“D-Dan?” A familiar voice stuttered, arms grasping onto my shoulders, shaking me out of my slumber, “Dan where are we? What happened last night?”
I rubbed my eyes and slowly adjusted them to the dim lighting of wherever we were. Phil was there, that was for certain, but our surroundings had completely changed. Instead of being in the bright house of Louise, welcomed by party balloons, rainbow streamers, and the laughter of gleeful guests, we were somewhere dark and grim. The air had a sort of sourness to it, almost like my musty basement back home. I tried to sit up to get a better view but, I started rocking back and forth gently, the chinking of metal echoing in the chasm of wherever we were. I realized then what I was in, and a quick glance around at the lengthy shadows casted on the metal bottom of this prison confirmed my fear. We were in a little cell that was suspended mid air. How high up, I didn’t want to find out, so I pushed myself all the way up into a sitting position and kept my focus on my friend, who was imprisoned in this airborne hell with me. He was worse for wear to say the least. A plum colored bruise was blooming under his left eye, making the lid swell slightly. There was something darkening his collar bone, whether it was a bruise or blood, I couldn’t make out in this lighting. Blood caked his lips, framing a strained smile that he attempted to pull. That spork, it clearly made him tense up with pain, but he still tried to do anything to be an adorable little boy, clinging onto hope that everything was going to be alright. I frowned at all the damage he had taken, holding the side of his face in my own hand. It felt soft, but the bruise had created a spot that felt a little more muscular and tender, Phil tensing up at any slight brush of my fingertips against it.
“Does it hurt a lot?” I asked gently, still holding the side of his face to examine it, “Your eye looks okay on the inside, but it’s a little bit bruised underneath. I wish we had some ice in here, damn these kidnappers. I swear to god if they try to hurt you again, I’ll beat their f***ing faces in. You’re a little kitten and they beat the s*** out of you. I wish I could’ve protected you. I promise I will keep you safe from this point on, or I’ll let them take me instead.”
Phil’s expression became worrisome, blue eyes igniting with fear. He stared at me like a dear in headlights, not making a sound. I tilted my head to the side but remained silent like he, only hearing the echo of a few faint voices from the chasm below. He started to tremble, a single drop of water sliding slowly down his cheek. With my hand I wiped it away, smiling gently at him. I had never imagined seeing Phil in a state like this, beaten and bruised, probably broken mentally as well. I didn’t ever want to have to see him be in this state, I always tried to preserve the precious kitten that I remembered back in our apartment. The way he used to smile when we watched anime together, as he curled up all comfy in his pajamas, the way he would laugh when I fell out of my chair playing Five Nights at Freddy’s, proceeding to tease me to no end about it, but most of all, the way that his happiness could never be broken, no matter what the world had in store for him. It had been my dream to someday act like that, to be just like he had been, but now I realized, maybe that had all been an illusion.
“Phil, it’s okay.” I cooed, sounding like a mother to her child, “We have each other still, right? Even though we’re trapped, at least we’re trapped together. You’re the only person I’d love to be stuck anywhere with.”
“No, it’s not that Dan.” He sniffled, rubbing his eyes with the sleeves of his blue and black star printed jumper, “They said that, we’re not going to leave here alive. They said they’re going to kill us Dan, kill us both together. I, I have no idea why, but we’re not going to live past tonight. Today is when we die. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry Dan.”
This took the breath out of my lungs, the beat out of my heart, and the soul out of my body. I had never actually though that this would be where it would end, in a small cage, in a dark chasm, with the boy I had hoped to kiss just once, to love, to call my own and to never let go. It made me feel emptier inside than I ever had been, sicker than I’d even fallen ill, and even more soulless than some haters believe me to be. Though how much I hoped that this didn’t have to end, it was going to, and there was no way to escape. The bars were too thin to squeeze through and, even if they weren’t, I’d just plummet into the darkness until I met the ground, and was no more. I tried thinking, looking around the shadowed crevices and rusted bars but there was nothing that could benefit us for an escape. At this point, my emotions finally reached my body, and I began to feel tears fall on my hands. Warm and wet they began to cover them, coating them in a thin layer of water, glimmering like glass. I felt soft skin against my hand, and looked up to see Phil giggling. He had a hand gently placed on my two that were clasped together, sliding it gently across my fingers sweetly.
“Silly.” He booped my nose, smiling, “Why do we need to be sad about it? We’re going to be together, and we can have some fun before tonight. I know you still have that notebook from last night, and there are other cages with everyone who was at the party in them, so let’s make paper airplanes and fly them through the bars! We can write cute messages to everyone on them! I have the marker that we did are cat whiskers with for the first Phil is Not on Fire, so we can write it with that!”
“How the hell can I say no to that idea?” I smiled, wiping the tears away with my own black jumper. “Sure. Do you know where everyone is in these cages?”
