"And again." a soft command came from a lightly lit room. The sounds of a piano playing echoed, but a few notes were either missed or played rather slowly, it was just another day of teaching students music to Phil Lester. This kid, Tommy, only ten years old and already playing a level four booklet was normal for children his age, he just struggled. "Good, good job. Remember to keep practicing every night, you did better this time."
Phil quickly scribbled something down on his parchment before turning to the small class. There were only about fifteen students signed up for music this year and it saddened Phil. Normally a class the size of Phil's was unheard of, especially since this was one of Britian's finest all boy's primary school. However, it seems every year more and more boys were interested in sports. While nothing was wrong with that, it didn't help that the music department was lacking funds that the sports was soaking up. Phil's students had to either buy their own instruments or succumb to using that school's old and often broken ones which ticked off a lot of parents.
"Alright, class!" Phil smiled, "You all are improving wonderfully and at a quicker pace than I'd expect. I'm very proud of you lot. Now, as you know this year's Christmas Play will be coming up, while it's three months away and some of you are improving, I will had no doubt of who our pianist will be this year." Phil spoke. The boys in the class grew excited. It was something only the ten-year-olds did since they were the oldest boys in school. Personally, Phil knew why they'd be excited. Whoever was chosen would play for the whole school. While that would normally bring terror to a ten year old with stage fright and all, Phil's group seemed to be very competitive for the title.
Phil opened his mouth to speak again when there was a knock at the band room door. "Come in!" Phil called. Walking inside was a large man with thinning brown hair and a too-tight suit on. "Professor Dixon, how are you?" Phil greeted.
"Just dandy, Professor Lester. Might I have a word with you?" the man asked. Phil's blue eyes widened slightly behind his dark framed glasses (he wanted to hit himself for forgetting his prescription for his contacts last night, suffering the consequences of his actions this morning) and he nodded, "Uh, class dismissed five minutes early-hey, no running!"
When all the children left, Professor Dixon spoke, "Excited lot, eh?"
Phil nodded, "Can't wait to get home to their gameboys and Nintendo64s," he joked. Kids these days will never know what those are, he pitied. "Is there anything that you need, sir?"
"Ah, yes. There is a new student who will be joining your class on Monday, however his father requested that he have a bit of a tour of school tomorrow. Now, I know you have private lessons with students tomorrow but would you mind if he stopped by with his father?" Professor Dixon asked. Phil grinned, "Not at all!" he was delighted to hear someone new was joining his class. "I'll add him to the class charts and have a seat ready for him. Did his father mention what instrument he plays?"
"That's popular this year. What level is he at?" Phil asked, jotting down notes. Professor Dixon scratched the back of his head and chuckled, "You're not going to believe this, but he's a level ten." Phil's pencil almost broke from how surprised he was.
"That's almost past secondary school. Has he taken lessons?" He must have, Phil thought. Professor Dixon shrugged, "Didn't think to ask. That's all I have for you now, Phillip. I, uh, might warn you on this. The lad's father, he's uh, very, uh. . . .particular about things."
Phil wondered what that could possibly mean. "Is he picky or something?" this wouldn't be the first time he's dealt with a snobbish or demanding parent. Since most of the children who attend this school are probably financially better off than Phil, he's seen his fair share of rude parents with high expectations. Not to say ALL parents were like that, but the ones who were did stick out like a sore thumb.
"No, just. . . .You know?" Professor Dixon tried to explain. Phil only chuckled, "Well, we'll see what tomorrow brings then."
Little did Phil know, tomorrow would be very interesting.
"That's a 'G' Theo." Phil corrected when his student messed up. Theo, a small blonde boy sighed and began to start over. Drumming his knuckles on the wooden piano, Phil glanced up at the clock. It was already eleven o'clock. The teacher only had lessons on Saturdays and they ended at eleven-thirty.
Where was the kid? he wondered. Then he feared he might have the date wrong and his anxiety grew. "Uh, start over one last time then you can go home, Theo." Theo began Brahms Lullaby and didn't stop until eleven-twenty-five.
Convinced no one was showing up, Phil sent Theo home. "See you on Monday, Theo." Phil said his goodbye and shut the door while turning around, only to hear a loud THUMP and a terrified scream. "Dillon!"
Jerking around, Phil opened the door and to his horror, a small boy Phil didn't recognize, dressed in the school's uniform of khaki trousers, a white button up and dark blue jumper was on the ground, holding his nose. Next to the boy, a frantic parent (he assumed that was the boy's father even though he could only see the back of him) was crouched on the ground holding a small cloth to the boy's face. "Oh, Dillon, are you okay?!"
There goes my job. Phil dreaded. He had never met a teacher who was fired for accidentally slamming a door in a kid's face, but maybe that was the point-no teachers who did that were around. However, things only grew worse for Phil when the frantic parent helped the boy off the ground and Phil could see the child's face, especially his clouded eyes. The boy was blind.
Now Phil felt more like an asshole. Apparently he wasn't the only one who thought he was one. "What the hell is your problem?! Shutting doors in people's faces!" The father shouted, outraged.
"I'm terribly sorry. It was an accident." Phil tried to explain, but he was cut off.
"I'm sure it was, but the fact of the matter is you slammed a heavy door in my son's face and he might be bleeding-"
"I'm fine, Dad." The boy spoke for the first time in front of Phil. Dillion blushed, this wasn't the first time his father embarrassed him in public. Dillon's father immediately turned to his son, cupping his small cheeks. "Are you sure? You don't feel lightheaded or anything, sweetheart?"
Phil scowled, "Do you actually believe I would slam a door in a child's face on purpose?!" Of all the nerve! Phil has had to deal with his share of demanding parents; parents who claimed their child would never pick up their own instrument, which resulted in Phil hauling them around sometimes, but this was ridiculous. The man was trying to make him out to be some sort of child abuser.
