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I Will Not Kiss You

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It was the middle of July, and London was in the midst of a heatwave. The sun beat onto the pavement and only amplified the heat.

“Ughhhh, it's hotter than satan’s asshole out here.” Dan complained loudly.

“DAN!” Phil exclaimed giggling, “Not so loud! And maybe you would be cooler if you didn't insist on wearing full black all the time!”

“And jeopardize my aesthetic?!” Dan put a hand over his heart in mock horror “Never!”

“You are such a spoon” but Phil was beaming. It was hard for him not to be around Dan.

He had to admit, it was pretty hot. The ten minute walk to their doctor's office felt like a thirty year one, and Phil was in shorts. He thought it was a wonder Dan had not been reduced to a puddle of sweat at this point.

Phil wasn’t sure when he and Dan started going to the doctor together. It was just kind of a natural progression from doing, well, everything else together. It was one of those mundane tasks that made their Phans crazy. “So domestic!” and “OHMYGOD they’re SO married!” they would proclaim on Twitter. Years ago, those sort of comments had put a strain on Dan and Phil’s relationship, but now they've grown quite numb to it. Amused by it, even, on a good day.

Finally, Dan and Phil arrived at the doctor's office and felt immense relief upon feeling the air conditioned air hit their skin. They had gone to doctor's office for what was meant to be their yearly check-up, but more realistically, their bi-yearly check-up because they didn’t usually get around to it once a year. Phil looked around the plain doctors office, thinking that it was really quite boring. He wished that they would at least put up a couple of posters or something on the sterile white walls. Phil didn't really like plain things. He liked things with personality and color. Well, maybe not color, as he quite liked Dan and all that boy ever seemed to wear was his wide spectrum of monochromatic colors, most commonly: black. He glanced over at Dan to see the boy bouncing his black skinny jean-clad legs rapidly. Phil put a hand on his shoulder “You okay, mate?” He asked jokingly, but there was some genuine concern mixed in as well. He didn't like to see Dan anxious.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just don't love doctors and needles and things of that sort.” he replied.

“I know… How about when we are done here, we go down to Starbucks?” Phil asked in an attempt to, hopefully, put Dan’s mind at ease a little bit.

“But that’s-” Dan started

“‘So corporate’ I know. I don't care.” Phil replied with his signature smirk.

Dan laughed, and promptly gave in without any further protest “I guesss” he said, drawing out the word. Phil knew it was an act. He knew that his distraction had helped as Dan had stopped bouncing his legs and had a soft smile on his face.

“Philip?” a gray-haired nurse called out from a doorway.

“Alright love, I’ll see you in a few.” Phil rose from his chair and, for good measure, gave Dan a quick peck on the top of his head. He normally wasn't so careless about showing Dan affection in public, but the only witnesses were the nurse and the lady at the from desk, both of whom, quite frankly, looked a bit older than their target audience. Besides, Dan was nervous, and he wanted to help in whatever way he could.

Phil followed the nurse out of the room, sparing a quick look back at Dan, who looked considerably calmer than he had a few minutes ago. “Good,” Phil thought, “he has nothing to be worried about anyway.”

His appointment passed without incident, complete with all the normal doctor-y things he has learned to endure over the years. So, feeling slightly violated at being touched so many times by a near perfect stranger, he made his way back to the waiting room to wait for Dan. He waited 10 minutes. 20 minutes. After half an hour had passed he started to get a bit anxious himself, what was taking so long?

Finally, a nurse peeked out from behind the door with a hesitant expression. “Philip?” She asked and he, again, rose from his chair.

“Yes?” Phil replied, growing more anxious by the moment.

“Your, er-” She began, unsure about their relationship status (“Join the club.” Phil thought snarkily) “Daniel has requested you in the back, follow me.” The nurse replied. Phil sighed deeply, maybe he hadn't calmed Dan down as much as he thought he had. He had probably had another anxiety attack, this happened last time they came to the doctors as well.

Phil followed her to an exam room where he found Dan sitting opposite a physician. Sobbing.

“Oh, Dan!” Phil exclaimed, worried. He threw his arms around him without a second thought. Dan was shaking horribly. “Shhh, it’s okay, Dan!” Phil tried to calm him.

“It’s NOT bloody okay!” Dan nearly yelled. Phil, quite taken aback by the younger boys outburst, looked to the doctor questioningly.

