I pick colors to describe our relationship to strangers because It’s the only way I know how. I start with my life before you, it's easy because it's black. I wake up each day feeling the same pain in my chest. For years I go through the same mundane motions of life just trying to make it through to the next in hopes that tomorrow it will be better.
But then tomorrow would come and it would be the same as today.
My life with you are the best colors. The closest shades I could match with it are yellow because it was beautiful and exciting and new, and blue because it was a fragile and sad and I feared that it could all fall apart at any given moment.
It came out a pretty emerald green most days and I would bask in the simplistic beauty of the color.
And then of course there is my life after you, to tell you the truth it was a lot like my life before but instead of being as black as the void, it's red. Loud and brazen. Because I wasn't the same me I was before I met you. I was a new and stronger version of me that could not be rattled as easily as I had been before.
I decide in the end being allowed into your world was a mix of every color in the spectrum. So, when they ask about you Phil Lester, that is exactly what I tell them.
Daniel James Howell was not a boy who did this sort of thing often, or at all really. In fact, he could count on exactly one finger how many adventurous things he's done in his life. And yes, that did make this his very first.
He was a quiet boy, always had been really. Growing up his Mum and Dan had left him alone a lot, requiring him to get accustom to filling his time with silence. He spent a lot of time with his eyes glued to the television screen. He watched whatever came on, growing especially fond of the old romantic films that stripped the television of all color because they reminded him of how he felt inside.
Dan didn't really speak to anyone for his first five years of life so when he starts going to school he could barely string two sentences together without mumbling or stuttering through half of it. He's teased endlessly for it, and he figures out quickly that he wasn't going to be able to fit in with his peers the way that boys his age were supposed to. His anxiety was bad back then, at a brief point in second year he refused to speak to anyone at all until his Mum and Dad finally got fed up with it and took him to see a therapist.
He was thrown a bunch of medication, some of which he still took today and deemed by his doctor to be fixed, but all of his underlying problems were still buried beneath the surface.
Dan has never really considered himself lonely before even though he was alone constantly, there was a certain level of comfort he got from closing himself off. He didn't really like being out of his room or away from his laptop for even a second because it was where his entire life existed. As dark or as depressing as it was to think about sometimes, Dan was truly content with being left alone.
Or at least he was until he had gotten a little taste of what it was like to have someone penetrate his bubble. When he had another person occupying the same space as him, breathing in the same air, and sharing in the same delicate intimacy.
His Mum and Dad get divorced when he's nine years old and it's a nasty one, they bicker and fight over pretty much anything you could think of especially when it came to who would get custody of Dan.
In hindsight it wasn't even about who wanted Dan. It was about who would get to come out the victor of the whole ordeal and rub it in the other one’s face that they had won.
His Mum got full custody of him in the end. They move far away from Dad to a quiet col-da-sac in South England and his Mum started going by her maiden name again. They start their lives over or his Mum does anyways, Dan pretty much stays the same.
It's just Dan and his Mum for a little while and if he's completely honest it was probably the best time of his life. They grow closer; his Mum begins opening up to him and Dan to her and they begin to talk for the first time in forever.
Then his Mum meets Tom and Dan starts seeing a lot less of his Mum. Inevitably Dan started sinking further into his own little world then he ever had before. Tom and his Mum were engaged within months and then they are married within a year. They move to Manchester to be together and Dan begins his new, new life. It's almost the same as his old life, he's left alone a lot of the time and he had to get accustom being a part of a family unite again, but everything isn't quite like it had been before.
Now Dan sort of wishes his Mum had never given him a taste of companionship because the loneliness he feels sitting alone in the dark in his room with nothing but his own thoughts to accompany him is worse than anything he's ever felt before. The air around him was constantly thick and his chest felt like it was caving in on him most of the time. He couldn't breathe when it was completely quiet.
For so long his room had been like a haven for him. It had boxed out all the things that scared him, now it felt like the four walls around him were a prison and he was trapped inside. He couldn't get out, and he didn't have the key to the door anymore.