The man had semi-long dark brown, straight hair. Wore a simple light, grey jacket and black trousers. His face held no imperfections, or blemishes and he had some of the prettiest brown eyes Phil ever saw. Looking at the man's casual clothes, he didn't dress like some of the rich people Phil often had to interact with, but Phil wouldn't judge a book by its cover. He may not look rich, but that doesn't mean he has bad lawyers.
"Where is the music teacher? I demand to see him at once!" The man crossed his arms. Phil raised his hand, "Right here. Phil Lester."
The father gazed at him up and down with brown eyes, Phil didn't have to be a genius to know he was being judged. "You don't look like a music teacher." The man spat. It was true, Phil tended to dress more casual and simple rather than suits and ties. Today he had on simple dark jeans and a plaid shirt. The kids said he looked like a 'hipster' but Phil was either too old, or not internet savvy enough to know what they were talking about it. As long as it wasn't an insult then he could care less.
"Well, I am. My degree is hanging on the wall if you want more proof." Phil wanted to stop arguing, he glanced down at Dillon who looked like he was hiding behind his father, trying to block out the shouting. "And you must be-" Phil looked at his attendance sheet. "Dillon Howell?"
Howell. . .Howell. Why does that sound familiar? Phil could have sworn he heard that last name before, it was right on the tip of his tongue. The boy answered, "Yes."
"I'm sorry about harming you, Dil, I didn't see you there-"
"His name is Dillon," Mr. Howell corrected, gently petting Dillon's soft, brown curly hair. "And I'm assuming you know he's a bit more advanced than the other students in your class, surely someone told you this?"
Already Phil didn't like this guy and now he was putting his son above the others in his class? "While he may be more advanced, I'm sure Dillon will get along with everyone and be treated as an equal. I don't have favorites in my classroom." Mr. Howell said nothing, but placed his hands back on his son's shoulders.
"Dillon has taken private lessons, but since we've moved to London I had to put a stop to them, or he'd be continuing them." Mr. Howell explained, only further insulting Phil. However, the blue eyed man thought it was best not to make comment.
"I'm excited for this class, Mr. Lester. I like music. I'm the best at piano more so than anything else, really." Dillon spoke up, trying to ease the tension in the room. It was true, music has always been his escape ever since he was little. Phil grinned, happy the boy was nothing like his father. "And I'm happy to teach you, Dillon. I know everyone will be excited to meet you on Monday. I see you play the piano, I have many children playing that this year. Might I ask where you moved from?"
Dillon went to answer but Mr. Howell spoke up. "That's a bit too personal for my liking, Mr. Lester. I'm asking you not to repeat that question again, please. Now, we best be off, I have to take Dillon to his check up and make sure his nose isn't broken." Mr. Howell helped his son out of the room without so much of a goodbye. Phil almost rolled his eyes but the sweet, innocent call from Dillon stopped him, "Bye Mr. Lester! See you on Monday!"
Phil made sure the father and son were down the hall before shutting the door. The raven haired male couldn't believe the events that just happened. Never in his life had ever ever intended to hurt a child on purpose and now he was being accused of it. If he wasn't so baffled, he'd be very angry.
Howell. . . Howell. That name stuck to his brain like thick glue. Where had he heard that last name before? Howell wasn't that unpopular of a last name, but it rang a bell in Phil's mind.
Phil wanted to ponder about it some more, but he had things to do. One of them was get ready for a date he had tonight and it was already nerve-wrecking for him.
A day in the life of Dillon Howell.
Phil's date is a disaster.
Thank you all so much for the kudos and comments. Hope you enjoy chapter 2!! ♥
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Dillon," Dan knocked gently on his son's door, "dinner is ready. Come wash up, please."
The boy nodded and slid off his bed. He had boxes in his room that still had to be unpacked, but he'd do that later. Dan gently guided Dillon to the bathroom, the boy used his free hand to feel the walls, sliding and seeing how much room he had until they reached the bathroom. He knew he would be doing this for a while until he pinpointed every room in their flat. Already he knew there were twelve steps to each floor and where the railing was. Light switches will be tricky, as will faucets and door knobs.
Until then, Dan was more than happy to lead his son around the place.
"The toilet is just next to the bathroom, sweetheart." Dan informed for the millionth time. "I know this flat is a lot bigger than our old one, but you'll get used to it." Dan ran the warm water and handed Dillon a bar of soap. He watched as his son washed his hands and face before deeming him clean enough to eat at the table.
Dinner that night was a healthy meal of chicken stir fry with a fruit cup. Dillon sometimes wished his father wouldn't go overboard on the vegetables and fruit. Don't get him wrong, he wasn't picky, but sometimes he wished he could eat something he technically wasn't allowed to eat, like biscuits, cookies, cake and ice-cream. Dan didn't allow Dillon to have a lot of sweets, saying it'll rot the boy's teeth.
"Milk at one o'clock, fork at nine and spoon at three." Dan instructed. Dillon thanked him before gently picking up his fork and feeding himself. Dillon had to be taught "the clockwork" routine to know where everything was at on the table, it was a very handy method Dan was taught by Dillon's eye doctor and it made him happier knowing Dillion could properly feed himself by the age of six.
Dinner was a bit quieter than usual and it had Dan on the edge of his chair. Normally Dillon was full of questions and hyper to just have one-on-one time with his dad. "Darling, you're awfully quiet today, are you sure nothing is wrong?"
Dillon chewed his food, "Yes. I'm fine."
Dan cursed under his breath. "I'm so sorry to what happened to you today. That teacher is unprofessional and utterly clumsy." Dan was still fed up with Mr. Lester. When they arrived for Dillon's check up, he had the doctor take a look at the boy's nose and forehead. He had a bit of redness and maybe a bump, but it wasn't anything serious, she had said. Dan didn't care, he was going to ice his son's face later tonight. Better safe than sorry.