The doctor cleared his throat before saying "Hi Philip, I’m Dr. Adams. Dan mentioned that he has been experiencing a lot of pain in his left leg," Phil looked at Dan accusingly, but received no response. "So I examined it and, well, with his symptoms of pain and stiffness, combined with swelling in the soft tissue of his leg, it is possible that Daniel may have a bone tumor." The doctor finished.

Phil was shocked. He stayed silent for a minute but, ever the optimist, he stated "Oh.. Okay well, that's okay right? People get tumors all the time, it's probably nothing!"

"Yes, and that could very well be the case," the doctor continued "but I'm going to be frank with you. At Daniel’s age and with his family history… Look, I don’t want to alarm you just yet, we are preparing an MRI for Daniel which will give us a more conclusive answer.”

Now, Phil is shaking too. He holds Dan’s hand and the doctor excuses himself from the exam room, telling the boys that they will come get Dan when they are ready to run the test.

Phil’s mind raced. Why didn’t Dan tell him he has been in pain? What happens if the tumor is not benign? How would their fans react? How would he take care of Dan, he could barely look after himself! He settled on asking the first question that popped into his mind out loud. “Dan, why didn’t you tell me you've been in pain?” Phil asked, his voice breaking, because all though it may be selfish at a time like this, Phil is upset that Dan hid something from him. Phil tried to be as open with Dan as possible, and he thought Dan did the same.

“I just…” Dan began, “I know it’s stupid but I didn't want to go to the doctor, and we have been so busy, and you have had so much on your mind, and I thought it was probably nothing. I’m sorry. I’m so scared Phil, what if something is really wrong?” Dan was rambling, something he tended to do when he got upset. He would stay quiet, but then everything would come out at once, like a dam breaking.

“Dan, you should have told me. But I know you’re stressed and scared so we can talk about it more later.” Phil lowered Dan’s head onto his shoulder, where his crying slowed down to a quiet, but steady stream of tears, hiccuping occasionally. This, Phil thought, was the most heartbreaking thing he had ever experienced. There is nothing the older boy hated more than seeing his best friend in pain, he would take it on tenfold if it meant Dan didn't have to. Not to mention, he didn't know what he would be without Dan, if he did end up being really sick, he couldn't imagine-

Phil cut his own thoughts off. Dwelling on worst-case scenarios was not going to help Dan, and that’s what he needed to be doing right now. Phil was wracking his brain, trying to decide what he could possibly do to make Dan feel better right now. He could talk to him about how this supposed “tumor” was probably nothing, but he didn't want to give him false hope. He could try and distract him, but he didn't want Dan to feel like he wasn't taking this seriously. Eventually,  settled on holding Dans hand and rubbed small circles on it with his thumb, he knew Dan loved it when he did that. With the younger boy's head resting on his shoulder, he whispered “Everything’s going to be fine, love. You’re going to be fine.” And at that moment he was glad he was only whispering, that way Dan wouldn't be able to hear the way his voice was strained. He didn't know if Dan was going to be okay. And he couldn't even begin to fathom what would happen if he wasn't.



Chapter Text

After what felt like an eternity, Dr. Adams finally came back to the exam room to collect Dan. Phil gave Dan a tight hug, once again doing his best to assure him that everything was going to be okay, then he let him go.

“You can wait here, Mr. Lester, the scan will take about 45 minutes, so make yourself comfortable.” With that, Dr. Adams left the room. Dan followed him hesitantly, glancing back at Phil anxiously before exiting the room.

As soon as the door closed behind Dan, Phil crumbled. He put his head into his hands and just cried, because there was no one around to see him, no one to be strong for. He cried for Dan because he knew how terrified it must be. He thought about how twisted and awful the universe must be to give someone with a doctor phobia a tumor. Phil always saw the best in everything, but in that moment, the entire world seemed so bleak.

When his tears began to slow, he looked around the room. He couldn't believe he thought this place to be boring and innocuous just minutes ago. Now, it seemed to be the most sinister place he had ever been.

Time passed slowly, each minute stretching into five. Phil decided it might be a good idea to educate himself on bone tumors, as he didn't really know what they were. He googled bone tumors and breathed a heavy sigh of relief upon reading the first article that he clicked which stated “most bone tumors aren't cancerous” he saw the word “however” following this statement and quickly closed the tab. He didn't want to know, after all. He scrolled through his Twitter feed, but realized after several minutes that he hadn't actually been reading anything, just watching the screen, wasting his phone battery. Frustrated, he jammed his phone into his pocket and began pacing the tiny room. Surely, the scan had to be almost done by now.

