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.

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2. You Only Have a First Meeting Once | Phil

A/N: #I'MBACKBOTCHES (intentional mispelling, it's an inside joke)
I am so, SO sorry this took so long! ;u; Please forgive me, guys, but I had some trouble with this one. But here it is, so I hope it didn't turn out too badly XD As I've said, me be new to the whole romance-writing thing XD
If you enjoy this series, I suggest you read the 00:00 stories with this link: http://archiveofourown.org/series/386026
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*
I hope you enjoy! :D

 

~~~

 

Another party for the prince – wonderful.

Phil was nervous – he was incredibly nervous, and nothing was really helping. He wasn’t exactly one for wine, so he couldn’t even rely on that to calm his nerves. So, instead, he hung around with his older brother, Martyn, who was completely in his element.

One might be asking how on Earth he got so lucky – this was his third time at the Palace in his lifetime. Usually it was only the higher-class noble families that got to see the palace this many times, not Phil’s lower-class noble family. But in this life and in this case, he’d take whatever he could get.

This party in particular was a very special party – the prince’s sixteenth birthday. The prince in question was “His Highness Prince Mark Fischbach”, as Phil’s mother put it, the second son of the late king. In the hopes that the prince would finally meet his soulmate, they’d arranged a party that would surely last well into the morning hours.

Phil and his family had only been at the party for a few hours, and he was already tired. He just wanted this party to be over so he could leave. But once he’d made the decision to stick with Martyn, he was never let out of his older brother’s sight.

Knowing Phil, he’d probably touch something glass and it would break. He wasn’t exactly the luckiest person in the world. But, having a naturally positive outlook on life, he’d learned to accept that – after all, somebody had to be clumsy so that the really important people could be graceful.

Like Prince Mark – now that was a graceful person if he ever saw one. He seemed to glide across the room as he flitted from person to person. It also helped that he was extremely handsome, making every lady that ever lay eyes on him swoon.

But as midnight drew near, he noticed that every lady near him seemed to turn away and ignore him. It wasn’t exactly surprising, as it was well-known that the Prince’s tattoo said 00:00, for midnight.

Phil, on the other hand, was so clumsy he couldn’t get a round number. Instead, he’d gotten 23:59, the minute before midnight. But, like his clumsiness, he figured that somebody had to get the uneven numbers. He had met the prince, and he was very kind, so he deserved midnight as his tattoo – it was special.

People were still streaming through the doorways, so during a break from talking to people as Martyn drank another glass of wine, he looked up at the door to see if he recognised anybody walking in. And his eyes immediately landed on one boy in particular, and then he couldn’t look away.

He, in a word, was mesmerising. He had this look about him, like he was meant for something more than just parties – in fact, he looked uncomfortable just being in the room. Phil couldn’t see him very well from the distance, but he wanted to talk to him, even if it was just a simple “hello”.

But life forced him to tear his eyes away, because then his brother swung him around to talk to some people they hadn’t seen in some three years. So, he put a smile on his face and nodded along with the conversation, occasionally inputting to it.

This lasted for hours as he lost sight of the boy. Suddenly, the conversation was cut short by whispers of the prince.

“Five minutes, darling!”

“Only a little while longer, and you get to meet the prince!

“Soon, my daughter, soon.”

Five minutes. That meant that Phil’s time was coming, too. Subconsciously, he rubbed his wrist as he looked around, not sure what he was looking for.

But then his eyes fell on that boy again, surprised that he wasn’t actually too far away from them. He could see the boy in more detail: tanned skin, brown hair and eyes, and he looked a fair bit younger than Phil himself, and he was very handsome.. The boy looked like he was hanging close to his mother, and constantly looked at the ground, like he didn’t really want to be there at all.

But he had to look away again as Martyn dragged him into more conversation. But it was only a few minutes later that everything changed.

“Is that you, Martyn?” a woman’s voice called out over the noise, and Martyn looked over, and laughed. Phil looked over, too “It is!” the woman exclaimed. “Come over here!”

Martyn excused himself from the man he was talking to, and he slung an arm over Phil’s shoulders and practically dragged him over to the lady and the brown-eyed boy. It was probably Martyn’s firm arm that stopped Phil from running over himself.

When they reached them, Martyn reached down to take the woman’s hand and gently kissed her knuckles. “My lady Howell,” he said. “It’s so good to see you again. You’re looking well.”

Howell. Phil recognised the surname. It was one of the higher-class noble bloodlines, the same class as the McLoughlin family, as an example. This was unlike Phil’s family, the Lester family, which was one of the lower-class noble families. It seemed highly unlikely that the Howell family would ever consider having one of their blood marry someone from the Lester family, because of the difference in rank.