"Do you like your new room?" Dan continued, taking a bite of his food. "I put your bed closer to the wall for you, so you won't fall out of bed as much-unless you want to put some pillows on the floor-"
"No!" Dillon whined. He hadn't fallen out of bed in a long time, his Dad knew that. Dan sighed, "Dillon, don't take that attitude with me. I'm only looking out for you." Dillon knew better than to argue and just ate his food. Even when he was full he managed to finish his plate, his Dad was always happy knowing he ate everything and drank all his milk. But then came the part of the day he hated the most: his medicine.
While Dillon was blind, he did suffer from bad headaches and his doctor prescribed some medication for him and it usually did the trick but he hated the taste of the pills, they were supposed to taste like cherry, but in Dillon's opinion, they were nasty, like stale candy. "Alright, love, open your mouth." Dan instructed. Dillon complied and swallowed the pill with the help of a glass of water.
"Good boy, my good baby boy." Dan praised, gently hugging the smaller lad. "You can listen to a telly program while I do the dishes and then it's bath time, okay?" The smaller boy nodded, drowning in the soft sounds of the TV. Dan took his anger out on the dishes, scrubbing them a bit too harsh while mumbling about 'that idiot of a music teacher'. Maybe he was over reacting, but he wasn't always like this. There was a time when Dan wasn't this overbearing, protective mama llama and was actually a relaxed and simple person. I have a son now, I don't have time to not be careful.
Meanwhile, Dillon was lounging on the couch, not really listening to the telly. He wasn't that interested in the documentary of blue whales on BBC, opting to go through his new school bag and sorting through his new stuff instead, he piled some braille textbooks until he found what he was looking for. Because he was good at his check-up, his Dad took him to the bookstore to pick up a special surprise. Dan had ordered a few braille age-appropriate books for Dil to read at bedtime. The boy happily flipped through the pages, skimming his fingers gently across the lettering invented just for people like him, engulfed and excited for the next adventure Harry Potter would be on.
Phil must have checked himself over in the mirror at least three times in less than a minute, always fixing his hair then regretting it, or straightening his tie. He was so nervous, he hadn't been on a date since he was a teenager.
Tonight, he had a date with a lovely woman he met during a school board meeting. Her name was Catherine Valdes and she taught language arts. At first, Catherine didn't seem like his type, she was quirky, a bit loud and hyper but she was kind and sweet. He had asked her to drinks and she accepted. He was surprised she had accepted. While Phil didn't have such low self-esteem as he did as a teenager, he did slightly care of what others thought of him, wanting to make a good impression on others.
Then, he wondered, what had he done to make Catherine actually want to spend time with him outside of work? Oh well, it's nothing to worry about, I'm going to have a nice time tonight. He kept his spirit up.
He received a text from her, saying she was ready and he left his house to get her and it wasn't until he pulled up into her driveway did he realize he had forgotten his wallet.
"Shit, shit shit-shit-shit!" he muttered, hoping it wasn't true and it fell out of his pocket. He hardly noticed Catherine enter his car until the door shut. She did look beautiful, her dark hair pinned up and she wore white chunky heels and a lavender silk crop top and short skirt. Phil blushed as Catherine chuckled.
"Hi, Phil. Excited?" she asked.
"Um, this is going to sound terrible, but I think I forgot my wallet-"
"Oh, no issue, I'll pay. Who said guys always had to pay?" Catherine smiled and it had Phil sighing in relief. "Thank you and I'm so sorry."
"Don't be, I hear this new place is hoppin! Do you mind if I invited some friends?" Catherine asked. Phil shook his head, "Not at all. Where is this place again?"
It was a night club.
Now, Phil wasn't antisocial, he liked a house party or a good pub, but this place was flashy and extremely ridiculous. It seems as though Phil didn't even have to enter the place before trouble started. It was just outside the entrance way when a bouncer, a big beefy man with a gold chain necklace and tight shirt showing off his muscles.
"You call those shoes pal?" he asked Phil, looking at the black shoes in disgust.
"But these are shoes. . ?" Phil bit his lip, "bought them at the shoe store myself."
"Don't be a smartass, guy. Ladies is he with you?" the man asked Catherine and her three girlfriends Phil picked up not even ten minutes ago. They were all dressed like Catherine, sparkle crop tops and mini skirts, heels and boots and even fur coats. Catherine rolled her eyes, "Don't be a dick, let us in!" Catherine demanded.
Dancing was a disaster, Phil felt so out of place trying to not only find the beat in the techno music being loudly blasted, that it looked like he was shuffling like an old man and there was no way he could even hear Catherine talking even though she was right next to him. The grinding, the awful music and not even the alcohol could help him as Phil retreated to a booth to be alone for a while. Catherine had stayed on the dance floor with her friends.
Phil tried to have fun, but he just couldn't get into it all. The music was giving him a pounding headache, the drinks here were stale and what's worse, Mr. Howell was now back in his memory.
Howell. . . Howell. . . Howell. . . where have I heard that name before? Phil for the life of him could not remember who this guy was. Maybe if I knew his first name then I could have a better chance. Phil's train of thought was lost when Catherine and her friends came over to the booth with drinks. "Oh my god, this song is awful. I can't believe I danced to it." Catherine laughed.
"Not a techno person myself, but the DJ is a twat and refused to take requests." The blonde friend, Vicki, groaned. Then Phil came up with an idea. Maybe Catherine knows who I'm talking about? Phil sat up straight and began, "I uh, hate to talk about work, but Catherine do you know any parent's with the last name of Howell?"
Catherine thought for a moment, "You know what, I do have a new boy in my class with that last name but that's really all-" she answered, it wasn't what Phil wanted to hear, but he'd keep thinking. "Hey! Actually, that reminds me of a cutie I sometimes stalk on the internet." she admits, gently patting Phil's arm, "I meant no harm, love."