Phil waited, and waited. He thought about Dan stuck inside of a tiny tube for nearly an hour. The thought of how anxious Dan must feel made Phil physically ill. He wished he could be there with him.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the doctor returned back with Dan. Phil’s eyes immediately latched onto Dan, who seemed shaken but, to Phil’s relief, stable.

“Sorry it took longer than expected, we decided to run an X Ray as well, for good measure.” Dr. Adams continued “We won't have the results and follow-up information for up to a day, so for now, I want you boys to go home and get some rest. We will call you when we have more information.” With that Dr. Adams led Dan and Phil back out to the waiting room.

Phil thanked Dr. Adams, then they turned to leave. Stepping outside, the boys barely noticed the heat, they had much more important things occupying their minds.

“Dan,” Phil started hesitantly, “are you doing okay?” But just looking at Dan told Phil that no, he was not okay. Dan looked absolutely terrified.

“Um,” Dan began, unsure what to say “to be honest, no, I’m not. I just can't believe I might have a tumor, I mean, I never expected something like that to happen to me. But all of this just validates my hatred of doctors offices. I’m never going back.”

Phil hoped that Dan was joking, because of course he needed to go back. He wasn't going to press him about it right now though, there was no point.

“Is it okay if we just go back to the flat now? I'm not really feeling up to Starbucks.” Dan said sadly.

“Yes, of course! Would you like me to make your favorite for dinner tonight?” Phil asked in a desperate attempt to lighten Dan’s mood.

“Thanks, but I don't really have much of an appetite right now.” Phil understood, neither did he, but he kept trying anyway.

“Dan, you've got to eat, even if you don't feel like it, now’s not the time to be depriving your body-”

“Drop it.” Dan snapped. Phil’s heart plummeted. He might as well have slapped Phil in the face, it would have hurt less. Phil felt horrible, he didn't know how to help his best friend. What kind of friend did that make him? The rational part of Phil's mind told him that Dan was just lashing out because he was scared. But, for whatever reason, this thought didn't offer him any comfort.

They walked the rest of the way to the flat in silence. Phil feeling hurt and scared. Dan’s heart heavy with dread. Upon arrival, Dan went straight to his room and shut his door behind him. Phil knew Dan was crying, and it only added to his fear because he didn't know how to help. He wished he were better at this, better at comforting his best friend when he so clearly needed it, but Phil was at a loss. He didn’t know what to say to help Dan or if anything he said could help. But he also couldn't just sit around knowing that Dan was hurting so deeply.

Phil left Dan alone for awhile, but when the boy still hadn't emerged from his room half an hour later, Phil went to go check on him.

“Dan?” Phil knocked lightly on Dan’s bedroom door.

“Go away!” Dan yelled, but he could hear how thick his voice was, and he knew he had been right about Dan crying.

“No Dan, I'm not going to let you be alone right now.” Phil tried the door hesitantly and said a silent prayer that Dan hadn’t locked it.

Dan was sitting on the end of his bed with his head in his hands, and his whole body shaking. Phil wondered how many times he would feel his heart shatter today. He slowly walked over to the bed and sat down next to Dan. He knew that nothing he said would make Dan feel better right now, so he settled on wrapping Dan in his arms. Dan was a 6’3” man, but in that moment, Dan felt absolutely tiny in Phil’s embrace. Phil rubbed circles on Dan’s trembling back. Dan leaned into Phil’s shoulder, for which Phil was glad. Part of him thought that Dan was going to push him away if he touched him, but it seems he had done something right.

They sat there for hours in silence, Phil rubbing Dan’s back, and Dan crying on Phil’s shoulder.

When Phil finally felt Dan still, he put a hand under Dan’s chin and gently turned his head so that Phil could see his face. Dan’s face was red and so swollen that he almost looked like he had had an allergic reaction of some kind. There were still a few silent tears running from Dan’s eyes, which Phil wiped away carefully. Then, he looked into Dan’s brown eyes, with tears in his own as well, and said to him in the most earnest way possible “Dan, you know that no matter what happens, I will be here with you. Always.” The boys kissed then, and it wasn't a lustful kiss, but a gentle, loving one that was brief but still seemed to seal in the words that Phil had just spoken.

