Actions

Work Header

Of all the Chances, this Love happened

Chapter Text

“So…” Tin trailed off. “Is he… single?”

“Yes, he is,” Pete said. “Ae even confirmed it for me via text just now.”

“So you’re sure, right?”

Pete rolled his eyes. “Should you be asking me this, Ai Tin? You said you don’t want to know anything about Can anymore.”

Tin nodded. “I know what I said.” 

“Good.”

“Good.”

Pete only counted to ten before Tin opened his mouth again.

“So is he still single or…”

A headache formed between Pete’s eyes. “I cannot believe-”

“Look, it’s a valid question. I just want to make sure you’ve got your facts straight, Pete.”

“How can my facts be straight when I’m not, Ai Tin?”

“Did you just-”

“GO TALK TO HIM!” Pete shook Tin by the shoulders as his yelling continued. “YOU ARE THE WORST. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER. IF YOU TWO KEEP BEATING AROUND THE BUSH I’M GOING TO LOCK YOU TWO TOGETHER IN A ROOM.”

Chapter Text

Pete walks towards the IC Building. He spots Tin, sitting outside on a bench, which is not abnormal.

What is abnormal is how Tin’s eyes are following someone. His laptop is out, but his fingers are still. Pete tries to trace his line of sight and finds Can on the other side of the street, laughing and joking with other people. Tin looks like he wants to stab them.

“Oh Ai Tin, I didn’t know that you know Ai Can,” Pete says as he sits beside Tin. 

Pete watches Tin’s body language as he answers. His shoulders and back slouch, like he’s curling in on himself. The tips of Tin’s ears turn pink and Tin actually looks to the side instead of at Pete. “Let’s just say that we’ve ‘crossed paths’.”

Pete takes it all in before asking, “Was that before or after you slept with him?”

“What? How did you?”

Pete smiles. “You seem so besotted, Ai Tin. It’s refreshing.” Pete pats Tin on the shoulder before he gets up. “Also Ai Can has been shouting about how he can’t believe he lost his virginity to you at soccer practice. Bye!”

Pete turns to look after he’s walked off for a few steps to see Tin marching towards Can with a strange look on his face. Certainly Can’s going to get a repeat at this rate, Pete thinks.

Chapter Text

The first hint wasn’t really a hint but a feeling. No matter what anyone says, Pete was observant and Tin felt different.

Tin felt less cold, only by degrees, but anything less than his absolute stoicism was obvious. He walked differently, talked a little differently, like he was trying to relearn how to be a person. His gaze didn’t pierce like it used to, a manner of liveliness had returned.

Pete didn’t dislike these changes. Back before he moved, before the hurt and betrayal, Tin had been so much more open and lively. To Pete, these changes, although small, reminded him of the friend he once had. More of this could only be a good thing.

The second hint was that Can was too cheerful. Or perhaps the better word was too normal.

He begged for food, rambled and raved, and yet, Pete could see that something else was on his mind. A tight lipped Can was not likely to be a good thing. Everyone had learned their lesson with a distracted Can already.

But now it seemed like Can was making an extra effort to speak up when everyone knew he normally would. Furthermore, Can was taking extra care with his words. Pete normally had trouble following Can’s stream of consciousness, but it was much easier to follow when Can was minding his words. Like Can was making an effort to be understood.

Then Tin started checking his phone more often and smiling at it, but he refused to let Pete look. Can, who was already all smiles and boisterous energy had gained a kind of softness to him. Tin started getting calls and Pete could have sworn he heard Tin say, “Cantaloupe,” in an endearing voice. On the odd occasion that Can would “study” with Pete, Ae, and the rest of them, Pete caught Can doodling hearts in his notebook, but he’d scratch out the names inside before Pete could catch a glance.

And then before long Tin was wandering into class late, hair a mess and shirt wrinkled, but he didn’t seem to mind. Pete could have sworn that he saw Can running off a few minutes prior in a similar state, bruises blooming along his neck, a blush blooming on his face.

At the movie theater, when Ae and Pete were going to watch a new film, Pete noticed Tin and Can standing a particularly exact distance apart, but both ended up asking for a ticket to the same movie which was not one that Pete and Ae were seeing.

The numbers didn’t add up until Pete heard Tin say, “Can…taloupe,” in a mind bogglingly sweet way.

“Can. Cantaloupe,” Pete said out loud while at lunch with Ae.

“Is something wrong Pete? Do you want some cantaloupe for dessert or something?” Ae asked.

“No no, Ae. It’s fine. I just realized I have to talk to Ai Tin later about something.”

Ae made a face. “It’s so weird. I see him lurking around the soccer field more often now too.”

It felt like validation. “Thank you, Ae. I think something weird is happening too.” Ae looked concerned for a moment but Pete put on a charming smile and that was that.

That afternoon, Pete walked up to Tin, sitting on the bleachers watching the soccer practice. Tin pretended he was just staring into the distance, but Pete could see his eyes tracking movement.

“Na, Ai Tin, who are you watching?” Pete asked softly.

“Nobody in particular.” Tin’s tone was particularly gruff. Pete knew he had struck gold.

“Oh, it looks like Ai Can is doing well, isn’t he?”

“I guess it does.”

“Ai Tin, since when did you know which one Ai Can is?”

Pete watched Tin’s expression change rapidly before returning to a non-challant mask. “Oh, you could say we’ve ‘crossed paths’ before.”

Pete nodded, expression serious. “Was that before or after you slept with him?”

Tin choked on air and Pete let out an exclamation of triumph. “I knew it! I knew you two were up to something!”

Tin looked up at Pete with something akin to surprise and betrayal. “We were keep it discrete. How could you possibly tell?”

Pete gave Tin a flat, no nonsense look. “You two were so discrete you were obvious. At least Ae hasn’t noticed yet or you’d get another shovel talk.”

Tin made another face. “Are you going to tell him?”

Pete shook his head. “I’ll let you two decide that.” Pete stared out into the field. “You really like him, don’t you?”

Pete watched a small smile grow on Tin’s face. “Yeah… Yeah I really do.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes Can wasn’t sure what went on in Tin’s head. 

Tin’s plans were never straightforward at the best of times. His strange ways of alluding to things often went over Can’s head. And really, who knew what was really going on in the heads of the rich? 

Can faults himself for not expecting the same level of obtuseness from Tin’s “confession.”

“There’s no denying that I have feelings for you that can’t be explained in any other way,” Tin says. He pauses for a moment. “I briefly considered that I had a brain parasite, but that seems even more far-fetched.”

Can could only reply, “Are you sure you don’t have a brain parasite because that doesn’t make any sense!”

Tin rolled his eyes. “I like you, idiot. There’s no other reason why I could feel this way.”

Can thought about it for a moment. “So you’re sure you don’t have a brain parasite? Maybe you’re having a stroke. Or dementia.” 

Tin sighed and pulled Can in for a kiss. Can did always respond better to physical stimuli. 

Chapter Text

It’s been a year, Can realizes.

One long year filled with ups and downs with Tin.

The stories the other students tell are fantastical in nature. Tin is the Ice King of the IC Department, so cold and aloof, high above everyone and yet here his heart has melted for a Thai Program Sports Science major like Can! It is a romance that could only happen in a drama, they say. 

The reasons why range from a love spell cast by Can, to blackmail, to tales of a stolen kiss. They whisper about how it was jealousy of other friends turned lovers. They cast snide glances and call Can a gold digger. They watch the two walk by, not holding hands, but close, so close even air molecules have to squeeze between them, and wonder if they’re even together. 

But Can pays them no mind, or else Tin would be upset. A year later and Tin is still unsure of his welcome. Still worried that for all the hurts he’s caused, for all the hurts he carries, he’s not worthy of Can. But he tries so hard. Tin is the first to apologize after every fight, the first to cry in the quiet spaces they share, the first to say, “I love you.” 

Tin says it every morning when he passes Can his breakfast. Says it in the afternoon, brushing a kiss against Can’s temple as they sit together for lunch. Says it in between kisses to ice cream sweetened lips after dinner. Says it in the air between them on the weekends where they lie together on Tin’s bed.

Tin’s heart is hurt, bruised and damaged by his family. Can knows it is on the mend, it has been on the mend since the day their fates were wound together. The red thread that binds them stitches each wound shut slowly.

But that does not stop Tin from offering this wounded heart on a platter every day. Tin tears himself open, bit by bit, breaking down his walls and lets Can in. And Can gladly accepts, holds Tin close, cups his heart in his hands like it’s a fragile and precious thing, and promises to keep it safe. 

And Can would fight ten thousand mocking stares and ten thousand sneers to keep Tin’s heart safe. He would fight gladly. And Can knows he would win.

Resolution confirmed, Can runs off to find Tin. They have an anniversary to celebrate after all. The rumors about them be damned.

Chapter Text

Tin is no fool. 

He is in love, perhaps. So dangerously, madly, incandescently in love that it triggers every alarm he has developed in his brain. The walls he built to remind himself to never trust again, to never let someone in, they quake when Can is with him.

Can is already a natural disaster, but now he’s a 10 on the Richter scale. 

And it’s true, that Tin has used so many cutting words, but Can is a hurricane too. A Category 5 with winds of 130 miles per hour. What are cutting words to a storm which can only run its course? You’re more likely to be hurt shouting at the storm, and Can has given Tin his fair share of hurts. 

But what Can does care about are people. His loyalty has never faded, Tin is in awe of it most days. And it only took one moment, one chance, for Can to see what Tin had hidden away. 

Can found Tin’s broken heart, still bleeding but still loving, and decided it claim it.

Can fought and scrapped and tore away at every defense, every shackle that Tin had ever placed upon himself until he could press himself close and say, “Trust me. I’m here.”

And what could Tin do but say, “I want to trust you.”

A year later, and Tin has learned slowly that he has to trust Can. Has to throw himself into this love, this relationship 100% because Can already has. To do anything less is a disservice to this wonderful boy that saw the worst of him and still found something to love.

As Tin walks slowly towards the Sports Science building, Can spots him and runs before jumping at him. 

Can jumps knowing that Tin will catch him.

And Tin will do anything to make sure he will catch Can. Even if it means standing in the face of a disaster. 

Chapter Text

Tin steps close to Can after being dragged into the locker room. The memory of how Ae had done the same to Pete rings in Tin’s mind. Pete did not admit to Tin what had happened afterwards, but Pete’s adamant refusal of Tin spoke volumes.

Would today be a repeat with him and Can?

Tin wonders what it would be like if Can stopped running his mouth right now. He wonders if Can’s lips are still soft and strawberry flavored, wonders what they’d feel like wrapped around his dick. Wonders what the other parts of Can taste like, if they’re similarly addictive. Tin has thought about it plenty, letting his hands wander over Can’s body, finding all the places that would drive him mad. 

What really gets Tin off though, is the thought of Can holding him down, having his way. Tin knows he’s a little taller, a little broader, but Can has been an athlete for a long time if the muscles in his legs are any indication. Tin has felt the strength in Can’s grip, and it sends shivers down his spine when he’s alone at night. 

How would Can start? Would he be slow and teasing, doing his best to drive Tin mad? Or would he be fast and impulsive, raw and animalistic, bruises and bites all over, leaving Tin with an ache so deep it feels good? Tin lets his mind drift through his favorite fantasies while Can keeps ranting, working out his words and logic.

Can’s volume is increasing and Tin realizes that Can has been ranting at his resting bitch face for the last ten minutes. 

“Fuck you!” Can says finally.

“I wish you would,” Tin says without realizing it.

“God, yes,” Can replies before pulling Tin in by his tie and kissing him.

Can’s lips are actually cherry flavored today, but no less addictive. And judging by the grip Can has on his tie, Tin thinks he’s going to find out which hypothesis is correct.

Chapter Text

Can likes to people watch sometimes. He’d always found it interesting that so many different people could walk in so many different ways. Good will occasionally people watch with him some times, but today is not one of those days.

Today, Can is distracted as he ponders his feelings, lips aching from the phantom feeling of Tin’s lips and not even his favorite lollipop flavors are enough to distract him. 

Can spots the source of his disturbed feelings walking down the street. His dress pants are neatly pressed, shirt blindingly white, and his hair is effortlessly styled. Tin looks more like a model than a business student, and Can is envious of how classy he makes their uniform look.

It makes Can wonder what Tin would look like if Can messed him up. Wrinkled Tin’s shirt with his fists, turned his lips red with a kiss, mused his hair by pulling it with his hands… Would his face still remain so cold and distant? Would his words still be harsh and cutting? Tin’s skin was only a few shades paler than Can’s… Would he bruise easily? Would love bites and presses from his fingertips show up in the same colors on Tin’s skin?

“God he looks so nice… I want to kiss him…” Can murmurs. 

Unfortunately even Can’s whispers are sometimes louder than most indoor speaking voices and Tin catches some of it as he passes by.

“What did you say, Thai Program?” he asks with a raised eyebrow.

Can snaps out his thoughts, face burning red, before shouting, “I SAID IF YOU DIED I WOULDN’T MISS YOU!”

Tin only raises an eyebrow before walking away and Can hits his own mouth for his stupidity.

Chapter Text

The first time, Can is angry, is livid. Tin brushes off the fact that he nearly hit him with his car and Can demands to be heard. Can grabs Tin by the wrist, his grip firm. Nothing changes of course, but something simmers under Can’s skin and Tin has gained another nuisance. 

The second time, Can had been shouting and Tin overheard. A snide remark had Can fuming again and this time, he refused to let Tin go for talking poorly of him and his friends. He pulls Tin again, the same grip the same pressure. Tin can’t stand it, so why does he let Can’s fingers linger?

The third time, Can stops him by his car, his grip on Tin’s wrist almost familiar at this point. Tin tells him to let go, says it’s dirty and instead Can rubs his back all over the driver side door. Underneath the annoyance Tin feels, a part of him wonders if Can is trying to be cute. 

The fourth time, both of them are frustrated. It’s a mess neither had expected. Can is loud, too loud. Tin doesn’t want to deal with this, but Can’s grip on his wrist has not changed. It is steady and firm, easy enough to get out of if he wants to, so Tin does. But Can’s warmth lingers on his skin even as his voice gets louder and Tin doesn’t want to hear it anymore so he panics. 

The fifth time, Tin pulls in Can by the front of his shirt and kisses him silent. Neither of them move, emotions running rampant for different reasons. Tin leaves the kiss, touching his lips, wondering if kissing all guys will feel that way. If it does, Tin thinks he’d like to do it again. Can has a tantrum on the floor, cursing himself for letting Tin take his first kiss, and wondering why his heart is racing afterwards. Why the smell of Tin’s breath is burned into his memory. 

Chapter Text

After another fight between him and Tin, Can collapsed onto the bleachers in his most typical fashion: dramatically laid out and whining. Good had already been sitting there and stared at his friend throwing a tantrum. Techno stepped up to see what was wrong.

“Did you fight with that IC guy again,” Techno asked.

“HE’S SO INFURIATING,” Can shouted before curling in on himself. Good simply pat him on the shoulder.

“Yeah… Maybe there’s something wrong with him?” Techno offered. Good shook his head “no” while mouthing something Techno couldn’t make out. “Why else does he pick fights with you?”

“Ugh, I don’t know. I can’t believe I’m going to sleep with him,” Can groaned.

Techno blinked and Good sighed. Clearly Can had been talking about this plenty if even Good’s patience had run out. “Well… You don’t have to sleep with him.”

“No,” Can said as he turned around to lay on his back and stare into the sky. “I’m totally gonna.”

“Disaster…” Good mumbled to himself. 

Upon hearing that, Techno decided his sanity was worth more than his duty as a senior and left Can to his contemplation. 

Chapter Text

“Na, Ai Tiiiiiin.”

“No.”

“But Ai Tiiiiiinnnnn!”

Tin whips around to look at the silly smile on Can’s face. It is filled with confidence, cuteness, and charm, the three C’s of Can. Tin wishes he were more resistant to it, but exposure makes him weaker.

“Could you buy me skewers on our way home,” Can asks since Tin is not actively resisting. 

Tin scoffs. “How many do you want?”

“Like 100 skewers? And then we could eat them with sticky rice and get some milk tea. And then I heard there’s another stall around here that’s selling shaved ice with condensed milk and…”

Tin cuts Can off in his most favorite of ways, a kiss. He can taste the last snack he just bought Can on his lips and tongue and teeth.

“I can buy you all of that and more. Just be quiet until we get home.”

“I’m alert, I’m alert, I’m alert! You can’t hold me responsible now!”

“Do you not want the skewers?”

Can smiles again. “How about 1000 skewers?”

“Will you quit school? Should I just buy you the cart?!”

Chapter Text

Ley watches Tin and Pete walking together in the IC parking lot. It’s been a while now since Tin and her idiot brother got together. How it happened, Ley isn’t sure she wants to know. But despite how her first ship has ended, she is happy for Can. 

Ley has seen how they both change around each other. How they fit together.

It’s odd how she ever thought Tin and Pete were a match when she sees how Tin chases after Can, and how Can chases after Tin. A partnership in many ways, different but equal. 

And yet… Tin and Pete remain as close as ever. If not closer

Ley has brought this up to Can only for Can to sigh like the older brother he was and give her a look like he was lecturing someone. “Na, Ley, I trust Ai Tin. He won’t cheat on me. He’ll never cheat on me.” Can’s soft and gentle tone were like a shock to Ley’s system. 

Still, Ley had her concerns. The image in front of her being one of them.

Do boys really just walk that close all the time?! Most of the boys Ley has seen are so rowdy and rough (Can included), and they walk so far apart you could drive a car through them and not hit a single one. 

Tin and Pete walk shoulder to shoulder, talking casually, as if no one is watching. Smiles are on their faces, their gestures are casual and effortless. The product of high society perhaps? 

Ley starts recording. Even if Can doesn’t think Tin will cheat, it doesn’t hurt to start compiling evidence. Can is stupid sometimes, but Ley loves him. And if it’s to protect her brother, Tin will die in a ditch despite how woefully handsome and rich he is. 

Ley might also have to take a page out of Can’s book about cursing people.

“Are you going home tonight?” Tin asks.

“No, I’m staying at my apartment,” Pete says. “It’s closer.”

“Oh, can I come take a look? I’m thinking of getting one as well.” 

“You should! You can even sleep over tonight. Ae is away at a game and so is Ai Can, right?”

Ley wants to scream. Perfect evidence!

“Yes, he’ll be away until tomorrow. Perhaps today is a good day for this. Should we pick up some food for dinner?”

“Oh, I’ve been learning how to cook. I can make something.”

“Learning to cook for yourself or for your Thai Program boy?”

Pete’s cheeks turn a faint pink and Ley fights the urge to be charmed. He’s cheating, damn it! “You should learn to do something for your Thai Program boy too.”

“I think buying an apartment is enough, don’t you think?”

Ley drops her phone in shock. It clatters to the ground, alerting the two boys. 

“Ah, N’Ley,” Tin says as he walks over. “What are you doing here today?”

“Swadee kha!” Ley offers a wai quickly. “I was looking for Chompoo actually…” Pete’s face seems to darken at the mention of Ley’s friend and Ley briefly remembers Chompoo’s crush on Ae. 

“It’s good that I saw you here today actually. I have a present for you and your mom.” Tin opens his trunk and pulls out two expensive looking gift bags. Ley is torn between squealing in joy and feeling like she’s being bribed. She briefly wonders if Tin is on to her. “To thank you for your support for me and Can.”

“Oh P’Tin! That’s not necessary!” Ley waves her hand. “Please don’t.” 

“I insist. Can told me these are ones you and your mom have been wanting for a while.” 

Ley catches sight of the designer tags and wants to faint. “O-oh P’Tin… If you’re really insisting…”

“Of course. You’re like my family now too, aren’t you? I should spoil my younger sister once in a while.” Tin smiles and Pete smirks a bit behind his hand, as if he knows what’s really going on.

Ley reaches out and accepts the bags, she feels blessed and damned at the same time. “Your little sister thanks you, P’Tin!”

“It’s nothing, really.” Tin shrugs. “But, I hope you’ll support me later. I have something important to ask Can when he gets back.”

“O-Oh? What could you ask him, P’Tin?”

“Help me ask him to move in with me, N’Ley.”

Tin’s expression is so open and earnest that Ley can’t help the next thing out of her mouth. “But you and P’Pete!”

Both of them blink. “Ai Tin and I?” Pete asks gesturing between them.

“A-Are you-”

“We’ve been friends since we were this big, N’Ley.” Tin gestures to about knee height, which for the two taller boys is not very short. “I think we’re allowed to be personally close, don’t you think? Besides, I love your brother.” Tin’s smile becomes the kind of soft that Ley has only seen in the really good BL dramas with the hottest actors. Ley wonders what horrible thing she’s insinuated after she sees that smile. “After all the trouble I went through to woo him, do you think I’d throw it away?”

“O-Of course not P’Tin!” 

“Okay, so we’re agreed, Pete and I are just friends. Please don’t worry, N’Ley.” Tin carefully pats Ley’s shoulder. It feels like a proper gesture of affection from an indulgent older brother and admonishment from a father at the same time. “You’re being a good sister, aren’t you? Looking out for Can.”

“I thought I was…” Ley looks down at her feet, kicking the asphalt. 

“Thank you. I hope you and I can work together to keep your idiot brother out of trouble.” Ley’s head snaps back up again. “He’s a troublemaker for sure. Let’s work hard, okay?” Tin offers Ley a hand.

Ley takes it. If it’s for Can, Ley will even work with a suspect. 

She can always curse him later if need be.

Chapter Text

It was just supposed to be a silly little game. Pond had invited everyone over and so Ae invited Pete who invited Tin despite Can’s adamant refusal. 

They had been circling each other, Tin trying and trying to get Can to say yes, to date him, to let him in, and Can was too frightened. Tin had been intense before in their hate and fights, but now when Tin was so focused on making Can love him, Can could feel that pressure on his shoulders all over again.

And Can didn’t want to keep turning Tin away. He wanted to give in, to let himself have this, but how could Can know this wasn’t a game for Tin?

When Pond suggested Truth or Dare, Can latched onto the chance. Sure it was a game, but even rich people had to honor the sanctity of Truth or Dare, right?

So when it was Can’s turn to spin, his hopes were answered and it pointed at Tin. 

“Truth or Dare, Ai Tin.” 

Tin looked directly into Can’s eyes. “Which one do you want me to pick?”

“Tell me the truth.”

Tin huffed. “Ask your question.”

“Do you love me?”

Tin looked around at the people surrounding them and Can wondered if this was it, if Tin didn’t have the courage, the real emotion to say what he kept on saying between only them. But then Tin looked into Can’s eyes again, gave him that small soft smile and said, “I love you.”

The rest of their friends started a ruckus shouts and whispers and laughter. Can heard none of it, but felt his heart was going to beat out of his chest. His mind whirling through a million thoughts and a billion emotions. He didn’t realize when it was Tin’s turn that the bottle was pointing to him.

“Truth or Dare, Can,” Tin asked.

Can didn’t even blink. “Dare.”

“I dare you to love me too.”

Can reached across and pulled Tin into a kiss. It was awkward and clumsy and Can moved his lips too much, but Tin reciprocated anyway, slowly moving the kiss to less frantic motions. The cheers of their friends were wild, although Can could vaguely hear Ae shouting threats about what would happen if Tin mistreated him. When they pulled apart for air, Can could feel relief flood through his system. 

“I already do,” Can whispered. 

Tin kissed Can’s forehead and smiled. 

Chapter Text

Can does not regret pushing Tin away after the kiss after their date. 

Even without reciprocating, it was dangerous enough for his heart. 

Tin’s lips moved with purpose, softer than Can thought they would be after so many cutting words. And Tin’s tongue, skillful yet gentle, respectful enough to taste Can’s lips, but go no farther. 

Can licked his lips again in the privacy of his own room. Even after scrubbing them, they tasted like Tin. Can could even still feel the warmth of Tin’s hand against his neck, smell Tin’s cologne in the air, and it all made him blush furiously.

What kind of a kiss was that, that Tin gave him?

It was dangerous. It was thrilling. It was amazing. 

It stole Can’s breath and if Can hadn’t pushed Tin away, he was afraid he’d have kissed back. 

What would it be like then? Would the sensations be greater? Would it have been so bad to taste Tin’s lips himself instead of these indirect traces? Would Tin still be as gentle when Can kissed back? Or would he devour Can?

The words Tin used to tease Can when he was eating his piece of cantaloupe echoed in Can’s mind and made him blush further. 

“Cantaloupe is so soft… So sweet…” Can’s mind echoed back to him, a vision of Tin kissing him deeper and deeper while whispering the words. 

Can slapped himself to shake off the thoughts. Maybe it was already too late. Maybe Tin had done more than stolen his breath. 

Maybe Tin was stealing Can’s heart. 

Chapter Text

Pete knows that Tin has been acting strange around Can. Looks that lingered a little too long, his words would trail off when Can was mentioned, and Can got louder whenever Tin was mentioned.

There was a lot of tension brewing and Pete knew their last interaction was hardly amicable. 

So when Tin looked like he was doodling a flow chart around Can’s name in class, Pete knew he might have to step in.

“Are you planning something, Tin?”

Tin immediately slapped a hand over his haphazard diagrams. “Nothing important.”

“I saw Ai Can’s name there… You aren’t planning on doing something mean to get back at him again are you?”

“W-What?” Pete caught the stutter despite Tin’s cool face. The smell of blood in the air. “N-No I was just-”

“Cause if you are, I should warn you that Can looks like he’s planning too.”

Tin of all things, blushed. “I wouldn’t do anything wrong to him now. You don’t have all the facts.”

“Which are?” Pete asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I love him,” Tin said in the smallest voice.

Pete smiled. “Welll… Then perhaps it would interest you to know that he asked me for your number the other day…”

“He did?!”

Chapter Text

It is not as though Can is normally so… intense with his emotions and displays of affection. 

(Really, everyone around him would argue that he is and that lately he’s been worse if that was possible.)

But Can knows this much about Tin, that he has struggled so many times to feel loved, to feel an honest connection between himself and another. He has given, only for people to take and never return. He has opened his heart, only for others to cast it aside.

He has loved and only ever lost.

And Can thinks it’s time that changed.

Tin is worthy of love, has always been worthy, has always been deserving and fuck anyone that says otherwise. But Tin, for all his bravery in declarations to Can, for all his bravado in offering gifts and favors, for all his cunning in stealing even the smallest of kisses from Can, still treats Can like he’s an illusion. That if he pushes just the wrong side of hard, Can will dissipate into smoke.

It is a surprising contradiction, just how hard Tin tries to prove his love while simultaneously trying to downplay the depth of his affections. 

Can hates it. Hates that Tin feels he must advocate for himself in this frightened manner. So Can decides for himself that if Tin cannot be bold enough, brave enough to take the extra step forward, that he will. 

Tin pulls Can along by the wrist, just the lightest grip, the loosest hold. Can grasps Tin’s hand and laces their fingers together, holds on tight and pulls as hard as he can towards the shop he wants to go to.