Catherine's other friend, Monica, a woman with dark hair and blue eyes spoke up, snapping her fingers. "Danisnotonfire? Is that who you're talking about?!" the girls at the table confused Phil with their obnoxious squealing of excitement.
"He's an author, Philly, and a popular fellow on YouTube. Know what that is?" Vicki grinned. Phil nodded, he sometimes listened to music on that site to search for music to listen to, or show his class a educational video to help them, but other than that, he didn't really use it for anything else. "What does he do?"
"He's a vlogger. Basically you show your life on the internet. He does a lot with his son who's blind-" Phil's eyes widened.-"and he does some other things too I mean, he's not my type but uh-" Monica playfully hit her friend on the arm. "You've got a silly crush on someone who doesn't know you? What are you, Fourteen?"
"Wait, his son is blind?" Phil asked. Dan. Dan Howell. "What did you say his username was?"
"Danisnotonfire. It's all one word. Hey!-this song kicks ass, let's dance!" Catherine announced, yanking Phil off the booth just in time for the man to write that username on his wrist. Phil thought there shouldn't be anything wrong with one last dance before telling Catherine he was ready to go home and the more he and Catherine danced in the the crowd of adults, the more Phil noticed a woman dressed in long leather jeans and a tube top on. Phil wouldn't have looked at her if he hadn't noticed a really cool tiger tattoo on her back. It looked angry and as if it were growling. Phil might have been starring too long because right about then, he attracted some unwanted attention.
"Oi, ya twat!" A loud male voice boomed over the loud music. "Yeh' checkin' out my girl?!"
"What? No, no I wasn't-" before Phil could explain himself the man shoved him and Phil tripped backwards into an even larger man who looked to be the size and weight of a small truck. Luckily, Phil and the girls ducked and covered just as a huge mosh pit erupted and security had to be called. The four ran out of the building and into Phil's car down the street. After a moment, everyone had to laugh at the events that happened, even Phil. After Monica and Vicki were taken home to their own flats, it was just Catherine and Phil.
"I had a nice time, Phil."
"Yeah, me too." Phil fumbled with his hands.
"I'll see you on Monday?" Catherine smiled, waving goodbye. Phil nodded and made sure she entered her house before leaving.
If it was anything Phil realized tonight, it was: never look at a woman's tattoos for too long and Catherine Valdes wasn't interested in him.
"Dillon, it's bath time." The dark brunette father stood in the doorway.
Dillon groaned. "I took one yesterday." He had just read the second chapter of his Harry Potter book and didn't want to stop. Dan folded his arms. "You need to take one, Dillon. I don't want to argue tonight. Let's go."
Thankfully, bath time went by quickly, with only a few bubbles and water plashes on the ground and twenty minutes later the boy was dressed in a pair of pajamas and being tucked into bed with a small ice pack and cloth to his nose. "Remember, Louise is coming over tomorrow to watch you while I head over to my editor's office. I shouldn't be too long."
"I like Louise. Can she stay for dinner?" Dillon asked. The boy had known Louise his whole life. She was the highest recommend babysitter for special needs children and honestly she was a life saver for Dan and was one of the few people Dan trusted to be around Dillon alone.
"We'll invite her, but no complaints if she says she can't. Now, do you want to read or-" Dan smiled when Dillon yawned, handing out the ice pack to Dan before snuggling further into his bed and holding his stuffed Totoro he got for his fifth birthday and has been inseparable with ever since. "Hmm, you please." Dan walked over to the bookshelf where a few books were neatly stacked and picked the biggest Lullaby-and-Short Stories Nursery Book and didn't stop reading until he was sure Dillon was fast asleep.
Making sure the boy was warm and comfortable, Dan kissed his forehead and left with the door wide open, so he could hear if Dillon fell out of bed or was having a nightmare. It was during this time of the night that Dan either wrote, or edited videos for his YouTube channel. He hadn't uploaded in a while due to having to move and sort things out but his viewers were more than understanding and some living in London even offered to help, or recommend moving companies. Dan was quite popular, sitting at over Seven million subscribers and he loved each and everyone of them.
If it wasn't for them, he wouldn't have gotten noticed by publishers or other wonderful opportunities that have changed his life, not only for himself but for Dillion too.
Dan turned his attention to an old photograph. It was taken just a few hours after Dillon was born and it was one of the happiest moment of Dan's life. Just him laying in the hospital bed, cuddling a five hour old baby Dillon. In many ways, Dan would always see Dillon as that five hour old baby who cried so often and hated having socks on his feet and ate all the time. A part of his was scared of the obstacles Dillon was going to be faced with because he didn't have sight, but Dan was going to make sure he would be there every step of the way. Just like yesterday and the whole door-in-Dillon's-face-issue.
"You'd have to be either really stupid, or just clumsy to do that." he muttered to himself before editing a video and trying to ignore the familiar worried feeling he always got in his stomach. Dan didn't like Phil Lester and he had every reason to be.
And it goes way back before shutting a door in his son's face.
Well guys, gals and non binary pals. That's all for chapter 2 !!!! ♥☆★♡■○●□◆◇▪° I hoped you liked it. Don't forget to leave a comment and kudos!!♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
It's Dil's first day at school.
Phil runs into Dan at the store.
Here's chapter 3, it's a long one!! Hope you like it!! ♥
And, (if anyone is reading this fic still) I owe you all a MASSIVE apology. I literally had writers block for this fic for MONTHS and dreaded as the days went by and I never updated this fic. But, I hope you all forgive me and enjoy this. ♥
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
No one was dreading this day more than Dan. He couldn't sleep at all the night before and when six-thirty rolled around, he was waking up Dillon for his first day at his new school.
"Dillon, time to get up." The father gently coaxed. His only result was the small boy rolling away, trying to catch more sleep.