Dan pulls his laptop up from where it lay discarded on the floor and opens it to his twitter page. Hi, I'm Dan. I would describe myself as social awkward and a bit mental but if you're into that sort of thing then please click on that button and fallow me! I'll fallow you back I swear! :)
He almost seemed.... outgoing online. No less a loser by any means but like he cared less about being one, he didn't mind that most people didn't even care about half the things he posted about because it was mostly for himself anyways.
It was fake, all of it fake. He logs out of his page and climbs up from bed. He was getting hungry, he should eat before he went to bed. He exits his room and heads downstairs to the kitchen.
He reaches his destination and immediately wants to turn back around and go straight back to his room.
A figure clad in a vivid green jumper and tight black jeans stood with his back to Dan, they were bent over the microwave, pressing away at random keys. The microwave would start and then abruptly stop again. "Shit" Dan heard the figure mumble under their breath.
Dan could guess that's he's been at this a while, by the irritation laced in his tone.
'I'll let him make his dinner first, I'll come back in a bit' Dan decides, he turns around to walk straight back out of the room but stops again when he hears something loud crash to the floor. Dan turns back around and sees that somehow Phil had managed to topple over his mum's favorite vase and it was lying on the floor in several million pieces.
Dan stares at the destruction Phil had caused for a good moment or two before he glances back up at the culprit himself. In that exact moment it seemed that Phil had finally managed to spot Dan.
"Oh, it's just you" Phil starts slowly, realization filling his voice. "I thought it would be your mum come down to scream my ear off again" There was a noteworthy slur to his tone as he spoke. He couldn’t really enunciate his 'R' or 'S' words very well and Dan also notices that his face was flush, and his eyes bloodshot.
Dan could tell that he was drunk right off the bat, but that wasn't a surprise, Phil was always drunk.
Phil was Tom's son from a previous marriage, he was four years older than Dan and worlds class different. If Dan had to find some way to describe him then he would say that Phil was like a punch to the gut, unexpected and intense. Dan met him for the first time on Tom and his Mum’s wedding day when he had shown up to the reception already sloshed. Phil wasn’t home a whole lot and when he was it was for a couple of days at most before he was gone again. Phil was nineteen, so he could basically do whatever he wanted. He had been in his second year of university when Tom and Dan's Mum had gotten together but he had dropped out and moved back home soon after that. He hasn't been back to school since.
Dan was sort of glad that he doesn't have to see Phil every day because if he were completely honest Phil kind of scared the living hell out of him.
It wasn't the way he looks, because Dan really didn't care that Phil had an aggressive punk kid aesthetic going for him with his cheap black box dye, smudged eyeliner, and ripped jeans. No, it wasn't that, it was all about the vibe Dan got when he was around Phil.
It said 'Unknown' and therefore 'Dangerous' and all of Dan’s self-preservation told him to stay clear because Phil was an entity he had never quiet encountered before.
Phil seemed to have a blatant disregard for rules and regulations. He lived the way he wanted to live and did the things he wanted to do. He never apologized to anyone or for any reason because he felt he didn't have to be sorry for being himself. Unlike Dan, who couldn’t stop apologizing.
Being around Phil was kind of like being stuck in the center of a huge wildfire to which there was no escape and Dan couldn't help but feel like destruction was on the horizon.
He wants to leave but and at the same time he knows that he couldn't just walk away and leave his Mum to find this mess here in the morning.
He makes up his mind and peals himself away from the door. He walks over to the closet and pulls out the broom and dust pan and walks back over to Phil, he’s careful not to step on the pieces of broken vase since he’s barefoot.
He sets the dustpan down and began to sweep up the glass. Phil just kind of stands out of his way trying his best not to fall over onto his face.
Once Dan was finished he dumps all the broken glass into the bin. He puts the broom and dust pan back where he had found them and he looks back up at Phil.
"Thanks" Phil says and really seems to mean it.
"You’re welcome" Dan mumbles under his breath. He takes note that Phil's eyes were swimming with a frightening level of pandemonium; and that they were also a very, very nice shade of blue.
"Nothing" Dan says quickly.
