In The Minute Before Midnight | Phan

Everyone is born with a tattoo that shows the time you first meet your soulmate. Some people are born with the most awkward times imaginable, but that's not always a bad thing, is it? | Phan AU. Set in the same universe as the "00:00" series.


1. When the Clock Strikes Twelve | Dan

A/N: (Ao3)

IT'S ME AGAIN I'M BACK FOR MORE (*coughs* referencing your own song, good job, Willow)

Like I said in the previous story in the 00:00 series, I'm not quite ready to let go of this one yet, so I'm writing more. Much, much more. I hope y'all stick around! :D

If you enjoy this one, I suggest you read the 00:00 stories with this link:

Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the support on the series ^^ because I love reading all of your comments, they really warm my heart :) So thank you all, so so much. Love you all! <3 *blows kisses to you all*

Hopefully this one didn't turn out too badly, it took me forever. Thanks, writer's block. I'm also new to the whole romance writing thing, so if you have any advice, let me know :D cheers ^~^

I hope you enjoy! :D

A/N: (here)

Yup, I love this series, so here. Have some Phan to go with it XD Thanks for reading :D




It was “just another party”, and Dan was a nervous wreck.

But no, this wasn’t “just another party” – this was a party for the kingdom’s prince, in the hope that he would find his one true love, or soulmate, as was the preferred term.

Dan was an awkward mess at the best of times and here he was, at a party for the prince.

Prince Mark Fischbach, second son of the late king, blah, blah, blah. Dan never really listened to his mother’s tales or his scholar’s lessons.

No, he was the son of a nobleman who just wanted out of this party and quickly, before his clumsiness killed someone. Knowing Dan’s luck, it probably would, he was that bad. And in the life of etiquette, politeness and parties and balls every other week, Dan wasn’t the most confident person in the world.

He was also nervous because the time his tattoo showed was nearing, and not to mention that his tattoo had the most awkward time ever: 23:59. One minute before midnight.

Dan was such a mess, he couldn’t even get a round number as his time.

Unlike his parents, who both had 18:00, to his understanding. He wasn’t sure, as this was a time of arranged marriages for a dowry and trying to make a life with a complete stranger. It was aimed that people from the same social class would marry each other, and not people from vastly different classes.

So Dan, being from the higher-class noble Howell family, was most likely to be married off to a member of the McLoughlin family, for example, and not one of the lower-class nobles or the peasants that worked the fields in every village.

But who knows, these things differ for each couple.

He nervously tugged at the cuff of his shirt, pulling it up to cover his tattoo, and fiddling with a thread that had somehow come loose as he looked around at the scene before him.

Everyone was happy and smiling and chatting to people they’d never met, and those not married were flitting from person to person, or being pushed around by their eager parents. I guess that they forgot that the tattoos said what time they would meet their soulmate. Oh well.

It was too bad that the noble and royal families rarely interacted with those of lower class, such as knights and peasants. Maybe more people would have found their soulmate that way.

But hey, it’s not like Dan could just change the way things worked. He’d travelled through five villages and way too much countryside to attend this party, and he was about to just up and leave.

But it’s not like he could just leave a party for Prince Mark, he didn’t know his way around, and this was the Royal Palace. And he was barely fifteen years of age, at any rate.

Not to mention that his mother was keeping a constant eye on him, to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid, no doubt.

He hung close to his mother, remaining silent and polite, and only giving minimal answers when he was spoken to, like always. No matter how hard his parents tried to get him to comfortably talk to people, he’d always worried that he was going to make a fool of himself, so he often kept quiet. Eventually, his parents had given up, much to Dan’s relief.

He figured that midnight must be closing in, as he could hear the whispers of “Where’s the prince?”, “Where’s Prince Mark?”, “Only five more minutes until you get to meet the prince, my dear!” and “It’s nearly time to meet Prince Mark, darling.”