Dil was tough to get out of bed, dating back when he was a toddler, but promises of pancakes with extra syrup had proved to work wonders for Dan once more. After they ate and Dan had chugged his coffee, Dil was dressed in his uniform of khaki dress pants, a white button up and a blue jumper with the primary school crest on the left side. Dan also handed Dillon his cane. Dillon would need that to walk around the school with. At first, it had been a struggle for Dillon to grasp the concept of walking with a stick, but after months of training he was a pro at it.
"You have your lunch bag?" Dan asked, helping Dil into the backseat of his used white mini coop. It hadn't been his first car choice, but it drove nicely and Dan hadn't had any problems with it.
"And you books?"
"Okay." Dan put his seatbelt on and started the car, driving out into the bustling streets of London to his son's school. He was nervous. He had nightmares of other kids picking on Dillon, and while such a thing never happened, he still worried. "Remember my phone number, sweetie? You can call me at any time if you want to go home or if you need to be with me, Dillon."
The boy fiddled with his fingers, not answering Dan who continued talking. "Also, if the teacher is going too fast for you, don't be afraid to ask them to slow down, okay? Asking for help is okay to do too, Dillon." Dan knew he was working himself up and gripped the steering wheel, trying to focus on the road rather than anything that could go wrong with Dillon at school. Glancing at his son in the rearview mirror, he scowled at the tiny bruise still on his son's face.
"And if that music teacher shuts the door in your face again-" Dan started to threaten. Dillon knew by the tone of his Dad's voice that there was no stopping him from carrying out his threat, but he knew Mr. Lester was sorry for what he did.
"Don't worry, Dad. He won't. I already like Mr. Lester. He sounds nice."
Dan rolled his eyes, refusing to comment on his son's words.
Finally they arrived and no one was more relieved than Dillon. Dan had parked close to the building and helped Dillon out of the backseat and put his backpack on. Dillon extended his cane and tapped the ground a few times. Dan smiled, crouching down to Dillon's level and wrapping the boy in a almost bone crushing hug. A part of Dan didn't want to let go. When they lived in Dan's hometown of Wokingham, Dan was only a few minutes away from Dillon's school, now he would be a full thirty minutes (depending on traffic) in the city. Too far away for his liking. The school was the perfect, idealistic school a parent could dream of. It was a one-story building with flower beds under the many windows allowing sunshine inside classrooms and hallways. Children could be seen playing on the playground, kicking a football in the field next to the school, or playing on the sidewalk.
The school might have given off a friendly vibe, but Dan still reminded Dillon to inform a teacher if anyone was picking on him and to tell him immediately at home. Dillon stood only to Dan's waist and the man wondered where the time had flown where Dillon could fit perfectly in his arms.
"I'll miss you, darling. Have a good first day-do you need me to walk you in?"
Dillon giggled, "No, I can do it."
Dan's heart thumped as he watched his son successfully walk into the school all by himself. "Don't forget, Louise is picking you up today, Dillon!" Dan called, to which Dillon cheered. Dan watched his son until he blended in with the sea of excited students ready to start the day. The father took a deep breath when he started up his engine.
Today is going to be fine. Dillon was happy about going to school, he will have a fun day.
He believed two of those scenarios.
Dillon walked along a row of lockers next to Mr. Dixon. The man had greeted him and offered to walk him to class, which Dillon thanked him for. His teacher would be Mr. Liguori. Pj Liguori had a normal teaching degree, but was also certified in tutoring and helping special needs children. Pj was "the fun teacher" and the whole school knew it. He was more hands-on and engaged the his students in fun projects or tried to make homework fun for them as much as he could. Pj loved children and when he saw Dillon again, his face lit up like a Christmas tree.
"Hi'ya Dillon." Pj greeted. "Ready for your first day?"
"Yeah, I guess." Dillon was shy and he wished for a friend. Kids were nice to him back at his old school, but he didn't have any friends to call his own. He was ten years old and have never been invited to a Birthday Party, or a playdate. To Dillon, the only friends he had were his grandparents, his uncle Adrian, his Dad and sometimes Louise, his babysitter.
Mr. Dixon and Pj spoke some more before Mr. Dixon left. Pj helped Dillon to a seat in the outer aisle of desks. He figured this would be easiest for Dillon as kids were known to stick their feet out and after meeting Mr. Howell a few days ago Pj would rather not have a lawsuit on his hands. "There's also a place for your cane, Dil. Can I call you that?"
Dillon grinned. He liked it when Mr. Lester or Louise called him Dil.
"Okay. I have to make a quick run to the office and see if your braille worksheet has arrived. I'll be back in just a moment." Pj excused himself, leaving Dillon alone in the classroom. Dillon didn't mind, though his shyness soon became apparent when other boys began flooding the classroom before the bell rang. It seemed Dillon's presence didn't go unknown as one kid pointed him out. "Hey, someone's sitting in Tom's old desk."
Dillon fidged to sit up right. He couldn't see the boys, but he knew by the sound of their footsteps they were approaching him.
"Who are you?" another boy asked.
"My name's Dillon Howell." Dillon gave a polite smile, hoping he sounded nice so the boys would maybe want to be his friend. His Dad always said to be nice to other people if he wanted friends. He hoped it would work this time. "What's your name?"
"What's wrong with your eyes?" a boy with slicked back brown hair and brown eyes asked Dillon, ignoring the question. What Dillon didn't know was his eyes were a bright white while his pupil was a light cloud color. To children he must look weird, but he would never have known that. Still, he answered.
"I'm blind, I can't see."
There were gasps and Dillon didn't know if he did anything wrong, but he grew and uneasy feeling. "You can't see anything at all? Can you see darkness or is it white or what?" questions kept spewing out of their mouths so quickly and Dillon couldn't answer them all at once. Some of the questions he couldn't even understand. His Dad could explain it better than he did, so he just sat there paralyzed at what to say. The boy who asked him what was wrong with his eyes spoke again.
"If you can't see, then can you hear?"
