The first time it happens is on Dan’s first birthday after the breakup.
Things are pretty tense, still, between he and Phil, but Bryony invites them down to London for the weekend, and they decide to go. It’s Dan’s birthday, after all.
Dan comes over in the morning, his bag already packed. Phil gives Dan an awkward happy birthday hug at the door that goes on a fraction of a second too long.
Phil is nowhere near ready to go yet, so Dan sits and waits for him on the couch, sipping the coffee Phil makes for him and being weirdly silent. Phil doesn't blame him.
Birthdays are still a touchy subject for both of them. When they were together, they went all out for each other’s birthdays. Phil especially.
Who could have blamed him, he thinks, stuffing three clean pairs of boxers into the Totoro bag he has open on his bed.
Birthdays used to be an excuse to lavish preposterous levels of affection onto the boy that, he’d thought at the time, was the love of his life.
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