It was a well-known fact that Prince Mark’s tattoo said 00:00 – midnight. Dan looked around, but he couldn’t see him anywhere. Looking around, his eyes fell on a handsome boy standing not too far away from them. He had black hair that looked almost silky, and his skin was so… pale, it was almost scary. And as the boy was turned slightly towards him, he could just make out blue, blue eyes.

Suddenly, he was very intrigued by this boy, but he forced himself to tear his eyes away.

Yeah, he should’ve known that wouldn’t last long.

“Is that you, Martyn?” Dan’s mother called out, and a man near the blue-eyed boy looked up and over at them and laughed. “It is!” Dan’s mother exclaimed, clapping her hands together. “Come over here!”

The man, Martyn, seemed to politely excuse himself from whomever he was talking to, before slinging an arm over the blue-eyed boy’s shoulders and practically dragging him over.

“My lady Howell,” he said when they reached Dan’s mother, and reached down to take her hand, gently placing a kiss on her knuckles. “It’s so good to see you again. You’re looking well.”

Dan’s mother smiled. “Why, thank you, dear,” she said. “You’re still so charming.”

Martyn smiled and gestured to the blue-eyed boy beside him, who looked even more handsome up close, and was a fair bit taller than Dan himself. The boy’s eyes weren’t just blue, they also had shades of green and yellow, and Dan noticed that freckles were splashed across his nose, somehow making him look like an innocent child. Dan, now even more nervous around the handsome boy, who Dan decided was actually, absolutely gorgeous, looked away and his eyes fell on the nearest balcony. He could sort of make out a figure – wait, was that the prince? – slowly making his way towards it, politely and carefully weaving in and out of people, as if he’d done it so many times before. Maybe Dan should learn to do that. Because if the prince could learn to get out of his birthday party, even if it was incredibly slowly, then Dan figured even he could probably learn to do it.

Yeah, right, absolutely.

Dan’s attention was brought back to reality when he realised Martyn was talking again.

“You remember my younger brother Phil, don’t you?” he was asking, and the blue-eyed boy grinned.

Dan’s mother gasped. “Phillip? My, my, you’ve gotten handsome, haven’t you?” She smiled, and the boy bowed his head.

“It’s an honour to see you again, my lady,” he said politely, and Dan felt like he could listen to his voice forever.

So his name is Phillip, or Phil, Dan thought. It suited him, somehow. He looked like a Phillip. He thought about how they were talking to his mother, and he figured that they must be from one of the lower-class noble families, otherwise they would be calling Dan’s mother by her given name. He hadn’t heard a surname, so he couldn’t be sure.

Dan jumped when his mother suddenly touched his shoulder, saying, “This is my son, Daniel. I don’t think you’ve met?” She looked at Dan, who shook his head. He knew he would remember those stunning blue eyes. “Dan’s only five-and-ten this year, so he hasn’t been to many parties quite like this one, so I’m not exactly surprised.”

“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Dan,” Phil said with a smile, holding out his right hand for Dan to shake.

Dan had always preferred his left hand over his right, which left him to awkwardly shake Phil’s hand. “You too,” he replied.

“Speaking of which, how old are you now, Phillip?” Dan’s mother asked.

“I am now nineteen years old, my lady,” he replied. “And please, call me Phil.”

Then a bell tolled.

The bell tolled twelve times.


Dan’s heart jumped into his throat. If it was midnight, 00:00, now… that meant that 23:59 had just passed, and there was no doubt that Dan, for one, was definitely attracted to the blue-eyed boy in front of him.

Did that mean…?

It was possible, at any rate.

And was he seeing things, or did he see Phil’s eyes widen when the bell tolled, too?

But knowing Dan’s luck, it was impossible from the start.

Suddenly there were whispers around him, questions of the prince’s whereabouts.

“Where’s the prince?”

“It’s midnight, where is Prince Mark?”

“I haven’t seen the prince, where is he?”

