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From: Unknown
Say what you will, but Ninetails will always be superior to Charizard.

Dan paused mid-bite and put his spoon back in his cereal bowl (and no, it was not pathetic to be having cereal at three in the afternoon) to check his phone, figuring it’d be a message from Cat begging him to go to some club or other with her and “actually have fun” on a Saturday night, or maybe Chris asking him if he wanted anything from the store.

But it wasn’t either of Dan’s two closest (only) friends. He stared down at the odd text from the unfamiliar number, puzzled, with a sick feeling growing in his stomach. Ugh, he hated awkward situations like this – what if this was a classmate or coworker he’d accidentally deleted? He wasn’t great at socialisation on a good day, but when situations like this arose…. Okay, might as well get the impending awkward situation over with.

To: Unknown
I’m sorry, but who is this? I may have accidentally deleted your number.

There, that didn’t sound terrible.

His phone quickly pinged with a reply. 

From: Unknown
It’s Phil, from last night.

What? All Dan had done last night was play Skyrim until half four in the morning. Yeah, he’d had his fair share of one- or two-night flings that he couldn’t remember the names of (what 23-year-old guy living on his own in London hadn’t?), but he was sure he hadn’t had one last night. 

To: Unknown
Sorry, I think you have the wrong number.

From: Unknown
Oh.

Holy fucking tits, this was awkward. And he felt bad for the poor guy. He knew how shitty it felt to be rejected like that. He should say something nice to cheer ‘Phil’ up.  Maybe… 

To: Unknown
Well if you think Ninetails is superior to Charizard, I’m not surprised your date gave you a fake.

God damn it! Why did he say that? Why couldn’t he just be a normal person and openly comfort someone who was upset, instead of being a sarcastic bastard all the time and making his life a million times more difficult? This was why he only had two friends. 

From: Unknown
Gee, thanks.

Well, he hadn’t scared the guy off. That was a point in Phil’s favor.

To: Unknown
Sorry, I’m being a prick.

To: Unknown
It sucks that she gave you a fake though. Girls can be bitches sometimes.

There, that was comforting… vaguely. In any case, he was a random stranger – what more could the guy expect from him? 

From: Unknown
It was a guy.

Oh, oops. He quickly amended his statement in his reply. 

To: Unknown
Well, guys can be bitches too.
 

From: Unknown
Clearly

From: Unknown
And apparently picky about their Pokemon, too.

Dan smiled. Success! The guy didn’t seem so sad now. He wasn’t sure why he cared – maybe he was just looking for a sign that he wasn’t a total fuck up in the social arena. 

To: Unknown
It’s not being picky to say Charizard is better than Ninetails, it’s just stating an obvious fact.
 

From: Unknown
To each their own.

To: Unknown
Why would you ever even try to argue that Ninetails was better?
 

From: Unknown
I don’t know… Is “it’s adorable” an acceptable answer?

Dan couldn’t help but roll his eyes. 

To: Unknown
Maybe for an 8-year-old girl.

To: Unknown
Besides, if you’re looking for adorable, what about Eevee? Those little shits are fucking precious.

From: Unknown
They’re not even a fire type! You can’t compare them to Ninetails.
 

To: Unknown
What about Charmander?

From: Unknown
That’s a starter Pokemon. They don’t even begin to compare to Ninetails.

To: Unknown
Maybe, but they’re adorable.

To: Unknown
I was a Charmander for 8 straight Halloweens. Don’t cross me on this.

By now Dan’s forgotten cereal was a soggy, lumpy mess, so he got up to clean out his bowl before checking his phone for a reply.

From: Unknown
I’d be more concerned if I wasn’t Pikachu for 3 years in a row.
 

To: Unknown
Only 3? Amateur.

There was a pause before Phil’s next message. 

From: Unknown
So what’s your name, if it’s not too creepy of me to ask?

Oh thank god he asked – Dan hadn’t wanted to awkwardly insert it into the conversation. 

To: Unknown
I’m Dan
 

From: Unknown
I’m going to save you in my contacts as ‘Danisnotonfire
 

To: Unknown
Why in the world would you do that?
 

From: Unknown
Because you like Charmander and Charizard, and they’re both fire-types, and hopefully you won’t get set on fire.

Even as he scoffed, Dan couldn’t help but smile at Phil’s oddness.

To: Unknown
That makes absolutely no sense.

From: Unknown
Most of what I do makes no sense.
 

To: Unknown
Fair enough. Should I save you as Philisnotonfire then?

From: Unknown
No! It has to be something original – it can’t just be a copy of mine.
 

To: Unknown
Philisincrediblyannoying?
 

From: Unknown
AmazingPhil
 

To: Unknown
That’s not clever at all!
 

From: Unknown
Maybe not, but it’s true :D
 

To: Unknown
Fine.

To: Unknown
But only until I think of something better.
 

From: Unknown
Victory!
 

To: Unknown
You’re so weird.

From: Unknown
I like being weird. Normalness leads to sadness.

Suddenly a call from Cat lit up on his screen, nearly making him jump. In the past however many minutes he’d been talking to Phil, he’d sort of forgotten that his phone could be used to contact people besides this odd, endearing, annoying guy.

“What’s up?” he said casually when he answered the call, as if it hadn’t startled him at all.

“Meet me at our regular Starbucks,” Cat demanded immediately. “I’m having an emergency.”

“What, can’t figure out how to level up on League?” Dan snarked.

“A boy emergency, Dan,” Cat snapped back. “I need my best friend.”

“Call Justine.”

“You’re gay and a guy–”

“Who told you?” Dan gasped mockingly.

Cat continued as if he hadn’t spoken, “So you understand guys better than she or I could ever hope to. Please? Coffee’s on me.”

Dan let out a long, put-upon sigh. “Fine,” he said, dragging the word out as if this were some great inconvenience. As if he wouldn’t drop anything and everything to help her out. As if she wouldn’t do the same for him. “I’ll be there in ten. But if some douchebag broke your heart, I’m not responsible for my actions once I find out his name and address.”

“Thank you so much, Dan!” Cat gushed. “I’ll go order for you now. Caramel macchiato, right? Right. See you soon! Love you!”

Dan was grinning as he hung up. Cat was an endless ball of energy, but he loved her. Suddenly he was reminded of his conversation with ‘AmazingPhil’. As much as he’d like to continue talking to the still-faceless man, he knew he couldn’t be texting some guy while Cat tried to work out her own guy issues – that would just be fucking rude. Say what you would about Dan, but he was considerate when his friends really needed it. 

To: Unknown
Sorry, friend just called. She’s having boy issues. I’ll text you later?
 

From: Uknown
Sure, no problem! You go be a dependable friend!

To: Uknown
Oh shut up :P

From: Unknown
Your words say you’re annoyed, but I know for a fact you’re smiling right now.
 

To: Unknown
Creeper.
 

From: Unknown
You just admitted you were smiling ;).
 

To: Unknown
Whatever T_T. Bye, Phil. 

From: Unknown
That’s AmazingPhil to you.

At the reminder, Dan quickly added Phil’s number to his contacts under that stupid name.

To: AmazingPhil
Bye, AmazingPhil. 

From: AmazingPhil
Goodbye, Danisnotonfire :). Talk to you soon.

Dan was still grinning like an idiot all the way to Starbucks.