Dan put his head back on Phil’s shoulder and Phil silently hoped that Dan believed him. They never did end up having dinner that night, both of them too wrapped up in their thoughts and worries for either of them to think about eating. Eventually, Phil guided them back to lay on top of Dan’s black and white duvet, because it was too hot for them to lie underneath it, and Dan laid his head on Phil’s chest. After several hours of trying to tame their running thoughts, they finally managed to fall into fitful sleep.

Chapter Text

Phil woke up confused. Why was he in Dan’s bed? Did they? No. As the sleepiness wore off, the previous day's events came flooding back to his mind, accompanied by a renewed sense of dread.

Dan and Phil would find out the results of Dan’s tests today. They would find out whether it was some harmless pain or an actual tumor. And if it was a tumor, what happened then? Phil wondered. Phil had been lucky enough to never know someone who went through something like this, everyone he was close to had always been in excellent health. So, when it came to doctors and medical conditions and treatments and things of that sort, Phil was a bit clueless. And he hoped to god that didn’t change anytime soon.

Phil thought of Dan who so often made sacrifices to help other people. He thought of how he could light up a room with his smile. He thought of the hours and hours he spent on every video to make sure it was perfect for his subscribers. Because Dan knew that he could probably upload a video of him eating cereal and it would get plenty of views, but he truly wanted to put everything into his videos and make his fans happy, and that made Phil so proud. Most of all, Phil thought about how Dan did not deserve anything that was happening to him right now. Not the worry of a tumor or the anxiety of yet another doctor's visit.

Thinking about all of this began to overwhelm Phil with emotion, so he tried to just focus on Dan's slow breathing and the feeling on his head on Phil's chest. Dan and Phil smelled mostly the same, as they used all the same shampoo and things, but for whatever reason, Dan’s smell made him feel safe. He smelled like home. Actually, he thought that everything about Dan felt like home. But Phil wasn't allowed to think that.

Dan and Phil were... Complicated. They loved each other, and sometimes they told each other so, but they tried their best not to be physically intimate with one another, because Dan wasn't ready for their Phans to know. Or that's how it started anyway, back in 2012, but now, Phil thought it was a good idea too. He didn't like the idea of millions of people knowing his relationship status. That was just asking for trouble. (Or so he told himself, but there was a part of Phil that wanted to tell the whole world how much he loved Dan. It was the hopeless romantic in him that he sometimes struggled to subdue.) So Dan and Phil slept in separate beds, they tried not to kiss often, because they didn't want to get into the habit of doing so and accidentally kiss in public, and they certainly didn't sleep together (when they could help it, anyway). But they were in a relationship. Sort of. They unquestionably couldn't date other people. And so they existed in this limbo. Kind of dating, kind of not. But Phil was still happy, most days.

Phil loved Dan. He would rather sort of have Dan that have anyone else completely. He had never met someone whom he connected to on such a deep level. Everything about Dan was perfect for him, and so he would do anything for him.

So Phil basked in the feeling of sleeping in the same bed, with Dan cuddling him, he didn't know when this would happen again. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, he felt so complete lying there underneath the boy he loved.

That is why the thought of losing him is so unbelievably traumatizing to Phil, he loved Dan more than he has ever, or could ever, love anyone else. Phil didn't like to throw around clichè words like "soulmate" but that is precisely what Dan was to him. The way they met, the way they were passionate about all the same things, and had the same twisted sense of humor; it was all too perfect not to be fated in some way.

Dan stirred finally beginning to wake and pull Phil out of his running thoughts.

"Good morning!" Phil said cheerily, hoping Dan would feel better today.

"Morning" Dan mumbled, immediately sitting up and stretching.

“How’d you sleep?” Phil asked, struggling to keep his voice as upbeat as possible. As if he were talking to a child or something. Ugh, why was he so bad at this?

“Oh, fine, thanks.” Dan sounded distracted, as if his mind wasn't really here, and that was very likely. He had plenty to be thinking about,

Phil thought about what he should do next. It was clear that he and Dan were not going to have some lengthy, meaningful conversation right now, which honestly, Phil was fine with because he wasn't sure he was up for that just yet.

Phils stomach growled angrily, reminding both of them that they hadn't eaten anything in nearly 24 hours.