And many more just the same.

“I guess the noblewomen miss out this night, Martyn commented. “I haven’t seen Prince Mark in quite a while, he’s vanished.”

“What a shame,” Dan’s mother sighed. “It will be a fine day for the kingdom when he meets his soulmate.”

“Then again,” Dan found himself saying, and all attention turned to him, making him slightly uncomfortable. “Most people, especially the eligible young ladies and their mothers and fathers, would be avoiding him until midnight, wouldn’t they? Because you can only have a first meeting once, right?”

Phil smiled. “Yes, you’re right,” he said brightly. “And first meetings are very important.” Dan nodded his agreement, and for some reason the praise from this boy made his heart swell.

Dan’s mother just looked astonished that he’d spoken for that long, before composing herself. “Yes you’re quote right,” she said. “It is quite a shame, if people avoid him, only to flock around him at midnight like birds around breadcrumbs. It would be quite tiring after sixteen years.”

Martyn nodded, before striking up a conversation with the woman, seemingly to catch up after the years, leaving Dan and Phil in an awkward silence. Well, awkward to Dan, and Phil seemed perfectly comfortable with the situation.

“Not one for parties, Dan?” Phil asked, and Dan shook his head. Phil smiled again. “Or talking, I see. Honestly, I think you should talk more, I like your voice. It’s very unique.”

Dan felt himself blush slightly as he tugged at the cuff of his shirt again. “I just never know what I should say in these situations, is all,” he replied, and Phil tilted his head slightly, looking confused.

“You seemed to know what to say earlier,” he insisted. “It can’t be that bad.”

“I just hate social situations, okay?” Dan sighed, and Phil raised his eyebrows. Dan blushed again as he tried to backtrack. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, I just…” he trailed off, and looked down.

Phil shook his head. “It’s okay, I understand,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about it with me, I promise.”

Dan looked back up and smiled gratefully. “Thanks.”

Phil glanced over at Martyn and Dan’s mother, who were still talking and laughing, before looking back at Dan. “Would you like to go for a walk?” he suggested. “You look like you need a break, is all.”

Dan furrowed his brow. “Do you know your way around?” he asked.

Phil grinned. “I’ve been here more than once,” he said. “I at least know my way outside to the gardens. So would you like to?”

Dan smiled again, and nodded. “Of course.”

“That’s good.” Still grinning, Phil grabbed Dan’s hand and pulled him around in the direction of the big double doors that were the entrance to the ballroom. “Stay close, I wouldn’t want you getting lost,” he said quietly, before letting go and starting to weave in and out of the crowd.

As soon as Phil let go of Dan’s hand, he missed its warmth, even though he had only held it for a moment. Dan knew his face was heating up again, but started to follow Phil.

After a few minutes of desperately trying to keep Phil in his sights and mumbling apologies to the people he bumped into, they were finally out of the room and into the corridors. Dan sighed with relief – the air felt so much better out there, even though it was still right next to the hot and stuffy ballroom.

Phil looked sideways at him. “Better?” he asked.

Dan smiled. “Much, thank you.”

Phil chuckled. “That’s good,” he said. “You looked like you were going to go crazy in there.”

Dan blushed again, and looked away. “I’m sorry I’m troubling you,” he muttered.

Phil laughed, and Dan looked over at him, confused. “You’re not troubling me at all,” he said. “I actually really like you, Dan.”

Dan’s face continued to heat up as he looked away, rubbing his wrist where his tattoo was and playing with his cuff again, as he mumbled a thank-you to the boy, who smiled, and this time they fell into a more comfortable silence than the last.

Dan followed Phil as they rounded corners in the magnificent hall – it was much too magnificent for Dan to comprehend. He had never seen something like this before.