He stands there awkwardly for a moment before walking over to the cupboard opposite of them to grab a bowl. He takes a spoon from the drawer below and walks across the room to get the box of frosted wheaties. He takes it over to the fridge to grab the milk.
Dan walks back over to the isle once his bowl was made and sets it down. He's just about to take his seat when he hears another mumbled curse. Dan glances up and sees Phil staring venomously down at the frozen dinner he had just pulled out of the microwave.
Dan bites his lower lip, chewing on the soft fold in contemplation. "Here" Dan finally says, pushing his bowl over towards Phil.
Phil looks up at him. "Are you sure?"
"I'm not that hungry" Dan lies easily, "I think I'm just going to go to bed"
Phil takes one last look down at his dinner before he abandons it and collapse into the chair opposite of Dan. He grabs the spoon and scoops up a hefty amount. Milk leaks out of the corner of his mouth when he clamps down, but he quickly licks it up with his tongue.
Dan eyes lock onto the action, then quickly change direction when Phil catches him looking. He feels a hotness fill his gut, but he pushes all analysis of it out of his mind and clears his throat.
He opens his mouth and closes it once he realizes he had nothing of interest to say. He turns around as quickly as his feet could manage and leaves the room. It was only once he was back inside the safe confides of his room that he realizes his heart was beating faster than it has ever done before.
He begins to pace around his room, his mind full of gibberish he does his best to push away. He convinces himself that these strange new thoughts he had were wrong. He couldn't be attracted to.... to his step brother, he just couldn’t.
Phil has been home for a week now and Dan was going through an external crisis over it.
It's hard to describe what it was that had started all this but something about that night had changed the balance of Dan's world entirely. Phil being home or not being home had never been an issue, Dan’s life would go on normally regardless. Now it seemed like every second that passes with them both under the same roof Dan was falling apart.
Outside the safe confides of his cave Dan has grown aware of his habits. He can hear Phil exiting and entering his room, it was mostly after their parents were gone or already asleep and it was usually only twice a day, once when he left the house around eleven in the afternoon and then again when he got back around three a.m. in the morning. Phil basically only comes home to sleep, and recharge.
Sometimes he could hear Phil speaking with his Dad, it was awkward and short and usually ended in an argument about responsibilities. Phil leaves after those and doesn’t come back for the rest of the day.
Sometimes Phil will stop by in the middle of the afternoon for a shower, Dan hears the water hitting the hard tiles from the other side of his room and it gets a little hard to concentrate on anything with the idea of a naked Phil playing in his head.
Dan always finds a reason to take a shower right after Phil and though they use the same generic soap the lingering odor of midnight rain mixed with Phil always seems to set Dan’s bones ablaze.
Sometimes, if Dan didn’t think about it too much it would be like they were in there together.
It was a thought that scared Dan. His hands would start to itch whenever he heard Phil moving around and Dan would contemplate leaving his room just to be in the same vicinity as him.
Phil had something about him. An ambiance that drew Dan in, the same ambiance that made Dan want to run away and hide whenever he was close. Dan always hid in his room when Phil was out of his, but sometimes he would be in the kitchen and Phil would walk into the room and Dan’s senses would buckle from underneath him.
Just a glance at him made Dan's stomach flutter and his feet feel unsteady and god forbid if Phil ever opens his mouth to speak.
Dan spent most of his time in his room, agonizing over Phil Lester.
It was nearly one in the morning on a Monday and he had school tomorrow morning. He didn’t want to go to sleep but he knew he had to if he didn’t want to be dead on his feet so closes his laptop and sets it on his desk before clearing up the rest of his stuff. He goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash his face and then he goes back to his room and begins to shed his clothes.
A few seconds later he's standing in the center of his room in nothing but his underwear as he searched his floor for a clean pair of pajamas to wear. He spots a red pair of gym shorts hanging off his desk chair and was on his approach when a knock comes to his door.
Dan figured it was his Mum, so he shouts for her to come in.
He's got his shorts in hand and was on the prowl for a shirt to put on when he hears someone clear their throat. It certainly didn’t sound like his Mum.
Dan turns around to see the cause of his current madness leaning against the door frame like he belonged there. And he appeared to be drunk again.