Tin sits just a hair closer than most people would find normal. Can moves in the rest of the way, leaning his head on Tin’s shoulder, looping their arms together and sighing with satisfaction.

Tin buys them both drinks, separate straws and all. Can steals Tin’s drink after he takes a sip and tastes it himself from Tin’s straw. He even licks his lips afterwards. 

Tin brushes small kisses against Can’s cheek in public, drags his lips lightly over his wrist or knuckles, the most gentlemanly of kisses. Can pulls Tin close and crushes their mouths together, everyone else be damned. 

“You deserve someone who isn’t afraid to love you,” Can says when Tin asks him why as they sit in the privacy of Can’s room. “You’re so afraid, Tin. So I’m going to be brave for you.”

“You are too good to me, Cantaloupe.” Tin pulls Can close and Can only pets Tin’s hair. “I don’t deserve you.”

“That’s the thing, Tin. You do. And I will spend every day reminding you until you learn it.”

Tin kisses Can, his lips salty with tears but they form the shape of a smile. 

It is enough, Can thinks, for now.

Chapter Text

It is a certain kind of fear, a certain kind of betrayal, that takes a kind and open man and turns him distant and cold. It takes the heart out of the man and beats it until nothing but bruises and broken blood vessels remain and all the earnestness is replaced with dread.

Every extended hand could be followed by rough fists.

Every smile could hide mocking laughter. 

Every invitation could be false.

Every person could be another abuser, another mistake.

And so Tin learned after Tul to never let anyone so close that he could be hurt again. Tin’s lack of trust wasn’t entirely from disdain for the poor but Tin’s decision to never trust was born out of fear.

But Can ended up different, felt different, was different from every person Tin had ever kept at arm’s length. Can was straightforward and obvious. There was no chance Can would lie because there was no reason for him to.

Even when he was mad, Can vocalized every thought and emotion.

And Tin couldn’t help himself. No matter how annoyed or angry he was at Can, there was always a small part of him that whispered, “But we are safe here. Can will not lie to you about how he feels. You will know because he will tell you everything.”

That part of Tin only grew louder and louder the more he got to know Can, the more Tin fell for Can. On their first proper date, the voice urged Tin to tell Can the truth, to tell him the whole story. Tin did, realizing it was safe to do so, that Can would listen and believe him. 

The feeling of relief was overwhelming afterwards. 

And soon it was not just relief or love that Tin felt. It was trust and safety too.

Tin’s mask of cold indifference was almost painful to put on now, but whenever Can was around, it was okay to let the mask slip. To be the person Tin wanted to be, to allow people, to allow Can in. 

Can could see it, could visibly tell that with just his hand in Tin’s, the walls were falling. Tin’s shoulders didn’t look so stiff, his eyes were warmer, and his words weren’t so cutting. With Can at his side, Tin felt safe enough to pull himself back together into the person he once was.

And when they were alone together, Tin allowed himself to seek comfort in Can’s warmth and smell. It was like Tin was recharging himself, trying to find the energy to protect himself and yet let people in again.

Can allowed it, encouraged it, whispered sweet endearments in Tin’s ears during those times, rubbed Tin’s back, and dried his tears if any fell.

These moments of weakness were the greatest gift that Can could receive from Tin. They were proof of just how far Tin had come, and how hard he was trying. 

And Can swore he’d damn any person who would hurt Tin ever again. 

But first he needed a bigger pot to burn all the salt and chili for cursing Tul. 

Chapter Text

People always said that love was blind. Tin knew that it had to be. If it had been any other way, he would have never fallen for Can.

And what a pain it was to be in love with someone like Can.

Too loud when he should be quiet, Louder when he should just be loud.

Can wasn’t a picky eater, but he was just voracious. If Tin didn’t have the financial means he had, he was sure Can would eat him out of house and home before long.

Can also had no manners, no idea of how polite society worked. Tin’s ears itched with every informal word Can used.

But despite all the flaws, Tin could feel his heart opening up to the Thai Program Sports Science boy. For once in his life, Tin questioned his sanity. Maybe there had been one betrayal too many from Tul.

—–

Can’s phone pinged again and he fought the urge to throw it against the wall. He didn’t want to owe Tin any more than he had to.

Tin was ridiculously needy. For a busy IC Program student, Tin had a stupid amount of time to send him text after text after text. And none of it made sense.

Strings of emojis. GIFs of Kpop stars making cute kissy faces. Lines of poetry in English. Songs Can couldn’t understand, but with slow beats that lulled him to sleep.

It was like Tin didn’t understand who he was actually talking to and was trying to be as cliche as possible.

The memory that Tin probably didn’t know enough about Can failed to float to the surface as Can contemplated this Tin-shaped burden on his heart. 

Why did his heart have to feel funny whenever he thought about Tin? Couldn’t it think of someone else? Someone who actually knew how to communicate outside of pictures and strange foreign references?

—–

They were both reluctant. So caught up in each other’s flaws, the never noticed how much closer they kept getting.

Tin never noticed the moment when Can’s strange manners became charming instead of bizarre. He did, however, notice the moment he thought Can’s outdated hair style was cute instead of childish.

Can started to understand Tin’s texts slowly. And some of the English songs were pretty good. They even helped him do better on his last test. 

And when at last they did realize what had happened, still wondering why they had fallen in love with someone so intolerable, they found more than just tolerance. They found each other as they were, accepted entirely and not in part. 

Chapter Text

Can had always been loud. With alcohol, he was louder.

But Can + dating Tin + alcohol?

That was a brand new form of entertainment for the entire soccer team. Well for the team minus Ae.

“P’Noooooo, he’s just sooooo cute sometimes.” Can leaned against Techno, arms around his neck, rubbing his cheek against Techno’s shoulder. “Like when he wakes up and is all disoriented. And and like when he comes back from the gym. And also that one time-”

“Is it the time he got caught in the rain?” Techno asked.

“No, but that was also a very good example too. Did I tell you about the time he got caught in the rain?”

Type held up his phone and motioned for Techno to play along. Techno put on a long suffering face. “No, you didn’t. Tell me about it, N’Can.”

Champ giggled after he took another swig of his drink. Can had already lost the thread of the original story and started talking about how Tin looked when he came home from the gym.

“It’s not faiiiiirrrr P’!” Can whined. “He looks like he should have been in Sports Science! He’s got more muscles than P’Champ!” Champ sputtered on his next sip of his drink.

“He does not!”

“He does too, P’Champ! I counted! He has eight abs! You only have four!”

Type laughed in earnest at Champ’s stricken expression. “Look at you, you act like you’re hot shit but you’re beaten by an IC kid.”

“Shut up! I just haven’t been focusing on my core lately.”

Techno watched all three of them banter back and forth before watching Good slip his phone out of his pocket to start typing something. “N’Good, what are you doing?”

Good typed for another minute before he replied. “Ai Tin… Told me… To text him… When Ai Can… Gets this… Drunk again…” Good snapped a photo of Can leaning against Techno with Champ and Type bickering in the background before sending it to Tin. “Said he… Worries about… Can when… He drinks… This much.”

Techno blinked. “Oh shit.”

Minutes later Tin walked into the bar, still dressed in his neat uniform. He took one look at Can, who was now expounding on how great Tin’s legs were to Good who simply kept nodding along. Type was now trying to get Champ to prove his legs were better than the description of Tin’s. Techno had also gotten involved some how by trying to make a tape measure out of napkins and a pencil. 

Tin sighed and waved the bartender over. “I’ll pay for their drinks and clear them out for you.”

The bartender offered a grateful wai and took Tin’s credit card before Tin walked over to the rowdy gang.

“Ok Sports Science, break it up. Cantaloupe, it’s time to go home.”

Can’s red face immediately brightened at Tin’s voice. “Ai Tin! You’re here! Now I can prove to P’Champ that you have an eight pack! And calves that are firmer than his! And-”

Tin pressed a finger to Can’s lips, immediately silencing him. “Have you been telling stories about me again?”

“Mmmmph.”

Tin sighed and rolled his eyes before he looked at Good. “Thank you for texting me. I paid the bill. Make sure your seniors get home safe, Ai Good.”

Good nodded. “Thank you… Ai Tin…” Good got up and started to push the drunk seniors towards the door. He had mild success while Champ was attempting to count his abs without lifting his shirt in front of everyone. 

Tin removed his finger and Can fell into Tin’s chest with a drunk smile. “Mmm hi.”

Tin smiled back despite his better judgement. “Cantaloupe, how many drinks did you have this time?”

“Like this many?” He held up four fingers. “And then plus this many.” He held up another finger on his other hand.

“Five?”

“No Ai Tin. Like six.”

“Can, four plus one is five.”

“No… Wait…”

Tin sighed before dragging Can towards the door. He took back his credit card before stepping out into the late night air. Hopefully Can would remember how to do math in the morning if he could talk about the number of abs Tin had.

Chapter Text

“I think Khun Medthanan, you will find this apartment to be a very good choice!” the realtor said. “It has an excellent commute time to downtown where you said your office is and where Khun Can’s gym is.” She then pointed to the large windows in a south-facing wall. “As you can see, there is a lot of natural light, as Khun Can requested. The walls are also already soundproofed for all the rooms. You will not need to have any extra renovations done.”

“Can, go test it.” Tin waved Can off behind a closed door.

The realtor blinked. “I- what?”

Muffled screaming came out of the room Can had walked into. Tin nodded. “You have certainly done your research Khun.”

The realtor smiled. “O-Of course! It is my pleasure to help, Khun Medthanan.” 

Tin smiled. “I noticed you didn’t tell us about the pet policy.”

“W-Well…”

“So no pets then?”

“I did discuss it with the landlord and owner, Khun Medthanan!” The realtor looked like she was about to cry. “But Khun, even if they don’t allow pets, surely you and Khun Can can see that this is the ideal place-”

“Pass.” Tin knocked on the door Can had gone behind. “Oi Can, they don’t allow pets.”

“What!” Can opened the door and pouted. “Terrible. This place would have been perfect otherwise. Did you see the yard space we’d be allowed to have? Gucci would love it.”

The realtor finally started crying. “Khun Can! Khun Medthanan! Please see sense! For the price limit you’ve requested, these apartments don’t usually allow pets!” 

Tin sighed. “How about I talk to the landlord then.” Can shot Tin a look. “I literally mean talking, Cantaloupe. I’m not going to bribe him.”

“Khun Medthanan…”

“Arrange a meeting. In the mean time, what else did you have on the list for today?” The realtor sobbed but pulled out her tablet and looked up the next location on her list.
—–
“That couch looks hideous.” Tin tried to pull Can off the offending piece of furniture. “I don’t care where we end up living. I’m not buying that.”

“But Tin! It’s leather!”

“Gucci would scratch it up and it’s going to stink.”

“Gucci would never!”

“He’d do it when trying to jump up and down from the couch.”

“Oh… yeah he would, wouldn’t he?”

Can finally got up and Tin huffed a sigh of relief. Gucci scratching up that couch would have been an improvement in Tin’s eyes.

“Should we get one with a fold out bed if we have guests?” Can asked as he looked at the next couch. The upholstery was a sturdy, but soft cotton cloth. The cushions were comfortable but firm. Plus it was wide enough to lay on comfortably. Can sighed as he laid out on it. “I like this one too.”

“You like anything you can sleep on without effort.”

“I can sleep with you without any effort.” Tin raised an eyebrow. “Yeah okay, that sounded better in my head.” Can reached out a hand. “Come try it with me.”

Tin rolled his eyes but allowed himself to be pulled down onto the couch, practically laying on top of Can in the middle of the furniture store. At least one of the salesmen were looking at them funny. 

“I suppose it is comfortable.”

“And it folds out into a bed.”

Tin smirked. “So if I agree with you and buy this one, will you put out?”

Can shoved Tin onto the floor.
—–
“Do we have to buy fancy dishes? It’s not like we’re inviting your parents to dinner!”

Tin ignored Can’s complaints as he looked at another set of fine china. The design was a little different than the ones he’d seen before. It might be nice. 

“Sometimes, it’s nice to have fancy things on the off chance that you need to be fancy.”

“Is that rich person logic?”

“How about if I get to buy a china set, you get to buy a stand mixer for all your baking.”

“DEAL!” Can ran towards the appliance section. “I’M GOING TO BUY THE BIGGEST ONE.”
—–
After meeting with the landlord and the owner, Tin came to an agreement with them. It would increase the monthly payments a bit (not that Can needed to know that), but they’d be allowed to keep Gucci in the apartment with them. 

The realtor was thrilled that she made the sale, and Can was happy that Gucci would be able to come with them.

Everyone won.

Packing was a different story.

Tin’s space was usually spartan looking but it was only because his room was so large. Tin some how managed to possess more clothing than Can ever realized, more books than Can thought a person could own, and more baubles than he’d ever seen in Tin’s room. 

Can’s space by comparison looked like a mess, but was packed up in less than five boxes and two large suitcases.

For moving day, Tin wanted to hire movers. Can said they should just call their friends. They battled it out by flipping a coin except Can snatched the coin out of the air, kissed Tin on the lips and said, “Ae and Pete already offered to help. All we have to do is buy them dinner afterwards.”

Tin pouted but Can gave him another kiss.
—–
On moving day, Ae looked perpetually grumpy to be taking orders from Tin as to where to put boxes. Pete helped unpack. Ae didn’t even want Pete near the scissors for cutting boxes open, but Pete pleaded until Ae caved in. 

By evening, everything had been mostly settled. The furniture Tin and Can had agreed upon had been brought in the day before and so after some rearranging, everyone sat in the kitchen for a dinner of take-out. 

Even though Can and Pete did most of the chatting, the atmosphere was lively and Tin could only stare at Can.
—–
“Finally, our own space,” Can said as he fell back against the freshly arranged bed sheets. “And we get to pick up Gucci from Ma tomorrow!”

Tin smiled before climbing over Can and caging him in. “But tonight… We make this place ours for sure… Hmm?”

Can raised an eyebrow. “Why Tin, are you propositioning me?”

“You actually know the word propositioning?”

“Damn it Tin, just fuck me already.”

Chapter Text

Tin hears his 9 AM Saturday alarm go off. Tin untangles himself from Can’s arms before shutting it off. Can doesn’t stir at all. 

Tin rolls his eyes and gets up to start breakfast.

Can continues sleeping until he smells coffee. It lures him into the kitchen where Tin is stirring something on the stove. Can wraps his arms around Tin’s waist, sleepily resting his head against Tin’s broad back.

“Morning Ai Tin.”

“Cantaloupe, go wash your face. Breakfast isn’t ready yet.”

“I don’t want breakfast, I want coffee and cuddles.”

“You’re a terrible liar.”

“I’m not even a liar.” Can let his hands wander up Tin’s shirt to rest directly on warm skin. “Cuddles please.”

Tin rolls his eyes. “If I let breakfast burn, you’ll be upset with me.”

“Never.”

“Last weekend.”

Can lifts up his head and blinks. “That was because you burned my favorite breakfast dish ever.”

Tin sighs. “I am currently making that dish right now.”

“No you’re not, it doesn’t smell right.”

“You’re smelling my shirt, not the food.”

“Your shirt smells better anyway.”

Tin sighs before ruffling Can’s hair. “Breakfast first, then cuddles.”

“Damn breakfast, getting in the way of me getting cuddles…”

“Are you actually cursing your food for once?!”

Chapter Text

It had been the soccer team’s first practice in quite a while. And even though Can was active every day, all his muscles clenched and ached and burned. Even the hottest shower in the locker room had been no help.

Can dropped his bag onto the floor and fell into Tin’s couch, groaning as his muscles protested the soft surface. 

Moments later, Can felt Tin’s warm hands on his back. “Can? What happened?”

“Practice.”

“Aren’t you usually… Not like this after practice?”

“You are the most astute, Tin. It is you.”

Tin took a moment to look insulted. “You are really hurting if you’re talking like that.”

“Life is suffering, Ai Tin. Buddha said so.”

“Buddha also said that we must take the right actions and use the right words in order to stop suffering.” Tin pushed one of his hands under Can’s shirt and gently rubbed circles into the tight muscles of Can’s back. Can moaned softly. “I guess I’ve got some work to do then, huh?” Tin walked away and Can wanted to cry now that Tin had stopped rubbing his back.

“Tiiiiiin! Please keep rubbing my back!”

“Hang on a minute!”

Tin came back and scooped Can off the couch. Can yelped before clinging to Tin. Carried into the bedroom, Can noticed the towels laid out on the bed and the muscle balm on the nightstand. 

“Uhh…”

Tin placed Can down on the bed and started tugging on his uniform. “Come on, strip.”

Can blushed on reflex and Tin smacked his arm. “I’ve seen you naked plenty. Why are you suddenly blushing?”

“Because you asked me in an un-sexy way!” Can started unbuttoning his shirt anyway. 

Can was laid out naked on the towels soon enough. Tin scooped up a portion of the muscle balm and went to work. Tin massaged Can from his shoulders down to his toes. Each muscle group was given an exquisite amount of attention that left Can moaning and crying. Tin’s hands were warm. The balm was minty and soothing. And finally Can felt his body relax in the way it needed to after such an intense practice. 

When everything was said and done, Can felt like he’d never move again. He was a puddle on their bed. 

Tin poked and prodded at Can until he turned around. Tin’s gaze swept over him from head to toe and Tin raised an eyebrow. Can put a cocky smile on his face. 

“Gonna massage something else?”

“This isn’t a massage parlor. Don’t be so stupid.”

“But Tin…” Can pulled one of Tin’s hands to him, letting it slowly trail down his chest. He watched as Tin’s pupils dilated. “I’m still tense.”

“You dirty little…” 

Can didn’t have a chance to reply. Tin’s mouth kept Can’s occupied. 

Chapter Text

The week long break was originally filled with so much promise. Tin wanted to take Can out. Reward him a bit. Since they started dating, Tin had been helping Can study. Prior to the week long break, Can had done exceptionally well on all his exams. Good efforts should be rewarded after all.

So with that in mind, Tin had gone over to pick up Can that first Saturday. Instead, he found Can consoling his sobbing sister. Tin’s plans immediately left his mind and he sat on Ley’s other side. He shot Can a questioning look.

“One of Ley’s classmates is a rich girl. She keeps insulting Ley,” Can said with a frown. “Not that money has ever mattered, but she’s started leaving mean notes and spreading rumors.”

“N’Ley,” Tin said gently. “Can you tell me who she is?”

Ley sniffed. “Her name is Pring.” Ley showed Tin Pring’s Facebook account. Tin recognized her immediately. 

“Oh. Her.”

Can whipped his head around immediately. “You know this girl?”

Tin shrugged. “Her family isn’t that rich, but they know all the right people. You want me to make her miserable, N’Ley?”

Ley giggled. “P’Tin, that’s wrong. You can’t mess with people for petty revenge.”

Can shot a knowing look over at Tin who just shrugged. “I’ve done worse.”

“Huh?”

“What he means,” Can said, voice rising in panic, “Is that we’re here for you and as your elders, we’ll do what we can.”

“That is totally not what I meant. I know people with dirt on her. I could drag her and the next three generations of her family into the mud.”

Can shoved Tin away as he led his sister back upstairs to her room. “Come on, go watch some more of your dramas that you like. I’ll sort Ai Tin out.”

“Thank you P’Tin! You’re good at cheering people up,” Ley said with a giggle as she left.

“Is that a no to the mud slinging?”
—–
Can and Tin spent the rest of the day at home, wanting to be there for Ley. The next day Tin was sure he’d get Can out of the house.

He came in the early afternoon, hoping that the rest of Can’s family would be out. What he found was Can leaving with his parents for lunch. 

“Oh N’Tin!” Can’s mom rushed over to hug him. The motion still left Tin with a startled expression and butterflies in his stomach. “We were just about to go get lunch. Come join us!”

Can made strange expressions over his mother’s shoulder. His father made eager expressions instead. Tin put on his most charming smile. “Of course I’d love to come.”

Can made faces through lunch as Tin thoroughly charmed Can’s parents for the umpteenth time. His mother looked at Tin as if she was starstruck and that gold and diamonds fell from his mouth whenever he spoke.

To be fair, she had been a bit on the fence when Can came out and admitted he was dating Tin. But the rebound on Can’s grades had been more than enough to charm her into finding Tin to be the stabilizing influence her son needed. Can’s father was simply happy to have another person to talk about stocks with.
—–
The next day Can was in charge of watching Gucci and couldn’t leave. Tin was also placed on babysitting duty for Phupha. 

“N’Phu, do you want to go play with a dog today?”

“Doggy!”

Gucci was mystified by Phupha while Phupha had the time of his life just hugging Gucci and throwing balls for him to fetch. Gucci was certainly not complaining.

Tin and Can kept a watchful eye on their charges, stopping Phupha as he started getting petulant and needing a nap while Gucci needed water and a break as well. 

Later in the afternoon, Phupha got to hold Gucci’s leash as they took him on a walk. Gucci, to his credit, did not bolt immediately. He instead kept nudging Phupha away from danger. 

“Oi Traitorous dog! You like everyone better than me these days!” Can pouted and crossed his arms. Tin laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

“Let him be, Cantaloupe. I’ll love you plenty to make up for it.”

“Yuck, so cheesy.”
——
It was only at the end of the week that Tin and Can were finally able to get away and enjoy themselves away from family.

And yet family was all they talked about as they held hands walking together.

Chapter Text

“So, Tul says you’ve been seeing someone.” Tin’s father doesn’t even look at him, doesn’t notice how Tin’s body has prepared itself for a fight. Tin’s father continues pouring himself some brandy. “You haven’t introduced her to your mother and I yet.”

“No, I haven’t introduced him to you yet.”

Tin’s father pauses. “Excuse me?”

“I’ll arrange a dinner, father. Do tell mother to clear her schedule.”

“And Tul?”

“Hasn’t Tul already made up his mind? If he wants to join, how can I stop my older brother?”
—–
It was as casual a dinner as Tin could manage to arrange. 

First, at least dinner was at home. And Tin made sure the cooks were preparing only Thai food. That would give Can some manner of comfort. 

Second, it wasn’t in the extravagant dining room his mother preferred for parties. It was in the smaller one for small family gatherings. Tin also absolutely refused the use of his mother’s best settings. Tin insisted that they use the unpainted china set. 

Third, Tin managed to his father to not dress like he was at a business dinner and his mother to not dress like she was at a charity ball. There was no helping Tul’s face though.

Can showed up wearing his nicest button down shirt and khakis. He smiled at Tin and Tin fought the urge to grab his hand and run away instead of having this stupid dinner. 

“Hi…” Can pressed a kiss near the corner of Tin’s lips. “Ready?”

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”

Can shrugged. “You’ve warned me about them plenty. Did you warn them about me?”

This time Tin smiled. “Not at all.”
—–
Tin introduced Can. Can, to his credit, performed the most respectful greeting of his life. 

What followed next was borderline disrespectful.

“So what major are you in?” Tin’s father asked.

“I’m in Sports Science, sir.”

Tul smiled, but Can thought it looked very predatory. “I didn’t know the IC program had a Sports Science major.”

“They don’t,” Can said with a shrug. 

Tul looked as if he was ready to go in for the kill. “Then, you are in the Thai program?”

“Why, yes I am P’Tul!” Can’s face lit up. “P’Tul, tell me, you must be so impressed that I am a Thai program.”

Tul’s face twisted into a weird expression. The conversation was not going how he intended. Tin was only smiling softly to himself. Mother and father were silently watching the debacle. 

“So if you’re a Thai program, I do hope you have Tin’s best intentions at heart.” 

“I assure you P’Tul, I have better intentions for Tin than you do.”

Tul’s face didn’t give away any hint of his anger, but Can could see it in his eyes. Tin’s mother motioned for the both of them to calm down, but neither had even raised their voice yet.

“Now now boys, we have only just sat down to dinner. Please, do calm down.” Tin’s mother then turned to Can. “I do apologize, Can. Sometimes Tul gets so protective of Tin.”

“There are many words I would use to describe P’Tul, Khun. I am not sure protective is one of them.”

Tin snickered into his water glass, but Can kept his expression placid and polite. 

“Well, I’m glad there is no bad blood then. I will only ask you to be mindful of Tin. Help me keep him out of trouble, hmm?”

“Oh Khun, I will absolutely make sure he stays out of all unnecessary trouble.”

Tin’s father coughed this time. “Unnecessary trouble?”

“Oh of course sir. Sometimes just a little trouble is necessary.”

“For what reason could anyone want trouble?”

“Sometimes,” Can said as he turned to look at Tin, “We need a little trouble to shake up our lives, make us see what’s really important. We learn to let people in and help us after a little bit of trouble.” Can turned back to smile at Tin’s father. “A tiny bit of necessary trouble does no harm then, don’t you think, sir?”

Tin surveyed the field. His mother and father were perplexed. Tul was fuming.

The first course hadn’t even been served yet. 

This was the best dinner of Tin’s life.

Chapter Text

The first kiss to Can’s cheek is a surprise.

Tin remembers the feel of Can’s lips under his. He will not soon forget the feel of Can’s cheek. The skin is soft, smooth, and wonderfully warm. Tin feels the urge to do more come from the impulsive part of his brain. He carefully reigns it in. It wouldn’t do to scare Can away now.

“It’s salty. Next time warn me that you’ve been sweating so I won’t kiss you then,” Tin says instead of aiming for Can’s lips instead. 

The kiss is worth all the yelling Can gives.

The second kiss to Can’s cheek happens at the open market. 

The feeling is the same, but something is different. Something in Can’s gaze and reaction. Almost as if Can leans in to the press of Tin’s lips. Can begins objecting all the same anyway.

“It tastes different this time. Did you wash your face?”

“I did…”

“That’s good. Let’s go.”

A light and effervescent feeling spreads through Tin’s chest. Can took a little more care this morning. Not that he knew he’d meet up with Tin, but the idea of it makes Tin happy.

The third kiss to Can’s cheek happens on another date between them. 

Can sits, enraptured by the violence and gore happening on screen. Tin’s personal movie theater is amazing and it gets all the newest releases, even foreign horror films. Can’s still very firm in his, “You can’t buy me,” stance. But Tin has sat through three horror films in a row without blinking. The only time he got up was to get Can more popcorn and soda.

Money can’t buy Can’s love, but Tin’s attention is slowly doing the trick. Can’s traitorous heart skips a beat when Tin looks over at Can and smiles softly. Happy only because Can is enjoying himself.

As the movie ends, Tin gets up and stretches his legs. “Should I tell them to start the next one in the series?”

“Yes!” Can jumps up as well. “Oh my gosh, this is so amazing!”

Tin’s eyes grow soft again and Can wonders what kind of expression he must be making to make Tin look like that at him all the time. Tin leans over and presses a gentle peck against Can’s cheekbone. 

“I’ll go get you some more snacks while I tell them to start the next one. You can relax.”

Can feels his knees go weak as Tin walks off. Falling into his seat and sighing is a bit too easy.

The first time Can kisses Tin on the cheek is a Saturday. 

Tin is laying back on his bed, reading a book. Can is also laying back playing video games on his phone. But Tin’s bed is so big, they both manage to have their own space. 