Dillon thought that was a dumb question. "Yes why do you ask-" Before he could finish, there was a loud POP in his face that had him screaming in fight. The noise was so loud and right in his face. The other boys around him started laughing. The boy, whose name was Gideon Brown, had pulled an exploding popper right in Dillon's face. What may have seemed like a harmless prank, deeply hurt Dillon. He was so embarrassed that he didn't notice that Mr. Liguori had returned and placed his workbook in front of him. He knew he should have said something to Mr. Liguori, but the bell had rang and Mr. Liguori introduced Dillon to the class and explained in detail that Dillon had a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity, making him blind.
"Let's all do our best to make Dillon feel welcomed. Everyone please start off where we finished yesterday. Dil. We're on page ten."
Dillon said nothing and silently turned the pages of his workbook.
* * *
The rest of the day had not gotten better for Dil. The same boy who had popped the exploding popper in his face had continued to make his day miserable. Mr. Liguori had rewarded the class a trip to the school library for reading time. The Librarian had been helping Dillon, reading him titles of children's books and asking him if was interested in any. The blind boy carried a stack of books, feeling proud of himself for choosing so many when Gideon had poked him in the neck, startling him so much he dropped the books on the ground.
"Why are you checking out books, I thought you were blind?" he taunted.
"I. . .I'm uh. . " Dillon wanted to say that he was only checking them out so his Dad could read to him at bedtime, but he just uttered foolish nonsense out of the fear of being startled yet again today. This had Gideon cracking up laughing. "What now you can't talk? Are you stupid or something?"
Dillon wanted to cry come lunchtime. The children were allowed to eat outside because of the nice weather and Dillon had requested to eat alone (trying to avoid Gideon). Thankfully an administrater who helped him to a picnic table didn't question why. His Dad had packed his favorite lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sliced peaches, baby carrot sticks and a vanilla cupcake. Dan normally would never have allowed the cupcake, but he figured Dillon deserved one, being it his first day of school. As Dillon was read to eat his lunch, he heard footsteps behind him and instantly knew by the person sitting down next to him, it was Gideon.
"Wow, what a great lunch you have there, Dilli-o." Gideon started.
"Thanks," Dillon spoke. Somehow, he got the guts to speak up for himself. "Can you leave me alone?-"
"Aw, why not? I just wanna' have lunch with you. Why can't I sit here?" Gideon taunted. While Dillon tried to explain he wanted to eat in peace, a friend of Gideon's began opening his carton of milk and slowly began to drip the contents onto Dillon's sandwich, while swiping a few carrot sticks. "I just want to be left alone, please, Gideon."
Gideon faked a sigh of defeat. "Your choice, buddy." He swiped Dillon's cupcake and walked off with his friends. The smaller boy reached out for his sandwich but grimised in disgust when it felt cold and soggy. Half his carrot sticks were missing and his cupcake had vanished. The boy's stomach growled, but not in hunger.
By the last class of the day, Dillon felt miserable. Today had gone all wrong and he hadn't made a single friend. Dillon suddenly wished to be back at his old school. He might not of had a friend but at least kids were nice to him out of pity. He tried to tune out Mr. Liguori speaking about their homework and thought about calling his Dad to get out of school early. He had enough of Gideon teasing him and, currently, flinging spit balls at the back of his head.
"Okay, class. That's the last bell. Have fun at Electives." Pj walked over to Dillon's desk as the rest of the children scurried to their Electives and last class of the day, which was either Art, Music or Gym. Dillon had music, but he didn't want to go if Gideon was going to be there. "Hey, Dillon. Mind if I talk to you for a second? I'll send you with a note to Mr. Lester explaining why you're late."
A part of Dillon had hoped Mr. Liguori had noticed what Gideon had been doing to him and he waited for his teacher to speak.
"So, how do you like school so far? Are the lessons too hard for you?" Pj asked, sincerely. He would feel awful if he was going too fast for Dillon. The kid was quiet and kept to himself, from what he had seen. Dillon's heart sank. He didn't know how he could tell Mr. Liguori what Gideon had been doing. He swallowed.
"It's okay. . .I like it." He lied. "Um, Mr. Liguori. Is Gideon in music next?"
"No, he's in gym. Why, are you making friends already? That's strange you'd be his friend, normally I get complaints about him." Pj chuckled. He wasn't an idiot. He had caught sight of Gideon and lackeys standing around Dillon a few times today, but he didn't know if it were friendly or not. It was hard with Gideon. Some kids he was nice to, others he wasn't.
"Oh. .. .Nevermind." Dillon felt more confidant now that he was going somewhere Gideon wasn't. "Can I go now?"
"Sure." Pj smiled. "Need an escourt to the music room?"
"No. I remember the way." Dillon smiled for the first time that afternoon. He was excited to meet Mr. Lester again. He was happy to be away from Gideon for a while and play the piano. Once again, music was his relief.
Being a music teacher was not something Phil ever dreamed of becoming, but he was happy. Graduating with a Degree in English Language and Linguistics, he was qualified for a teaching position. And he did take a few music classes in UNI, so he snagged the job. Because he taught Primary school, the children were often excited to be in his class and either play with new instruments or perform a new song. Phil never had any reason to be "on edge" with his students, many of them did very well in class and were eager to learn. However, he was distracted today. All night he had been watching the You-tuber under the name: Danisnotonfire and he couldn't recall where he had seen that man.
He hadn't the time to think about it when his room was filled with boys ready to play their instruments. Today, Phil had them learning about the French horn and it's history when there was a soft knock at the door.
Slowly opening it, Phil saw Dillon, holding a note.
"Sorry I'm late, Mr. Lester." Dillon apologized.
"No need. Dil. It's nice to see you again. I didn't think I would after our last fiasco." Phil joked, making Dillon giggle. The boy's cheerfulness was so intoxicating to Phil. "Class, this is Dillon Howell. He's our new student."