“We should probably eat something. Want to watch an anime and have breakfast?” Phil’s voice sounded more natural now, to his relief, and he knew that Dan couldn't resist anime.

“By breakfast do you mean my cereal?” Dan asked smirking slightly. Phil was so relieved at Dan joking like his normal self, that he almost forgot to answer.

“Well, it is pretty much the only food we have in the house right now.” Phil stammered, silently cursing himself for not being able to think of some witty retort.

“Okayyy, I guess you can have some.” Dan said jokingly. He was quiet for a moment before his expression turned from amused to earnest. “Phil thank you for being so supportive last night, I really appreciate it. And I'm sorry I was such a mess I just didn't expect… And I'm also sorry that I may have taken some of my emotions out on you, that's the last thing I should be doing and-”

“Dan! It’s fine. Like I said, I will always be here for you, and you had every right to be upset last night. Now let’s go eat, I’m starving.”

To Phil’s delight, Dan grabbed his hand when they stood up.

Dan led Phil to the kitchen while Phil thought about how glad he was that Dan seemed to be feeling better today. He couldn't help but feel like this happiness was fragile, though.

Dan opened their cereal cabinet (it had its own cabinet because it was essentially one of the boys main food groups) and turned to Phil. “So, will it be Shreddies or Frosties?”

“Dan.” Phil said smirking.

“Frosties it is” Dan replied laughing, returning the healthier option back to the cupboard.

Upon opening the box of the sugariest cereal the UK had to offer, Phil discovered that there was only enough cereal for one bowl.

“Uh, Dan?” Phil said and turned the box so Dan could see inside it.

“Well, looks like we are fighting to the death then.” Dan said, assuming battle stance.

“Bring it Howell” Phil replied throwing his hands up. Dan punched Phil’s arm before uppercutting the box of cereal. Phil, being the absolute klutz that he is, accidently let go of said box, and time seemed to move in slow motion as the boys breakfast plummeted toward the floor.

Frosties rained down and left a fine layer of sugar and cereal all over their kitchen floor. Dan and Phil made eye contact and immediately burst out laughing. Of course this would happen to them. By the time they both calmed down, they had tears in their eyes, and their abdomens were sore from laughing so hard. “That’s the closest thing I've done to exercising in years!” Dan exclaimed, clutching his abdomen.

“Looks like the universe is forcing us to eat healthily.” Phil said, smiling.

“The universe is a bitch.” No longer just talking about the cereal.

“Yes, it is. Would you grab the broom and dustpan for me, you dork?” Phil asked.

“Ugh, more exercise.” Dan complained, but turned to grab it anyway. “Here, you sweep and I will hold the dustpan.” Dan said, handing the broom to Phil.

“Of course you will.” Phil laughed, Dan wasn't much for doing things that required physical effort. When Phil had finally gathered all the cereal pieces and scooted them into the dustpan, Dan stood up and found his face very close to Phil’s.

Phil was about to move away when Dan suddenly kissed him, and not the innocent, vanilla kisses the boys sometimes dared to share, but a hungry, passionate kiss. Phil was shocked, he and Dan hadn’t been this physically affectionate for years. Dan’s unoccupied rose to play with the back of Phil’s hair, the way that he knew drove the older boy crazy. After several minutes his lips left Phil’s and began to travel in a line to Phil’s ear. “I still love you Phil Lester.” Dan muttered, making Phil’s flutter in his chest. “And I think it’s time we tell our audience. If that’s okay with you, of course.”

Phil was stupefied, Dan was full of surprises today, he honestly never expected Dan to agree to that, let alone initiate it. Of course Phil was okay with it. When he opened his mouth to tell Dan as much, he was interrupted by a shrill ringing. Both boys froze, and raw panic chased out the calm, loving atmosphere that had filled the room just seconds before. The results were here.

Chapter Text

Ring. Dan froze up like a deer in headlights; he didn’t move to get the phone or say anything. Ring. He just stood, looking too terrified to move. Ring. Eventually, Phil answered the phone for him, just before it went to voicemail.

“Hello?”

“Hello, this is Dr. Adams with London Medical Centre. Is this Daniel Howell speaking?”

“No, this is his housemate, let me get him for you.”

“Thank you.”

“Dan, it’s the doctor, he’d like to speak with you.”

“Put him on speaker.”

“Hello, this is Dan.” Dan said uncertainly.