It’s a ridiculous luxury. But it’s incredibly comfortable. The sheets feel wonderful and Tin didn’t even complain about Can laying out in his street clothes on the bed. 

Can glances at Tin and sees an expression that has slowly become more and more familiar. Around Can, Tin’s walls have fallen and he looks as young, open, and vulnerable as ever. It’s amazing. It’s also horrifying. 

But Can is unable to stop the feelings developing in his chest from seeing Tin look this way. Unable to get over the fact that he is the cause. And when Tin smiles to himself, Can is utterly lost.

Can squirms until he is pressed up against TIn’s side. Tin doesn’t even object. He simply puts his arm around Can and continues reading. Can’s heart flutters again.

Can leans up and presses a kiss so soft, it could have just been a passing breeze, against Tin’s cheek. 

Tin stiffens immediately and turns to look at Can who simply starts smiling.

“Hi.”

“Hi.” Tin nuzzles against Can’s cheek. “Did I do something?”

“No… Actually yes.” 

“What did I do?” Tin’s eyes are curious, but sparkling.

“You made me love you.”

Chapter Text

International business trips usually killed Can. With Tin out of the country, the apartment always felt emptier than if it was a domestic trip. Also the international phone call charges were ridiculous.

But this time, Can had a spring in his step as he pulled out his suitcase. Tin had arranged for Can to come as well. They would be going to South Korea for two weeks. Tin’s business trip would primarily be wrapped up in the first week with a follow up meeting in the second. Can would be spending most of the first week on his own, allowed to wander and see the sites with a trusted translator. The second week, Can would spend with Tin.

Can began to throw all his usual outfit staples into the bag. Tin stopped him when he noticed there were no jackets in his bag.

“Cantaloupe… You do realize it’s winter in South Korea now, right?”

“Winter?”

Tin sighed. “We need to go shopping.”
—–
The minute Tin stepped off the plane, he pulled out thick wool winter jackets for him and Can. Can put his on under protest along with a hat and scarf. 

Can immediately stopped protesting the jackets once they stepped outside to find their driver. 

“HOLY SHIT IT’S FREEZING.”

Tin laughed and pulled Can closer to share some body heat through their jackets. “I told you it would be cold. You’re not used to it.”

“How do people live like this?! Why aren’t they dropping dead on the street?”

“Stop over exaggerating. It’s only zero degrees Celsius.”

“ONLY ZERO? DID YOU BRING ME HERE TO DIE?”

Can continued complaining about the cold until they found their driver and got into the heated interior. Once they got to the hotel, Can noticed the white flakes falling.

“Oh it’s snowing.” Tin continued to help unload their luggage before paying the driver. “We should get inside before it gets on everything.”

“Snow? This is snow? It’s prettier than I expected.”

“You can watch the snow fall from our room. Come on Cantaloupe.”

After a warm shower and armed with a mug of hot chocolate, Can and Tin watched the snow fall over the city through the windows of their room.

“Wow, I got to travel overseas and see snow already. This trip is awesome,” Can said before taking a sip of his hot chocolate. 

“Even though it’s zero degrees Celsius?”

“I still think you brought me here to die, but I’ll die happy.”

Tin snorted and pulled Can closer. His boyfriend would adjust to the weather soon enough.

Chapter Text

Can scrolled through his Twitter feed while Tin was getting their drinks. Ley was at it again, tweeting another picture of Tin and Pete sitting next to each other in their classroom. They weren’t even that close together. Their eyes were only on their textbooks. Nowhere near each other. 

And yet…

Can wanted to scream. Ley had photoshopped a heart vignette around them in the most gaudy pink she could find in the color pallet. Her post had more than 100 likes and at least 10 retweets already.

This was on top of several other pictures of the two rich IC students being in each other’s proximity that were also circulating around on his feed. 

Walking down the stairwell.

Together at the coffee stall.

Walking to the parking lot.

Pete tilting his head as if asking a question while Tin looked on almost indulgently.

Then Can noticed that #TinPete was trending in their area.

Can screamed this time.

Tin stormed over, glaring at everyone in the vicinity while Can scrubbed at his head. “Cantaloupe, what’s wrong? Who hurt you?”

Tin’s words were apparently the final straw. Too kind. Too caring. Too obvious. And yet the entire student body was BLIND. Tin barely had time to put the drinks down before Can yanked him forward into a kiss. 

If the canteen had started building up noise again, it fell to a sudden hush at the display. Tin and Can’s lips parted with a loud smack in the silence. 

“TIN IS MY BOYFRIEND, DAMN IT! STOP TWEETING #TINPETE!” No less than fifty phones were already recording Can’s rant. “#TINCAN FOREVER YOU FUCKS!”

Tin looked as if he was torn between being smitten and embarrassed. “Can, you should-”

Can pulled him into another kiss. The sound of a hundred camera shutters could be heard echoing.

That night, Ley demanded an explanation and Tin would only smirk and Can would only blush. She decided to leave it at that.

#TinCan ended up trending for days after the incident. Tin favorited and liked every posting of the video he ended up seeing on his feed. Can stayed off twitter for a month, but he took a screenshot every day that #TinCan was trending.

Chapter Text

It irked Tin just how smug Can’s senior’s face (Can had called him P’Type) was despite Tin’s best glare.

It was a good glare.

“So you think you can come to the soccer field, glare at me, and I’ll leave Can alone?” Type laughed. “Wow, you have got it bad.”

“Listen, I’ll be taking him out for lunch every day for here on out. Waste your time on your other juniors.”

Type shrugged. “Wouldn’t it be unfair of me to not extend the invitation to N’Can?” Type leaned in, a glint in his eye that Tin hated. “Wouldn’t Can be upset that he isn’t being treated right by his seniors? Do you want to be the one to isolate him?”

Tin huffed. “Act like a proper senior then. What kind of “senior” gets so touchy feely with their juniors?”

Type made another expression Tin didn’t like. One of mocking agreement. “I see, so that’s how it is.”

“Listen you-”

“Ai Tin!” Tin was momentarily blindsided as Can charged into him like a bull and nearly knocked him over. Tin glared some more as Type laughed into his fist, disguising it as a cough. “You came to see me! Let’s have lunch! I want noodles today!” Can finally noticed Type attempting to make a dignified face once Tin agreed. “Oh P’Type. P’Techno said he’s looking for you. He said to tell you, ‘If I’m supposed to be your hubby, then let’s go before I want a divorce.’“

Type shrugged. “Have fun with your IC boy then. Tell him to check those eyes of his. They aren’t seeing properly.”

“Huh? Not seeing properly?” Can pulled Tin down to peer into his eyes, barely noticing the soft expression on his face. “Na Ai Tin, are your eyes focusing okay? I don’t see anything wrong.”

“How could you see anything wrong? You only ever see food.”

“Oi! Now you should treat me to noodles with fish balls!”

“How about noodles with fish balls and shrimp?”

“DEAL!” Can ran off towards Tin’s car in the parking lot. Tin sighed. He’d deal with Type another day.

Chapter Text

Can paused his game as his ringtone for Tin started coming in over the soundtrack. 

“Oi Ai Tin! I’m on a roll here! Why are you interrupting me?!”

“I’m glad to know that you can spare a moment after a week alone to talk to your boyfriend, Cantaloupe.”

Can pouted despite how Tin couldn’t see it anyway. “Can is sorry Ai Tin.”

Tin chuckled. “Are you busy tomorrow night, Cantaloupe?”

“Nope.”

“Have you been good this week?”

Can rolled his eyes. “I’m only bad if it’s you.” Tin coughed and Can laughed. “Are you asking if you should reward me?”

“Should I?”

“There’s no more reason to try and buy me, Ai Tin. I’m already yours.”

Can could feel Tin’s smugness oozing from the phone in his hand. “Well… I do like to spoil you Cantaloupe. How about dinner tomorrow?”

“Ooo… Hotpot?”

“More like French cuisine.”

“What?”

“I’ll pick you up at 7. Dress formally.”

The moment Tin hung up, Can stared at his phone for several minutes before shouting, “AI LEY! I THINK I HAVE AN EMERGENCY!”
——
Tin arrived at 7 PM on the dot. Ley answered the door, took one look at him, and started twirling her hair around her finger and giggling. 

“P’Tin… You look so handsome today…” Tin only shrugged. His shoulders looked incredibly broad in the dark navy dress shirt, accented by the silver in his tie. The crease in his black dress pants was sharp and Ley knew Tin was dating her brother, but she’d have to be blind to not notice how well they cupped his behind.

Her brother always did have all the luck.

“P’Can should be ready soon. I’ll go… get him to hurry.”

When Can walked down the stairs, Tin was wondering if he was at the right house.

Instead of his usual hairstyle, Can had messed it up with some product, making him look rakishly handsome and a bit devious with his smile. His black suit jacket fit him perfectly, coming to his narrow waist. The slim cut of his pants made Can look taller. 

Tin hoped his pants did not display his arousal. 

Can offered Tin a nervous smile. “How do I look?”

Tin pulled him close and whispered into Can’s ear. “I might not make it with you to the restaurant.” Mindful of the fact that Ley was still watching, Tin only kissed Can’s cheek. “I want to eat you instead.”

Can shivered. “Well… I guess I got it right then, huh?”

“I’m going to enjoy tonight,” Tin said out loud before whispering in Can’s ear again. “And I’m going to enjoy peeling you out of that suit.”

Chapter Text

The sun shined brightly, but Can’s smile was brighter as Tin pulled into a parking spot in Pattaya by the beach. The drive had taken them a few hours. Can relished the chance to stretch his legs and take in the sight of golden sand and a busy boardwalk with roller coasters in the distance. 

Can was going to drag Tin onto one if it was the last thing he did.

Can watched as Tin stepped out from the driver side, ridiculously expensive but chic sunglasses on, linen shorts and and a fitted t-shirt. Even in casual clothes, Tin looked amazing. 

“Beach first or boardwalk,” Tin asked with a knowing smile on his face.

“BOARDWALK!”
—–
Can’s grip was steady as he dragged Tin around the amusement park area of the boardwalk. Can had several skewers of different meats and flavors in his other hand and Tin was already laden with bags of other food stuffs Can was eager to try. 

Although the boardwalk games were a scam, Can was surprisingly proficient at them. Can won several prizes and ended up giving them away to younger kids floating about. One was bestowed upon Tin. It was a small dog plushie and Can named it Prada and called it Gucci’s brother. 

Tin loved it shamelessly.

They sat on a bench, surveying what remained of the boardwalk area, eating the feast they had procured before Can overheard the roar of the roller coasters again. He looked up at Tin with pleading eyes. Tin only rolled his.

“If you puke after eating all this and going on that, you’re walking home.”
—–
After the high of the roller coasters, thankfully without vomit, Tin dragged Can to the beach. Tin flashed a card at the attendants at the entrance and suddenly they were dragged to a private section of the beach with full service bar and kitchen, ridiculously soft lounge chairs and fluffy towels, and soft upbeat music pipped in through speakers.

Tin laid himself out after spreading some sunscreen and opening the umbrella. Cold drinks were immediately lined up on the table next to him. Can changed into his swim shorts and ran for the water.

After spending time in the sun on the boardwalk, the cold water was a sharp contrast. But absolutely welcome. 

Carrying a handful of cold ocean water in his cupped palms, Can poured it over Tin’s chest, causing him to sputter and drop the drink in his hand. Can was chased back into the water before Tin picked him up by the waist and threw him in further. 

Can emerged with a laugh and Tin kissed the ocean salt tinged smile on his face. 
—–
After the sun set and after changing into fresh clothes, Tin brought Can to the restaurant on the beach. A full spread of things Can liked to eat was laid out in soft candlelight. With both of them just old enough to drink, Tin ordered a sweeter wine (Can’s preference, not his) to go with dinner. 

Can recounted his favorite parts of the day and Tin listened with a soft and indulgent smile on his face. 

“Ai Tin, why bring me here today?” Can asked. “I loved it but… Isn’t it too much?”

Tin laughed. “Don’t you know what day it is today?”

“Saturday?”

“It’s our anniversary, Cantaloupe. Happy one year together.”

“SHIT AI TIN! WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME! I HAD A PRESENT AND EVERYTHING!”

Tin watched Can rant and waited for him to stop to breathe. “You’re the only present I need.”

Can scrunched up his face. “You stole that line from Ai Ae, didn’t you?”

Tin threw his napkin at Can who started laughing again.

Chapter Text

Tin’s hands pulled Can down, an embrace he didn’t want to escape. Tin’s lips were surprisingly sweet tasting for once, Can credited it to the soda they drank. From cradling Can’s neck, Tin’s hands moved to Can’s waist before going under Can’s shirt and up his back. 

After having to dance around Tin’s older brother at his house or his mother here, Can was glad to finally have alone time with Tin. 

It was good. So good. Can missed the press of Tin’s body against his in a way that he didn’t think he’d ever feel truly comfortable explaining. It was like coming together to be something more than themselves. 

And then Tin raised his hips, making their erections grind together and Can started tearing desperately at his boyfriends dress pants. Tin chuckled into their kiss at Can’s fervor which unfortunately covered up the sound of the door opening.

“P’Caaaaan, why haven’t you- AHHHHHH!”

“AI LEY WHAT THE HELL?!”

Ley, to her credit, only peeked a little bit out of her fingers, but it was enough to see Can’s furious blush and Tin’s smug face as Can pulled his blanket between them to cover up nothing since Can hadn’t even managed to take Tin’s pants off yet.

“W-When did this happen!”

“Nothing happened, Ai Ley!” Can pulled at his hair in frustration. “It’s not what it looks like!”

“Cantaloupe, it is exactly what it looks like.” Tin raised an eyebrow at Ley. “Write this down, Lemon. #TinPete is dead. Long live #TinCan.”

Ley gave a small squeak as Can looked at her and then back at Tin. 

“You planned this,” Can shouted as he pointed at Tin. “How did you even-”

“Your sister’s Twitter is surprisingly popular.” Tin leaned back and shrugged his shoulders. “It wasn’t hard to figure out who was still posting all that stuff that was making you upset and jealous.”

“P’Can?! JEALOUS?”

“AI LEY WILL YOU LEAVE ALREADY?”

“OF COURSE NOT! HOW DID YOU START DATING P’TIN?! I WANT DETAILS! HOW COULD YOU COME BETWEEN P’TIN AND P’PETE?!”

“HE FUCKING KISSED ME FIRST!”

Tin watched the two siblings bicker back and forth. Can would be upset for a little while, but at least he’d no longer be upset that someone was still spreading rumors about Tin dating Pete. And that would be worth the small temper tantrum Can would throw over his sister discovering them.

Either way, Tin still had reservations at several fancy restaurants open in case Can needed more persuading. 

Chapter Text

Tin ate another few pieces of popcorn while waiting for Can. He’d been gone for fifteen minutes already, searching for some anime DVD he wanted to watch together. Unfortunately he’d lent it to his sister a while ago. Tin didn’t really care about watching it. He’d rather enjoy his alone time with Can.

Spending time at Tin’s house was impossible with Tul around. At least during some parts of the day, Can’s parents and his sister were out and they could just be.

Tin also wondered if they’d have time for anything else before they got back.

The sound of Can screeching brought Tin back to reality from his daydreams.

“Is everything okay?!” he called out.

“Sort of!”

“Did you find your DVD?”

“I found it!”

“And?”

“And I never should have gone looking for it in the first place,” Can said as he walked back, DVD in hand, but face looking mildly disturbed.

Tin raised an eyebrow. “Did you find something of your sister’s you weren’t supposed to?”

“I found her secret shrine about us.”

“What?”

Can collapsed against Tin. Tin put his arms around Can on reflex, regardless of the bowl of popcorn in his lap. 

“She has a shrine. With pictures of us. And things that say OTP. I don’t understand it and I don’t want to.”

“Uh…”

“Yeah, exactly.”

Tin stroked Can’s hair. “Wanna make out until you forget about it?”

“God, yes.”

Chapter Text

Can threw himself onto the couch and heaved a great sigh. Tin, working from his computer, did not spare him a glance. Can rolled his eyes and sighed again, louder and with more directness.

“My dear Cantaloupe, I heard you the first time.”

Can scrunched up his face. “My dear Tin, if you had heard your beloved boyfriend the first time, you should acknowledge him sincerely.” 

Tin tilted his head, but he did not look away from the computer. “But dearest, I always acknowledge you sincerely. Did you not see how I tilted my head to you before when you sighed first?”

“I object! You did no such thing!”

“Oh but I must have. I know very well how you rant if you do not think I am granting you my attention.”

“You are doing poorly to grant it to me now!”

“I am doing very well, if I say so myself. I must write these emails, Cantaloupe. You know that.”

“Emails of business, of correspondence, how odious.”

“Truly, you are fortunate that they are my lot and not yours.”

“And am I fortunate that you ignore me for them?”

“You are fortunate that these emails provide for both of us, Cantaloupe. But perhaps you are desiring that I admit that I am the fortunate one.”

“What ever can you mean, dear Tin?”

“Why it is simple. I am fortunate to have you with all your blessings and flaws. Your patience among them.”

Can smiled despite his desire to frown, but an idea quickly formed. Perhaps mischief might earn the attention he craved if banter did not.

Can walked over to Tin, putting his arms around Tin’s neck, nosing about his jaw inhaling the scent of his cologne, planting a gentle kiss to his cheek before trailing up and down Tin’s neck and along his jaw line. Tin’s breathing hitched, but the clack of the keyboard did not waver. 

Can pressed further, nipping at the skin just above Tin’s collar. Tin’s entire body jerked at the sensation and Can knew he had won. His victory was short lived before Tin pulled him into his lap, pushing the keyboard tray aside.

“And what have you to say for yourself, Cantaloupe? Distracting your poor boyfriend into such a state?!”

“I would say… That my boyfriend should have paid me the proper attention to begin with. Then I would not have had to resort to such measures.” Can leaned in, resting his arms against Tin’s shoulders, their faces close enough to share the same breath. Can licked his lips before nudging himself just a bit closer, resting his ass above Tin’s groin. “But perhaps, your boyfriend would be satisfied by other means of showing your favor.”

Tin’s hands immediately latched onto Can’s waist. “I would say… My boyfriend is very lucky that I just finished my emails.”

“Then perhaps you should show your boyfriend how lucky he is?”

“Indeed…” Tin trailed kisses up Can’s neck, finding all the right spots to make him shiver. “Perhaps I should…” Tin nipped at Can’s ear and he moaned before finding himself unceremoniously shoved off of Tin’s lap with a yelp. “But that would be improper. I have a meeting to attend.”

“TIIINNNN!!!!”

Chapter Text

Tin wakes up slowly, body telling him that it’s later than usual, but the press of Can’s lips to his eases his worries. If Can is also here this late, then it’s the weekend.

Can’s lips remain insistent, pressing Tin down into his pillow, Can’s body a warm weight against his. Tin’s hands trail up Can’s bare thighs, modesty kept only by his boxers, feeling Can’s leg hair tickle his palms. 

It’s a wonderful way to wake up in the morning, in Tin’s opinion, with your boyfriend attempting to kiss you senseless. 

Can untangles their tongues before murmuring, “Good morning, handsome,” into Tin’s mouth before kissing him again.

Tin let’s his hands wander up and down Can’s back now, stroking the soft skin, relishing in the feel of developing muscle and vertebrae. “Good morning to you too, cutie.”

“Oi! Why do you have to ruin the mood! You should call me handsome too!” Can sits up, pouting and crossing his arms.

“Na na, Can, Tin is sorry,” Tin says with sad eyes. “You are cute, the cutest. But you are also so handsome, the handsomest.”

Tin watches Can’s expression crack slowly but surely into one of joy and laughter before he leans down, presses their bodies together, and kisses Tin again.

Tin sighs into the kiss, it’s a good morning indeed. 

Chapter Text

Can has long since lost the urge to flee when Tin pulls him close. Before, it had felt as though he was prey before a hunter. Now Can realizes that the hunger in Tin’s eyes was different. More reverent. 

Can has realized that he is not here to be eaten. He’s here to be worshiped. 

Tin’s kisses always start slow, a smolder before the blaze. His lips seek out to trace skin in any manner they can. It would make Can snicker if he wasn’t so turned on. 

There once was a time when Tin complained about Can tasting too salty if he was sweaty. Now Tin takes his time, gets Can hot and bothered and relishes the salty taste of Can’s skin on his tongue. Can doesn’t fight it. He likes the feeling, the cooling trails of saliva writing would be words into his skin.

Tin brings himself from Can’s neck back to his mouth, and here too, Tin lavishes Can with attention, stroking Can’s tongue with his own. He cradles Can’s head so gently with one hand while the other wanders.

Fingertips move over skin and muscle and sinew covered in warm cotton. Tin’s fingertips find the gap between Can’s jeans and t-shirt and stroke the soft and sensitive skin of Can’s waist. It makes Can gasp, the way Tin’s thumb rubs circles into the jut of his hipbone, as if this is what their purpose is, to pay attention to all the parts of Can’s body they can reach. 

Tin’s hand moves upwards, trailing over the slowly firming planes of Can’s chest, resting over Can’s rapidly beating heart.

“Tin…”

“Let’s take this to the bedroom, Cantaloupe. I’m going to memorize how sweet and soft you are again tonight.”

Can shivers in anticipation of another long night.

Chapter Text

Can knew that this was part of adulthood, part of growing up. Tin had meetings and business proposals and conferences to go to. Business could take him away for anything from a day to a month. 

Knowing didn’t make it hurt any less, didn’t make him miss Tin any less. 

But sometimes the texts came at just the right time. Some nights, the video calling was enough to get Can to sleep. Some days, Can would wake up to little packages from distant places sent to their home and piled up on the kitchen table, nothing expensive, but little trinkets that Can adored from all corners of the world. 

But last night had been the most important text. 

“Plane lands at 9AM. Will be glad to be home. Missed you.”

Can could barely sleep from excitement. He downed as much coffee as he could stand and was at the airport by 8AM in case the flight came in early. Unlikely, but Can didn’t want to have to rush. 

The flight landed on time. The minute Tin stepped out and spotted Can, he found his arms full with his boyfriend, pressing close as if to leave every trace of physical distance between them behind, kissing him as if it was the first time in a million years instead of in a month.

But Tin would be lying if he said he hadn’t missed any of this either. 

He pulled Can even closer, kissed him deeply, letting their bodies fit each other again. Kiss after kiss after kiss, both of them melted in to each one. A few bystanders stopped to stare, but no one stopped them. 

At long last, Can pulled away, but only just enough to mutter, “Welcome home. Don’t leave again.”

Tin gave Can a small peck on the lips before murmuring back, “It’s good to be back.”

Chapter Text

Can acknowledged that he wasn’t that tall. He was at least taller than Ae, that was for sure. But Can knew he wasn’t that much shorter than Tin. 

So this did not explain Tin’s love of planting kisses on top of his head. 

Despite how short they made him feel, Can could feel the warmth from them spread from the crown of his head down to his toes. Every day turned out to be a surprisingly good day after Tin kissed the top of his head, but how Tin did it was annoying.

Tin always made a show of leaning down to kiss him and Can had had enough. 

Which was why this morning, Can pulled Tin down lower to kiss the top of his head instead.

“There, now stop acting like you’re so much taller than me!”

“Can?”

“God, it’s like you’re lording it over me!”

“Can.”

“Haven’t I lectured you before about treating me like an equal?!”

“Can.”

“I just-”

Tin kissed Can silent before kissing the top of his head. “There. Now have a good day. You’re not short. I love you.”

Thus satisfied by having received two kisses and acknowledgement that he was not short, Can was happy enough to start his day until he realized that Tin had leaned down to kiss the top of his head again. 

“TIN!”

Chapter Text

Tin stared at the ceiling of his room, watching the light of the setting afternoon sun turn crimson. If Tin were more poetic, he’d say it was a metaphor for his bleeding heart, slowly knitting itself back together. 

It hadn’t just been a fight between him and Can.

It had been a fight

Can had told Tin time and time again to not spend his money on him in such extravagant ways. But Tin couldn’t help himself after hearing Can lament graduating later than expected since he couldn’t afford the next semester’s courses.

Tin had talked with Can’s mom and they had worked an agreement out. It was all done in good taste and she had been happy with the terms. Can had been furious. Even his mother had been confused and horrified at the damning language Can had used.

After they had torn each other to the barest shreds, Tin dragged himself home and only just managed to not suffocate himself with his pillows. Tears had already come and gone leaving nothing but stains on his pillowcases and sheets. 

The silence was the worst part, it allowed Tin to replay the argument over and over. By the time Tin heard the gentle knocking at his room door, the sky had turned dark and Tin’s eyes felt dry and gritty. 

“Go away,” Tin hoarsely called out.

“Tin?” At the sound of Can’s voice, Tin curled up on himself. Can tread carefully, as if the floor was laden with traps. “Tin, will you talk to me?” Tin only pulled his blanket over himself, his last barrier against the world and Can. But even the thick layer of cotton and feather down was not enough to prevent Can from seeing the trembling. “Tin, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said those things. Please talk to me.”

“N-NO! You’re j-ju-just going to twist my words again!”

Can smacked his own forehead. “Okay, I deserve that. I’m sorry I said this was your sorry attempt to control my life.” Can pulled himself onto the bed and tried his best to spoon the mass of his boyfriend wrapped in blankets. “I’m sorry I didn’t get all the details before I freaked out. You were trying to do this in a way that wouldn’t piss me off and I should have known that.” Can rested his head against what he suspected was Tin’s shoulder. “Thank you Tin, for helping my family. For helping me.”

“Are you still mad?”

“No Tin. I promise I’m not mad. I shouldn’t have gotten mad in the first place.”

Tin refused to emerge from his nest of blankets, but the trembling had stopped at least. Can tried to pull an edge out from under him before Tin pulled him in.

Safe in the cocoon together, Can continued to whisper apologies until the sun rose.

Chapter Text

“So Ai Albino Monkey, you didn’t do too bad out there.”

Can puts a cocky grin on his face as they stand behind the bleachers. “Oi IC Program, you shouldn’t doubt my skills! And if you’d bother to come to more of my games, you’d know better about when to yell.”

Tin chuckles and noses along Can’s neck which never fails to make the shorter boy’s breath hitch. Tin breathes in deep, smelling grass and sweat, a tolerable combination if it’s coming from Can’s skin. “Well… If you’re going to be like that… Maybe I won’t give you your reward for doing so well.”

“A-A reward!?!” Tin can imagine Can’s face lighting up immediately. He doesn’t need to look.

“Mmm… Like this…” Tin tilts Can’s chin up and kisses him softly, gently nibbling at his lips. Can shivers in Tin’s arms and moans softly in reply. 

“Ae… Where are we going?”

“You said you’d- WHAT THE HELL?!”

Tin and Can break apart, flustered and wild eyed to find Ae dragging Pete behind him, a blush on Pete’s face and a glare on Ae’s.

“Find your own damn spot,” Tin growls.

“Oi, first get your hands off of my friend.”