But he did remember Lady Howell and her husband, they were somehow good friends with Phil and Martyn’s parents, so who knows – it could be possible.

Lady Howell smiled. “Why, thank you, dear,” she said. “You’re still so charming.”

Martyn gestured to Phil, bringing him back down to Earth.

“You remember my younger brother Phil, don’t you?” he asked, and Phil couldn’t help but grin. Very few people actually called him Phil.

Lady Howell gasped, and her eyes widened as she studied Phil. “Phillip?” she asked, surprise clear in her voice, before she composed herself slightly. “My, my, you’ve gotten handsome, haven’t you?”

Lady Howell, still the charming lady she’d always been.

Phil bowed his head politely. “It’s an honour to see you again, my lady.” He straightened up with what he hoped was a charming smile.

Lady Howell touched her son’s shoulder, saying, “This is my son, Daniel. I don’t think you’ve met?” She looked over at him, and he shook his head slightly. She tutted quietly, looking back at Phil and Martyn. “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.

Phil took this opportunity to study the boy, Daniel, or Dan. The name fitted him, he seemed to look like a Daniel – even though it is said that all people grow into their names eventually. Dan’s eyes were even more stunning up close, like the colour of the chocolate they served as dessert, and his hair was the exact same. His face was clear from any marks, and looked completely smooth. He was completely stunning.

Phil managed to move, holding out his hand. “Well,” he began, still smiling. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dan.”

Dan shook Phil’s hand, somewhat awkwardly – did he prefer his left hand over his right? – as he replied quietly, “You too.”

Even in those two words, Phil already loved Dan’s voice. He could listen to that voice forever.

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

Phil took his hand back and, albeit reluctantly, turned to smile at her instead. “I am now nineteen years old, my lady,” he replied politely. “And please, call me Phil.

Then a bell tolled.

The bell tolled twelve times.

Midnight.

Phil’s heart skipped a beat and his eyes widened slightly as he had a sudden realisation. It was midnight now, 00:00, meaning that 23:59, the time that he would meet his soulmate, had just passed. And now Phil couldn’t tear his eyes away from the gorgeous brown-eyed boy in front of him. Was it possible?

It was definitely possible, he knew that. And he’d always looked on the bright side of life.

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

He heard whispers all around him, all of them questioning 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, pulling Phil back down to reality. “I haven’t seen Prince Mark in quite a while, he’s vanished.” Now that Phil thought about it, he hadn’t seen the prince for a while either – but then again, he’d been much to captivated by the boy in front of him to notice anything else.

“What a shame,” Lady Howell sighed. “It will be a fine day for the kingdom when he meets his soulmate.”

“Then again,” Dan piped up, and Phil found himself listening to every word, every tiny little sound. Dan’s accent was English, like Phil’s own, but was much more articulate and well-practised. He seemed to look uncomfortable as the attention of the small group turned to him, but he continued. “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?” Dan finished, and he seemed to shrink back into his mother again, and Phil smiled at his burst of confidence.

“Yes, you’re right,” he said brightly. “And first meetings are very important.” Dan nodded his agreement, with a slight smile. This look alone made Phil’s heart beat twice as fast.

Dan’s mother was looking at her son with astonishment for a few seconds, but composed herself quickly enough. “Yes you’re quite 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.”

Sixteen years… Phil thought grimly. It was this reason that he was glad he was a lesser noble, so he didn’t have to deal with this all the time.

Martyn nodded as well, before striking up another conversation with Lady Howell, wanting to catch up after so many years of not seeing each other. The two seemed to get along well, leaving Dan and Phil in a strange silence. Phil tried his best to look comfortable, but somehow he knew that Dan wasn’t so.

“Not one for parties, Dan?” Phil found himself asking, and Dan shook his head, remaining silent. Phil smiled again. “Or talking, I see. Honestly, I think you should talk more, I like your voice. It’s very unique.” Phil didn’t exactly know why he was spilling the truth out to this boy, but he felt he couldn’t stop.

He noticed Dan blushed slightly and tugged at the cuff of his left sleeve, pulling it to cover his hand slightly. “I just never know what I should say in these situations, is all,” he replied quietly. Phil’s head tilted to the side out of confusion.

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

“I just hate social situations, okay?” Dan sighed, and Phil raised his eyebrows, slightly taken aback. Dan blushed again, more prominently this time, and Phil’s heart raced again. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, I just…” he trailed off, and looked down.