“Hi, Dan. I hope you’re well. I won’t beat around the bush. I am sorry to tell you this, but your scan results show that our suspicion was correct, you do have a bone tumor.”

Dan remained still, Phil cautiously moved toward him.

“The next step is for us to do a bone lesion biopsy so we can tell if the tumor is benign or malignant. However, judging by the damage done to the surrounding area, we do want to prepare you for the possibility that the tumor may be malignant. We won’t worry just yet though. When can I schedule you for the biopsy?”

Both boys were silent. Dan still hadn’t moved.

“Hello?” Dr. Adams asked after several seconds of radio silence.

Phil realized Dan wasn’t going to answer, so he answered for him, “What is the first available appointment you have?”

“Actually, we had a cancellation at noon today if you could be here, otherwise, it would be about two weeks until our next opening.”

Phil looked to Dan for confirmation, but Dan wouldn’t meet his eyes. It would be better to just find out for sure, as soon as possible, Phil thought, that way they wouldn’t be worrying for nothing, or worst case scenario, they could start treatment. They couldn’t live in fear and uncertainty for fourteen days.

“Yeah, okay, we will be there today. Thank you Dr. Adams." Phil hit the end call button on Dan’s phone for him. Dan still didn't move.

Phil watched him cautiously for a couple of minutes, unsure of what he should do. Finally, Dan said in a heartbreakingly small voice “I’m dizzy, Phil…. And… And I think I’m going to be sick.”

Phil carefully took Dan’s phone out of his hand, because he thought he might drop it otherwise, and put a gentle arm around Dan, slowly leading him to the couch. Dan was breathing rapidly.

“Dan,” Phil started, his voice as calming as he could make it “I need you to breathe, love, slowly.” Phil could feel Dan’s heart beating a mile a minute and the color had drained from his face. “Breathe. In… Out...  Stay with me Dan. I think you're having an anxiety attack, but I’m here. Just breathe.”

Dan seemed to be struggling to keep his breathing even, so Phil tried a new tactic.

“Dan, can you please explain to me how you're feeling?”

Dan’s eyes looked glassy and he was sickly pale. Phil feared that he was really going to faint “I...I can’t feel my hands. I’m scared Phil, am I going to die?! I don't want to die!” Dan said, getting more and more frightened as he spoke. “Phil, I need to get out of here, I can’t go back, I don’t know what’s happening, I-”

“Dan! Dan, shhhhh, breathe Dan, everythings going to be okay.” Phil hugged Dan tightly and his heart broke when he felt Dan shaking “I’m here Dan, you're going to be okay.” Phil held Dan on the couch for several minutes, whispering reassurances to him every few seconds. Then, as the shaking slowed, and Phil saw some of the colour return to Dan’s skin, Dan began to sob. Phil just kept holding him, kept telling him he was going to be okay, because Dan had to be okay. Phil rubbed circles on Dan’s back, he told him how much he loved him, he did everything he could to try and make the boy feel better, but he knew that he couldn’t make it better, not really, because despite Phil’s reassurances, this was happening. He wished he could tell Dan that the doctor had made a mistake, that this whole thing was just one big fucked up joke, but it was real, and that was by far the worst part. Because how can you tell someone they are going to be okay if you don't even know? It took everything Phil had not to start crying too, but he knew that if he did, Dan would realize that Phil was scared for him too, and validate Dan’s panicking.

When Dan finally calmed down, it was close to 11:30am. Phil knew they had to get ready to leave within the next 10 minutes if they were going to make it. “Dan, love, I’m so sorry to do this to you, but we need to get ready to leave.”

“I can’t, Phil, I just… I can’t.” Dan stammered, his eyes bloodshot from crying for so long.

“We have to find out for sure. You can do this, I promise, everything will be okay.”

“You know how terrified I was of the doctor before all of this shit happened, now that there is actually something to be worried about, I don’t think I can handle it.” Dan looked so panicked that Phil almost called the doctor to reschedule, but he knew if he did that, Dan would just keep building it up in his mind and he would never go back.

“Dan, love, you've got to go, we have to get answers.” Phil pleaded. As much as he was entranced by the idea of just pretending all of this wasn't happening, if Dan really was sick, they needed to start his treatment. Phil had watched enough doctor shows to know that much; time wasn't your friend when it came to things like this.