“He likes it here, don’t you Can?” Tin shoots a snide look at Ae while pulling Can closer. Can looks as if he wishes everything would combust right now. 

“Ae, let’s leave them alone,” Pete says while trying to drag Ae away. But Ae doesn’t budge.

“Not until I get some answers. When the hell did this happen?”

Can and Pete look each other in the eyes and nod at each other.

“TIN I’M REALLY HUNGRY LET’S GO EAT LIKE RIGHT NOW!” Can breaks Tin’s hold and drags him off instead before the situation escalates further. Ae shouts after them but quiets immediately which means Pete has done his job.

Now for Can to handle Tin.

Chapter Text

Can pulled Tin as far as the taller boy would allow, which was surprisingly far. Can even managed to get his bag from the locker room before pulling Tin all the way to his car. 

They sat in silence in on the way to Can’s home. Can could see the clenching of Tin’s jaw and his glare directed at the road. His knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel. Tin was far more upset about being interrupted than Can had expected.

Taking a deep breath, Can prepared himself. Desperate times called for desperate measures and this was one. It was time to use Tin’s weakness.

“Na, Ai Tin, please don’t be upset,” Can said while tugging gently on Tin’s sleeve. As Tin pulled to a stop at a red light, Can pulled himself up and pressed a gentle kiss onto Tin’s cheek. The muscles twitched. Barely. But it was enough. It was working. “Ai Tiiiiin.” Another kiss, this one on the cheekbone. “You’re still upset? Your Cantaloupe will make it up to you.” The third kiss was at the join between jaw and neck. “I promise…” The fourth kiss was against Tin’s neck where Can could feel Tin’s pulse slow. 

Tin finally rolled his eyes, and like magic, all the tension in his body melted away. “I’m not mad.”

“I didn’t say mad. I said upset. You don’t want to have to defend yourself, I know.” Another kiss, but this time a peck on the lips just as the light changed. 

Tin’s lips almost jutted out in a pout, but he continued driving. “You know too much.”

“I know just enough thank you,” Can said as he sat back in his seat. “Now food please.”

Tin raised an eyebrow without looking at Can. “You just played me, didn’t you?”

Can widened his eyes before they narrowed with his charming smile. “Me? Play you? In what world, Ai Tin?”

“I know what you did. How you calmed me down.”

“Why Ai Tin!” Can stared at Tin as if he was scandalized. “I would never use my charms to soften your emotions!”

“And yet you are continuing to do so.”

“I am not!” Can objected. “I only smiled at you.”

“You know how weak I am to that. And your kiss.”

“But you fall for it every time. So who’s at fault here?”

Tin smiled. “Both of us.”

Chapter Text

Can had been saying something. Tin wasn’t bothered by that. Can often said a lot of things and not all of them were at all important for Tin to listen to actually. Can just needed to say them. 

But Can’s lips were a particularly fetching shade of pink today and just shy of shiny. They were maddeningly distracting. 

Tin wanted to taste them.

However, Can was still in the middle of his rant and he hated being interrupted. Can also was still iffy about PDA despite how much he seemed to enjoy it whenever Tin kissed him in public anyway.

The next five minutes were a blur because Tin couldn’t get his eyes away from Can’s bottom lip.

All hope was lost within the next thirty seconds because Can licked his bottom lip before biting it and all of Tin’s restraint flew out of the window. Tin pulled Can closer by the chin and kissed him softly before licking the tempting bottom lip and giving it a quick nip. It tasted like cherries. But not like the kind from Can’s lollipops. It was more chemical and fake. Tin’s face scrunched up at the realization.

“Why do your lips taste funny?”

Can blinked for a moment before he seemed to realize what had happened. “Oh, Ley told me to try this.” Can produced a tube of lip gloss. “It smells funny, but it’s supposed to make my lips look nice.”

“Throw it out,” Tin said while making a move to snatch it from Can’s hands. “It tastes disgusting.”

“Hey! This is my sister’s!”

“Your sister needs better taste in lip gloss. I’ll buy her a better one, but please don’t put it on again.”

Chapter Text

Can knows it hurts Tin, but he knows he can’t reply just yet. At least not in the way Tin wants.

“I love you,” Tin says with such breathtaking honesty each time. “I love you, Cantaloupe.”

“I’m sorry… I don’t love you like that.” Can looks down at his worn out sneakers instead of in Tin’s eyes. He knows that if he looks up, he’ll see all the raw emotion that he could possibly want to see. It terrifies him. “At least not yet.”

“I know.” Tin pulls Can close and Can lets him. It’s not as if Can doesn’t enjoy these moments where there is nothing but the beating of their hearts between them. “You don’t have to love me like that just yet. This is okay. It’s enough.” Tin rests his head on Can’s. “But I won’t stop saying it.”

“Okay.” Can feels his heart ache. How can Tin be so brave every day? To keep putting his heart on the line when Can can only say that he likes Tin, that he enjoys the time they spend together, enjoys their dates and chats, but isn’t ready to say those words. 

“You don’t say it verbally, Cantaloupe,” Tin says, breaking the silence after they’ve been cuddling for a while. “But you say it in other ways. And that’s why I can keep saying it until you’re ready to say it.”

Can presses a soft kiss to Tin’s lips. The truth is still too hard to bear, but he’s glad Tin seems to see what Can can’t bring himself to say yet. 

Chapter Text

Can knew he was biased, but there was no better way to kiss Tin than sitting on his lap, feeling his legs spread wide by Tin’s surprisingly muscular thighs (apparently his boyfriend enjoyed going to the gym and wasn’t that a nice thought too). It had the benefit of Tin’s hands on his ass, pulling Can in, grinding their crotches together. A counterpoint of heated friction compared to the wet heat of their mouths together. 

Can could also let Tin nibble and bite on his neck this way in an easy fashion. Every bruise a claim, a mark of possession that faded too easily in Can’s eyes. 

It was also great because Can could do the same to Tin. His favorite spot was just at the joint of the jaw, under and behind Tin’s ear. It never failed to make Tin shiver with desire. Can had even caught Tin pressing the marks placed there absentmindedly. 

So it was with great joy that when Tin sat down on the couch after a long day, Can arranged himself happily on Tin’s lab, the weight of his body pressing into Tin’s crotch, his dick already showing interest and their lips hadn’t even met yet. 

Tin quickly remedied that situation with grace as he always had. Tin’s lips were warm and insistent and Can let them have their way with him instantly. Can moaned instead of replying verbally. Tin was good at figuring Can out, he’d figure out Can’s needs tonight as well. 

Chapter Text

They had been making out for what felt like hours to Can when he was sure it had really only been minutes. Tin’s lips were delightfully red and on their way to being bruised his body was warm and pliant beneath Can’s 

Tin was hardly shy or bashful, their previous times together proved that, but for whatever reason tonight there was a pale pink cast to his cheeks. Tin pulled Can down for another kiss and as he kissed the corner of Can’s mouth, Tin wrapped his legs around Can’s waist and Can moaned at the feeling of Tin’s ass against his groin.

“Can… I want you to… I want you to do it tonight.”

Can heard the sound of a record skipping before hearing Tin’s request on repeat in his mind. If he had been an anime character, Can was sure his nose would be bleeding right now. 

Tin blinked before kissing Can again. “Can? Are you-”

Can kissed Tin with a hunger that seemed to come alive from within. Tin responded eagerly, pulling Can closer still.

Can heard a pop when their lips separated. “I’m sorry, are you sure you-” Tin didn’t give Can a chance to finish before he pulled him into another kiss.

“Yes yes yes,” Tin murmured between even more kisses. “I wanna feel you tonight.”

If Can didn’t have an erection before, he had one now, straining at his pants, eagerly oozing pre-ejaculate at the thought of thrusting into Tin’s ass. He whimpered, mind already overloading at the idea. 

“Come on Cantaloupe, you can do it for me, can’t you? Can you be a good boy and show me a good time?”

Can shivered before tearing off his pants and Tin’s. It was time to get focused and show Tin just how good Can could be. 

Chapter Text

There were several things Can had learned about Tin. Many of them personal, the stories of his youth, his time in the UK, about his brother, about his parents, and even about his nephew.

But there were also many things that Can had learned about Tin’s body. So when Can had pressed a soft kiss to Tin’s lips while he was napping, Can had barely pulled away before Tin had snapped awake and was rolling Can underneath him, kissing him like he was dying of thirst and Can’s saliva was the only water around for miles.

Tin refused to relent and Can could feel his lungs burning on just the wrong side of pleasurable. Instead of shoving Tin off, Can reached under Tin’s t-shirt and rubbed circles into the base of Tin’s spine. It was, for some bizarre reason, one of Tin’s hot spots and Tin broke their kiss with a moan and a gasp, shuddering on Can’s lap. 

Desire for air fulfilled, Can reached up and pulled Tin back down, who was now more pliant and hungry than ever, grinding against Can who had clenched his fists in the back of Tin’s shirt. 

It was the recipe that would make sure Can had a good night tonight and Tin had yet to be the wiser.

(In reality, Tin had known what Can was angling for and would have given him what he wanted anyway, but Can’s little seduction routine made him happy and Tin wasn’t about to burst that little bubble.)

Chapter Text

It would always surprise Can just how quickly he and Tin had become domestic and they hadn’t even moved in together yet. 

Can always made sure Tin ate lunch and Tin got them dinner on nights where Can stayed late for practice. Saturday was for dates and walks with Gucci. Sunday was for studying together.

Can had never seen his English grades this high in his entire life, never mind all the other subjects Tin was tutoring him in. It was amazing.

But the most amazing thing was just how casual Tin had become with affection. From a tumultuous beginning where Tin looked incredibly lost, unsure of his welcome, now the minute Can stood up to leave or approached, Tin presented his cheek for a kiss. Can, after his own adjustment period, was happy to oblige.

Can could be leaving for the day, leaving to get a drink, or leaving for the bathroom. Regardless, Tin wanted a kiss. Tin didn’t even look away from his computer, phone, the TV, anything. 

And while it should have been annoying, it made Can feel warm inside, knowing that Tin had come to want this thing between them, wanted this tiny bit of affection and reassurance.

One day, Can decided to try an experiment. After providing a kiss to Tin’s cheek, he presented his own. Without even blinking, Tin kissed Can’s cheek as well before continuing what he was doing.

With an extra skip in his step, Can ran off for practice. At least now Can knew he could get a few more kisses as well.

Chapter Text

Can had always been bad at waking up in the mornings. Even on days where they had morning practice, his ma had struggled to kick him out of bed.

In this struggle, it appeared that Tin was a godsend. 

Can lay wrapped in his duvet, dreaming of food, if the licking of his lips was anything to go by. Tin ghosted his lips over Can’s and without opening his eyes, Can whimpered and presented them for a kiss. Tin cradled Can’s head in his palms and pressed soft, gentle kisses to Can’s lips with lazy slow licks at the soft lower lip. 

Can moaned softly and his arms sleepily groped around before coming around Tin’s neck and pulling him closer by instinct. Tin chuckled and kissed Can a little more, nudging him little by little to open his lips a bit more. It worked little by little and Can woke up slowly with a heart beating with desire and lips that tasted like his boyfriend. 

“Mmm… Tin… Give me another kiss…” Can whined as he sat up to chase Tin’s lips when he pulled away.

“Take your shower first and I’ll think about it.”

“You’re… eeeeviiiiiillllll… Did mom… put you up to this?”

“Come on Cantaloupe. If you get ready in ten, we can go get a nice breakfast before I drop you off at practice.”

“Don’t want practice. Want more kisses.”

Tin laughed and ruffled Can’s hair. “How about breakfast and two more kisses, but you have to be ready in five.”

“Done!”

Chapter Text

The minute they stepped behind the door to Tin’s apartment, Tin pushed Can into the wall and kissed him, deep and slow. Can moaned, closing his eyes before he curled his fists in Tin’s shirt, wrinkling it horribly, but it did the job of pulling Tin closer. Tin’s hands on Can’s waist pulled him forward as Tin walked back.

Breaks for air were not enough to see where they were going, but neither cared. Tin knocked into end tables and Can nearly tripped over the leg of the ottoman. 

A lamp may or may not have fallen in sacrifice as well. 

After Can nearly stubbed his toe, both decided the couch was close enough to enjoy the rest of their make-out session. 

Tin was laid out on his back as Can pressed light kisses across Tin’s face before finding Tin’s lips again. Tin accepted all the kisses happily, humming with delight. 

The world faded away between them, lost in each other.

The couch also sufficed for everything else they got up to that afternoon.

Chapter Text

It says something about how domestic they are when Can realizes just how causal they are about affection these days. 

Can almost ends all his sentences and questions and demands with, “Love you.”

“Can you pass the salt? Thanks, love you.” 

“Buy me some skewers pleaaaase? I loooooveeee youuuuuu.”

“You bought me WHAT?! I told you not to! Ugh…I love you, Tin.”

“Here’s your breakfast, love you.”

“Thanks for lunch, love you.”

Tin’s expression never ceases to soften whenever Can does it. And Can likes that expression, the one that says that Tin is hopelessly in love and Can knows that his face shows the same.

Tin, on the other hand, has found it hard to say, “I love you,” with the astounding frequency that Can does. But Can knows Tin’s pet names are the same thing.

“Here’s your breakfast, baby.”

“Thank you, sweetie.” 

“You monkey… You played well today.”

“Baby, come here, it’ll be ok.”

“Can, honey, please stop that.”

The language of love needs only intent for those who truly know each other. The words are just extra. 

Chapter Text

Can blearily sat up and blew his nose again for the third time in ten minutes. Clearly there was no going back to sleep. A warm hand was suddenly resting on his forehead and Can sighed.

“Still running a bit warm,” Tin murmured. “Another dose of medicine should be good now.”

“Mmmm want cuddles please.” Can pressed his head against Tin’s stomach. “I’m dying. Cuddle me before I pass away.”

“Not yet.”

“But I’m siiiiiiick,” Can whined. “Pleaaaaaase?”

“Eat first,” Tin said as he stroked Can’s hair. “I made you breakfast.”

Can sniffed again. “Is it poisoned?”

Tin looked at Can as if he grew a third head. “What kind of question is that?”

“Because I want to diiiiiieeeeeee.”

Tin rolled his eyes. “If you have the energy to be this dramatic, you’ll be better in no time. Come on,” Tin pulled Can up, “First breakfast, then meds, and then cuddles.”

“Can I get a kiss too?”

“Are you trying to get me as sick as you are?!”

Chapter Text

The moment the mocking words had left Tin’s mouth, the lies about how his entire life story was a lie, Tin regretted it. To have been there, on the edge of letting Can in, of letting him know just how broken he was, it was frightening. All at once, all of Tin’s defenses had come up at the look of pity in Can’s eyes and he couldn’t do it.

But now, there was not even the pain of Can’s punch to help him ignore how he felt about his own idiocy. 

Tin didn’t know how long he stood there by the side of the road, replaying the last few minutes over and over in his head. He called himself stupid, a coward, and all manner of things. 

It wasn’t until a hand was waved in his face that Tin snapped out of it.

“Do rich people like you really just stand around in the middle of the street moping?!”

Tin blinked. “Why did you come back?”

Can shoved a coffee into Tin’s hands before Tin noticed the take out tray in Can’s other hand containing a smoothie for the shorter boy. “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, Ai Asshole.”

“Meaning?” Tin took a sip of the coffee. It was almost painfully too sweet, but Tin would die before letting Can see that he didn’t like it.

“Meaning I didn’t believe a word of the bullshit you just said about everything being a lie.” Can pointed a finger in Tin’s face. “You want to talk to me. I know you do. So we’re going to sit in your car. You’re going to drive us somewhere quiet, and we’re going to talk this out or so help me, I will beat you until I get a straight answer out of you!”

“This is how you apologize? Didn’t you just say you went too far?” Tin didn’t even wince internally this time as he took another sip of the coffee. “I’m astounded by your lack of social niceties.”

“I’m astounded that a disaster like you even understands the concept of social niceties. Are we doing this or not?”

Tin took another sip. Slightly less sweet this time, almost bearable. “Fine, but we’re going to need more coffee than this.”

Chapter Text

Tin knew that it would one day come back to bite him, but he was always happy to encourage Can’s creative outlets. It was another way Can could let off steam, emotions, or excess energy without running laps, screaming, or Tin having to fuck him until the wee hours of the morning (not that Tin was exactly complaining about that last option). 

But Can’s most recent hobby was molecular gastronomy and it had been cute and exciting to start. Little caviar balls made of juice or soda. Special jellies made without gelatin or agar. The transparent pie was also a particularly interesting experience, and an expensive one, but worth it.

However, when Tin walked into the kitchen to see several boxes and cups of chemicals and a vat of liquid nitrogen, Tin didn’t even reply to Can’s greeting and instead walked in the other direction.

“Where are you going?!” 

“To write my last will and testament.”

“TIN, THIS IS ALL EDIBLE. I MADE A FOAM OUT OF VANILLA EXTRACT. IT’S AMAZING!”

Tin wondered if perhaps it was time to push Can into a different hobby. Like knitting. Sure it was never cold in Thailand, but at least Tin could donate the excess sweaters and scarves or something. 

Chapter Text

Going from dappled sunlit forest into the immediate darkness of a cave always set Tin on edge. 

Tin acknowledged he was a control freak. It was the reason why he learned the spells and magics he did. The inability to see, if even for a moment, disturbed him greatly. 

The other reason was because Can was the worst partner and always picked the worst jobs. Every time Can picked a job, it inevitably ended with a cave dive and giant spiders and/or zombies.

Tin was so tired of spiders and zombies. But these were the dangers and hazards of working with someone you love and being in the employ of people too lazy to go find whatever it was they realized they needed on such short notice.

At least the post job, “Yay, we’re still alive,” sex was good.

And the pay, despite how little Tin actually needed it.

Can huffed as they took several more steps in. “I can’t see anything!”

“Hold on, I’ll set something on fire,” Tin said while rolling his eyes.

“I hope to god you mean a torch, Tin.”

“What did you think I was going to light on fire?”

“Lighting my sword on fire was cool, but not ideal baby.”

“I thought you’d be impressed that I managed it.”

“I loved it while it lasted,” Can said in agreement. “But let’s not melt this one until after the job is over, huh?”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. 

They had said that the magic was dead. That the relics were useless now. There were no more portals for far off planes and existences. 

So what was the harm in exploring? In nicking one for themselves? Can had been eager and Tin… Tin would always follow when Can asked. 

But Tin and Can soon found that the stories were lying.

Can found himself paralyzed as Tin, the only one who could use magic worth a damn between them, focusing with all his might, held back horror after horror with the only barrier spell he knew. 

And Can knew it wouldn’t last much longer. 

But Tin would hold them off for him. Was holding them off for him. And Can hated it.  Can’s sword was already heavy with black shadow blood, and there were so many, too many. They’d never kill them all. They weren’t meant for this. 

“Tin, come on!”

“I can’t, Can! You have to go! If I stop, they’ll kill us both!”

“I won’t leave without you!”

“Just go, please,” Tin whispered as the beasts threw themselves against the barrier, cracks in the pattern of light and magic forming. “Don’t come back, just be selfish for once in your life and save yourself, I am begging you.” 

“And what about you? How can I live knowing you died for me?”

Tin pulled Can close and gave him the briefest of kisses they had ever shared. “Live knowing I loved you. Warn them, Can. You’re the only one fast enough.”

Can could feel the magic of the spell Tin had worked into the kiss. One last blessing, one last protection he could give. “Don’t you dare die, Tin.”

“That’s my line. Now GO!”

Chapter Text

Can stared at the key being dangled in front of his face, nearly going cross-eyed. “Let me get this straight.”

“Okay.”

“We’ve been together for a year.”

“Yes.”

“And I love you.”

“Thank you.”

“And you love me.”

“Absolutely.”

“So… Despite how I told you to wait until I get a proper job so we could move in together, you bought a house.”

“It appears that way.”

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”

Tin blinked at the outburst. “If I’m honest, I’m not sure I was.”

“Of all the irresponsible ways you’ve ever spent your money on me-”

“Us,” Tin corrected.

“Us,” Can agreed, “YOU DECIDED TO BUY A HOUSE?!”

“Look,” Tin said in his most soothing voice. “It’s not that far away from the university or most places where you or I would find work. There’s even a yard! You could let Gucci run around.”

“Tin…”

“It was a good price, and you can pay me back when you get a job.”

“That’s not the-”

“And it has a hot tub.”

Can stopped to think for a moment. “Ok, maybe this wasn’t the worst thing you’ve ever done.”

“I thought you said you can’t be bought, Can.”

Can settled for kissing the smug smile off of Tin’s face. They’d work out the details later.

Chapter Text

Tin blearily made his way to the bed. With finals rapidly approaching and assignments due, Tin found his normally neat and organized schedule in disarray. Still, after this last all-nighter, Tin felt as if he had made some breathing room.

But first, sleep.

Tin collapsed into the mattress and groaned in satisfaction. Then the pillow under his head started moving and Tin realized it was his boyfriend instead. 

A minor lament, but now that Can had been woken up, there was no resting in Tin’s near future.

“Tin? Geez, do you know what time it is?!”

“Mrph.”

“Oi, you have class in a few hours don’t you?”

“Mrrhmph.”

“Oh right, it is Saturday.”

“Grrrr…”

“God, I forget how cranky and nonverbal you are when you’re this sleep deprived. It’s almost cute.”

Tin glared up at Can’s amused face. “One more word out of you and I’m duct taping your mouth shut, Cantaloupe.”

Can only raised an eyebrow. “Kinky. What’s the safeword?”

Tin only groaned and tried to tune Can’s suggestions for safewords out. They could have that kind of discussion after at least 12 hours of sleep.

Chapter Text

Tin, despite his past actions, had very few regrets in life. And although he did not count his relationship with Can as one of them, he did regret buying him that nature survival documentary that he’d been wanting to watch as a present. 

For the last week, Can had been practicing several survival skills from the documentary with all the gusto and energy that he could muster during this break time between semesters, which was unfortunately a lot. 

At first it had been harmless, practicing knots, learning how to pack various items for an emergency, he even practiced building an impromptu shelter in the backyard. But once Can had learned how to start a fire and even bought himself a flint fire starter, things got a bit worrisome. 

Can had been itching to find a chance to use the damn thing and every time, Tin had refused. Thus incensed, Can demanded they go camping of all things. And when Can smiled that particular smile of his, Tin found himself unable to refuse him anything.

Which was why they were now camping in the middle of a national park with Tin setting up the tent in the dark and Can still attempting to light the fire.

“We should have done this when we got here,” Tin said in a huff. “I can’t see anything to do this.”

“Hold on, I’ll set something on fire soon!”

“You’ve been trying for the last hour, Cantaloupe.”

“I’m gonna get it! Just you wait!”

Tin stomped over to the dimly moonlit outline of Can and the moment he saw what was in Can’s hands, he wanted to scream. “That’s not how you use flint, Cantaloupe.” 

“Huh?”

“You’re supposed to hit it with steel to make sparks, not the wood!”

Chapter Text

Can was very much aware that Tin had a bit of a past. It had been covered up by money and misspent youth, but there was a past. Tin had told Can about his time in the UK, about when he came back home, all the things he may or may not have gotten into, all the things he had done. 

Tin had done his best to promise that everything had been handled. Settled. 

This was not settled.

Can found himself held in place by no less than three guys, but to be fair, he had knocked out the first with a solid punch to the jaw. Tin stood in front of him, his eyes held Can’s gaze, but Can could see his hands trembling. 

This was going to end in disaster.

“Nong Tin! You didn’t think our business was over, did you?” The leader said as he opened his switchblade with a flick of his wrist. “And I see you even got yourself a toy.” Can felt the tip of the blade pressed against his cheek, just hard enough to leave a thin scratch. “Not the same kind I used to see you go for, but there is a certain… rustic charm I suppose?”

“Don’t hurt him, please, I’ll do anything.” Tin’s voice was low, and although it sounded even, Can knew it was a thin mask. “Just let him go. I’ll go back with you.”

“You didn’t think it’d be so easy, did you?” The tip of the blade moved, a little gentler now, across Can’s neck. “The debts you owe, they go deeper than money. Blood, Nong Tin. My brother died in that raid.”

“Then you can have P’Tul.” Can would have been irritated with Tin’s casualness about that statement if he didn’t notice Tin’s hands had stilled. “A brother for a brother, no?”

“But Tul is only a half-brother.” Tin glared in reply. “Oh yes, I know. Not like your father kept it very secret.” 

“Still a brother for a brother.”

“And this one here.” Can stifled his shout at having his hair pulled to expose his neck further. “He’s worth more to you than a brother, isn’t he? You owe me interest, Nong Tin.”

Tin’s eyes seemed to sharpen. He even gave a little smile. “I guess… You might have to wait to collect on that interest, Khun.” Tin redirected his attention to Can again. “Do you trust me, Can?”

The blade pressing against his neck, Tin’s eyes meeting his, Can had no regrets. “Yes.”

Tin nodded. There was the sound of breaking glass and the sound of gurgling before the leader’s grip eased and he fell to the floor in a heap. Several more thuds, like something hitting a bag of wet cement, and the other two holding Can fell to the ground as well.

“Bullets talk when money walks,” Tin said without sparing the bodies another glance. He grabbed Can’s hand and pulled him, running as fast as he could as an entire team of armed police barged in through every entrance.

Chapter Text

Can, having grown up with a family that required him to help around the house, was usually the one who did most of the cooking.  For whatever bizarre reason, despite Tin’s education, he was horrible at following directions except for making instant noodles. Because of this, Tin was usually more than happy to just wash dishes or foot the bill for ordering out. Can considered this a happy compromise and there was no chance of repeating the incident.

So it was worrisome for Can to come home to the smell of smoke and the sound of cursing from the kitchen.

Can rushed into the kitchen to find Tin staring into the oven with a pout, a lumpy, misshapen mess in a cake pan in his hands, and several other burnt rejects in the trash. 

“Tin… Babe…” Can walked in with caution, as if Tin was holding a bomb about to go off. “What did you do?”

Tin huffed. “I thought I knew what I was doing but I- I messed up, okay?”

“Clearly.”

Tin gave Can a glare before sighing and dumping the reject cake into the trash again. “It’s just box mix cake. I’m not even making it from scratch!”

Can pulled Tin’s head down to rest on his shoulder. Tin hated failure as much as Can hated losing, so some soothing was in order. “Why are you trying to make a cake, Tin? You could just buy one.”

Tin huffed and Can fought the shiver caused by the air passing his ear. “You always make me a cake for my birthday. I wanted to try doing it this time.”

“Really? You tried for me?” Tin grunted in response. “Aww, that’s very sweet of you.” 

“Happy birthday, Cantaloupe.”

Can pressed a kiss into the side of Tin’s neck. “Thank you, Tin.” Can finally turned to look at the boxes on the counter. “That is a lot of mix.”

“I bought several cause I knew I’d screw up the first few.”

