Categories > Original > Drama2 Reviews
PHAN. Dan is a hamster. No; he's a lion.
The little cub growls softly, it’s pale tufts of fur making it look far more innocent than the killer that nature intends for it to be. People coax it with soft voices and calm chuckles; like parents persuading a child to get into the pool for the first time.
And then it happens. The tiniest, most-adorable little roar to ever exist on the internet. If I couldn’t see that it’s a lion cub I guess I would think that it’s just an average tabby cat purring into a microphone, but it isn’t; it’s a wild beast, something that should be able to create the most majestic sound known to the Earth.
Yet here it is, sounding like it’s struggling to choke out a meow. And it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever laid eyes upon, other than Dan of course. Not that he knows that I think that, because I don’t; not in the way that you’re probably thinking, anyway. In a kind of platonic way, like a girl thinks a hamster’s cute.
I guess in a way, Dan is my pet hamster; I feed him, look after him and, when he’ll let me, I stroke him whilst we watch Doctor Who. Just like a hamster.
Like I said; platonic Hamster Love. Not, I-Want-To-Take-His-Innocence-Behind-The-Bins kind of love. The stroking’s platonic too, just a little gesture of comfort for when I need to top-up my endless craving for affection and/or Dan is low enough to need someone to huggle him, to treat him like he matters.
We’re best friends; Hamster Love is what we’re here for.
Which is why I’m showing Dan this video, the one of the baby lion showing the world his ‘best roar’. It made me smile no-end when I first saw it and I think Dan needs that right now, needs to see something that’ll make him smile like an idiot who doesn’t know exactly what he’s smiling for, just that it feels good inside.
Why does Dan need to see this and smile? Because he hasn’t been smiling a lot lately. All because some people have been putting nasty comments on his videos, the kind of comments that made me find him in a state of so-called ‘existential-crisis’ when I got home the other night. He hasn’t made a video since, no matter how much I’ve tried to get him to, and that hurts me as much as the comments have clearly hurt him; making videos is what Dan loves doing most and the fact that he’s letting other people force him out of it makes me sad. Because I want him to be happy.
Because he’s my hamster.
“Very cute, Phil.”
I look up from the floor at the sound of his dry drawl, to see that the short clip of the baby lion cub has ended. Dan’s not smiling, not really, but that’s okay; getting him to smile was only half of the plan anyway.
The other half? Well, I’m making it up as I go along and praying to Totoro that it works; that it gets Dan making his funny little YouTube videos again. Like he should be.
“Yeah.” I mumble, shutting the laptop away and placing a hand on Dan’s knee so that he can’t get away. He glances awkwardly at my hand as though he half expects it to turn into a snake before falling into the back of the sofa; resigned and defeated, aware that yet another ‘Make-a-Video’ lecture is on it’s way. “Amazingly cute.”
“Look, where’s this going, Phil?” He sounds frustrated, maybe even a little bit angry. But not with me; more like with himself. “You’ve only spoken to me about uploading in the last few days. So go on, I’m ready for the shit storm.”
I wince, the spitting spite cutting right through me, not expecting to hear Dan so hostile. But I take one look at his face and I just can’t bring myself to blame him for it; his bottom lip looks sore from having been chewed through nervous habit a little too much and his eyes are drenched in great black hoods, signifying a blatant lack of sleep.
He’s not been uploading and it’s killing him inside. Because it’s taken away his purpose, his dreams for the future. All because he cares too much about people who care too little.
He tosses his head to the side, refusing to meet my gaze and because I’m his bestest friend in the whole horrible world, I instantly know why; he’s scared that he’s going to start crying in front of me. Again. Just like every night since the snide comments wormed their way into his once-bright soul and ate away at his heart. Instead of making him face me, I think that’d just be plain cruel, I drape an arm around his shoulder; pull him in close and sigh as he sniffles.
He’s my hamster and he desperately needs some Hamster Love. Now more than ever.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap.” His voice is meek, so un-Dan-like that it’s like poison in my ears. “It’s just. You know what it is.”