Suddenly Phil grabbed his hand again, making him jump. “Come on,” he said, before dragging him around a corner and through a door in the hall, leading out into a luscious green garden, lit by small candle lamps bolted into the walls on either side of the door. Dan smiled gratefully at the feel of the cool summer breeze as Phil shut the door behind him, closing out the light from the corridor. Then it was dark, and Dan immediately tensed up.

“Dan?” Phil’s voice somehow made him relax slightly, but not enough. “Are you alright?”

“I…” Dan tried. “I, um…”

Phil turned him around and placed his hands on Dan’s shoulders. “What’s the matter?” Dan didn’t answer, but just looked down, embarrassed. Phil’s hands slid down Dan’s arms slightly as he said, “Are you afraid of the dark, Dan?”

“Yes,” Dan admitted, his voice little more than a whisper. “I am.”

Phil was silent for a few seconds, so Dan’s mind started wandering worse paths than what might be lurking in the dark. He imagined Phil walking away, disgusted, and it hurt. Then he imagined him walking away laughing, and that hurt even more. Would he be called a silly little child? These things kept swirling around in his thoughts.

So he was very surprised when he felt warm fingers under his chin, tilting his head up. He looked up into those beautiful blue eyes, which didn’t have any trace of disgust or mockery in them –only warmth.

“It’s okay,” Phil said softly. “I’m here with you. It’ll be okay.”

Dan smiled a little, and Phil’s hands dropped. “Follow me,” Phil whispered, and turned away to keep walking. Dan suddenly panicked, and his hand shot out to grab Phil’s wrist, and Phil turned back, looking surprised. “What is it?” he asked.

Dan flushed with embarrassment and he looked down, loosening his grip. “Ca- can you,” Dan stuttered. “C-can I, I mean, I-I’m sorry, I’m such a mess-”

Phil smiled, and slid his hand into Dan’s, entwining their fingers together. “I won’t let you go if you don’t want me to,” he said, and Dan shook his head.

“Don’t,” he whispered, and Phil tugged at his hand again.

“Do you still want to come?” he asked kindly, and pulled Dan closer to him. Dan nodded. “I’ll be right here,” Phil promised.

So they started walking, with Phil never letting go of Dan’s hand as they led the way through the garden, Dan trying not to jump at any rustle he heard, when a thought struck him.

“I don’t think I ever got your surname,” Dan said, and Phil looked over at him. “Can I ask what it is?”

Phil smiled. “Only if you answer my question after,” he bargained, and Dan nodded. “Lester,” Phil said. “My name is Phil Lester, and it’s an honour to have met you tonight, Dan.”

Dan recognised the name. He remembered from his studies that the Lester family was indeed a noble family, but one of the lower-class nobles, unlike Dan’s higher-class family. Dan was sure that his parents would never have considered having Dan marry a girl from the Lester family.

Although, now that he thought about it, Dan’s mother did seem close to Phil and his brother, so it was indeed possible.

Dan smiled. “Dan Howell,” he replied. “And it’s a pleasure to meet you too, Phil.”

Phil slowed down slightly, falling into step beside Dan. “Can I ask my question now?”

Dan nodded, slightly worried about what it might be. He fiddled with the cuff of his shirt again. Phil smiled and he gestured to it.

“Why do you keep playing with your sleeve?” he asked, and Dan blushed as he tried to come up with a suitable answer.

“I guess it’s a nervous habit,” he mumbled after a moment, and Phil chuckled.

“That’s fair enough,” he began, “but I don’t think that’s the only reason. Isn’t that where your tattoo is?”

Dan found he couldn’t stop himself from nodding, and he sighed, realising that he couldn’t give half-answers forever. “It is my tattoo,” he said. “I’m such a mess I have the most awkward time, and it’s kind of embarrassing, I guess.”

Phil laughed, and whilst Dan was still embarrassed, he couldn’t help but feel like that was the most beautiful sound he’d heard in quite a while. “I thought I was the only person on Earth with a time like that,” he said with a grin. “My tattoo couldn’t even get a round number. But I guess some people have to take the odd ones, so we should consider ourselves special.”