Can took a closer look at the boxes while stroking Tin’s back. “Uh Tin… You haven’t forgotten how to read Thai, have you?” The burning sensation against the side of Can’s head meant Tin was glaring. “Because these are all boxes of pancake mix, not cake mix.”

Chapter Text

There was something people said in English that Tin had heard before in his youth. That before you can love someone, you must love yourself.

Back when Tin believed this, it was easy. The folly of youth and an abundance of self confidence and assurance in his family had made loving himself no question. 

And then Tul’s treachery had come to the surface.

And a loathing and a fear and a coldness had swept through Tin like a plague. They loomed over Tin, unforgiving and unforgettable. A barrier to anyone who dared get closer. 

Tin would never stop hating himself for being so easily fooled. And Tin was sure he would never love again, so blinded by his own self hatred. So disgusted by the nature of people.

Years and years later, when Tin met Can. When Tin learned to let Can in and see just how broken he was, he was surprised how easy it was to love Can.

It was so easy it was more frightening than anything Tul might do to continue to ruin Tin’s life.

But there was so much to Can, so many ways that he ingrained himself into Tin’s life, that Tin was left reeling in his wake. A burst of light in the darkness. Music in the empty and silent air. Oxygen in deprived lungs. 

Even in Tin’s most self-loathing moments, the thought of Can, just a text away, brought Tin the momentum to keep going until he left the worrisome thoughts behind.  It was easy for Tin to lose sight of his problems when he was lost in the surge of feelings so strong he might burst.

It wasn’t until Tin found another quote by a poet, Christopher Poindexter, that he realized just what Can had done for him. 

“I loved her not for the way she danced with my angels, but for the way the sound of her name could silence my demons.” 

Can had certainly done that. And Tin would love him forever for it.

Chapter Text

It had been late when Tin brought Can home. Tin did the gentlemanly thing and walked Can to his door. Can made a fuss as usual, but the curve at the corners of his lips showed he wasn’t upset.

“Oh N’Tin!” Can’s mom opened the door after Can had been whining about Tin keeping him out so late. “Cantaloupe is right, it’s so late and you look tired. Why not spend the night here?”

Can made a face behind his mother’s back, but Tin smiled his most charming smile in reply. Somewhere else, Can heard Ley sigh and scrunched up his nose. 

“Oh only if it’s not too much trouble…”

“Of course not! Come in! Come in!”

And that was how Can found himself laying in bed with Tin laying next to him, borrowing his slightly too small clothing. The stretch of even Can’s largest t-shirt showed off Tin’s physique and Tin still smelled like his more expensive bath products, even after a shower with Can’s cheaper ones. 

Can wondered briefly if the smell wasn’t Tin’s bath products, but himself. He also wondered if he was becoming as easy as Ae was for Pete because Tin’s smell and proximity were arousing him.

The only thing that kept Can in check was that Ley’s room was nearby. As it was, she had threatened him before for yelling. Can didn’t want to know what would happen if she heard him moaning while Tin was sleeping over and she was still shipping TinPete.

Tin shuffled closer and put his arm around Can’s waist to pull him closer still. Can allowed it, but when Tin’s hand wandered too far south, Can smacked Tin’s arm. Tin raised an eyebrow.

“Absolutely not,” Can hissed.

Tin only smirked. “Just be quiet, Cantaloupe. You can be quiet, right?”

Tin pressed kisses up and down Can’s neck, hand squeezing Can’s buttock and Can bit his lip as hard as he could to stop the moan that wanted to escape. Tin took some kind of mercy on Can and started kissing him in earnest, swallowing the sounds Can wanted to make. 

As Can got lost in the pleasure of Tin’s hands, he strained his ears for footsteps on the wood floor. Thus it was a complete shock when Tin pushed up his shirt and bit one of Can’s nipples. The jolt caused Can to squeak and he immediately slapped a free hand over his mouth. 

Tin tutted and Can slapped his thigh in protest. Tin snickered before pressing more kisses up and down Can’s chest. Can managed to keep his vocalizations down, but for some reason, the harder he tried and the more he tried to listen for his family, the more aroused he got. The more aroused Can got, Tin’s ministrations felt even better. 

By the time Tin got to Can’s shorts, Can’s erection was flushed and leaking. It was easy for Tin to stroke him from base to tip with Can’s pre-ejaculate alone and Can felt his face burn with how turned on he was already. Tin didn’t outwardly look as affected, but Can knew his boyfriend was turned on by the tenting in his borrowed shorts.

Tin pulled his shorts down as well before taking both their erections in hand and stroking them, letting them rub together with Can’s pre-ejaculate as lubrication. It felt oddly more dirty and intimate than anything they’d done before and Can had already taken Tin’s dick up his ass. But here in the quiet dark, with Can straining to hear his parents over the slick sounds of skin sliding on skin, it was horrifically amazing. 

Tin leaned down to kiss Can again and Can allowed himself a small moan, thankful that the bed frame wasn’t creaking. Can could feel his orgasm coming and bit at Tin’s shoulder to muffle his scream. With a muffled gasp, Can felt his release splatter against his chest and Tin followed suit soon after. His orgasm followed by nothing but heavy exhales. 

Gasping for breath, Can scrunched his face at Tin who looked incredibly smug.

“Who knew you liked a little bit of exhibition, Cantaloupe.”

“Not. Another. Word.” Can pulled off his shirt to wipe at his chest and swipe at Tin’s hands before throwing it in the hamper. “Now no more funny business.”

“I’m not laughing.”

Can shoved Tin off him and onto the floor. Tin landed in a heap with a yelp. Before anything else could happen, Ley burst in.

“P’Can! P’Tin! Is everything okay?” Ley looked from Can’s attempt to cover his chest with his blanket to Tin quickly straightening out his shorts. “Oh my god.”

“AI LEY DON’T YOU DARE!”

“MAAAAA CAN AND TIN ARE DATING!”

“Damn it.”

Chapter Text

Can waited by the entrance to the soccer field. Tin had promised to come watch the game. The thought filled Can with nervous energy, he wanted to perform his best.

Not that Tin knew the difference. Tin had a wonderful mind for math and economics. He did not have a mind for watching people run up and down a field for a ball. Unless that person was Can, of course.

So it was odd to see Tin sauntering up with a smile, Ae and Pete following behind. Ae was scowling and Pete seemed to be trying to soothe him.

“Cantaloupe,” Tin said while pressing a kiss to Can’s forehead. “Good luck today.”

Can furrowed his brows. “You’re smiling. Did something good happen?”

Tin put on his overly dramatic shocked face. “Can’t I smile because I feel like it?”

“Feel like it my ass!” Ae shouted.

Can looked back and forth between the two in confusion. 

“Ae tripped and fell in the parking lot,” Pete whispered to Can. “Tin wouldn’t stop laughing for a whole minute.”

Ae frowned before stomping off to the field. Pete ran after him, hopefully to cheer him up before the game started. Can turned back to Tin who was still smiling.

“You should stop treating Ai Ae that way,” Can warned. “He’ll punch you harder than I do.”

“Oh but now I’m not smiling because of him.”

“Then what’s the reason?”

“I’m smiling because you’re concerned for me.”

Can mimed throwing up but smiled back at Tin before kissing his cheek. Tin stared at Can in wonder. 

“A small reward for the right answer,” Can said before running off.

Tin shook his head and followed.

Chapter Text

In the days after their mini-date and the kisses to Can’s cheek, Tin was surprised to find Can seeking him out. It had seemed that the shorter boy was taking most excuses to get away lately. But now all of a sudden, Tin found himself confronted.

Most importantly, Can looked surprisingly emotionally distraught. 

“What happened?” Tin looked Can over quickly, watching him squirm as Tin looked for any obvious signs of what might cause such an expression. “Are you okay?”

Can took a breath and seemed to square his shoulders. “What exactly do you think of me, Ai Tin.” Tin was startled into taking a step back. “What exactly is going on in your head when you look at me that way?”

Tin’s mouth moved faster than his brain. “Something somewhere between ‘Fuck you,’ and, ‘I’d fuck you,’ Cantaloupe.”

Can’s face took on a delightfully pink hue that Tin couldn’t help but pinch. Can came to his senses and slapped Tin’s hand away.

“God, do you always have to talk that way about me?! Like I’m some sort of joke?”

“You’re not a joke, Cantaloupe.” Tin traced Can’s bottom lip with his thumb. “I’ve definitely been leaning more towards, ‘I’d fuck you,’ lately.”

Can’s blush darkened and he slapped Tin’s hand away again before storming off. Tin watched him walk away, slapping his face and shaking his head. Tin felt validated seeing the response. Apparently his flirting was getting through to Can after all. 

It wouldn’t be long now before he got a proper date out of the Sports Science major. But Tin could be patient. He knew how to play the long game.

Chapter Text

“And then he went and told off the waiter too!” Good nodded sympathetically as Can continued his story. “God… And then as if that wasn’t enough, he asked for the chef and told him he should quit because all the food was burnt. He’s seriously the biggest jerk on the face of the Earth!”

Good blinked. “But Ai Can… how do… you know him?” Good tilted his head in thought. “I thought… you said… you didn’t like him. So why do… you have… so many stories?”

Can’s face turned pink before it turned pale. Good’s curiosity increased as Can started fidgeting in his seat.

“Well Ai Good… There’s something I have to tell you.” Good nodded. “And you have to promise me you won’t overreact.” Good raised an eyebrow but said nothing. “Well… Ai Tin and I… He’s my boyfriend.”

Good blinked. “Since… when?”

Can stared at his sneakers and kicked at the dirt. “Two months.”

Good nodded. “Are you… happy?”

“Yeah… I really am happy.” Good watched Can smile, small but happy. “Ai Tin makes me… He makes me feel like I’m not too much even if he says I am. He trusts me and I trust him.”

“You sound… so serious.”

“I guess we are more serious than I thought.”

“I’m glad… Ai Can that… you have Ai Tin.” Can felt relief flow through him at Good’s acceptance. “But don’t… let him… hurt you.”

“I won’t! He’ll be kissing the ground again before that happens!” Can pulled Good closer by throwing an arm around his shoulders. “But don’t you ever forget, we’re still best friends Ai Good!”

“Never.”

“Come on. I think it’s time I introduced him to you formally! And then he can buy us lunch!”

Good nodded only a slight bit faster than normal. But to Can, that might as well have been a shout of excitement. 

Chapter Text

“And how dare he, you know? He just strolls around so effortlessly! Everyone gives him anything he wants!” Can ended his rant huffing. Type continued nodding, as if playing the role of a kind older brother. “I just don’t get why he’s under my skin!”

“Uh oh…” Type looked at Can with a glint in his eye.

“What?”

“Sounds like someone’s in love.”

“Yeah right! I just think Ai Tin is cool. It’s not like I lay awake at night thinking about him!”

Type shrugged. “Sure you don’t. And Ae and Pete aren’t dating.”

“Eh?! But P’Type, when did they both break up?!”

“That’s not-”

“Oh god, I have to tell Ai Ae he’s being stupid. Ai Pete is the best!”

Can ran off and Type sighed. Hopefully Can would work it out later.

Later turned out to be that night. Can tossed and turned in bed, images of Tin passing through his mind. The brightness of Tin’s smile. The way Tin’s eyes narrowed when he smiled. The paleness of Tin’s skin. The feel of Tin’s hand’s caressing his neck. The warmth of Tin’s lips…

Can immediately sat up, his heart racing. “DAAAMN IIIITTTTTTT!”

“P’CAN, SHUT UP!” 

Can immediately slapped his hands over his mouth before Ley could come barging in again. “Can’t even cry about how Ai Tin is on my mind at home!” Can stared at his lap as well. “You shouldn’t be reacting either!”

Before Can could complain further, his phone pinged with a message. Against his better judgement, Can checked it.

Tin had sent Can a sticker of a sleeping monkey followed by a picture of himself, peeking out from under his blankets. The next text read, “Good night, Cantaloupe. Dream of me.”

“THAT IS THE PROBLEM, AI TIN!”

“P’CAN!”

Can hid under his covers. If Ley couldn’t find him immediately at this time of night, he might be safe. 

Chapter Text

“See you after class!” Can moved to run, but Tin snatched his hand and pulled him back, “Huh?”

“Here, snacks to tide you over until lunch,” Tin said before holding out a bag of snacks. “And one other thing…” He pulled Can close and kissed the corner of his lips. “Good bye kiss.”

Can took the snacks eagerly after basking in the kiss for a moment. “You’re pretty cute when you’re nice, Ai Tin.” Can took in the softness of Tin’s expression. “Definitely cute.”

Tin smiled but raised an eyebrow. “What am I when I’m not nice?”

“Well…” Can looked around before pointing at someone in the corner. “Did you know that he’s been picking on me?” Tin immediately glared at the student and Can took in his boyfriend’s profile, His intense icy glare when not directed at Can made Can’s heart beat a little faster.

“I’m going to-”

“When Ai Tin isn’t nice, he’s hot as fuck,” Can said cheekily before pulling Tin down for a proper kiss on the lips. Tin immediately cupped Can’s face to bring him closer but Can gently pushed him back. “Good bye kiss,” Can said with a wink. “Don’t be mean to him. He didn’t actually do anything. Bye Ai Tin!”

Tin watched Can run off, a soft smile forming on his lips. Can probably meant it to be cute, but Tin decided he’d glare at people more often, just in case it made Can kiss him like that more often. 

Chapter Text

Can watched, incredibly puzzled as the robbers, who had initially stormed into the bank he was guarding, stop and back away slowly. 

“We didn’t mean anything by it. Nope. No way. We’ll just be going now,” the leading man said as they slowly backed off. 

“Hey! Wait a minute, you come over here! I want some answers,” Can shouted as he chased after them. 

“Call the boss! Tell him we fucked up!” One of the robbers started mumbling into a headset but Can caught one word as they got into their truck and drove off. 

“Khun Tin…” Can let the name roll off his tongue. It was a name he hadn’t heard in a very long time.

—–

Tin Medthanan, the exiled son of one of the wealthiest families around, had been the proverbial one that got away. Or rather, the one that had given Can feelings so intense that he shunned them. And that had been back in high school, their senior year.

Some how Tin had transferred in, no explanation, just cold glares. But despite an exceptionally rocky beginning, Can found himself the closest to the ridiculously rich student. Their relationship developed gradually from hate, to rivals, to grudging respect, to something that could have been more. 

And it was the more that frightened Can.

On the day of their graduation, Tin had asked Can so softly, so sweetly, “Please be my boyfriend.”

Can rejected Tin out right before running away. Originally, the two had planned to go to the same college. Can expected to confront Tin once more once the semester started. Can was depending on the extra time to sort himself out. But Tin was not to be found. No record of him ever being accepted by the college even existed any more.

And now, years later, Can wondered if this was the same Tin.

—–

It was surprisingly easy to find out where Tin had ended up. A modest mansion on the outskirts of Bangkok with a not so modest security detail. Privately owned of course. 

Can squared his shoulders and marched towards the entrance. 

It was almost comical how the burly security guards, completely out of Can’s weight class, even after all the training he’d gone through to be a security guard, scattered like birds before him. 

It also made Can angry that they’d let someone like him walk right up to their boss. But Tin didn’t look the least bit surprised to see Can. Simply waved him into a chair and called for drinks and snacks. 

“You still like cherry cola, I assume?” Tin poured a healthy glass for Can from a freshly opened bottle. Fresh baked cookies were also on the tray, his favorite chocolate chip. There was even a glass filled with lollipops like a bouquet. All his favorite flavors too.

Can frowned. “You actually remember all this?”

“Should I not? We were… friends right?” 

The word “friends” was clearly still a sore spot. “Then Tin, if we are friends, you can tell me the truth, can’t you?”

“As long as I don’t have a reason to lie.”

Can picked up a cookie, turning it over between his fingers. It felt crisp, but just the right amount of dense that meant it’d be chewy in the middle. Exactly how he liked them. “Why did you disappear?”

“Shouldn’t I have?” Tin leaned back against his large desk. “You clearly didn’t want to see me after I confessed.”

“You know I was confused. Frightened of my feelings. I told you when I said no.”

“And I respected your wishes. I left you alone.”

“I didn’t want you to leave me alone. I wanted to be friends.”

“And I didn’t want to be friends. So why make both of us miserable?”

Can frowned. This wasn’t going the way he expected. “So why are you suddenly in the business of robbing banks? Did I traumatize you into becoming a gang boss?”

Tin laughed, a harsh thing. Nothing like the soft carefree laughs Can remembered. “So that’s why you’ve really come, huh? You can’t even let yourself ask after me just to ask after me.” Tin waved his hand. “Leave. I can’t entertain you any longer.”

“Answer my question! Why are you robbing people?!”

“Did you even think to ask who I’m robbing?” Tin immediately rounded on Can. “Did you think to wonder what it is I actually do these days?” Tin snatched a stack of papers off his desk and threw it at Can. Can glanced at them quickly. The words were too much to take in, but the logo of the government office was obvious. “Yes, I run a crime syndicate. But we’re not the bad guys.” Tin collapsed into his chair. “I’ve been stealing from dirty gangs and corporations, trying to get them shut down. We’re working with the government. We take a cut and we give them some evidence.” 

“You’re… You’re actually trying to do good?”

Tin sighed. “At least you’ve learned how to think in the last couple of years.”

“But when did you…”

“My father started this syndicate.” Tin spun a pen lazily between his fingers. “Which is why i appeared in your class out of nowhere. I kicked him and my older brother out a few years ago. I’ve been trying to flip the gang into being legit ever since.”

Can took a moment to let everything sink in. “You’re still you, huh Ai Tin? Still the cold outside, good guy inside Tin I knew in school.”

“Who else am I supposed to be?”

“I don’t know. I was expecting something worse. But this explains a lot.”

“Such as?”

“Such as why your goons and your security guards just let me wander right in.” Tin’s lips twitched despite how he seemed to be forcing a frown. “You told them to leave me alone, didn’t you,” Can said, his eyes widening. “You still like me.”

“Ridiculous. Get out.”

“No no no.” Can’s grin was almost manic. “You actually still like me. After all this god damn time. You actually still like me. That’s why the soda and the cookies and the lollipops… You still like me.”

Tin rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t change anything.”

“It changes a lot!”

“Bullshit!” Tin slapped his desk. “You never liked me! What good does it do if I’m a benevolent crime boss and I still like you now? It does nothing!”

Can growled before lunging across Tin’s desk to pull him into a kiss. It was too hard, too rough, too forceful, but Tin still kissed Can like he was dying for it, starving for it. And Can could feel it in his chest, the feelings he had been so scared about before rearing their ugly head.

“I’m still scared,” Can said as they parted. “I’m absolutely still scared. But I know why I’m scared.” Can fiddled with Tin’s tie as Tin stared at him in confusion. “I was scared because of how much I felt for you so fast. But I know now… I’ll never stop being scared.” Can pulled Tin close again. “But I want to try anyway.”

“You’re still an idiot,” Tin said against Can’s lips. “And now I’m a crime boss. How do you think this is going to work out?”

“I think… We can work something out.”

Chapter Text

Tin came home to see Can dressed in skinny jeans and a dress shirt with the first three buttons undone exposing his collarbone and chest. Can sat casually, laying back against the couch cushions. Can rolled his head, stretching his neck, before looking Tin in the eyes with his best bedroom eyes. “Hi.”

Tin dropped his bag, his laptop not a concern. He’d buy another one if he had to. Instead he prowled towards Can, eyes already darkening. Can parted his legs and Tin slotted himself between them. Tin loomed over Can, taking in his cocky grin, before nosing around his neck. 

Can had even used the cologne Tin had bought him.

Tin felt his pants tighten immediately. 

“Hey baby…” Can let his hands wander down Tin’s sides to hold his waist. His grip was just the right side of tight and almost bruising. Tin wanted to melt. “How was your day?”

“It is about to get better,” Tin said into the skin of Can’s neck, pressing small kisses up and down. “You look amazing.”

“I always look amazing.”

“You do,” Tin agreed before biting Can’s collarbone. “Tonight you look exceptionally amazing.”

“Mmm… I’m glad you agree.” Can put a hand in Tin’s hair and gave a light tug. Tin all but purred. “So baby, I was wondering…”

“Hmm?” Tin started undoing more of Can’s shirt buttons. “Wondering what?”

“How about a date tomorrow?” Can shivered as Tin licked one of his nipples. “It’ll be Friday. The weekend. Could be fun?”

Tin stopped his ministrations to look up at Can and blink. “You’re normally not this coherent once I get this far.” Tin palmed the bulge in Can’s jeans and he moaned. “Better.”

“W-Wait… You di-d-didn’t say-”

“Yes, okay, fine. Date. Tomorrow. I’ll pick you up at 7. Now take off your pants.”
—–
It was only after all the action and a late dinner, while Tin was still in his post-coital good mood, that Can dropped the rest of the bomb on him.

“Did you know that Ai Ae and Ai Pete are going on a date tomorrow too?”

The gears started turning in Tin’s head. “So?”

“So why don’t we-”

“You didn’t.”

“I did!”

“CANTALOUPE!”

“Hey, you know you’re only allowed to call me that when you’re feeling more in love with me.” Can smiled and kissed Tin’s frown. “It’s just one double date. You need to learn how to make nice with Ai Ae.”

“I’d rather eat a plague rat.”
—–
It took a blowjob while getting ready and several kisses when they arrived for Tin to look less like he was sulking and get out of the damn car. Ae looked similarly unhappy. Pete also had a very distinct flush on his cheeks that told Can he paid a similar price.

At the very least, Ae greeted Can happily and Tin exchanged pleasantries with Pete. Ae and Tin shook hands, but judging by their expressions, they were both trying to crush each other’s bones.

The first stop was a movie. Ae paid for Pete’s ticket. Tin paid for Can’s. Pete bought everyone popcorn and Can paid for sodas. Despite the glaring, everything was fine as they took their seats and the movie started. 

The next stop was dinner. Tin wanted to go for one of the higher end sushi restaurants. Ae said they should just go to the noodle place next door. Neither Pete nor Can were included in the discussion. After twenty minutes of arguing Pete and Can agreed on the hot pot place across the street and dragged their arguing boyfriends there instead. 

Ae and Tin managed to turn hotpot into a competition to see who could stuff their boyfriend with more food than the other. Unfortunately for Ae, Pete still ate very little, even after many hearty meals with Ae during their relationship. Once Pete started turning a little green. Ae immediately stopped and took him to get some air. 

Tin continued to pile Can’s plate with more meat while signalling for the check. Can slapped Tin’s hand away when he tried to put his credit card on it until Ae and Pete came back. Pete and Can decided to split the bill in four with everyone paying an equal portion. Ae glared at Tin as he put his baht notes onto the tray. Tin glared at Ae as he did the same.

Dinner paid for, the two couples walked down the street, allowing dinner to digest while looking for a good place for dessert. They settled on bubble tea. 

At this point Ae and Tin had come to some sort of begrudging live and let live mentality to get the night to end faster. Pete and Can chatted amicably with their drinks in hand, talking about future double date nights. 

Ae and Tin gave each other one look as their respective boyfriends continued to chat with smiles on their faces. A silent agreement emerged. 

“For his sake, I’ll deal with you.”

It was just as well that they had as Pete and Can turned to them to suggest bowling for their next double date.

Chapter Text

Pete, as Tin’s longest friend, knew Tin’s tendency to be dramatic. He also understood that Tin didn’t know how to do much in the way of affection and endearment other than spending money, kisses, or having sex. 

So when Tin asked Pete to come with him to help him pick out a present for Can and his family, Pete knew this might end in a special kind of disaster. Fortunately, Pete had been instructed to also bring Ae along.

That’s when Pete knew this would absolutely be a tremendous disaster.

Pete and Ae had to drag Tin away from the most expensive designer stores at the mall, knowing Can would be upset if Tin stepped foot in there. They also had to drag Tin out of the cheapest stores for complaining about everything inside. 

By the end of two hours, Tin was close to pulling his hair out. 

“That’s it! I’m just buying everything in the mall and they can pick whatever they want,” Tin said while whipping out his phone. 

“DO NOT!” Ae shouted while lunging for Tin’s phone. Tin simply held it above his head and sneered at Ae. Ae looked ready to kick Tin in the shins and break his legs.

“And how exactly will you stop me?”

Pete pulled out his phone while Ae kept Tin at distance. “We’ll call your boyfriend.”

Tin seemed to falter for just a moment. “You’re bluffing.”

Pete made two quick taps before putting the phone on speaker. It rang for a second before it was picked up. “Hello? Pete? What’s wrong?”

Tin turned pale. “CANTALOUPE, EVERYTHING PETE SAYS IS A LIE!”

“What? Tin? Why are you-”

“Ai Can, Ai Tin says he’s going to buy everything in the mall and let your family pick what they want.” Pete gave Tin his most dead-eyed stare. “Please stop him.”

“WHAT?!”

Tin moved to grab Pete’s phone, but Ae held him back. “Cantaloupe! It’s not what it sounds like!”

“It sounds like you’re spending a stupid amount of money on me and my family again!”

“Not on purpose!” 

“What do you mean not on purpose? HOW DO YOU BUY OUT A MALL WITHOUT PURPOSE?! That’s it, I’m coming over there. Which mall did you guys go to?”

“This is absolutely unnecessary!”

“YOU BUYING OUT A MALL IS UNNECESSARY!”

Chapter Text

Pete sat down and felt the soreness in his lower back magnify. Pete really enjoyed the nights Ae slept over, really really enjoyed to be honest. But Pete was slowly realizing that he’d have to learn how to tell Ae, “No.” 

They had done it no less than 5 times last night.

Ae blamed Pete for being too cute. Pete blamed Ae for being turned on whenever he breathed in the same direction, but it wasn’t as if he was entirely innocent either, so Pete kept most of his complaints to himself. 

Pete sipped on his iced coffee with lots of milk and sugar, hoping the caffeine would kick in before their professor arrived. Tin walked in with a larger cup of iced coffee, darker and blacker than their uniform pants, and the bags under his eyes were nearly as dark. Concern gave Pete enough energy to ask what was wrong.

“Ai Can,” Tin said. “He’s too… enthusiastic.”

Pete blinked and after a moment of his neurons remembering how to fire, he spoke up. “A-are you saying that Ai Can-”

“He kept me awake until 3 AM,” Tin said with a disgusted sigh. “We had sex until he fell asleep.” Tin chugged his iced coffee until half was left in the cup. “My dick feels like it’s going to fall off.” Pete sympathized to a degree and he was happy he did or he’d be mortified over Tin talking about sex with Can so casually. Tin took a glance at Pete and snorted. “Is your Thai Program boy keeping you up at night too?”

Pete, in a move that surprised Tin, laid his upper body out on the desk in front of him. “I’m lucky I can walk this morning. Ae kept on telling me I’m so cute… And then we… And I… But then he…” Pete groaned. “He’s too enthusiastic too.”

Tin popped open the lid of Pete’s coffee cup and took a sniff. Tin’s face became pinched in disgust. He then poured a dash of his coffee into Pete’s. “You need actual coffee Ai Pete, not milk and sugar with the idea of coffee in it.”