"H-hey" Dan stutters, his entire body was frozen in place as he tries to comprehend what he was meant to do in his current predicament. Phil smiles, and in an action that Dan found insanely sexy pokes his tongue out of his mouth and bites down on it.
Dan was suddenly made aware of how very little he was wearing when Phil's eyes fall passed his chin and keep going. "Hey" Phil finally says. His gaze lost somewhere across the bare expansion of Dan’s stomach. "What’re you still doing up? It has to be well past your bedtime, Danny"
He finally looks up, just long enough for Dan to come back to his senses.
"I-I was just going to bed" Dan stutters lamely.
"Yeah?" Phil slurs in response. That thick northern accent of his filling Dan’s ears. Warm and sultry and sweet. "Well maybe I can help you get tucked in" Phil pushes off the door and begins to make his way over to Dan.
Phil was taller than him and therefore he completely engulfed him as he came to stand in front of him. "You look like such a baby right now, Danny" Phil mutters under his breath, he sounded amused.
Dan lets out an involuntary shiver.
"W-what are you doing, Phil?" he asks cautiously.
"I’d like to kiss you Dan but only if you want me to" Phil sounds so honest that Dan believed he was telling the truth. It took his heart for a loop though, the idea that someone wanted to kiss him of all people.
"O-okay?" Dan manages.
Phil laughs in response to Dan, and it was a very nice sound that filled him with butterflies. "You can say no if you want. It’s okay" he says.
‘He thinks I don’t want to’ Dan realizes in a panic. So, Dan tries again. More self-assured this time. His stomach was already half way up his throat as he starts to speak.
"Kiss me Phil"
Dan didn’t even think about it until it was too late, but he had just given Phil full permission to sink into his personal space and monopolize it and it was like running across asphalt barefoot.
Phil's mouth was on top of his in an instant and it was chaos personified. Phil’s lips act like a vortex, pulling Dan in and refusing to let him go. His lips were unexpectedly soft, but that was pretty much the gentlest thing about the entire kiss.
Phil tastes like a mixture of unfiltered tobacco and cheap well vodka and Dan really doesn't know what it said about him as a person that he seemed to find the overpowering combination disgusting but also thoroughly intoxicating.
Phil eventually starts to shuffle them over towards the bed. A part of Dan knew it was starting to go a little too far then but for the life of him he couldn't pull his mouth away from Phil's for long enough to voice it. His knees hit the edge of his mattress and he tumbles down on top of it. Phil lands on top of him, a massive tangle of long limbs.
His hands burn Dan's skin like hot coal as they travel across his body and it was like Dan was the first bit of flesh they had tasted properly in weeks. Phil's squeezes down on Dan's hips a little too roughly at one point and Dan's heart starts beating like a jackhammer in his chest.
Dan's heart was beating so wildly he was afraid it would never stop, then Phil's hands brush against the binder across his chest and Dan's heart begins to beat for an entirely different reason all together.
Dan yanks his mouth away from Phil quickly, feeling his lips tingle when the cool air of his room touches them. His breathing is ragged, and his mind was a bit spacey, and Phil was still rubbing against the small fleshy mounds underneath like it was a newly found hobby.
Involuntarily Dan let’s a moan slip the moment Phil's thumb brushes across a newly budded nipple.
"What do you classify yourself as Danny?” Phil begins his inquiry as softly as the air around them. Making sure to be sensitive as he walks the unexplored tundra that was Dan Howell. The fact that Phil kept rubbing against his chest and pressing kisses along his jawline like nothing was different helped Dan not feel completely vulnerable about the whole situation.
"I-I'm a boy just like you" Dan finds himself whispering into the blank void of his room, his safe, protective haven that has never made him feel any less then until now. He stupidly realizes for maybe the very first time that Phil was in here with him. Dan had let Phil into his safe space, Phil with his bitter smell and his rough mouth and he was allowing him to kiss him in places Dan had never thought he wanted to be kissed before.
“Well, maybe not just like you. But I am still a boy, just with a few missing parts and two added ones”
Yes, I am a boy. Just like you.