Dan smiled at the boy’s perspective. “I’d never thought of it like that,” he mumbled.

Phil shrugged. “What can I say? I like to look on the bright side of life.” Dan smiled at that, deciding that it was a good way to be.

Suddenly Phil stopped, and Dan bumped into his side. “Are you alright?” he asked, and Phil’s grip on his hand tightened, before he turned to him with a smile.

“May I?” he asked, reaching for his other hand, and Dan’s face went red as he looked down, nodding. Closing his eyes, he prayed, silently begging for the world to give him this one thing, this one little piece of happiness, of good.

Phil gently pulled his hand out of Dan’s grip, and pushed Dan’s sleeve off his wrist. He felt warm fingers trace the numbers on his tattoo, and he clenched his fist, praying for all he was worth.

Everything was still for a moment, except for Phil’s fingers on his wrist, which gently rubbed where Dan knew his tattoo was, and he was expecting the worst. The worst possible things always happened to him, and they always had, and each of those things had lead to one embarrassing situation after another. But after this little while, he knew that Phil having a different tattoo than him would be the worst thing of his entire life. And he was only fifteen years old.

Phil’s hand left his wrist, and Dan’s heart wanted to stop.

So he wanted to cry with happiness when he felt that same warm hand cup his cheek, tilting his head up, and he felt Phil’s lips press against his own.

Even if it was only a second before the blue-eyed boy pulled away, Dan felt that this was right, like nothing else had been in his life. He looked into those eyes as blue as the ocean, hoping to show these thoughts that way, because he felt completely incapable of speech. Phil chuckled, and leant his forehead against Dan’s own.

“Thank goodness,” he whispered. “I was scared that your tattoo wouldn’t match mine. I was so scared, because that would have hurt more than anything.” Then he stopped, his voice taking over a much more worried tone. “Is this okay, Dan?” he asked.

Dan took Phil’s hand away from his face and looked at the tattoo there, making sure it matched by bringing up his own wrist.

There it was: 23:59, matching Dan’s perfectly, in everything from cursive to size. Dan sighed in relief, and let go. Phil’s hand ran through Dan’s hair, before resting it on his cheek again.

“This is perfect,” Dan answered Phil’s question, before putting his hands around Phil’s neck, bringing him down to kiss him again, and Phil definitely obliged. Dan let his hands run through ebony hair as Phil’s free hand wrapped around his waist, pulling Dan as close as possible. Dan melted into his touch, giving into both the older boy and himself.

But Phil soon pulled away, but quickly buried his head into the crook of Dan’s neck, both of his hands now going around his waist. In return, Dan rested his head against Phil’s chest, bringing his hands down to rest on the boy’s hips.

“I’m glad it’s you,” Phil mumbled into Dan’s shoulder, making him involuntarily shiver slightly, and he felt Phil smile. “I am so glad that it’s you, Dan,” he continued. “Because I don’t think anyone else would be able to replace you.”

Dan smiled. “I guess that’s why they call us soulmates, then, isn’t it?” he said, and Phil chuckled, gently placing a kiss on Dan’s shoulder, making him giggle quietly. “To be honest, I was drawn to you from the start,” Dan admitted. “You were just, there.”

Phil hummed his agreement. “When I saw you first walk into that room, you were the only person I looked at. You stood out, and for all the right reasons.”

Dan’s fingers clutched at Phil’s shirt, who brought his head up to kiss Dan’s temple, then his forehead, then his cheek, before Dan reached up to pull Phil’s lips to his own.

The two of them stayed like that for a little while, in the perfect little world they’d created for themselves, with no worries at all – even Dan’s fear of the dark didn’t worry him when Phil was with him.

The dark concealed them entirely from all eyes, even that of the other two figures that went running by not too far from them, as more than two people met their soulmates that night.

But for this moment, for Dan and Phil, everything was perfect.

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