Phil shook his head, smiling. “It’s okay, I understand,” he said, wanting to help this boy feel more comfortable around him. “You don’t have to worry about it with me, I promise.”

Dan looked back up, a wider smile on his face. “Thanks.”

Phil glanced over at Lady Howell and his brother, only to see them still talking and laughing, completely oblivious to the two boys. He looked 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, but didn’t turn down the request, making Phil grin.

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

Dan smiled again, already nodding. “Of course,” he replied, and Phil’s heart soared.

“That’s good.” Still grinning, he grabbed Dan’s hand and gently pulled him in the direction of the big double doors that announced the ballroom. He leaned into Dan, speaking quietly, under the noise of the crowd. “Stay close, I wouldn’t want you to get lost.” Then he let go of Dan’s hand and began to weave in and out of the crowd towards the doors.

As soon as he let go, he regretted it – the warmth of his hand was amazing, even though he only held it for a moment. But he missed its warmth immediately. But he tried to ignore the heat rushing to his face as he made sure Dan was close behind him as they went, apologising to the people he bumped into.

Soon enough they reached the corridor, and Dan sighed with relief. It felt a lot better out here, with no people crowding them. They slowed to a more casual stroll.

Phil looked sideways at Dan with a small smile. “Better?” he asked.

Dan smiled up at him, and Phil wanted to look at that smile forever. “Much, thank you,” Dan replied, his voice slightly louder with less people listening to him.

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

Dan blushed adorably, but quickly looked away. “I’m sorry I’m troubling you,” he muttered.

This made Phil laugh, and Dan looked over at him with confusion written all over his face. “You’re not troubling me at all,” Phil said honestly. “I actually really like you, Dan.”

Why did I say that, why did I say that out loud oh no… Phil’s thoughts ran wild, but he told them to get a room – he didn’t want to regret anything around Dan.

Dan looked away again, mumbling a thank-you and rubbing his left wrist. Phil smiled, and they fell into a comfortable silence as they walked. Dan followed after Phil as they rounded corners of the magnificent halls, adorned with gold decorations and red carpets. Phil continued to remember the directions as they walked, like he knew that he’d need to remember it. Then he saw the final turn, and he grinned.

He instinctually reached back to grab Dan’s hand again, feeling him jump. “Come on,” Phil said, and dragged him around the corner and through the door he knew would be in the side of the wall, and out into a luscious green garden. There were candle lamps bolted into the wall on either side of the door, giving them a little bit of light. He saw Dan smile, and Phil closed the door behind them.

But then Dan tensed up, slightly alarming Phil. “Dan?” he asked, worried. “Are you okay?”

“I… I, um…” Dan stuttered.

Phil turned and placed his hands gently on Dan’s shoulders, trying to calm him down. “What’s the matter?” he asked softly. Dan didn’t answer, he just looked down. Was he embarrassed? Then it hit him, and Phil’s hands slid down Dan’s arms slightly. “Are you afraid of the dark, Dan?”

“Yes. I am.” Dan admitted, his voice barely above a whisper, confirming that he was probably embarrassed of this.

Phil was silent for a few seconds as he took in the quiet, insecure boy in front of him. He was so delicate, like one wrong move might shatter him into pieces. He felt a sudden urge to hug Dan, to protect him from whatever might be hiding in the darkness he feared, but he restrained himself. He settled for gently tilting the boy’s head up, and Dan looked into his eyes. He saw fear and worry and embarrassment, and he wanted to make sure Dan never felt them again.

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

Dan smiled a little, and Phil forced himself to take his hands away. “Follow me,” he whispered, turning to walk away, but he hadn’t taken a single step before Dan grabbed his wrist, surprising him. He turned back. “What is it?” he asked.

Dan went red and loosened his grip, looking down again “Ca- can you…” Dan stuttered. “C-can I, I mean, I-I’m sorry, I’m such a mess…” he trailed off.

Phil smiled and slid his hand into Dan’s, slowly and gently lacing their fingers together, Dan making no move to stop him. “I won’t let go if you don’t want me to,” Phil said.

Dan shook his head. “Don’t,” he whispered, so quietly Phil almost didn’t hear him.

Phil gently pulled at Dan’s hand. “Do you still want to come?” he asked, and he pulled the boy closer to him when he nodded. “I’ll be right here,” Phil promised, and Dan smiled.

They began walking into the garden, Phil only slightly in front of Dan, leading him. He never let go of the boy’s hand, and he could feel Dan trying not to jump at every rustle from the bushes. But he never stopped walking, and so they continued in a comfortable silence.

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

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

Dan fell into silence again, and Phil allowed it for a little while as he pondered how to ask the question that had been bugging him for a while.