“To the right of us is Louise.” Phil pointed at a cage to the right of ours, blonde hair shining visibly through the bars. “To the left are Zoe and Alfie. Straight ahead are Felix and Marzia, and behind us is Cat.”
“So, basically everybody at the party last night?”
“Exactly so.” Phil smiled. “Now, get out that notebook Dan!”
I pulled out a small, black notebook out of the back pocket of my jeans. The cover was a little worse for wear, cardboard isn’t really something that’s meant to be sat on repeatedly, but the pages on the inside were perfectly intact. They were smaller, since this notebook was pocket sized, but it would make it easier to slip through the bars. I handed it to Phil, who started drawing some cat whiskers. Around them he wrote, ‘Pie isn’t good enough to match your sweetness, Marzia’. He handed it to me and started writing another one, so I folded it into the shape of a small paper plane and flew it straight ahead. The girl squeaked for a second, but then started giggling and almost, crying it seemed. Through the bars, I could see her smiling and holding the paper close to her chest, probably the last little bit of happiness she’d ever get in her life. She leaned over and kissed Felix, as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Phil passed me another sheet of paper and pointed towards Louise. This time, without reading it, I folded it and just threw it, repeating the process for every other person. I had seen the lines of cat whiskers bleed through to the other side of every paper, which I thought was super cute. As I looked around, I saw everyone smiling to themselves, whispering things I couldn’t hear, and crying tears of pure joy. I turned to Phil, who was smiling from ear to ear, looking at me with eyes of accomplishment. I smiled back at him, taking the notebook and marker, placing them at the edge of the cage, so we had a little room to stretch our legs. Two over six foot tall boys really needed a bigger cell but, I don’t think they were really accounting for our comfort when they imprisoned us here. I placed my hand behind my side to stretch out, but I accidentally ended up placing it on top of Phil’s own hand. I recoiled quickly, feeling heat rise gently to my cheeks. A light dusting of red appeared on his face, but the smile grew if anything, slightly bigger. The rocking of the cage seemed to be lulling my friend into a daze, for he kept bowing his head down and snapping awake suddenly. I patted the cold metal beside me, and he laid his head down to get some sleep. At first it seemed that his breathing wouldn’t steady, but eventually it did, and without awaking him, I placed a little kiss on the tip of his nose. I grabbed the notebook and sharpie and sat it in my lap, beginning to write a note to my sleeping kitten. I knew that he’d never get to read it, but it made me feel better to actually have my feelings for him written down in the pen that began our legacy together. It brought back memories, too many to recount, but many smiles and laughs played through my head, the many moments of Dan and Phil. I thought about our fans for a moment, what would they do without us? I didn’t want them to worry at all, there was no reason they should worry, so I scribbled a little tiny note at the bottom of my love letter, folding it up into a small square and tucking it into my jeans pocket. All that there was left to do now was wait. I felt a slight shiver creep up the back of my neck, and in an instant I knew what to do. I took Phil’s arms and wrapped them around my body, him instantly engulfing me in a warm, snuggly hug. I nuzzled my face up to his chest, a bright, enlightening feeling bloomed from inside, making my whole frame shiver from the light it brought. It took its sunlit fingers and pulled up the corners of my mouth, causing me to smile as I shut my eyes, breathing out a sigh of relief. I finally recognized this feeling, but it had been only this pure and true many a year ago, when I first saw the light of the sun reflected in Phil’s eyes, on the first day we knew each other in person. As my mind drifted into the darkness, the word for it finally reached my mind.
“We’re here at your last stop.” A booming voice called, loud helicopter noises coming from above, “Wake up and stand at the edge of the cage.”
I shook sleeping Phil awake, who seemed startled, but then realized quickly where we were, the blue in his eyes dulling. As I helped him stand up, his hands were trembling, but I held them tight in my own, not ever wanting to let go. He smiled, the blood almost completely gone from his face. I wiped the rest away with my sleeve, and then smiled myself.
“I need just one last signature Phil smile.” I laughed, “Without the blood, of course.”
He laughed but stopped as soon as he saw where we were. The clouds around us were gorgeous, a pure white in this blue toned sky. The sun illuminated us gracefully, letting us bask one last time in its golden glow. I kept one hand intertwined with his, looking at him, in his state of fear.
“If we’re gonna fall,” I stepped off of the edge with Phil, not letting go despite the wind, “At least we’ll be falling in love.”
With that I pulled his face towards mine and kissed him, a soft, gentle kiss, to be my last parting gift to him from this world. It seemed to last for an eternity and then some, his lips pulsing gently against mine. The ground was approaching rapidly, but I managed to say what I wanted before we were to meet our end.
“I love you.” I smiled, letting go of his face and holding his hand tight, not once losing my gaze with his eyes.