“Bitter medicine,” Pete said with a nod as he took back his cup.

“For our very sweet boys,” Tin added.

They tapped their cups together and chugged the rest just in time for the professor to appear.
—–
“Oi, what’s wrong with both of you?!” Techno shouted as Ae and Can nearly fell over during drills for the third time that morning. “Didn’t you both sleep at all?” 

Ae kicked a ball towards Can, but over compensated for his lack of energy and sent the ball sailing over Can’s head. Can had been staring at the same spot for the last 10 min. He didn’t notice a thing. 

“Gosh, you’ve both been like this for the past few weeks! You don’t even have any exams!” Techno continued ranting but Ae and Can failed to pay attention. “Come on! Why are you guys like this? Are you sick?”

Type came over and pushed Can and Ae to the bleachers. “Alright, that’s enough out of both of you. You need to learn some restraint.”

“Restraint?! Ai Type, they’re barely doing anything!”

“Ai No, not restraint here. Their personal lives.” Type gave both Ae and Can noogies. Both reacted with indignant yelps. Ae glared but held his tongue. Can did no such thing.

“AI TYPE! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO MEAN!?” Can pouted and stomped his foot. “I’m telling Ai Tin you were mean to me!”

“And why should I be afraid of your boyfriend? I’m sure he’s just as tired as you are,” Type said as he continued pushing them. “He probably can’t even lift a finger to sue me, much less defend your honor.”

Can furrowed his brow and shot Type another look, but Ae elbowed him before he could say anything else. “Sorry P’Type,” Ae said before yawning. “We’ll do better tomorrow.”

“I should hope so. Your boyfriends probably won’t want to see you until the day after anyway.”

“Ai Type! What’s going on with them?!”

“Listen to your P’, N’Ae and N’Can,” Type said as he made them sit on the bench. “I know you’re enjoying yourselves plenty with the guys you love, but don’t keep overdoing it.” Ae and Can gave Type the kind of long suffering look children give their parents when being lectured. “You’re all suffering long term for the short term. There are plenty of nights for that okay?”

Can said nothing because he had already passed out. Ae was swaying in his seat. It wouldn’t be long before he fell over too. Type sighed. 

“Ah the follies of youth.”

“I still don’t understand Ai Type!”

“Shush. Let them nap and I’ll explain it to you.”

Chapter Text

Tin heaved a sigh of relief. Can was out with his friends, would be out for at least two more hours, which gave Tin a chance to get some work done. Not that Tin was behind on any work. He just liked staying ahead. 

How Can thought he was able to be so indulgent with his time any other way was beyond Tin.

A few pages into his essay, Tin put aside his laptop at the sound of the door opening. He quickly checked the time and saw Can had come back early. 

Before Tin could greet Can properly, the athlete was in his lap, a bruising kiss pressed into his lips. Tin pulled Can closer, the feeling of Can’s warm body was addicting, despite how exhausted he felt. 

“Mmm… Ai Tin, you’re neglecting me…” Can moaned as he pulled at Tin’s shirt. “You need to take responsibility. You’ve neglected me all day and I want it.”

Tin rolled his eyes despite how his hands were already pulling up Can’s shirt. “We had sex this morning, Can.” Tin bit one of Can’s nipples, causing him to moan and pull at Tin’s hair. “I got you off three times before I had to run to class. Aren’t you tired at all?”

“That was hours ago, Ai Asshole! And don’t act like you’re not getting hard now too!” Can gyrated his hips and felt validated at the similar hardness in Tin’s pants. Tin whined.

“Baby, I barely made it through class. Please, can’t I just blow you and we can get dinner later?” Tin pressed soft kisses against Can’s neck. “Hell, can we cuddle? My dick is sore.”

Can immediately pulled away. “Are you not attracted to me any more, Ai Tin?!”

“That.is… Why would you… I just…” Tin sputtered and gave up before carrying Can to the bedroom. Maybe if he got Can off enough times, Can would fall asleep and let Tin get some recovery time in while working after all. 

Chapter Text

Ae’s fingers tightly gripped the bed sheets, fighting the temptation to ravish Pete instead. “So… Do you want to have sex?”

Pete rolled his eyes, but his expression was fond. “Ae, have you been paying attention? I have been taking every excuse to touch you.” Pete leaned in closer and Ae could feel every breath between them. “Of course I want to have sex. I’ve been trying to get you to have sex with me the last two times we met up.”

“Oh thank god,” Ae breathed before pushing Pete down to kiss him senseless.

“UNCLE AE!”

“NOT AGAIN.”

Chapter Text

Of all the things that Trump could have done to get at Pete. Of all the things he could say or do, Pete did not expect this.

He never expected Trump to go after Ae.

He certainly never expected him to succeed either. 

But the photos were there, sent to Pete’s phone. Ae was a little bruised and bloody, but it looked like Trump and his gang were worse. Much worse.

“Do you see what I’ve got, Nong Pete?” The sound of Trump’s voice made Pete feel sick to his stomach. But Pete could do this, would do this. Ae had protected him plenty. Now Pete would find a way to protect Ae.

“Don’t hurt him, please, I’ll do anything,” Pete said despite the sorrow in his chest.

“And you will. But first, I need that money, Nong Pete. I want 500,000 baht by tomorrow.”

“You-”

“Or… i could start sending you fingers and toes. You’ll get your disgusting boyfriend back in pieces.” The call cut off and moments later a text from a different number with an address for a drop off point appeared. Pete grit his teeth. There was one other person that could help him now.

“Tin krab, I need your help.”

Tin came over immediately and listened to all the details from Pete. His cool expression worried at Pete’s sensitive heart and for a moment, Pete wished he were bold like Ae or Can and could wipe the smirk off of Tin’s face.

“So your Thai Program boyfriend got taken, huh. So why should I do anything? This is not a problem to me.” Tin sat back as if he were at ease. “What will you give me if I help you help him?”

Pete bit his lip. “I will pay you back. But don’t ask me to leave him.”

“But that’s the only thing worth it to me.”

“Then how about do it or I leave you.” The words had come in a rush out of Pete’s mouth before he realized he had though them. Tin looked similarly surprised. “You say you have no friends, you say I’m your only friend. I’ll make one of those statements true.” Pete’s gaze did not waver. “Pick one. You act so cold, Ai Tin. So tell me which is more important to you.”

Tin sighed and nodded to himself, a small smile on his face. “You’ve learned well finally, Pete.” Tin got up and continued nodding. “Truly, I’m impressed. Alright, I’ll help you find your Ae and get him out.”

Pete wanted to faint from the relief, his heart was racing harder than it ever had before. “Thank you, Tin.”

“But remember, I didn’t do it for him. I did it for you.” Pete found Tin’s gaze too intense this time. “All I did, it was for you, Pete.”

Tin pulled out his phone and started texting and calling before Pete could even say goodbye. Pete could only stare at the video of Ae that Trump had sent, and hope it would be enough.

Chapter Text

Type watched as that junior Techno said was a friend of his brother put his arm around his shoulder so casually. So unbefitting of his age to be so forward.

But Type’s blood wasn’t boiling over that.

It was always so easy, too easy, for the juniors to get such sweet smiles out of Techno. And for all Type’s teasing, all he got were Techno’s complaints.

Type briefly wondered if Can had cursed his love life after he told Can off about how he treated that boy from IC.

And then that junior was getting close, pushing into Techno’s space. Techno was definitely uncomfortable. Type had seen enough.

“Hey Nong,” Type said as he pushed the kid’s arm off of Techno and replaced it with his. The relief in Techno’s shoulders was ridiculous. “I need to talk to Ai No for a bit. Don’t worry about spending your allowance. I’ll treat him to lunch.”

Techno cut the kid off as he was about to complain. “I-It’s okay N'Kla. I’ll go with him now. I’ll see you later, okay?”

N'Kla walked off, but by the tightness in his shoulders, Type had interfered at the right moment. Type turned to Techno.

A smile, brighter than any he had seen before, greeted him.

“Thanks for that,” said Techno. “He gets more forward every day.”

“Why don’t you tell him off?!”

“Oi he’s still young, no need to be so harsh.” A blush developed on Techno’s cheeks. “And I’m waiting for someone to give me a solid reason to say no to him.”

Type waited but no further information came. Techno looked sheepishly into his eyes before fidgeting. A lightbulb went off.

“Wait are you saying-”

“HAHA LET’S GO HAVE THAT LUNCH NOW.” And with that Techno ran away.

“AI NO GET BACK HERE AND ASK ME PROPERLY!”

Chapter Text

Type understood that wooing Techno, being with him, taking care of him, they were things that required endurance rather than speed. Techno was sweet, almost too sweet, and despite his complaints, too kind. But Techno never thought very highly of himself and so Type’s attempts to make Techno notice just how important he was to him were never quite successful.

But today was a new day and Techno was out and about in casual clothes, the low neck line of his t-shirt exposing his sharp collarbone, his smile bright and cheerful, and hair tousled in the wind. Type knew that if he wasn’t already charmed, he’d have fallen for Techno again. 

Type settled for pulling Techno into his lap as they sat in the park, enjoying the sunshine. 

“Hey! You need to stop teasing me like this!” Techno moved to get off of Type, but Type held him still, hands on his waist. “Oi!”

“What makes you think I’m teasing you?” Type looked into Techno’s eyes with sincerity, but Techno averted his first. 

“It’s always just a game or a joke, isn’t it?” Techno’s voice was soft, like he had said the words for himself instead of for Type. “They always are just playing a joke.”

“I’m not joking.” Type gently turned Techno’s face to make Techno look him in the eye. “I like you, Ai No. I’ll prove it to you any way that you want.”

“Kiss me.” Type was momentarily startled by the intensity in Techno’s voice. “If you mean it, kiss me, here, in front of all these people.”

Type looked around, several other couples and families were in the park to enjoy the good weather as well.

“Easy,” Type said before he pulled Techno down into a kiss, soft, gentle, but no less loving or filled with intent. Techno’s eyes fluttered shut, and he even gave a soft sigh.

When Techno pulled away, his face was bright red. “You really are serious?!”

“I told you I was!” 

Techno tilted his head up to look at the sky. “Then… I think I’ll be serious too.” Techno met Type’s eyes with a startling amount of confidence. “I think I like you too, Ai Type.”

Type smiled. “Then… how about lunch? A proper date?”

“How about, another kiss first?”

Type pulled Techno down again, murmuring, “Deal,” against his lips before they kissed.

Chapter Text

Techno stared at his homework, face scrunching in concentration, brows furrowed, but eyes focused. Type found it to be one of his boyfriend’s more charming expressions.

Techno always thought he looked silly like that but Type thought it was one of the times where instead of looking so carefree, Techno looked serious. 

However, Type could tell that this was getting Techno nowhere fast. He leaned over the table and pressed a kiss to Techno’s furrowed brow which caused it to immediately relax.

“Hey! Are you trying to distract me!” Techno objected. “I’ve been trying really hard this time to stay focused!”

“You look more confused than focused. Come over here, explain what you’re trying to do to me. Maybe then you’ll figure it out.”

Techno pouted, and wasn’t that one of Type’s other favorite expressions too, but he still came over and carefully picked his way through an explanation that seemed to fix everything.

Type gave Techno another kiss as an award for figuring it out anyway.

Chapter Text

Although they had the same major, at this late stage in their schooling, Type and Techno didn’t actually share as many classes at the same time. But Techno did his best to remember Type’s schedule and Type was always reminding Techno that he had to go to a different class. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise for Type to see Techno waiting for him a few feet away from the door to his next class.

“Ai No, what are you doing? Your class is down the hall.”

Techno pouted. “I was looking for you. I waited.”

“Oh?”

“You have an exam today, right?” Techno fiddled with the strap of his backpack. 

Type shrugged. “It shouldn’t be too bad.”

“Oh… Okay… Can I just…” Techno stepped up and Type tilted his head in confusion before Techno ever so gently pressed his lips against Type’s. “Good luck, Ai Type.” Techno’s face immediately turned red before he ran off down the hall. 

Type felt a similar blush developing on his face as well. And the timing was just awful. Instead of running after Techno, Type had to take this stupid exam instead.

“That tease, I’ll get him back,” Type muttered to himself.

Chapter Text

It was very rare for the three of them to be able to sleep in, so it was with genuine concern that Type woke up to find Tharn still sound asleep but Techno gone.

The clatter of plates and dishes alerted Type to exactly where Techno was. 

Type poked Tharn awake. If he was going to deal with Techno’s attempts at cooking, he was not going to do it alone.

Disoriented and bleary eyed, Tharn woke up to Techno placing a tray with three bowls of porridge on the bed. Instead of white from the rice, it was a vivid shade of red.

“I made you breakfast!” The pride in Techno’s voice made it difficult for Type or Tharn to say much.

A bubble in the porridge popped releasing violently chili scented steam. “Is it poisoned?” Type asked, poking it with his spoon.

“What kind of question is that?” Tharn asked. “You should be asking if it’s edible first.”

Techno pouted. “But I made it with lots of care and lots of good things!”

“Like?”

“Like those chilies you guys wanted to try! Oh and the tomatoes that your neighbor gave me! There was also some pork left from last week…”

Type and Tharn gave each other a look before looking at Techno, still rambling off the list of ingredients he had put into the porridge. They both sighed and prayed they’d be able to hide the evidence of not eating it. Or at least dissuade Techno from eating it himself.

Chapter Text

Ae feels his pulse racing, lust and anger and lament coursing through his veins in equal measure at the sight of Tin’s handsome yet smug face. 

“My body is very attracted to your body,” Ae says with a snarl. 

“Is that what passes for a complement in your brain, Thai Program,” Tin asks with a smirk.

“But when you speak, my brain gets angry.” Ae clenches his fists.

“The feeling is mutual, Ai Shorty,” Tin says mockingly. Ae wants to kill Pond for calling him that all the time because Tin has started calling him shorty. “But fortunately, I have a solution.

“What are you-”

Ae is cut off by the warm press of Tin’s lips against his before it turns filthy with teeth and tongue between them. Ae’s lips feel bruised, his dick at attention, heart still racing. But at least Tin looks similarly affected. Tin opens his mouth and Ae jumps him.

If it worked well enough on him, it’ll work on Tin.

Chapter Text

“Oh, Ae and I are having lunch together today. Do you and Can want to join us?” Pete asks as he prepares his notebook and pen for class.

Tin widens his eyes and raises his eye brows. “Lunch? Today? What a shocking surprise after yesterday. Where you both had lunch together. And the day before yesterday too!”

Pete’s eyes narrow. “Sarcasm does not become you, Ai Tin.” Pete carefully writes the date in the corner of his page. “At least not basic sarcasm like that.”

“Maybe not,” Tin says with a shrug. “But it does sustain me.”

“If that’s all you’ve got sustaining you, then clearly I need to talk to Can.” Pete rolls his eyes. “He’s not feeding you properly.”

“I ate just fine this morning,” Tin sneers. “Besides, I know something you’d rather be eating right now.”

The blush forms on Pete’s cheeks despite his annoyance at his friend. “You’re being such an asshole right now. Did you eat Can’s this morning?”

Tin actually sputters into his coffee. “Did you just-”

“So,” Pete says primly folding his hands together in front of him. “Lunch?”

“Oh my good friend Pete, I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”

“I’m so glad!” Pete mirrors Tin’s tone. “Truly, it’s also very kind of you to offer to pay for everyone.”

Tin’s eye twitches but the teacher walks in before he can give his next retort. He figures he’ll get his revenge by taking everyone to eat grilled pork intestines. Can will be pleased at least.

Chapter Text

It was a fight. It was always a fight when it came to Tin and Can. 

Today it was because Tin showed up in the last thirty minutes of Can’s game. Tin sat there, smirking to himself with his handsome face and the minute Can had spotted him, his focus was gone.

Can’s mind wandered to places he wished it didn’t in the middle of the game. He thought about Tin’s lips, the feel of them from the stolen kiss burned into his memory. He thought about the taste of Tin’s lips. No matter how he had scrubbed and gargled, a phantom taste lingered on his tongue. The warmth of Tin’s hands, the feel of his body… They made wearing a sports cup uncomfortable. 

There was a reason Can was hobbling instead of running.

Fortunately, they had managed to acquire such a lead early on that Tin’s appearance didn’t cost them the game. This time. Can sighed in relief as he sat down on the bleachers after the game was over. Tin was out of sight and now thankfully out of mind. 

Until Tin sauntered up and Can cursed his luck. Loudly.

“What happened out there Thai Program? I thought you said you were good at this game.”

“I am Ai Asshole!” Can jumped up. “You just threw me off my game with your ugly face!”

Tin stepped closer and Can wished he had room to step back. He could smell Tin’s cologne and his pants were getting tight and uncomfortable again. 

“My ugly face?” Tin looked Can over before running his thumb over Can’s bottom lip. Can fought the shiver it caused. “Your body says otherwise.”

Can snarled. “Fuck me!” Tin blinked in surprise and Can’s face turned bright red at the slip of tongue. “I meant fight me! Damn autocorrect!” Can slapped his own mouth. 

“Can, this is a verbal conversation.”

“Damn filter! Damn you, IC Program!”

Can pushed past Tin, but Tin caught his wrist and pulled him close. This time Can did shiver when he caught the intensity in Tin’s eyes. 

“Don’t you know Thai Program? That’s a Freudian slip. It means it’s what you’re secretly thinking about.” Tin brought his lips close to Can’s. “So, since you’re interested…” Tin suddenly found himself shoved to the ground while Can hobbled off. Tin frowned. “Damn. Almost.”

Chapter Text

Can huffed as he aggressively sucked on his lollipop. Good sat beside him, slowly and silently taking in the sight of Can watching Tin walk down the street. 

Can didn’t blink once. 

“Are you… okay Ai Can? You’re not… still fighting… with Ai Tin… are you?”

Can frowned. “Everything is fine. It’s just a stupid crush.” Can kicked at the dirt. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

“You look like… you want it… to mean something.”

Can pouted at Good. “Na Ai Good! Don’t get my hopes up!” Good only shuffled closer. “He’s just so… I don’t get it.” Good nodded slowly. “He’s everything I hate, and then he just says something out of left field! And then I just have emotions!”

“That sounds… like normal.”

“Hey! You make it sound like I’m too emotional.”

“Not too… emotional.” Can relaxed for a moment. “You’re too… easy.”

“OI AI GOOD!”

“…See?”

Can gnawed on the plastic lollipop stick for a few moments. “So what do I do about Ai Tin?”

Good tilted his head and Can settled in to wait for his answer, but it came rather quickly. “Do you really like him?”

“Too much.”

“You should… confess and… see what happens.”

Can pulled the much diminished lollipop out of his mouth. “That’s terrible advice.”

——

Can’s opinion on Good’s advice did not change what happened after his last class.

Walking alone in the setting sun, Can felt a presence behind him. He turned to find Tin. The reddish-gold light behind him made Tin glow. His smile was soft and his eyes surprisingly gentle. 

It was the version of Tin that had been haunting Can’s thoughts and his dreams. And wasn’t it annoying that Tin always looked like he had walked out of a wet dream. Can watched him approach, wide eyed.

“Hello, Can.”

“I love you.” The words tumbled out of Can’s mouth before he could stop himself. Can immediately slapped his hands over his lips before he could say anything else stupid.

Tin blinked in surprise before gently pulling Can’s hands away. “Cantaloupe…”

“No i’m not saying it again! You’re laughing at me!”

“I’m not laughing at you. I’m very happy.” But the chuckles and sly grin on Tin’s face did nothing to convince Can at all. 

“Bullshit! You’re just-” Can’s protests died as Tin kissed him softly. 

“I think I love you too.” Tin pulled on Can’s wrist gently. “Do you want to get dinner with me? We’ll talk properly.” Can made a face. “Well as properly as people like us can manage.”

Can agreed but slapped his mouth a few more times anyway for good measure lest he tell Tin about his wet dreams next.

Chapter Text

It’s not the content of Tin’s words that always sets Can on edge. It’s his attention. 

Tin’s stare seems to follow Can. It traces over his body and reminds Can of Tin’s touch. 

Tin’s lips move, forming words that Can doesn’t hear because he’s lost in memories of those lips pressed against his. 

Every day Tin and Can find themselves facing off and every day Can finds himself learning about another part of Tin. 

One by one, these things pile up until Can is unable to bear it anymore. Tin doesn’t even have to say a word, he smirks as they pass each other. Can growls before grabbing Tin’s wrist to pull him back.

“Stop being so mean to me, or I swear to God, I’m going to fall in love with you, Ai Asshole!”

Tin’s lips form a smile. He leans in just a little. It’s a little cute, a little demure, a little shy. Almost out of character for Tin. “So Cantaloupe… Have you started falling in love with me already?”

“AS IF!” Can moves to stomp away but this time Tin pulls him back.

Tin traces Can’s lips with his thumb as he has before when he was about to kiss Can. “Because I think I’ve started.” Tin’s thumb brushes over Can’s cheekbone. “Falling in love with you that is.” Tin’s lips follow the path his thumb has traced, ghosting over Can’s lips and his cheekbone. “Will you fall in love with me too?”

Can feels his body shiver and his tongue tie itself in knots. Perhaps it was already too late. 

Chapter Text

Can is a physical person. Tin knows this. 

They always have physical contact when they’re together and Tin enjoys it as much as Can does. Their feet touch under tables. Fingertips trace hands and wrists. When they lay together on the couch, they curl up around each other. 

But Can’s favorite thing to do is to hug. He lays himself against the broadness of Tin’s chest or back, He listens to Tin’s heartbeat, steady and strong. Can also doesn’t care where they both are or what’s going on around them. He happily hugs Tin regardless. 

The university students still murmur about the time Can had latched on to Tin’s waist and shuffled behind him for half an hour as he did some errands. 

Now it’s exam season and Tin has holed himself up in his room or in the library, studying and typing away. Can’s pleas for dinners or even fifteen minutes stolen on a bench outside the Sports Science building are denied one after the other. Tin insisted on working without Can just to clear his workload without distraction.

And yet today, Tin cannot run. Can finds him on the last day of exams, submitting his last paper in the library. Can wraps his arms around Tin’s neck as he packs his things and refuses to let go, soaking in the warmth of Tin’s body.

Tin chuckles before gently patting Can’s arms. “Okay okay, I missed you too. But you need to let go so I can get up.”

“No. You were mean. You owe me reparations.”

“Reparations? Have you been studying with that pervert’s girlfriend again?”

“First, you owe me hugs. Second, you have to feed me. I want to go to cafe down the block.”

Tin’s smile softens at the mention of their favorite cafe. “Hungry?”

Very hungry. I could eat a whole cow.”

“Cantaloupe, I could just buy you a cow. There’s no need to stress the cafe out.”

“No. Hugs. Cafe. And then naps with cuddles.” 

“Yes yes yes, but you need to let go so I can get up.” Tin feels rather than sees Can shake his head no. “Okay okay, move with me instead then.” Tin shifts in his chair so that Can is not hugging him over the back of the chair before sliding off and standing up. Can latches on and adjusts his grip, clinging to Tin’s back, legs wrapping around his waist. 

Everyone in the library stops to stare and watch Tin stroll out of the library, bag in hand as Can clings to his back. Tin walks as if nothing is wrong, like Can weighs nothing. Can continues his babbling, listing off all the food he wants Tin to order and Tin just continues to indulgently nod. 

Even the librarians are chattering after the pair leave.

Chapter Text

Chapter Text

“Good morning P’Caaaaaaaan…” Can immediately regretted picking up his phone. Because if Ley was calling this early on a Saturday, there was only one reason why. “Could you do me a favor? You see…”

“You want Tin and I to babysit N’Pom.”

“Not for too long,” Ley insisted. “I know it’s the weekend, but I have too many errands to run, Lee is away on that business trip, and my regular sitter is busy so…”

Can took one look at his sleeping boyfriend of several years and sighed. They had plans, but N’Pom was a delight. Usually. Maybe Tin wouldn’t mind the addition of his niece on their date. “Fiiiiiine. But you owe me.”

“Thank you P’Can! We’ll be over in a bit! Please put pants on this time!”

“You come asking things of me at 8AM on a Saturday, you have to deal with the consequences Ai Ley!”

“What consequences?” Tin murmured sleepily. “Who are you talking to?”

“Uh… Tin’s waking up. Call me when you’re almost here. Bye!” Can hung up before curling around Tin’s still sleep-warm body. “Na Ai Tin… I know we had plans today…”

Tin groaned. “Did you promise your sister something again?”

“Weeeell…”

“There is only one thing to do. I’m calling N’Phu so he can play with your niece.”

“No! N’Phu is a pre-teen! He’ll be bored playing with N’Pom!”

“Better him than us.” Tin turned in Can’s hold, nosing up Can’s jaw, warm breath causing shivers. “I had plans Cantaloupe.”

“L-Ley said it w-wou-w-wouldn’t be for long,” Can stuttered out as Tin’s fingers traced patterns into his chest. 

“How long before she shows up?”

“I-I… She d-didn’t…”

“Oh so enough time then,” Tin said as he pulled Can under the covers.

Ley showed up with Pom twenty minutes later and Can answered the door fully dressed, but his hair a wild mess and Tin sitting on the sofa behind him looking effortlessly composed. 

“P’Can, P’Tin, thank you!” Ley gave Pom a kiss on the forehead before running off. 

Pom blinked at Can before putting her arms up and Can immediately snatched his niece up, spinning her around as she giggled wildly. 

“My, N’Pom! How Uncle Can has missed you!”

“Uncle Can! Faster!”

Can spun around a bit more before putting Pom down as Tin cleared his throat. Smiling sheepishly, Can nudged Pom towards Tin. Pom ran over before hugging Tin’s legs. “Uncle Tin! Hi!”

Tin smiled at Pom gently and it reminded Can of all those times Tin had taken care of and smiled at Phupha. “Hello N’Pom. Did you miss me too?”

“Of course Uncle Tin!”

“How is your doll that I gave you last time?”

“Mae said I can’t bring her everywhere, but she’s very good for tea parties and playing robots.”

“Tea parties and robots?”

“She likes the one that turns into a car,” Pom said with absolute seriousness.

“That is absolutely lovely. Come, Uncle Tin will make you some herbal tea and you can tell me all about it.”

“Can I have the strawberry one?”

“Of course you can.”

Can watched them walk into the kitchen with an absurd amount of fondness blooming in his chest. Tin had made a fuss, sure, but Tin loved kids. 

Besides, there was always tomorrow for Tin’s plans

Chapter Text

In a twist that surprised only Can, the old and beat up key to the sports equipment room broke in the lock as they tried to leave. Tin closed his eyes and briefly counted to 10 before cursing the administration of the school. 

Tin also considered cursing his luck, but he wasn’t stupid.

“Noooo! I’m starving! Let us out!” Can wailed has he banged on the door. “I didn’t even get to change out of this stupid uniform! I don’t want to die like this!”

As Can continued to wail and pummel the door, Tin pulled out his phone and made a few calls and texts. The replies were what he expected. Security was short-staffed today so it would take them a while to get to the room with a locksmith to try and open it. Tin offered to call in a locksmith on his own, but the security officer refused.