He's thirteen and his parents had been separated for a while when he tells his Mum he felt different from other girls and always has.
He remembers the lump in his throat as he blurted it out during dinner. The way his chest had swelled up when he had said "Mum, I want new clothes" out loud for the very first time. His Mum had been in the middle of sawing into her steak and hadn't even looked up when Dan had begun to speak.
"I just bought you some new dresses Darling, what’s wrong with those?"
Dan had involuntarily flinched at the mention of the pastel colored abominations he had shoved to the very back of his closet. Thankful his Mum does not notice.
"I don't want to wear them. I want jeans and like, sweatshirts and...and I want to get my hair cut too, I want it short. Like, really short" he told her.
"You want to cut all your gorgeous hair off, Yazi?" His Mum inquired curiously. "Whatever would you want to do that for?"
"B-b-because I...." Dan's suddenly couldn't find the will to speak anymore and it was beyond frustrating. "Mum I-"
"Darling, we've talked about this, go slow. You can speak, you're just not trying hard enough" His Mum looks up at him and she finally seems to realize how panicked her child was.
"What is it Yazi, what's wrong?"
He has a hard time admitting to his feelings when it came to him being trans. He's held it all in for so long now that he felt ready to burst. All those years of feeling wrong in his own skin, of envying the boys at school who got to play with the firetrucks and action figures. Those early mornings of sneaking into his Dad's closet and trying on his business suits. It hit him all at once and Dan loses it. He bursts into tears and confesses it all.
He had expected his Mum to interrupt him at some point, to ask him to calm down or to use his words properly but she doesn’t do any of those things. To Dan's surprise all his Mum does is sit across from him and listen to him ramble and cry until he’s finished.
Once his words stop flowing out of his mouth and he sat there, quiet and sniffling his mum gets up from her chair and embraced him. Softly she told him that she sorts of always knew he was different from other little girls and that she was okay with it. She told him that she still loved him, and she always would.
She then very kindly asked him what he wanted to do about the way he felt. Or if he wanted to do anything at all. "I don't want to have to hide it anymore" He told her honestly. "Mum, I want to be allowed to be the boy that I already feel I am"
His mum had smiled at him then, in a gentle way only that a mother can. she grabs his face and asks him simply where they should start.
He had thought about it long and hard before finally replying. "I want you to call me Daniel"
He had picked Daniel James because it had sounded nice rolling off his tongue. He liked it a lot and thankfully his Mum seemed to as well.
“Okay, Dan” She had said. “Now what else can we do?”
He searched around online until he had found out about binders and after a painfully awkward talk with his Mum he had managed to convince her to buy him some to flatten his chest. He cuts his hair to a boyish length and he ditches all his girly clothes, he bought plenty of thick baggy hoodies to hide his feminine figure and started going by Dan from that point on.
Dan tells his Mum that it’s the happiest he’s been in years and for a while that’s true.
"Okay" Phil's voice brings Dan's mind back to his quiet bedroom and its delicate undertone. Dan looks up at Phil in bewilderment.
"What do you mean, Okay?" Dan asks hesitantly. "You mean you’re okay with it?"
Phil gives him a quick smile. "Sure, why not?" he mutters against the soft folds of Dan's lips. Light and casual, like he was talking about the weather.
Dan feels his heartbeat escalates. "Really?"
"Yeah" Phil says. "You’re interesting Danny. I like you”
A small part of Dan was keenly aware that Phil could just be lying to him to get in his pants but another part of him, the bigger more broken part of him just didn’t care.
“I like you too Phil”
Phil leave love bites on his flesh; his large hands move feverously across Dan's trembling body and his voice causes a vortex of emotions. Dan bites his lower lip, a rush of pent up heat slipping straight down to his groin. "Phil" he moans, meek and shy and far too embarrassed to look Phil directly in the eyes. “Please”
Phil didn't seem to understand that the more he did to Dan the faster Dan’s entire world would fell apart. Soon, there would be nothing left of him.
They don't fuck that night, but Phil fingers Dan until he cums all over his childhood bed sheets and afterwards Dan falls asleep with his face buried in Phil's sweatshirt. He dreams of warm things.