 “Dan Howell,” the boy finally replied. “And it’s a pleasure to meet you too, Phil.” This made Phil smile himself.

Phil slowed a bit so he could fall into step beside Dan. “Can I ask my question now?” Dan nodded, and Phil noticed that his free hand was playing with the cuff of his shirt again. Phil gestured to it as he asked, “Why do you keep playing with your sleeve?”

Dan blushed again, and Phil’s heart skipped a beat. “I guess it’s a nervous habit,” Dan mumbled after a moment of silence.

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

He wanted to hit himself. You idiot, Phil! Why did you ask that?!

But Dan was nodding, and then he sighed. “It is my tattoo,” he admitted. “I’m such a mess I have the most awkward time, and it’s kind of embarrassing, I guess.”

Phil relaxed, and laughed happily. “I thought I was the only person on Earth with a time like that,” he replied 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.”

“I’d never thought of it like that,” Dan mumbled, and Phil looked over to see a small smile on his face.

Phil shrugged. “What can I say? I like to look on the bright side of life,” he said cheerfully.

But something compelled him to stop walking, ad he felt Dan bump into his side. It was now or never, for if he put this off any longer, he would probably never know.

“Are you alright?” Dan asked, and Phil’s grip on his hand tightened for a second.

He turned around with a smile. He reached down to take Dan’s other hand. “May I?” he asked. Dan went red as he nodded, looking down at the lush green grass they had been walking on.

Phil brought up Dan’s left hand, palm up, and the shirt sleeve slid down his wrist slightly, revealing black ink marks. Phil closed his eyes for a moment, praying for the world to give him this one little piece of happiness in his life. He felt like he needed this. So Phil pulled his other hand out of Dan’s grip and gently pushed Dan’s sleeve back so he could see the full tattoo.

Phil froze as he saw what the tattoo was, and his heart stopped for a moment. He wanted to yell in victory, for Dan’s tattoo perfectly matched his own, with the same time in the same swirling cursive. Phil’s fingers gently traced the black lines, his fingertips barely touching the skin. Phil had waited over nineteen long and seemingly endless years for this. And he felt the happiest that he’d ever been in his life.

Phil took his hand away from Dan’s wrist and instead moved it to cup the younger boy’s cheek, tilting his head up, and because he couldn’t stand it any longer, he gently leaned in to press his lips to Dan’s.

He felt the spark as soon as their lips met, and it stayed even after Phil pulled away after a second too short. Dan’s eyes opened, and Phil looked into that beautiful brown. He chuckled, and touched his forehead to Dan’s, his hand moving down to the boy’s neck.

“Thank goodness,” he found himself whispering. “I was scared that your tattoo wouldn’t match mine. I was so scared, because that would have hurt more than anything.” He had a sudden, terrifying thought and he stopped. “Is this okay, Dan?”

Dan reached up and took Phil’s hand away from his face, and studied Phil’s tattoo, and then brought up his own wrist and put them together. Dan sighed, smiling, and let go of Phil’s wrist, which Phil brought up to run through Dan’s soft hair.

“This is perfect,” Dan answered, surprising Phil by putting his hands up around Phil’s neck and pulling their lips together again. Phil wrapped his free hand around Dan’s waist as he returned the kiss, and Dan’s fingers ran through Phil’s hair. Phil pulled Dan as close to him as he possible could, and Dan obliged.

When Phil felt himself getting slightly breathless, he pulled away and buried his head into the crook of Dan’s neck, his other arm going around the boy’s waist. Dan rested his head against Phil’s chest, his hands coming down to rest on Phil’s hips.

“I’m glad it’s you,” Phil mumbled into Dan’s shoulder, and he smiled when he felt him shiver. “I am so glad that it’s you, Dan,” Phil went on. “Because I don’t think anyone else would be able to replace you.”

“I guess that’s why they call us soulmates, then, isn’t it?” Dan said, and Phil chuckled and placed a chaste kiss on Dan’s shoulder. Dan giggled quietly. “To be Honest, I was drawn to you from the start,” Dan said. “You were just, there.”

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

Phil felt Dan’s fingers clutch at his shirt, so Phil lifted his head and kissed Dan’s temple, then his forehead, then his cheek, before Dan reached up and turned his head to kiss him again.

The two stayed like that, in their perfect little world, for a while. Phil felt his worries slowly draining away as he kissed Dan, and he wanted Dan’s to do the same.

The darkness shrouded them from all observing eyes, even those of the two figures that went running past them not too far away – more than two people met their soulmate this night.

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

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