video that announces their move.

The reaction is huge. And also, hugely positive. Silly as it may be, they both feel relief wash over them.

They give it thirty minutes of replying to and reading the comments before they shut down the laptop for the night and wander off into the bedroom.

 

They don't even have a bed, they just have a mattress, the only place for them to sleep until next week. Seeing the bedroom so bare only adds to the not quite home yet feeling that plagues them both, but neither says it out loud.

Dan lies down on what will serve as their bed for a few days, pulling Phil down with him. They're both laying on their backs, finally staring at a ceiling that has absolutely no cracks in it.

 

They did it. They finally got their own place.

Together.

 

Five, six, maybe ten minutes pass. Dan eventually breaks the silence.

"Remember the first night in our old flat?" he whispers somewhere close to Phil's ear.

Phil turns to look at Dan, who is still staring absently at the ceiling.

There is a smile in his voice as he replies, but that is not enough to cover the emotional undertones. "We were half-dead from all the boxes and going up and down the stairs," Phil reminisces.

"And now, we've hired big strong men for the worst of the boxes and we didn't even have to climb any stairs," Dan muses in reply. Now he too turns his head. They look at each other, seeking one another in the darkness of the bedroom.

"Half a decade," Phil says, teasing Dan. The man rolls his eyes. "I'd be sad if we couldn't afford a moving company at this point."

Dan chuckles. "We'd better not slack off, or we might not be able to soon enough. Bloody expensive, this place."

"Worth it," Phil dismisses with a grin.

At first, Dan meets his smile with a similar expression, but then falls serious.

"You think?" he asks with a hint of uncertainty.

"You don't?"

"No, I do," Dan rushes to assure, "Just, I don't know. Worried you'll regret it or something."

Phil leans forward, gently kissing Dan's forehead. They don't need to speak. Their eyes remain locked, continuously sharing looks that speak volumes.

"I'd never," Phil says needlessly after a pause.

"Me neither."

 

They lie there in silence for a while, enjoying the fact that they can't hear any drills, sirens or loud neighbours. They each can hear the other draw calm, deep breaths.

 

As they're lost in thought, Phil suddenly lets out a snort. Dan scans his face, trying to figure out the reason.

"What?"

"You thought they'd be upset about us moving," Phil manages to say in between chuckles, referring to their subscribers. "You thought they'd miss the old flat."

Dan grins, then reaches out to mess up Phil's hair.

"I thought that we would miss the old flat. I was worried. Especially about you."

Phil's entire face lights up. Dan meets his blissful expression with equal joy.

"And? D'you miss it?"

"Yeah. I'm miserable." Dan does not look the least bit serious. Phil rolls his eyes. The tip of his tongue pokes out of the corner of his mouth in a bright smile. "And you, Phil Lester? How are you?"

"Absolutely  devastated."

"I thought as much."

 

There, in the darkness, their lips meet.

Suddenly, they realize they may have moved apartments, but they have never actually left home.