“It’s not allowed. Can’t have you tampering with school locks, you see?”

“I will even pay the school retained one for his troubles even though he didn’t come here.” 

“Nope. Just sit tight. We’ll send someone soon.”

Tin frowned and made a face at his phone before looking at Can who had, in the span of ten minutes, now resorted to bargaining with the door.

“I promise I’ll even eat the vegetables I don’t like! And and I promise to-”

“Can, stop bargaining with the door.”

“But I want to leaveeeeee.”

“Just come over here.”

Can huffed and made a show of coming over to sit next to Tin on the floor against some cabinets. “I really really wanted to go to that restaurant today.”

Tin chuckled, but Can barely heard it over the sound of the air conditioning turning on. A few minutes later, Can shivered from the cool air. Tin didn’t even blink and pulled him close, tucking Can against his chest.

“Oi Tin, I’m dirty, don’t stain your shirt cause of me!”

Tin shrugged. “You’re my boyfriend, Cantaloupe. I’m not going to get upset over one dress shirt.”

A different kind of warmth burst in Can’s chest. “Na Ai Tin, if you don’t mind it then… Take off your shirt and give it to me to wear?”

Tin raised an eyebrow but started unbuttoning it anyway. But before he could get very far there was a knock from the other side of the door. “Hey this is security! Are you boys still in there? We’ve got the locksmith so hold tight!”

“Damn, so close,” Can muttered to himself as Tin yelled replies back at the security guard.

Chapter Text

Tin was often spoiling Can, despite Can’s constant insistence that it wasn’t necessary. 

And then there were days where Tin needed just a little more attention, just a little more care, and those were the days Can savored. They were the days where Can could spoil Tin.

Today was one such day. Tin had come home from the office, exhausted and frustrated in all sorts of wrong ways. Can kissed him softly, the simple thing doing plenty to relieve the tension in Tin’s shoulders before leading him to the bathroom. 

Can drew a hot bath and dropped one of Tin’s favorite bath bombs in before undressing Tin slowly, kissing every bit of revealed skin a little at a time. Tin allowed himself to be coddled, kissing back every so often.

And when Tin was at last naked, Can pushed him towards the pleasant smelling water before undressing himself. They sat together in Tin’s large tub, Can rubbing Tin’s back and shoulders before washing his hair. Can could feel Tin relax more and more by degrees. By the time Can was brushing conditioner through Tin’s hair, Tin’s tough day was entirely forgotten. 

They lay together in the cooling water, Can tracing patterns into Tin’s arms and chest.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Can asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

“It wasn’t anything different. Tul showed up again,” Tin mumbled into Can’s neck. 

“Do you want me to punch him again?”

“No. Just… Just a few more minutes of this is enough.”

“Okay.”

Can could feel Tin’s smile pressed against his neck and he knew it had all been worth it.

Chapter Text

Since he was born, Pete knew he was different. He was not like the other boys of the colder north. He was tall, yes. But he was slender and soft where they tough and broad. His mother, the First Queen of the Northlands – originally a noble from the Midlands and the accused reason for the dilution of proud Northland blood – loved him all the same. No matter how many times he came back from lessons feeling weak and sad.

Pete’s father was a different story, as cold as his people. When he saw the man his son was becoming, he turned away to other wives to seek a proper heir. The Second Queen provided and Pete was no longer Crown Prince.

But there was another reason why Pete knew he was different.

It was not widely accepted in the Northlands, to love someone of the same gender. Pete kept the secret buried inside himself. Let the people think him different for his physical differences. He would be unable to bear the burden of their mocking and hatred for any other reason.

Pete’s mother knew, she always knew.

She could see the burden on her son’s shoulders and so she went before her husband and offered to leave. She and Pete would pose no threat to the crown, but the King must let them leave to the Midlands, promising support for the rest of their days and their kin.

Considering it the removal of a thorn in his side, of weakness in the line, the King agreed.

And so Pete and the First Queen resigned themselves to a smaller castle in the warmer Midlands. No poorer, but no longer in power. Here in the Midlands there were the Medthanans and they were the rightful rulers. Pete was good friends with the second prince, Tin, and so through these relations, there was at least peace between them.

Pete was welcome to come and go between both castles and so he spent just as many days reading quietly in his own castle, locked away by his own choice, as he did at the Medthanans, studying by Tin’s side.

And while the Midlands were more tolerant, that didn’t make it a utopia for people like Pete.

A guard by the name of Trump took issue with Pete getting close to Prince Tin and took it into his own hands to correct the problem.

His grip was bruising and the blow to Pete’s cheek was already beginning to darken. But before Trump could do anything more another guard came and punched Trump to the ground in one blow.

“You’re an idiot and an asshole!” The second guard kicked Trump. “I’m reporting this! Come on,” the second guard said as he pulled Pete up.

Pete was surprised by how gentle but firm his grip was first and second by how he was shorter than Pete. “I-I…”

“Don’t say anything yet. Let’s get you looked at.”

Pete found himself speechless as the guard gently pulled him along to the physician’s wing. Little twinges of something Pete couldn’t identify sparked whenever the guard’s rough hand brushed Pete’s bare wrist. When he was left to be cared for, Pete finally found his voice.

“W-Wait! Wh-W-What’s your name?”

The guard turned around. “I’m Ae.” Ae cheekily pinched one of Pete’s cheeks. “And Prince Pete, if you ever run into a problem with him again, you come find me.”

—–

“You’re distracted,” Tin said as he shut the heavy tome in front of them. “I’ve already had the guard that attacked you handled. What else could possibly be bothering you?”

Pete looked up at Tin like a deer caught in the sights of a hunter. “Oh nothing… I-I must be tired…”

“Tired… hmm…” Tin turned and checked if anyone was listening to their conversation in his office. “And I suppose that this would have nothing to do with anyone named Ae, would it?”

“What?! No!”

“Then why have you scribbled his name all over your parchment?”

Pete looked down to find doodles instead of notes. He immediately crumpled the piece of parchment up. “There’s nothing going on.”

Tin looked into Pete’s eyes and stared him down. “I’ll warn you only once. You are a prince, Pete.” Tin snatched the parchment from Pete’s loose hands before walking over and throwing it into his fireplace. “And princes, do not fall in love with those beneath them.”

“That didn’t stop you, did it?” Tin whipped around, glare as cold as ice, but Pete continued. “The prince of the Southlands you told me about, who got sent into exile.” Pete looked at his hands resting in his lap. “A bit beneath you, don’t you think?”

“At least he was a proper prince.”

“And Ae guards you, a proper prince.” Pete could hear Tin grinding his teeth. “I… I want to let things go on their own. P-Please don’t interfere.”

“Do not expect me to clean up after you again.”

“You will not have to.”

——

Ae, despite his tough exterior, was a surprisingly good companion. He walked about with Pete through the halls, listening to him ramble. Ae usually didn’t speak up unless they were talking about military history, things he felt qualified to speak about.

But Ae gave Pete every ounce of his attention and would stare in wonder at Pete’s smile.

And Pete? He found himself smiling more often with Ae.

They grew closer naturally, until the day Ae was escorting Pete through the markets around the Medthanan castle. Pete stopped to look at everything, and Ae indulged him. Ae pulled Pete close, hand around Pete’s waist casually, pointing out different wares and what they were used for. Pete could feel Ae’s hand burning like a brand, even through several layers of clothing.

A large crowd pushed through as they both looked through some books and Pete found himself suddenly alone, Ae nowhere to be found. A rough hand clamped itself over Pete’s mouth and before he could scream, Pete found himself dragged down several alleys.

“Your little toy guard isn’t here to protect you now…” Trump leered as several other men surrounded Pete. “I’m going to deal with you once and for all.”

The sickening sound of metal slicing through flesh and bone resounded through the space.

“That’s my line,” Ae said as he pulled his sword out of Trump’s chest. Pete felt his face turn green as Trump’s body fell to the ground. “Anyone else want to try something? I dare you to lay a hand on Prince Pete.” Ae’s words fell on deaf ears as the rest ran off. He sheathed his sword and ran to Pete. “Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

“N-No…”

“Thank god… I was so worried…”

“Ae…” Pete felt Ae’s hands wander gently, checking for scrapes and bruises. “Ae, we need to go back…”

“You’re right. I need to report this to the Captain. Captain Techno is going to have a fit…”

—–

Ae waited patiently in the Captain’s office, surrounded by three desks. One for each of the captains of the guards. Type, Techno, and Champ were all surprisingly absent. And when the door opened, the one who walked in was Prince Tin.

Ae schooled his face into one of polite indifference – he knew the Prince’s opinion of the relationship between him and Pete – before he bowed. Prince Tin did not bow in reply.

“So, you killed Trump in defense of Prince Pete.”

“I did.”

“And you have no regrets?”

“No.”

“Would you do it again?”

“In a heartbeat.”

“You know that you will never be of a station which will allow anyone to approve of your relationship with him.”

“So what?”

“And will you provide for him?”

“He’s a prince. What does he need my money for?”

“And do you want his money?”

“I don’t need his money.”

Tin nodded. “So be it. Captain Ae.”

Ae was prepared to nod along but halted. “Wait, Captain?”

“You’ve been promoted to Captain of Prince Pete’s guards. His mother is coming to instate you immediately.”

“What did you do, Prince Tin?”

“Me?” Tin put on a puzzled face. “I did nothing but perhaps let it slip to Prince Pete’s mother, The First Queen of the Northlands that her son could use better minding and that I had the perfect guard in mind.”

“You expect me to owe you,” Ae growled.

“I expect you to do your job, Captain.” Tin stepped forward. “Do you so swear that you will watch after my dearest friend with your life?”

“I swear it.”

“Then your debt will be repaid with your life, one way or another.”

—–

“Prince Pete… May I ask you something?”

Pete laughed. “You can call me Pete, Ae.”

“Can I call you my prince?”

Pete smiled softly. “If it pleases you.”

“My prince, can I kiss you?”

Pete leaned in. “If it pleases you.”

Chapter Text

It had been a few weeks since Type and Techno had started dating, or at least the soccer team had assumed as much. 

Type had come in last week wearing a shirt mysteriously too small for him and Techno had simultaneously been swimming in a shirt that was a few sizes too big.

They were already attached at the hip plenty, but Champ swears they were wearing couple outfits for an entire weekend: jeans and soft gray sweaters. Can observed Type seemed to touch Techno more often. Good agreed and noted that Techno was often dragging Type along somewhere. 

Still, most of this evidence was circumstantial. Clothes could be a coincidence. Type and Techno were both in the same faculty and year, so they could have been working on the same group project. 

The perfect proof came a few days later. Can spotted them kissing, dressed in another couple outfit.

“I knew it! I knew the outfits were a sign!” Can hollered before Champ pulled him away. 

“I guess we’re found out,” Type said with a chuckle.

“If you hadn’t decided on wearing couple outfits during the weekend-”

“Well… Aren’t you enjoying it?”

“Maybe…”

Chapter Text

It didn’t particularly bother Techno when people insinuated that he and Type were dating. It kept some creepy soccer fans (both boys and girls) away and came with perks.

Type seemed to be willing to indulge a little when someone implied it and would buy Techno drinks or lunch. His expression was oddly fond and Techno never understood why. Some students would let Techno cut in line since they thought he was Type’s boyfriend (Techno felt a little guilty about that). And others? Well they were rather supportive.

But there were a few students that apparently hadn’t gotten the message. 

They came up to Type all the time, asking him to go to lunch, asking him to come for coffee. Everyday they did, Techno could feel himself get angrier and angrier. 

Type never seemed to accept though. He often said that he had plans with Techno, which often made a part of Techno happy.

Today was one such day. Techno sat on the bleachers with Champ and Can while Type was by the fence, being chat up by the obnoxious fans. 

“Na P’Type… Why not come have lunch with me?” It was a pretty female junior with long lashes and red lips. “I’ll even treat you P’!”

“P’! You should come with me!” This one was a male junior, his face was sculpted and his smile was charming.

“Sorry, I have lunch plans with Ai No,” Type said with a smile. 

“How about tomorrow?” the boy asked quickly. “Can we have lunch tomorrow, P’Type?!”

“I’m afraid I’m booked up with Ai No.”

The conversation continued along that vein and Can swore he could see the steam rising from Techno’s head. Champ only laughed. 

“I never figured you’d be the jealous boyfriend, Ai No,” Champ said before taking a sip of his water. “Although I guess Ai Type is more relaxed than you are.”

“Jealous? Who’s jealous? It’s not me.”

“But P’No, you sound really jealous,” Can said. “Like really really jealous. You sound like Ai Ae when he finds out someone even looked at Ai Pete.”

“I’m not jealous!”

“Who’s jealous,” Type asked as he walked over. “Hopefully not you, Ai No. I’m taking you to lunch after all.” 

Type ruffled Techno’s hair and something seemed to settle within Techno at the attention. It was when Type just scratched at the hairs at the nape of his neck that Techno felt everything come to a screeching halt. 

“Wait, are we actually dating,” Techno shouted as he stood up immediately.

Type blinked. “Haven’t we been dating for the last couple of months?”

Suddenly things clicked in a way that Techno hadn’t realized they needed to. 

Type’s ease with his attention and touches. How he never seemed to argue against the insinuations that they were dating. How much time they spent together. How Type seemed to edge closer but never could quite close the gap…

“Well… Give me a kiss then!”

Type smiled. “Finally. Thought you’d never ask.”

Techno felt his eyes flutter shut at the soft press of Type’s lips, gentle and easy. Maybe dating for real wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Chapter Text

Aches and pains were common for Sports Science majors, especially ones that actively played a sport. Fortunately, the faculty was able to afford a masseuse once in a while who made appointments with students. 

Tin was perfectly aware of this as he went to pick up Can for their date. 

What he did not expect was that Can was as vocal when getting a massage as he was when they were having sex.

Can was fortunately the last appointment of the day and as Tin stood outside the locker room, Can’s moans echoed through the door. Tin grit his teeth, imaging Can’s tanned skin, glistening from massage oil, the masseuse hearing the sounds Tin wanted to keep for himself. 

It felt like ages before Can finally emerged, happy as ever, but surprised to find Tin with a stormy expression on his face.

“Na, Tin, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Can cupped Tin’s face and sighed in relief when his boyfriend nuzzled into his hands. 

The relief was short-lived as Tin turned them around to press Can into the wall. Tin kissed him deeply, bruising lips and teasing tongue. Can could feel Tin’s hardness pressing into his hip and he moaned.

“Don’t go to the masseuse anymore,” Tin said in between kisses, driving Can wild. “I don’t want them to hear you moan anymore.”

“What?”

“I’m the only one who gets to make you moan like that, for sex or otherwise.”

“Tin… No… Wait…”

“I’ll take massage classes and everything.”

“That’s not…”

“I refuse to let anyone else see you naked.”

“I wasn’t…”

Tin kissed Can again and all of Can’s arguments flew out of his mind. If Tin wanted to massage him instead, Can could live with it.

Chapter Text

For as long as he could remember, Tin could see the red string of fate. It stretched and connected people, many people, as if it wove the fabric of reality itself. 

Tin could see that his father and mother were not connected. His father was also not connected to Tul’s mother either. But there were many kinds of soulmates that Tin could see connected by the thread.

So why couldn’t it be possible that people could love each other and not be connected?

Tin never questioned it much, but sometimes he would look at where his string lead off to and contemplated following it. There were days, after his time in the UK, that Tin wondered why his string hadn’t fallen off. Surely, he was no longer worthy of a soulmate?

But the string persisted. 

Tin grew older, and it felt like his red thread was growing shorter. Day by day, it seemed to be pulling Tin towards someone.

And then Tin nearly ran Can over and in his shock, Tin’s mind ran on autopilot. 

Can was his soulmate. 

Can was everything Tin was not, his entire polar opposite. Tin was sure this was a cosmic joke. After years of wondering who his soulmate could be, if he even had a soulmate, it was this irritating Thai Program Sports Science major with a bottomless stomach and a voice louder than thunder.

And then they kept meeting each other. Kept finding each other. Slowly but surely, Tin realized that maybe the string wasn’t wrong. Can was kind. He listened when no one else would, he believed Tin when no one else would. 

However, as much as Tin could tell he was falling, he knew Can was not. Not yet anyway.

But how do you persuade someone so stubborn that you’re soulmates? How do you tell someone that their presence makes you feel lighter than you’ve ever felt before? That their smile makes you smile? 

Tin tried, and all Can did was look confused. 

“What do you mean there’s a string? I didn’t see one in the mirror today.” Can looked all over himself. “I’m not even wearing anything red!”

“Not on your clothes, Cantaloupe.” Tin held up his pinky. “Here.”

“Huh? Your pinky? Do you want to pinky promise something?” Can linked their pinky fingers together and Tin didn’t know if he wanted to kill Can or kiss him. It was staring him right there in the face, the ends of their red string, and Can couldn’t seem to comprehend it.

Tin growled and pulled Can closer by their linked pinky fingers before kissing him. Tin could practically hear the gears in Can’s head stuttering to a stop as he kissed Can again and again.

“I like you, Cantaloupe,” Tin said softly as their lips parted. “We’re tied together by the string of fate. We’re soulmates, you and I.” Tin traced Can’s lower lip with the thumb of his other hand, their pinky fingers still linked. “Will you give me a chance?”

Can frowned. “Soulmates? That’s a bit much, isn’t it?”

Tin sighed and let go, already starting to feel cold. “Okay. I’m going first then.”

“Wait.” Can pulled Tin back, his grip on Tin’s wrist steady and strong. “I don’t know about soulmates. I can’t see it like you do.” Can rubbed the inside of Tin’s wrist with his thumb. “But I think… We can try.” 

Tin turned around to look at Can and the red string between them was glowing brightly. Perhaps there was hope after all.

Chapter Text

Such relationships were normally frowned upon. But war and close quarters always made for strange bedfellows. So if Tin and Can were closer than was strictly professional during lights out, no one said anything. 

Sometimes, all you needed was a warm body next to you to remind you of your humanity. 

It was deeper than that for Tin and Can, of course. Not that anyone would be able to tell. Or would tell in general. 

They’d started out rocky as new recruits, turned into rivals during preliminary training, and evolved into something more when they were assigned to the same battalion. The emotions were so new, so fragile, that on top of the pressures of military life in war, Tin and Can always felt on the edge of breaking. There were many nights of whispered promises which many of the soldiers around them chose to ignore. 

Tin and Can were politely ignoring their whispers at night to gods and lovers alike as well after all. It would only be polite to return the favor.

“It’s okay. I’ll watch your back, you watch mine,” Tin would whisper into Can’s ear. “You go, I go.”

“You jump, I jump,” Can would whisper back. “I promise.”

And on every front they were told to march and push, they watched after each other, hearts in their throats, until the very end of the war and the days after. Until the days where their relationship didn’t have to be a secret anymore. 

Chapter Text

Can did not think he would be able to take it anymore. 

He did not regret marrying Tin. If Can’s family would be safe and all Can had to do was marry the one person he wished he hadn’t turned away in his youth? Well that was an easy sacrifice to make. 

But Tin’s demeanor had changed. Gone were the fleeting touches that Tin gave so easily in their youth. Tin kept a distance of at least a meter between them at all times. 

The only time this was not possible was in bed. And Tin easily curled up as far as he could away from Can. 

Tin’s words were still polite, but they lacked warmth. His actions were kind, but they were suspiciously shallow. 

It was as if all the things Can knew existed within Tin were now out of his reach. He was no longer privileged enough to receive them anymore.

Can wished he could reach out, swallow his fear and speak his mind. But every time he tried, the words were stuck in his throat. It was maddening. Can had been educated, despite how Tin used to tease him, and he knew how to speak persuasively.

But when it came to the language of love, Can was lost.

And then one day, as Can struggled to pull himself up into the carriage, Tin sighed and extended his hand. Can took it without thinking and found himself easily pulled up. As Can took his seat opposite Tin, Tin let go, but his fingertips seemed to linger, tracing wrist and palm.

Can stared at the touched skin in wonder, feeling sparks run down his nerves. He did not notice how Tin’s gaze also lingered on his hand as he clenched it.

‘Yes,’ Can thought to himself. ‘I must do something soon if even a simple touch like that affects me so much. I’ll go crazy if he kisses me.’

Chapter Text

Can didn’t know much about his new neighbor. Well, there were a few things he’d learned. 

One, he was clearly rich because who can afford that many leather sofas? Can watched them all get carried in by professional movers. 

Two, he was clearly passive aggressive. At least if his notes posted by the mailboxes about proper etiquette for the front door and other people’s packages were any indication.

Three, he was probably a businessman as Can could hear the stock market news as his alarm every morning at an ungodly 5 AM.

The fourth, and this was a little embarrassing, was that his neighbor had a voice like pure sex. 

Sometimes Can could hear his neighbor on the weekends, singing along to the songs on his playlist. Unabashed, unafraid, unembarrassed, and his voice was warm, deep, and surprisingly good. 

Some weeknights, Can could hear him discussing something as he walked by, his neighbor’s door cracked open a bit. Something about acquisitions and mergers.

And then there were nights that made Can blush. His neighbor’s bedroom and Can’s bedroom shared a wall. And on one or two occasions, Can could hear him moaning, soft and low. It sent shivers down Can’s spine and made him achingly hard. 

Clearly, there was a manner of attraction, but Can, despite anyone’s insistence, refused to engage. 

“What if he’s weird?” Can whined as Good nodded patiently at Can’s kitchen table. Ae tuned Can out, texting his boyfriend Pete instead. “What if he’s like super creepy? Just because I like his voice doesn’t mean I should ask him out! He doesn’t even know I exist!”

“But… didn’t you say… you bumped into… a businessman here… the other day?” 

Can thought back to last week where he had collided with someone dressed in an Armani suit, cologne just the right kind of woodsy and musky, pale skin, lips in a smirk, and Can had proceeded to yell at him for making Can spill his takeout everywhere. 

“No way! That guy was an asshole!”

“But you said he offered to take you out to dinner to pay back your food,” Ae said without looking up from his phone. A ping signaled another text from Pete and Ae stroked his phone screen fondly. “Anyway, Pete is here so I’m going to get going.”

“Ya! Look at you always so lovesick.” Can pouted. “Are you ever going to give the rest of your friends any attention anymore now that you have Pete?”

Ae simply waved him off before slipping his shoes back on and opening the door. “Oi, you brought him too?” Ae snarled. 

“Ae! Tin lives here!” Can could hear Pete’s soft voice and the cute tone. Pete was clearly doing damage control. “We decided to come together since he lives next to Can.”

At that, Can perked up and snuck over to try and sneak a peak at “Tin.” What he saw shocked him.

“YOU’RE THE ARMANI WEARING ASSHOLE!”

Tin’s look was surprisingly amused instead of insulted. “And you’re shouty sports boy!”

“I am not a boy! I’m twenty five!”

Ae and Pete watched as Can yelled and Tin responded calmly for five minutes before slowly edging away. The more Tin talked, the pinker Can’s cheeks got. 

“Why’s your face so red, Sports Boy?”

“Shut up! It’s not like I like your voice or anything!” Can’s eyes widened before he slapped his hands over his mouth.

Tin smiled. “So… If you like my voice, how about you give me a chance to persuade you to like the rest of me?”

“N-No way!”

“Not even for dinner? I know a good barbecue place not too far away…”

Can felt his resistance crumble. “Barbecue? Do they have Korean barbecue too?”

“Oh absolutely.”

“Well…” Can looked over his shoulder and Good slowly gave him a thumbs up. “Pick me up at 7 then I guess.”

Tin’s smile grew. “It’s a date.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

It wasn’t often that Tin was permitted to hold court. It was less because he was the Second Prince, or that his father disliked him, but more that his father preferred to do it himself. Not even Tul was often called upon to sit for court and grievances either.

Today, neither was available and so it fell on Tin’s shoulders to greet ambassadors. Tin would have much preferred to lay in bed with Can until the noon sun lit the sky, but it would be irresponsible to avoid such a duty.

There were dignitaries from foreign lands Tin had only heard of in his books and maps. The ambassador from the Northlands, representing Pete’s father and half-brother, only looked at Tin with half as much scorn as usual.

And then there was the ambassador from the Southlands. Tin felt his expression begin to sour.

When Can and his family willingly walked into exile after the death of his father and other complications that had arisen, Can’s uncle took power. Can remained tight-lipped about the circumstances that surrounded his exile. And none of Tin’s wiles, wit, or charm had managed to get the answer out of Can.

Tin had never been fond of Can’s uncle, a black sheep in a family of straightforward and brightly cheerful people. Even though the cheeriness of Can’s father had been a bit much, one always knew what they could expect from King Wit. With King Sun, words were not used as they were meant to. Many a time had negotiations with the Southlands gone sourly because of the ways they had argued their cases after King Sun had taken power.

“Second Prince Tinh Medthanan, I hear congratulations are in order.” The Southlands ambassador bowed. “I, Ambassador Pitch, offer you the congratulations of the Royal Family of the Southlands for your union with former Prince Kirakorn.”

Tin fought the urge to contort his brows with a glare. The mention of his station and Can’s was technically done with proper formality and Tin would be in the wrong to address it. “Ambassador Pitch, I welcome you kindly. I hope you enjoy your stay.” Tin’s tone was icily polite. “And I thank you for your congratulations. I had no idea King Sun was keeping up with his nephew.”

“Oh, it is in King Sun’s best interest to keep tabs on his, most interesting nephew.” Ambassador Pitch did not straighten from his bow. A ploy. “After all, it is not often an exiled royal marries into another royal family.”

“What do you mean to say Ambassador Pitch? Do you have concerns with my husband?”

“Only that I am surprised you agreed to marry him, your majesty.” Ambassador Pitch finally stood straight to look Tin in his eyes. “After all, you are not privy to the circumstances of his exile.”

Tin grit his teeth. “And I suppose that you have come to enlighten me? To warn me? Or perhaps you have come to offer your hand and become my second husband.”

Ambassador Pitch scowled as some of the lords and ladies attending court tittered and giggled. “You are aware that it must be a serious offense to warrant the entire royal family being exiled, sir. I am only surprised that you can find it possible to ignore such a criminal offense.”

Tin leaned forward, a particular gleam in his eye. “I am well aware of what passes for a criminal offense in the Southlands, Ambassador.” Tin leaned back into his seat and crossed his legs. “I am also aware that my marriage is considered to be one of them. At least as of King Sun’s coronation.” Tin waved his hand imperiously. “You are dismissed Ambassador. I shall make sure my father is made aware of your… interest in my husband’s history at the negotiation table.”

Ambassador Pitch finally paled. “Why, surely Prince Tinh, you would not seek to bring personal matters into our negotiations…”

“And it was you who did. So surely my father should be made aware that the Southlands have, for the fifth time in so many years since King Sun took the throne, made offense at the crown of the Midlands.”

Ambassador Pitch bowed deeply. “I meant no offense, Prince Tinh. I humbly apologize.”