He opened his mouth to try and say something, and maybe he did, but I wouldn’t ever get to find out, because that was the moment I felt the pain in my head, and the world fading from my very grasp. But there was one thing to keep me together, to not cry in my time of death.
And he was my love that I never got to love in life.
Only a few days after the bodies were discovered, Adrian stood before all the mourners, steadying him at the pedestal of which he was to make his speech. He smoothed out a piece of paper before him, clearing his throat to signify the beginning of his words of his brother and his brother’s best friend, both of whom he loved equally. They had both been good to Adrian for the longest time, and now it was time to repay them with a proper send off.
“My brother wasn’t one who was very good at expressing his emotions to other people directly.” He laughed, and so did the guests, “He usually did it through a screen, a live chat, or a direct message to a certain someone on the internet. He knew who he wanted to be like the moment he first met him online. He wanted to be as amazing as Phil. Phil knew that my brother had potential to be something great, if not more amazing than him, so he pushed him to make his own YouTube channel. Though my brother may not have been proud all the time with his work, there is no doubt that he inspired a group of fans that will dearly, forever miss the love and laughter he had that lit up this world. Phil was a second brother to me almost, though I barely got to meet him in person. Whenever Dan would Skype me back home, Phil would always come and join in on our conversations, no matter how random they may have been. He would make my brother smile in the blink of an eye. Something that I knew was very hard for him to do when Phil wasn’t there to comfort him. I owe a lot to him, for keeping my brother happy and safe, loved and dreaming, the Dan that I remembered from my childhood. And that’s something I never got to say to him.”
He looked over at the one coffin, sniffling a little bit. He took a little handkerchief and dabbed at the edges of his eyes, placing it gently in his jacket pocket before continuing.
“The coroner said that even as they lay dying, they were both smiling, happy as ever.” His voice cracked, fighting back sobs by the second, “And even in that time, they never let go of each other, as they are going to be buried, fingers laced together. But, as the coroner inspected the outfit that Dan was wearing, he discovered this piece of paper that is before me on this stand.”
He held up a simple sheet of paper, a pair of cat whiskers in the middle, and words around it, in a very creative way. Some were big, others were small, but they formed the outline of a heart around the whiskers. Adrian hadn’t known that Dan had a sentimental side to him, and his lip quivered at the very showing it to the crowd.
“He wanted this to be read here today, as we’re all gathered together.” He placed it back on the stand, inhaling a deep breath of air, to begin reading it. “Falling in love isn’t just about you. It’s about the one you fall for, in my case, who has a smile of sunshine, to lighten up even the darkest night. Who gave me the wings I needed to finally be free and take flight. Who’s sleeping beside me, curled up in this cramped, little cell, yet makes it a heaven for me, instead of a small slice of hell. Who listened when I talked to him, like a wise owl in a tree, except he kept silent, watching me with sweet eyes like the sea. Who found a way to make me smile, no matter the cost, and grabbed me gently by the hand, when in the woods we were lost. Who drew whiskers on my face, for many a year, who I missed dearly, even when he was still near. Who supported me when I thought that I couldn’t take much more, whilst showing me the way out isn’t always a simple door. Who I will never get to call my sweetheart, and grow old with in my arms, who I can’t protect from these people by which he’s already been harmed. If there’s one thing that I get to say to him before I die, it would be I love you, more than the bright blue sky. Thank you for being my little sunshine, for helping me to heal. Now I will make this a lot easier, so it isn’t as big of a deal. You’ve protected me and now I’m going to show you my love. As we soar through the air in the sky above. I’ll take your lips and press them against mine. And I’ll make sure, my love, our fingers remain forever intertwined.”
Adrian thanked everyone and stumbled off the stage, running to the bathroom. As he looked in the mirror, after splashing water on his face, he could’ve sworn he saw something. Out of the corner of his eye, in the mirror’s reflection, it was his brother and his love, waving goodbye without unlacing their fingers. With a simple few blinks they were gone, but he swore he would never tell anyone, and keep it between him, Dan, and Phil. It was now time for the bodies to be buried, under a headstone that the fans had donated a lot of money for. There was a sunny, cloudy sky carved into it, and two figures standing on the top of it, angel wings on their backs, but fingers still laced. One’s hair was parted to the left whilst the other’s was parted to the right. Adrian couldn’t help but smile to him as the coffin was lowered and the dirt was shoveled. He took the flower that he had found by the very spot Dan and Phil first stood together, lost in each other’s eyes. It was a simple lily, pure and white, but it meant so much to him, and he thought they would appreciate it. As he looked at his brother’s grave, he thought about how he wanted to be just like him, to love someone that much.
To have the guts to fall in love.
Falling in Love
“D-Dan?” A familiar voice stuttered, arms grasping onto my shoulders, shaking me out of my slumber, “Dan where are we? What happened last night?”