"Mr. Lester, he's blind. Why is he in music?" one boy asked, loudly. Dillon felt deja vous from this morning and wanted to cover his face. Never in his life had he felt bad for something he couldn't control. Phil noticed the boy's discomfort and immedatly replied.
"You're right, Andy. Dillon is blind. But that doesn't mean he can't play any instruments. Blind and deaf people have written symphonies, after all." Phil reminded. "I think we're all underestimating Mr. Howell here. Would you like to show the class what you can do, Dillon?"
At first, Dillon is terrified and gives off a look that Phil knows is a desperate plea for 'no get me out of this'. Dillon is the striking image of his father with. . . something else. He knows that face and the name. But he couldn't put a place in time in his memory. Phil couldn't put his finger on it.
Slowly, Dillon was escorted to the large wooden piano and began to play. Right now, he was too busy Phil knew Dillon had been nervous at first, but managed to coax him into an ease and soon Dillon was playing like no one was watching. Phillip was more than impressed. He knew the boy was ahead of everyone, so it was his students that were more surprised than he was.
"That's amazing, Dil!" Phil grinned.
The boy blushed as the rest of the class clapped for him.
"Dillon, how long have you been playing?" Phil asked.
"Oh, um. . . I don't remember. My Dad says I started tapping on the piano in our apartment one day and I just never stopped." Dillon could believe that, as a small child Dan would set Dillon in his lap and help the boy practice Piano. It first started off as being something cute or trying to put Dil to bed, that soon escalated into what Phil would describe as a wonder.
"I have a question." a boy named Theo raised his hand. Phil called upon him. "How can you play if you're blind?"
The way Theo asked was gentle and curious. Not in a rude manner like Gideon. So Dillon spoke, "I remember what some keys sound like. I play by sound." the class sounded impressed and even more curious. Dillon felt happy in music class. Mr. Lester let him play whatever he could to the students and when school was over, he was so upset. He wanted to stay in music forever.
"Bye Mr. Lester!" the children waved goodbye as Phil made sure they left the building safely and into the vehicles waiting to take them home.
Dillon was the last one to leave, he still sat at the piano and Phil wondered why he lingered. Normally every kid wanted to leave school as quickly as possible-at least he did as a kid.
"Uh, Dillon? Schools over."
"I know. . . I just I want to stay a little longer." Dillon began practicing his scales on the piano. Playing piano gave Dillon a comfort he couldn't understand. Sadly, Phil couldn't let him stay longer. He had meetings to go to today. "I'm sorry, I would let you stay, kiddo. But I have to leave myself."
The child felt embarrassed again. He was taking up Mr. Lester's time. "Sorry. . . I just. . I had a bad day." Dillon confessed, though he didn't go into detail about why it was terrible. Phil didn't ask, either. Respecting the boy's privacy.
"Rough first day?" He chuckled.
Dillon agreed, fiddling with his fingers. "I like my teachers. It was just hard today."
"I understand completely." Phil had been in Dillon's situation one too many times and could sympathize with the boy. Before Phil could say anything else, a blonde woman was knocking on his door. She wore retro styled glasses and a hot pink coat. Phil, his professional training kicking in, greeted the woman as she entered. "Oh, Dil, there you are."
"Louise!" Dillon smiled, standing up and opening his arms for her to hug him. He had missed his babysitter. Louise Pentland was a long time friend of Dan since UNI and had watched Dillon ever since he was a baby. Louise was one of the few people in the world Dan trusted to be alone with Dillon. "Louise, can we play together before I have to do homework, please, please, please?!"
The bubbly woman laughed loudly, "First I gotta' feed you kiddo. Your Dad won't be home till later today." Then she turned to Phil, gasping for a moment. "Oh. . .oh. . .uh, Hello again."
Phil was surprised. A woman he had never met recognized him. "Uh, Hi? I'm Phil Lester. I'm Dillon's music teacher. Might I ask who you are, I'm sorry. I must have forgotten."
"Oh, Philly, you don't remember me?" Louise started. "Well. . . Nevermind. Nice to see you. Let's get going, Kiddo." Dillon said his goodbyes to a perplexed Phil.
Danisnotonfire. . . .Dan Howell. . .women who remembered him, but he not them.
Phil needed a drink.
* * *
Dan rushed through the grocery store of Tesco. It was almost dinner time and he hoped to get the shopping for the week done soon so he could be home in time for dinner with Louise and Dillon. All day Dan had thought about Dillon and how his first day of school went. He had texted Louise a few times, but she had said he thought school was fine. That didn't settle with Dan. He knew if Dillon was lying or not and would get to the bottom of whatever was troubling his son, or not.
Reaching for the last can of chicken noodle soup, a much larger hand brushed over his own and he turned to see none other than him.
Dan yanked the can from the shelf and went to walk away when Phil called for him. "Please, don't go." Phil pleaded. "I. . . I know you from somewhere."
"That's why I don't go there anymore." Dan snarked back. Phil was taken back and Dan couldn't believe it. How could Phil just forget about him like that? Forget about what he did to him. Dan knew Phil had been hammered that night ten years ago, but he didn't think it would give the man amnesia. "You really don't remember me? Are you dense?"
"Excuse me," Phil cleared his throat. "I'm just trying to put the dates to the name is all. I didn't meant to offend you."
"Oh now you're nice to me?" Dan didn't want to be here and started to walk away. He grabbed a few cans of tomato paste along the way. Phil caught up to him. "I know you're a youtuber."
"So do six million other people, you're not special."
"Please, Dan. . . I." Phil gasped. Looking at Dan thoroughly. Light brown eyes glistened under the lights of the supermarket and Phil suddenly connected the dots. Dan. Dan Howell. He had met Dan through a mutual friend back in UNI. Dan was studying to become a lawyer while Phil pursued a degree in English Language and Linguistics. However, last he heard of Dan Howell, the man had dropped out to become a youtuber. The raven haired man soon chuckled. "It's. . .it's been so long, Dan. How could I have forgotten about you? How are you? You have a son now, so you're married?"