“And why do you care Phil? It’s not your bloody leg with a tumor and it’s not your life. Leave me alone!” Dan snapped, starting to cry all over again. Dan’s words hurt Phil, but he knew that Dan was just scared, and he had to stay calm for his sake.

“I care because I love you more than I have ever loved anyone, Dan, and I want to see you healthy and getting the help you need. Please, let me help you!” Just as Phil was beginning to fear that he really wouldn't be able to get Dan to go, Dan broke.

“Fine.” Dan said, standing. He was upset, but Phil knew he had done the right thing. The walk to the doctor's office and waiting for the appointment were agonizingly nerve wracking for both boys. When Dan was finally called back to have his biopsy done, Phil explained to the nurse that Dan was really anxious and asked if he could come along too.

“Of course you can!” She replied, glaring cheery compared to the somber mood the boys shared. “Right this way!”

They were led into an exam room identical to the ones they occupied last time. Phil couldn't believe that was only yesterday, and it struck him how much things can change in such an incredibly short amount of time. The nurse took Dan’s vitals before excusing herself, saying the doctor would be in to perform the procedure soon. Phil wished she wouldn't call it that because he knew it was going to make Dan even more anxious.

Phil looked over at Dan and saw a boy who looked like he wanted nothing more than to bolt from the cramped room. Dan’s legs were bouncing, his gaze shifting, his hands fidgeting. Phil grabbed one of Dan’s hands and squeezed it. Dan wouldn't look at him.

“Dan?”

“Hm?” Dan answered absentmindedly looking at the far wall.

“Dan, look at me.” Phil said softly. Dan did so begrudgingly. There were tears threatening to fall from his worried eyes. “Dan, I’m here. I love you. You're going to be okay.” Phil felt like these had become his catchphrases lately, but they did seem to help Dan, so he would keep using them. Phil pulled Dan in for a hug. “You’re going to be okay, bear.”

They remained in place, embracing one another for several minutes, before a quiet knock told them that the doctor had arrived.

“Hello, Daniel, Phillip, I hope you're well.”

“Dan and Phil.” Phil corrected softly, not wanting formality to add to the tension Dan was feeling. “And I hope you're well too.” Phil added, hoping he hadn’t sounded rude.

The doctor smiled before saying “I am, thank you. So, let's get right to it. The procedure we will be doing today is called a bone biopsy. It is a fairly quick procedure, but to be perfectly honest, there is a little bit of pain associated with it. First, I will apply a local anesthetic to help numb the area, then I will take a sample from the bone so we can test it. I will need you to change into a gown, though, I can't do the procedure through your skinny jeans.” Dr. Adams said with a wry smile, and Phil thought silently that he was a good doctor, and he was glad Dan had him.

Dr. Adams pulled a gown out of a drawer beside him and excused himself so Dan could change. Dan stood unsteadily, fumbling with his jeans, struggling to get them off with his shaking hands. When he finally succeeded in changing, Phil opened the door to let Dr. Adams back in, while Dan sat, now both anxious and self-conscious.

“Now, Dan, you do look quite uneasy, would you like a mild sedative to help you relax while I perform the procedure?” the doctor asked.

“I think that may be a good idea.” Dan said, looking like he was about ready to be sick.

“Have you eaten or drank in the last 12 hours?” The doctor asked.

“Actually, no.” Dan answered.

“Okay, perfect. The sedative will be administered via IV, is that okay?”

Dan nodded, but Phil could see that the idea of having an IV made Dan even more tense.

The doctor talked with Phil about a few inconsequential things while they waited for the nurse to arrive with the IV. Dan remained silent, silently fighting a losing war with his nerves.

When the nurse arrived, she laid Dan down on the table and Phil moved to the other side of it, taking Dan’s unoccupied hand. Phil squeezed Dan’s hand while the nurse inserted the IV into the other. Dan flinched, but didn't panic to Phil’s relief. Dan was holding so tightly onto Phil that it was mildly painful, but Phil wouldn’t dare say anything about that; he knew he was grounding Dan at that moment.

“Okay, Dan, I'm going to start the drip and you should start to feel relaxed.”

“Okay.” Dan replied, silently wishing they would get on with it already.

Within a minute or so, Phil could see some of the tension drain from Dan’s face, and his death grip on Phils hand loosened. A minute later, Dan looked almost happy, much to Phil’s relief.

“Alright, Dan, I’m going to start now. I want you to look somewhere else, okay? If you watch me do this you might get anxious again.” The doctor warned.

