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He’s tired. 

And if Phil can see it from where he’s lying in bed, across the dimly lit room, he’s more than tired, he’s exhausted. It’s that obvious, from the way he’s sat, slumped really, one hand cradling his chin, head tipped to the side, the other resting on the laptop, barely moving. He’s given up scrolling, instead just using the cursor keys, which means he’s probably skimming through comments on the Undertale video they uploaded earlier that evening. Skimming might be a bit of an exaggeration, he’s certainly not reading them, he’s blinking sleepily, so much so that his eyes are closed almost as long as they’re open, if not more.

Even with the time difference, it’s not as late as they regularly stay up at home, but it’s late enough that the adrenaline from meeting fans and being on stage that evening has long since worn off, leaving behind a bone-deep tiredness they’ve grown accustomed to over this past year. They’ve welcomed it, truth be told. It’s better than the alternative – not getting enough rest and lying awake either worrying, or just because they’re too wired to sleep.

“Dan, come to bed.”

No response.

“Hey, Dan.”

A little louder this time. At any rate, loud enough to rouse Dan enough to respond. He looks up, across to Phil, and a fond smile ghosts across his face momentarily before he yawns, closing the laptop.

Phil smiles in return, and wordlessly holds his arms open as Dan crosses the room and climbs into bed, carelessly dropping his top to the floor on the way. The smile widens as Dan flops down almost on top of him and buries his face into Phil’s neck as arms close around his torso, holding him close. They stay like that for an indeterminate amount of time, enjoying the closeness and the quiet. Until -

“Phil…?” It’s muffled, and it tickles where the air moves and Dan’s lips brush lightly against his skin as he speaks, but it’s the hesitant tone of voice that causes Phil to shift position, pull away ever so slightly, so he can face Dan properly before he replies, or Dan continues – unlikely as he suspects that will be. As anticipated, Dan tries to pull Phil back into the position they were just in, and lets out an exasperated noise when Phil resists, before attempting to bury his face between Phil’s upper arm and the pillows.

Phil rolls onto his side, facing the lump under the bedclothes that is concealing most of Dan, and reaches across, rests a hand on the small of his back.

He waits. Just rubbing gently on the skin with his thumb, small invisible patterns that mean the things he doesn't need to say, like "I'm here" - which he knows Dan already knows, but also "I know something's bothering you" "Tell me about it" and "I'll wait as long as you need." He will too. 

He always does.

A few minutes pass before Dan stiffens, takes a deep breath, then turns his head to face Phil, worrying the inside of his lip with his teeth. Phil, for his part, still doesn't say a word, but raises one eyebrow in silent question.

"I..." There's another pause, as Dan frowns before he starts again.

"Last one tomorrow, huh?" 

Phil just shrugs noncommittally and smiles, waiting to see if this train of thought leads where he's expecting, whilst simultaneously hoping it doesn't.

"After the show tomorrow, let’s go away somewhere. Just you and me." As he finishes speaking, Dan looks up, just in time to see Phil’s eyebrows twitch towards each other – only for a fraction of a second, before he schools his expression into something more neutral, more casual, but he saw it, and it triggers another speedy outburst.

“We could go anywhere. We could go someplace warm, get some sun, relax, take some time out… We could go to Japan, see Duncan and Mimei again, go to the other places we talked about. Anywhere, we can just go straight from the airport, I just don’t want to… to…” He falters momentarily, a panicked, almost hunted expression flits across his face, and there it is.

Phil's been expecting something like this to happen as the end of the tour approached. In all honesty, he's surprised it's taken this long. It's most of the reason he'd suggested setting themselves the challenge of uploading a gaming video every day in December in the run-up to Christmas. Keep them busy, keep their minds occupied with filming, and editing and uploading, interacting with the fans online, right up until they each go to their families for Christmas.

It's at that point Phil decides to intervene, to cut straight to the heart of the issue. Conversations like this have the tendency to spiral outwards until they're all-encompassing. As he inhales, opens his mouth to reply, Dan shies away, actually flinches, as if he expects Phil to be angry, to lash out in some way. And fuck, that hurts more than any physical hit could have done. But this, right now, isn’t about him, this is about Dan, so he’ll file that one away for now, maybe worry about it later.

“C’mere” he murmurs, gathering Dan back against his chest, waiting to say anything more until Dan’s face is pressed once more into his neck, and his arm is draped across Phil’s torso. One of Phil’s hands finds it’s way to the small of Dan’s back, the other rests gently against the back of his head, fingers stroking the hair comfortingly.

"You know we always say how anywhere is home so long as we're together?" He starts off, and feels Dan's hand twitch slightly where it's wrapped around his side, as he nods silently.

"Well, that hasn't changed, it won't either. Not ever. But I actually want to go home-home with you with nothing big planned for a little while. I know you've liked being so busy and having almost too much to do whilst we've been away, but I kind of want- need, really, just to have some time with you. Just us. Shut the world out for a bit.”

There’s a pause for a few seconds, Dan obviously mulling over what he’s heard, before he shifts, turning his head and briefly nuzzling against Phil’s chest before he murmurs, “PJ week was good…”

It’s so quiet it would go unheard if the room wasn’t silent, apart from sounds of their breathing, but it brings a smile to Phil’s lips anyway. They’ve been together long enough now , and they know each other well enough to realise that he isn’t able to chase all the shadows out of the corners of Dan’s mind - but he does his best, and it’s not for nothing that Dan refers to him as sunshine. So he’ll keep trying, keep shining a light to hold back the dark spots as much as he’s able.

“This isn’t the end for us. You know that, right Dan?” he asks, but barrels on, not waiting or allowing an answer. “It’s just the end of a project - one we worked our arses off for, so we definitely deserve to be proud, but also, we can definitely afford to have a bit of a break now it’s finished. But-” he says, tilting his head somewhat awkwardly, so he can meet Dan’s eyes as a smile cracks across his face - “if you really do need to be busy, there’s a lot of editing to be done for the gaming channel before Christm-OW!”

Dan, having successfully aimed a jab of his fingers between Phil’s ribs, chuckles quietly, as he shifts, reaching up to brush a quick but affectionate kiss against Phil’s jaw.

“I’ll edit,” he bargains, “if you sync up all the footage. I hate doing that.”

“Deal.” Phil agrees easily, before changing the subject back again, reassured that Dan seems calmer and willing to joke in return.

“Lots of time for us this year, Dan. I mean it. Tomorrow night, we’re going to make a list of everything we wanted to do that we didn’t have chance or time to do this year, and next year we’re going to do them. All of them.”

“Can we start that list now?”

“I think you already did, but okay”

“House hunting.”

There’s no answer needed for that one. None whatsoever. Phil knows it, and Dan knows it’s something they both badly want. He's not shying away from making eye contact now. It's an agreement that up until this moment hasn't been voiced, except faux-casually, generally in reference to niggly problems with their current apartment.

“That’ll involve making another list… ten, probably, but yes. Definitely that’s… it’s at the top of the list. Underlined.”

“Sounds like next year will be busy after all” Dan says, smiling fully for the first time since he came to bed.

“Best get some sleep then” Phil replies, smiling in return.

“Put that on the list too.”

It’s a few minutes before they stop giggling enough to actually exchange goodnights and attempt sleep, but they’re all the better for it when they eventually do, curled up together, comfortable, both physically and mentally with what lies ahead, however vaguely planned.

They’ll be fine.