Dan's jaw tightened as he concealed his anger. "I'm fine. And no, I'm not married. I'm leaving now, Mr. Lester." He couldn't believe Phil hd the audacity to ask him how he was. After all Phil had put him through.
Phil's blue eyes blinked in confusion. What was with the formalities? "Mr. Lester?. . .you can call me Phil."
"I don't want to. Now, do you intend to harass me in public or can you take your leave now?" Dan's threat was spoken through grit teeth that had Phil worried. Was Dan upset that he had forgotten about him? It wasn't Phil's fault Dan had left so quickly after he met him. Phil licked his bottom lip. Dan is famous on the internet now, he told himself. Maybe fame went to his head.
Phil shrugged, he wasn't going to let Dan get the best of him. He'd kill Dan with kindness. "Excuse me for being polite and just saying hello."
Dan scoffed in a sarcastic laugh. Seems like Phil forgot everything. Even that night ten years ago. "Polite? If you think that you're "polite", you couldn't be further from the truth. I'm leaving now. Don't talk to me, please."
Phil had no qualms with that and when Dan was out of earshot, he muttered to himself:
"No wonder he's not married."
Don't forget to leave kudos if you liked this chapter and leave a comment telling me what you think ♥♥♥
(and yes I know Dan changed his youtube name, but idgaf. It's staying in the story for. . . . . plot reasons.)
Chapter 6: GOODBYE
I know this is something a lot of people are gonna absolutely dread reading, but bear with me. I'm not going to sugar coat this, and as I type this I am crying my eyes out.
I am calling it quits on this site for a while. I will not make any promises of returning because I don't wanna' break that level of trust with you guys. Many of you don't know me personally, but some of you guys on this site I have been blessed to call my friends. I came to AO3 from Fanfiction.net in search of something new to read and never would have thought in my wildest dreamed I would be writing stories that would be ranked in the THOUSANDS kudos wise. I mainly write stories for One Direction, but have ventured into the Phan fandom a bit and for that, I cannot thank you guys enough for the support you've given me. New comers might not know, or remember this, but back in 2015, someone was bullying me on this site for my Fanfic TBLTBIL and I had 80 people come to my rescue and stand up for me. 80 PEOPLE. That was 3 years ago and I still hold that dearly in my heart, especially now because I am going through some awful mental health and personal life issues.
For the past 2 years, my life has been hell. (To put it lightly) I have some friends here that know my full story, but to sum it up, I was living in a bad home life situation and it was eating me alive. Not to mention I deal with clinical depression, horrible anxiety and have struggled with thoughts of suicide. This lead me to not being able to keep a job at some points in my life and it's been holding me back. Now that I am out of that bad home life, I want to take charge of my direction in life and not be at rock bottom anymore. This fandom, this site, all of my beautiful and supportive readers, mean the world to me. I want to be better for you guys, so that is why I am having to say goodbye for now. It pains me to know that I will be leaving with some fics incomplete, but it would feel worse if I just suddenly left you all hanging onto hope for an update that will never arrive.
This isn't all bad. I'm happy to announce that I am going to be attending college for the first time. I graduated High School in 2014 and am now able to be in a state to where I can join. It may be 4 years late in society's eyes, but I feel I am ready to further my education and try to make something of myself rather than working dead end jobs and feeling like I'm not going anywhere.
I don't want to leave you guys, I wish to stay here and keep updating my stories for you, but I do not feel I am capable of updating, looking for a job and doing college work at the same time. Which is why, with a heavy heart filled with nothing but love and respect for you guys, I feel I must leave.
I had some amazing moments on this site, from reading legendary Larry fics like Escapade, to reading the first "Zayn Left" fic on March 25th 2015. I was here when Elournor split, when Baby gate broke, when every Larry moment in the public eye was made into a fic-you name it. I came here when they all went solo, for every bad day I had, or every update I published, I enjoyed watching the comments and kudos flood in. I wish I had written more for 1D back in 2011 and so on, but like I said, I arrived in 2015. Though I wouldn't change a thing, I will say I was taken by surprise when my first fic, He's Different on this site hit 1,000 kudos. I remember jumping for joy when I read that number. And again in 2016 when my fic To Be Loved To Be In Love hit a magical 2,000 kudos. I was aiming for another record of 3,000 but sadly, I don't feel that happening. As much as I brag about the number, at the end of the day, they don't matter to me. I was able to make over 1,000 people happy with my writing and I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when I did that.
Now, I want to do that in the real world. I want to get better, be a better person and hopefully find a dream job I can be happy doing.
Some people I want to especially thank are, happilylarry, harrywearsaflowercrown, & trysomecats. I consider you both to be my best friends I've met in this fandom. Happilylarry, I was, and will continue to be, your biggest fan. I remember reading your series Strict. It was my first Larry Stylinson series that inspired TBLTBIL and I will always be there if you have writers block, or just wanna talk about Louis' ass. LOL. Trysomecats, you got me into Phan and now all I wanna do is protect two, tall, awkward British you tubers and watch them fall in love. You are always there for me when I'm feeling down and you actually gave me the confidence to apply to college. One day, we will go on that road trip and see all the bands. And last, but not least, Harrywearsaflowercrown. I have no idea if you're still on this site, either. But I met you in person and you were just the nicest person ever. I hope you are doing well and keep perusing your dreams; and, if you have time, perhaps publish a book. You've got a knack for hooking people into your writing and I could never begin to master what you can do.
I will still be on twitter @Angelic_Dusty if any of you guys wanna' still chat with me.
For now, I must leave you guys here. Like I said before, I won't make any promises on coming back, because I fear the future may not bring me much time to even be in the fandom, much less write in it. Whatever my future brings me, I hope it involves looking back and remembering how terrific my readers are.
I love you all.