“Mmkay, I’ll just look at Phil. I like to look at Phil.” Dan slurred, making Phil and the doctor laugh softly.

Phil met Dan’s eyes but watched the doctor in his periphery, he was applying the local anesthetic. Dan didn’t seem to notice.

Dan, looked into Phil’s eyes intently and suddenly started to giggle.

“What?” Phil asked, smiling.

“You have pretty eyes.” Dan said. “You are pretty.” he added.

Phil laughed then, and blushed despite himself. “You’re not bad either, Howell.”

Phil could see the doctor making a small incision and readying to insert the needle, Dan didn’t notice the pain, but he said “Who’s got my leg?” And tried to look down. This was bad.

“Dan!” Phil said, in an attempt to keep Dan’s eyes off of his leg.

“Hm?” Dan said, meeting Phil’s eyes again. Phil sighed in relief.

“Um,” He said, realizing he hadn’t actually thought of what to say. “Can we talk about the first week we met? Can you tell me the story?” Phil asked.

“Yeah!” Dan said excitedly, Phil could see the doctor inserting a huge needle into Dan’s leg, and he had never been so thankful for medication. “I got a train ticket to meet you for the first time in Manchester. What a funny name for a place Man-chest-arrrr” Dan said, drawing the syllables out, “Who ever thought to name the city that?”

Dan stopped talking and realized Dan was waiting for an actual answer.

“I believe that was Andrew Geare” Phil lied, blurting the first name he could think of. It must have sounded true enough because Dan nodded knowingly.

“You’re so smart Phil. I really like that about you, how smart you are. And I like-Ouch!” Dan exclaimed, finally feeling the procedure when the doctor began to pull the sample out with the needle.

“It’s okay, Dan, just look at me, it’s almost done.” Phil said encouragingly.

Dan scrunched his face up and whimpered, but the doctor finished within the next couple of minutes.

Once the doctor was done, he bandaged up Dan’s leg. “Alright, Dan, I’m going to stop the drip and take out your IV now.” The doctor said.

“But I like it!” Dan whined. The doctor and Phil laughed.

“Don’t we all?” The doctor said, gently removing the tube from Dan’s hand. If Phil was being honest, he was a little bit sad, he liked seeing Dan act so silly. “Alright, you may feel dizzy or sick to your stomach as this medication wears off, and we will need to check your blood pressure and oxygen levels throughout the next hour, just to be sure everything returns to normal, but after that you’re free to go.”

Dan and Phil waited out the hour quietly. When they were finally told they could go home, they were instructed to eat a big meal to get their energy back up and told the biopsy results should be available within the next 2-3 days.

“So,” Phil began as they were leaving the doctor's office “are you up for some food?”

“Well, I’m not particularly hungry, but eating probably isn't a bad idea.” Dan replied. Phil was relieved to see that he was doing a little bit better. They decided to go to the store to pick up the things for the stir-fry they made all the time. Making dinner felt nice. Normal. And it broke down whatever barrier Dan had put up, which allowed them to really talk. They even joked around a little bit.

“So, you think my eyes are pretty?” Phil asked, making Dan blush.

“They’re alright.” Dan replied, fighting a smile.

“Couldn’t you just go swimming in these eyes?” Phil asked batting his eyelashes dramatically, quoting one of Dan’s fanboy comments from 2009.

“THAT’S ENOUGH OF THAT!” Dan laughed, clamping his hand over Phil’s mouth. Phil licked his hand.

“EW!” Dan exclaimed, quickly releasing Phil’s face and wiping his hand on his jeans.

“Oh, as if you haven’t had my saliva on several other places on your body. You didn’t seem too bothered then.” Phil smirked.

“PHILIP MICHAEL LESTER you're supposed to be the innocent one, we are going to have to change your entire brand.” Dan laughed. Phil thought that was the most beautiful sound in the world, Dan’s laugh. It made him feel warm. Dan and Phil sat in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying feeling normal for a moment.

“Really, Dan, are you doing okay?” Phil asked when he finally worked up the courage.

“Well, not exactly. My leg aches, and obviously I’m worried, but there’s nothing I can do at this exact second, so I figure it’s better to just try and keep my mind off of it.” Dan answered. So they didn’t talk about it, they just talked and ate and watched anime. They did normal Dan and Phil things, and it actually turned out to be a pretty great night.