“Yeah.” I sigh, rubbing my hand over his back as his breathing shallows; a sure sign of near-tears. “I know. And me trying to get you to upload again isn’t a shit storm, thanks. It’s me trying to be a good best friend.”
“But I’ve already told you, Philip.” The frustration is back again but instead of making me back off, it just makes me hold him tighter. “I quit YouTube. I’m done. The End. Fin.”
And he’s crying.
Sobbing into my top like a toddler wailing over a burst balloon. Maybe this wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t know the reason for his tears, but I do so it does; people, no. Monsters, have forced him to view his dream as a ridiculous fallacy, as something that can’t possibly happen. As something that the world doesn’t want to happen. Dan’s said it before; he’s far too sensitive for his profession. But never did I think that it would be exploited like this.
Never did I think that I’d be holding a sobbing Dan Howell, normally the most level-headed out of the two of us, and trying to think of a way to give him his hope back. It’s like when he left university and thought his life would go nowhere, but worse. That time was bad enough, with him keening on the kitchen floor and me offering him some chocolate, but this is even more apocalyptic than that was. Because YouTube is something that he actually cares about and wants; law wasn’t.
“Don’t let them to do this to you, Danosaur. Please, don’t let them win.” I whisper into his ear, his tears soaking through my top like a relentless tirade of bullets. “Don’t let them take away your roar.”
“My roar?” He blinks up at me, eyes huge and red-rimmed as he hiccups over a caught sob. I pat his back, making parental hushing sounds as he swallows past it. “Is that why you showed me the video? Because, let’s be honest, you showed me it for a reason. I know you did, even if you don’t.”
I love the way he sounds so sure of himself even though he’s crumbling, like he knows everything because, for all intents and purposes, he does. He knows everything about me, anyway. More than I do apparently because yeah, I did show him that video of the roaring cub for a reason even if I only just now know what that reason was.
My thoughts are scrambled when he nuzzles his face into my chest; ear flush against me as though listening for the steadily soothing lullaby of my beating heart. He just does that sometimes. I asked him about it once, and he just responded by telling me that he likes to know I’m definitely here; that this is all real and I’m here with him. Some people might see that as silly or weak or whatever, but not me.
Just like he understands when I need to look after him, fuss over him or baby him. It makes me feel useful because if I’m taking care of someone as special as Dan then my life must be worth at least a little something to someone, even if that someone is my best friend.
My metaphorical hamster.
I had a hamster as a kid, called Champ. My mum got him for me when I turned fifteen, to help me deal with exam stress. Like, looking after Champ took my mind off of things for a bit and whenever I got a bad mark I didn’t feel completely useless because Champ depended on me and he was still doing alright.
Dan is Champ. And I’m not about to let him die, not like Champ did; he got sucked up by the vacuum cleaner after escaping. I won’t let the stupid YouTube trolls be the vacuum that takes my hamster away.
Not this time.
“So what is it then?” He asks, sounding as painfully exhausted as he looks. “The purpose of showing me this video, I mean.”
“That little lion is, metaphorically, you.” He nods, letting me know that I haven’t lost him yet. Good. “He’s cute and fluffy and he has people who love him very much. Like you.” Another nod, this time with slightly raised eyebrows. “So what if his roar is a little different? It’s still a roar and most people, the people who matter, love him for it. Sure, some people laugh at him but he still does it; still does his roar because that’s what he’s made to do.” He blinks, a small smile flowering onto his face. “You are the little lion with the different roar.”
All of a sudden, without any kind of warning, Dan jumps up and grabs the video camera from the table; an indescribably perfect look of determination painted on his face.
“Where you going?” I ask, smiling at him and hoping that my unplanned plan has somehow worked.
A/N: If you want to see the video Phil was showing Dan, here’s a link I got from Phil’s Facebook page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBjKntYuUIk
Part ‘R’ of my Alphabet Challenge; hope you like it and please let me know what you think! :)
P.S. If you want to see my attempt at vlogging and my views on what should be trending on Twitter (but not really), click here -----> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAh51vVpOvs&feature=g-upl