“You are dismissed Ambassador Pitch. I hope negotiations go well for the Southlands. I hear finances are terrible lately. It wouldn’t do for you to fail this year, would it?”

—–

Can crept into the office quietly only to frown at the wasted effort. Tin was glaring at his notes as if his gaze could burn them. He was in no state to notice Can even if he was dancing naked in front of the fireplace.

Can knew that from experience.

Instead of being loud and obnoxious, Can came up behind Tin and put his arms around him, kissing his neck softly. “What vexes you so, dear Tin?”

“Your uncle sent an ambassador.” Tin’s frown deepened before he snapped his journal shut. “I did not approve of his language.”

“You never approve of anyone’s language. Stop being a prude.”

“Stop speaking like a commoner!”

Can frowned. “You’re deflecting. What really happened?”

Tin pulled Can into his lap. A surprising lack of decorum for the office on Tin’s part. Tin pressed his forehead into Can’s chest and Can toyed with the hairs on the nape of Tin’s neck. “When will you tell me why you walked into exile?”

Can paused his motions. “What?”

“Your uncle’s ambassador claims it was a most serious offense that sent you into exile with your mother and sister.” Tin wrapped his arms around Can’s waist and pulled him closer. “Will you tell me what happened?”

“Tin… It’s not…”

“I want to protect you, Cantaloupe. But I need to know what I’m protecting you from.”

Can scrunched up his face. “I should have known you’d play that card at some point.”

“Well?”

Can sighed and pushed Tin’s head back to look him in the eye. Tin rubbed circles into Can’s back in encouragement. “My father was technically second in line to the throne. My grandfather saw the kind of man my uncle was becoming and made my father Crown Prince before his death. But my uncle never lost his thirst for the throne. He plotted and schemed until at last he found a way.

“My father was slowly falling ill. I was already declared Crown Prince. But my uncle had his supporters. They rose up, claimed I was too young, and then… They spread word of my affections for you.” Tin pulled Can’s head down to rest against his shoulder. “As my father died, a ‘mercy’ from my uncle, I was on trial for something as silly as loving you. The Southlands are surprisingly conservative at court. And so my uncle had me ousted as unfit. But I wouldn’t let that stand. I couldn’t. I refused to go without a fight and I challenged my uncle.

“I nearly killed him, Tin.” Can began to shake and Tin could only hold Can tighter. “The challenge was first to disarm but I didn’t want to stop there. It would have been easy. I had disarmed him and everything. One strike, that’s all it would have taken. And I’d be King.” Tears began to wet Tin’s shirt and jacket. “And I realized if I did it, I’d be no better than my uncle. I’d be as nasty and cruel as him. So I left. I chose exile willingly. Mom could have stayed, so could Ley but… They chose to leave with me.”

“Cantaloupe…”

“And that’s the big secret, Tin. I walked away because I couldn’t stand the throne if it meant I’d be more like my uncle than my father. Never mind what they tried to convict me of… We wandered for four years along the Southlands until I knew I had to petition you.”

Tin kissed Can softly to silence him. “You were very brave, my sweet Cantaloupe. So kind and brave.”

“I feel more fool than brave.”

“You were brave enough to follow your convictions. You knew your uncle would not stop unless you got rid of him and you knew if you did it that way, you’d be stooping to his level.”

“Then why do I feel so stupid? I could have avoided everything…”

“And then every single one of your uncle’s supporters would have been after your head.”

“But…”

“Do you really want the throne?” Tin rested his forehead against Can’s. “Do you want to be King of the Southlands?”

Can closed his eyes. “No.”

“Then you did the right thing.” Tin then whispered, “Do you want justice?”

“Yes.”

“Then perhaps we can start a little trouble, hmm?”

—–

“You appear to have insulted my son quite well, Ambassador Pitch.” Tin’s father, King Medthanan, had an oddly amused look on his face as he looked over Tin’s proposal. “He says no proposal of yours is to be accepted unless you agree to the following terms, chief of which is acknowledgement of Prince Kirakorn as having abdicated instead of being exiled.”

Ambassador Pitch’s face turned red. “Prince Kirakorn is a criminal! He was convicted! Exile is fitting!”

“Convicted of being a homosexual? What a… peculiar crime to require exile, but he did win his challenge against King Sun, did he not?” Ambassador Pitch’s face turned a darker shade. “Ah, you did not expect me to know this. Even if my son had not said anything, you underestimate my information network.”

“Your majesty, I must protest. This is an attempt to insult King Sun.”

“Technically, Prince Kirakorn should be King Kirakorn since he won the right of challenge, should he not?”

“Yes… You are correct,” Ambassador Pitch said as if he was chewing glass.

“And so if you do not agree to this, Prince Kirakorn has a right to the throne. And it would surely benefit the Midlands to have the Southlands allied via marriage…”

“You do not mean…”

“Unless you agree to removing the criminal charges and declare Prince Kirakorn as having abdicated, the Midlands can campaign to reinstate Prince Kirakorn as king. You are well aware of our military status of course…”

“I… I will present the proposal to King Sun.”

“You will have King Sun accept our proposal Ambassador or I will have to simply act in the best benefits of my kingdom. And after all, it is the Southlands that needs our trade, does it not?”

—–

“I can’t believe you persuaded your father to do that,” Can said as he and Tin lay together in bed.

“Oh it was easier than you think. Father could not deny the appeal of having the King of the Southlands in his pocket, no matter via manipulating King Sun or installing you.” Tin traced the features of Can’s face with his fingertips until Can swatted his hand away. “He may not entirely approve of us, but he’d love to get more out of our union.”

“Diabolical.”

“Yes, but aren’t you glad I use my powers for good and not evil?”

Can said nothing but pulled Tin in for a kiss.

Chapter Text

“Can, this is an intervention.” Techno sat down to Can’s left followed by Champ. Good cornered Can on the right. Type kept a look out outside of the bleachers. “We need to talk to you about the IC student.”

“Ai Tin? Did he kiss you too? That asshole! Kissing people randomly! I’m gonna punch him again!” Can stood up and got ready to charge out but Good pulled him back into his seat.

“Are you… aware that… Ai Tin… likes you a lot?”

“Well… He may have said… something to that effect,” Can said as he scratched at his cheek. “I mean…”

“Oh for crying out loud, Tin has a crush on you,” Champ said suddenly. Everyone turned to look at him. “Stop beating around the bush. Can knows what we’re here for.”

Can’s face turned red instantly. “That’s ridiculous! Tin doesn’t have a crush on me!”

“Yes… he does,” Good said.

“Yes, he does,” Techno echoed.

“Yes, he does,” Champ said firmly.

“I agree!”

“P’Type, NO ONE ASKED YOU!”

“Yes, I do have a crush on you, Cantaloupe.”

Can turned from facing Techno to see Tin looking unimpressed. 

“Ai Tin, now is not the time for you to joke!”

Tin stepped forward and traced Can’s lip with his thumb as he had done so many times before asking for a kiss. Can licked his lip reflexively. Techno quickly smacked Champ on the shoulder and grabbed Good’s arm to drag them away. Type was harder to convince and even harder to move, but Techno managed some how.

“I don’t lie about that sort of thing, Can.” 

“Tin…”

“Give me a chance, na?” Tin smiled softly. 

Can bit his lip before he crossed his arms and looked up at Tin defiantly. “I want sushi. And ice cream.”

“Wait… Are you saying…”

“What are you waiting for? I want dinner. Let’s go get dinner. That’s a date, right?” Can refused to meet Tin’s eyes but his cheeks were pink.

“If that’s what my Cantaloupe wants.” Tin’s smile changed to something warmer. “I am happy to provide.”

“But this does not mean I reciprocate yet!”

“Of course it doesn’t.” Tin mused Can’s hair. “But I’m glad you’ve given me a chance.”

Chapter Text

Can was horribly conflicted. 

His new neighbor Tin was a confusing mix of things that Can was not entirely sure he should like or find attractive. His body and heart decided to do it anyway.

Tin liked getting up early (negative), was a snarky asshole (negative), liked a lot of weird foreign music (kinda negative), had a stupid hot body (begrudging jealous positive), a sexy voice (very positive), a cute laugh (definitely positive), was always attentive (positive!!!), a little shy when you they were alone (adorably positive), and usually threw money at problems until they went away (very very very negative). 

Case in point, Can brought up being able to hear Tin at nights when he was singing during their date. 

“Does it bother you?” Tin asked. “I’m sorry… I don’t really sing…”

“It’s not really a bother,” Can quickly said, waving his hands to dismiss any notion of making Tin stop. “Really, i don’t mind!”

“I’ll fix it,” Tin said firmly before asking the waiter for more wine.

“Fuck.” Can pouted to himself.

The very next day, Tin had soundproofing put between their shared walls and Can was no longer privy to the handsome voice that had started the whole mess between them. This very quickly became a new problem.

“That was unnecessary!” Can stood in the middle of Tin’s apartment, coffee mug held in a precarious grip, as he began his rant. “I wasn’t complaining about your singing! Or any noise you make!”

Tin simply nodded along. “Sure sure, but it’s nice isn’t it? For you to have some quiet?”

—–

The next problem was that Tin was simultaneously a gentleman and a man who liked to push his own god damn luck. 

Can was running on the edge now that he couldn’t listen to Tin’s voice at night. But Tin’s kisses, the warmth of his body pressing him into a wall or sofa as they kissed after their dates, it was just as good. So good. Can couldn’t help the shivers or moans that came out. 

But just as it was getting steamy, Tin would back off, pull himself back into order, and then kiss Can good bye.

Masturbating was absolutely no help and it left Can feeling more frustrated than ever that Tin was not actively or passively involved in getting him off anymore. Can resolved to get Tin to actually touch him after their next date.

—–

Having their next date soon became the third problem. Tin suddenly was whisked away on a business trip for two weeks. At the very least, Tin was compliant with nightly phone calls (it wasn’t an international trip), and Can fought the urge to touch himself while Tin’s husky voice was piped in via cell phone speaker.

When Tin did return, Can tackled Tin into the couch, mouth searing, hands roaming. 

“Did Cantaloupe miss me?” Tin said with a chuckle before Can’s mouth was on his again, hot and insistent. “You really really missed me.”

“Shut up shut up I’m going to burst,” Can said as he ripped Tin’s expensive dress shirt open and mouthed along his collarbone. “You are taking responsibility!”

“Responsibility? Are you sexually frustrated, Can?”

“I AM FRUSTRATED PERIOD,” Can yelled. It was a testament to Tin’s soundproofing job that none of Tin’s other neighbors complained about Can’s yelling immediately. Can pulled Tin into another kiss, rutting in Tin’s lap until Tin gasped into his mouth. “And I’d really like to talk about my concerns about this god damn relationship but first I need to get you out of your pants.”

Can fumbled for Tin’s belt as Tin easily popped open the button on Can’s jeans. 

“Well… You only had to ask, Cantaloupe.”

Chapter Text

What seal they had broken, Can saw repaired.

What beast they had unleashed, Can saw defeated.

But the damage done, the damage and hurt done to Tin to buy Can time, that Can could not undo. Not alone. And there was only one person Can could trust to do it. Ae was going to be such an asshole about it because he never liked Tin, but Can needed to talk to Pete. 

—–

Pete was a natural at restorative and healing magic, even though his mother would have rather had him take over her inn and tavern business instead. Ae spent his days keeping watch over Pete to make sure no one took advantage of his services and spent his nights exhausting Pete.

Ae took one look at the fierceness in Can’s eyes and the state Tin was in and swallowed the sharp words on his tongue before letting them pass by.

Pete took one look at the tears forming in the corner of Can’s eyes and the rattling breaths coming out of Tin’s chest and swallowed the consoling words on his tongue before getting to work.

—–

It took the entire day and night, and Pete swore up and down that Tin was stable, but his state continued to worsen.

“He’s physically fine,” Pete insisted as he sat in his chair, sipping on tea Ae was forcing on him to regain his strength. “But I don’t understand…”

Can gripped Tin’s hand tightly as he sat next to Tin’s bed, breath a little stronger than before, but skin still sickly pale. “I’ll do anything Pete. I’ll pay whatever price you want. But please fix it.”

“I… I don’t know if I can fix this Can.”

“You can’t fix it. Tin doesn’t have the will to live,” Ae said as he refreshed Pete’s tea. Pete made a face but continued drinking it. “I’ve seen it all the time in other soldiers.”

“Ae… That’s too harsh!”

“No… Maybe Ae is right…” Can said as he bit his lip. He stood up and Pete shivered, sensitive to the energy starting to swirl around the room. “If you have no will to live, Tin, then take some of mine damn it! But you’re not leaving me like this!” 

Can crushed his lips against Tin’s. 

At first, nothing happened, Tin’s mouth was slack and his breathing thin and shallow. Can kept kissing Tin, kept murmuring, “Please please please come back to me Tin. I love you. I’m here. Come back to me.” Slowly the color returned to Tin’s face although Can’s tan faded a bit. Soon Tin’s mouth began moving against Can’s.

When they broke apart, it was with a gasp for both of them. Tin heaved himself into a sitting position and looked around in bewilderment. 

“What…”

“TIN!” Can tackled Tin back into the bed. “YOU JACKASS! YOU IDIOT! I HATE YOU AND I LOVE YOU AND GODS ABOVE IF YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN I’M GOING TO KISS YOU BACK TO LIFE AGAIN JUST SO I CAN KILL YOU MYSELF.”

“…What?”

“We’ll leave you to it,” Ae said as he pulled Pete away. “Clearly you both have a lot of catching up to do.”

“Pete? Ae? What the-” Tin found himself kissed by Can again.

“I thought I was going to lose you, asshole.” Tears splattered against TIn’s chest. “Don’t ever sacrifice yourself for me again. If you go, I go. There’s no other way I’m doing this anymore, Tin.”

“Cantaloupe…”

Can sniffed and scrubbed at his eyes and nose with his shirt sleeves. “Come on. I have to tell you how i got to stop interdimentional horrors because of that lousy ass cave job.”

“I told you that cave job was a bad idea.”

“Talk back when you can actually sit up without nearly dying again!”

Chapter Text

Type is not blind. Relaxed, laid back, calm and cool, yes. But not unobservant.

Then again, he never did expect much subtlety from high schoolers.

Technic’s sudden interest in his older brother’s whereabouts. Klengkla’s sudden rising to the challenge to help Techno when things mysteriously go south.

It reeks and makes Type see red for multiple reasons, but he knows now is not the time to jump in. Not yet. Klengkla and Technic have something bigger in mind and Type aims to stop it.

And if it means he gets to keep his crush safe? Well that’s just an added bonus.

Type gets his chance two weeks later.

Techno takes the juniors out again for drinks. Type follows and keeps up the act of drinking and watches as Technic calls again. Waits as Techno mentions how Klengkla is coming to pick him up. 

But Type’s plans fall apart when he comes back from the bathroom and paying the bill to find Techno already gone. Everything becomes a blur as Type rushes back to Techno’s house, hoping he’s guessed Klengkla right, praying he’s in time.

Klengkla is trying to manhandle Techno into the house when Type gets there. It takes all of Type’s restraint not to shove Klengkla down the stairs. 

“Oi Nong, let me help,” Type says as he smoothly pulls Techno out of Klengkla’s clutches. The younger boy scowls as Type easily hefts Techno into his arms. “I’ll take it from here.”

“I was doing fine. I can take care of P’No.” Klengkla’s chin juts out defiantly, his eyes burning.

“I don’t think caring for him is what you were really going to do Nong. Go home before I decide to report you to the cops.” 

Type tenses his muscles as the minute stretches on. Klengkla clenches his fist and grits his teeth, but he walks away and Type sighs in relief as he drives off. A glance at the moving window curtain tells Type that he’s been spotted by Technic. Good.

“Come on Ai No, time for bed,” Type mutters as he carries Techno across the threshold and up the stairs to his room.

Techno sighs as he blearily opens his eyes when Type sets him down on his bed. “Ai Type? What? Where’s N’Kla?” Techno drunkenly sways as he looks around his room. “I’m home already?”

Type inhales deeply before exhaling slowly. “Yes, you’re home.”

“Oh… good.”

Type’s hand is smoothing back Techno’s hair before he realizes it. “You should get some rest. You’re drunk.”

“Mmm… But I have you here, you can take care of it.” Techno leans into Type’s hand. “You always do.”

“Oi, don’t be so self-important,” Type teases. 

“I like it when you take care of me,” Techno sleepily mumbles. “Feels good.” Type feels warmth bloom in his chest after Techno’s admission. “Wanna stay?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t…”

Techno pulls Type in as he turns to walk away. Techno curls around Type as soon as he hits the bed, even as Type stiffens on high alert. “Just sleeps. Talk in the morning.”

“Ai No?”

“Shush. Sleeps.”

With Techno’s warm body pushing him into the mattress, Type starts to fall into a surprisingly easy sleep despite being aware of every place their bodies make contact. If he dreams of the way he hopes tomorrow morning’s talk will go, nobody has to know.

Chapter Text

Can expects the thrill of a job well done, the rush from successfully catching the most infamous hacker raising hell the last few months.

But as he slaps the cuffs on Tin Medthanan – the handsome, exiled son of one of the richest families in the country – Can feels the burn of a soul mark upon his wrist. He watches it etch itself into Tin’s skin, a sprig of freesias and violets, knowing the same has appeared on his wrist.

His partner, Ae, has to swear the reporters to secrecy when they hear Can’s howl of indignation. 

—–

“Don’t think for one second that just because you’re my soulmate, that I won’t do the right thing,” Can says as he stares down Tin in the interrogation room. 

Tin raises an eyebrow. 

“A soul mark doesn’t have to mean anything anyway,” Can mutters as he crosses his arms.

“Of course it doesn’t.” Can startles from the first words Tin’s said the entire time he’s been in custody. “I wouldn’t trust your word anyway.”

“Hey! I’ve got integrity! I’m a cop!”

“You’re just as dirty as anyone else.” Tin scoffs and looks to the side. “They’re all dirty in the end.”

Even without the soul mark burning, the pulling of his heartstrings by fate, Can knows there is a story there. All criminals have a story and Tin should be no different. Even the classic, “I was just bored,” is a story. 

Can feels it, knows he needs to hear Tin’s story.

“If we’re all so dirty, then why bother exposing any dirty laundry at all,” Can asks as he leans forward. “What good does it do to expose corporate secrets?”

Tin rolls his eyes. “Do you know how to read? Did you even see the secrets I exposed?”

“You tell me what you think you exposed.”

Tin rotates his neck, glances at his soul mark out of the corner of his eye, frowns, looks back at Can, returns to his neutral expression and then sighs. “Five of the biggest companies in the country. Five of the richest families in the country. Five sets of dirty secrets and allegations.” 

“And?”

“And tell me Khun Kirakorn, do you know just how far those dirty secrets go?”

Can refrains from biting his lip. It’s true, all of the companies Tin had targeted were exceptionally dirty. Under the table deals, trafficking, bribes to officials for leniency, the list went on. But outside of files that Tin claimed to have hacked into and released, there was little evidence otherwise. Of course, all companies had declared Tin a liar and called for his immediate arrest.

Even if they had to at least admit he’d actually managed to hack in.

“Pretty far,” Can finally allows himself to admit.

“That’s an understatement.” Tin sighs and stares at the ceiling. “And so now all my work ends. Whatever will you do with me Khun Kirakorn?”

Can sifts through several folders in front of him. “A bargain.” Can pushes the correct folder forward. “If you plead guilty but cooperate with us to finish up all five investigations into the dirty deals you revealed, we’ll give you a lighter sentence.”

Tin raises his eyebrows in surprise. “You’re joking.”

“I’ll give you a chance, Khun Tin. I think… that’s what you’ve been waiting for. A chance.”

—–

It takes several months.

Several months of arguing, house arrest (”Why my house,” Can complains), field work, and one large gun fight (”Can! Shit! Why aren’t you wearing your vest?! DAMN IT!”), before it’s all over.

Tin looks at his soul mark as he walks to the door of the police station, ankle tracker removed. Can walks with him, his recovery from the gunshot wound progressing smoothly.

“Thank you, Tin,” Can says. “I… I guess I owe you one.”

“Do you really feel nothing, Can?” Tin grasps Can’s wrist and traces their soul mark on Can’s skin while memories of a confession, a stolen kiss, swim to the front of Can’s mind. “If you say so now, I’ll leave you alone forever. You’ll never see me again.” 

“I…”

“But if there is even a chance… Please tell me.” Despite the eyes watching them, Tin brushes a gentle kiss to the mark on Can’s wrist. “I trust you. I trust you more than anyone else I’ve ever trusted before. Please Can…”

“Tin…” Can tries, but the words will not come. Can feels in his heart that Tin could be something for him, could become something he wants and loves. And the thought is terrifying. Because the temptation to throw everything away and protect Tin, to take a bullet for him again, any day of the week, is so strong Can can’t explain it. And the words for how terrified he is do not come to mind.

“Okay… I get it.” For the second time in his life, Can sees a tear develop in the corner of Tin’s eye. “Good bye, Can.” 

Tin walks away through the doors and despite the rapid beating of Can’s heart, the feeling of threads snapping, Can remains motionless as the doors close.

—–

Can can’t find Tin. 

Despite sleepless nights and haunted mornings, despite checking every place he knows Tin frequents, despite getting people in the cyber unit to help him, Tin is gone. Every trace of him deleted from real life and online. 

Even the soul mark doesn’t react. 

Can doesn’t pretend that he hasn’t been crying. Doesn’t pretend that what had started out as a small ache after Tin walked away has developed into a gnawing and yawning void in his heart that no amount of snacks and diner food will fill. It’s so obvious what he’s done that his Captain, Techno, puts him on administrative leave until he sorts himself out. 

But there is nothing to do. 

For another week Can lays about in his apartment, body heavy in grief and disappointment, too tired to do anything but mourn and grieve his own idiocy.

The next week, something pulls at Can, brings him just enough energy to go outside. Can listlessly meanders down the street to a park and lays out in the grass. Even the warm sun feels cold on Can’s skin. 

“Tin…” Can whispers as his eyes close. “I’m sorry… I miss you… I love you…” Can thinks.

There is a beat of silence before a familiar voice says, “Took you long enough.”

A thousand feelings burst into life in Can’s chest before he sits up and sees Tin looking down at him. His expression is bemused, but his appearance is just as haggard as Can’s. 

Can feels his lips tremble, but the words get caught in his throat again. Can frowns and pounds at his chest, as if the force could dislodge them. Can feels the tell-tale prickle of tears forming in his eyes. His second chance, ruined because of his cowardice again. 

Tin sighs and Can feels his thumbs rub away the forming tears, feels Tin kiss his forehead before standing up again and offering his hand.

Can grasps it immediately and feels his soul mark burning again, a low thrum in the back of his mind and Can resolves that this time, he’ll find the words and say them.

Chapter Text

In a series of events that surprised nobody, Techno was running late. 

Techno hadn’t meant to spill his coffee all over himself and his new classmate the minute class ended. His wonderfully handsome, amazingly smart, cool, and confident classmate named Type. It had been a beautiful dress shirt and Type looked amazing in it and Techno prayed that the stains would come out of it so he might see it again. 

Techno had been beyond mortified but Type had laughed it off. If Techno thought Type’s laughter sounded like seeing the sun after a rainy day, well… Type didn’t have to know that. 

Not yet anyway.

But the accident had cost Techno precious time. The coffee had spilled all over his shirt as well and Techno had run home to change. His mother had impressed upon him the absolute importance of looking good for this meeting. Techno would be meeting his betrothed tonight and looking good and being on time were crucial in his mother’s eyes.

Apparently the marriage had been planned since before they were born and it was exceptionally fortunate that Techno was gay and his betrothed was also a gay man. At least in that sense there might be some familiarity and happiness to be found. 

The idea still settled sourly in Techno’s gut all the same.

Techno had hoped when he was younger that he’d marry for love, not business. And after meeting Type, despite the disaster, Techno wondered what it would have been like to get to know him as something more than a classmate.

“Oh good, you’re finally here. Your future husband is also running a bit late so I’ll excuse it this time,” Techno’s mother said as she smoothed out his frazzled hair. “At least Technic got here in time.”

“Maeeeee…” Techno whined. “Do we have to do this?”

“Don’t worry. The astrologer says you’ll both be very well matched. His mother agrees as well.” 

Techno pouted as Technic made faces at him behind their mother’s back.

“Sorry I’m late, there was an incident… Techno?”

Techno slowly turned around. Type had a handsome smile on his face, another dress shirt more beautiful than the last, and just a hint of surprise in his expression. 

“No. Way,” Techno said flatly.

“Are you… You’re my betrothed right? Are you saying no already?” Type’s expression fell just a bit.

“NO! I just-” Techno reached to pull at his hair but his mother slapped his hand away and made an encouraging face. “I just didn’t expect it to be you.” He toed at the carpet with the tip of his dress shoes. “I’m kinda happy it is you though.”

Type’s smile immediately returned to full force. “I’m glad it’s you too.”

“So boys… do you both agree?” Techno’s mom nudged Techno forward and Type took Techno’s hands into his own, slowly rubbing over Techno’s knuckles with his thumbs. 

“So, it’s a bit sudden, but shall we get married Ai No?”

Techno blushed at the familiar address. “Y-Yeah… Let’s.”

Chapter Text

“Cantaloupe, you should stop eating that.” Tin watched in horror as Can continued to stuff his mouth with bites of what the nice people in the bar Can had insisted on going to called a, “cotton candy burrito.” 

It was horribly pink, fluffy, and filled to the brim with ice cream. Tin could feel his pancreas crying from one look but Can was enamored after the first bite.

“But Tin! This is amazing! Are you sure you don’t want any?!” Bits of cotton candy fluff were melting into the ice cream all over Can’s face and the disaster of a man – no longer a boy anymore – refused to wipe it all off. 

If Tin were a more nostalgic man, he would say it brought back lots of fond memories. He settled for gently reminding Can that he wasn’t eighteen anymore.

“Can, that’s a lot of sugar…”

Can paused with the confectionery disaster half way to his mouth. “So?”

“Do you want to develop diabetes this early in our honeymoon?”

“Tin, this is a cotton candy and ice cream BURRITO. I’m going to eat all of it or die trying. Besides, I’m only twenty-seven. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Tin sighed. “I should have never let you persuade me into a viral Instagram food tour of America as our honeymoon.”

“You knew what you were getting into when you married me, Tin.” Can chose that moment to let his wedding band flash in the afternoon Californian sun. The sight still made Tin feel like he was walking on air and it had been a week since they had the ceremony. Not that it was legally binding, not yet, but perhaps some day. 

Tin played with the ring on his finger, a small smile forming on his lips. “Yeah, I did know.” Tin rolled his eyes before holding out a hand. “Ok fine, give me half.”

“That’s the spirit! You’ll love it! I got the ice cream with alcohol in it!”

“Oh no…”

Chapter Text

The sun rose, a firey red orb on the distant horizon, and Can rose with it, detaching himself from the warm cocoon of blankets and Tin’s body. Can caressed Tin’s bare shoulder as he contemplated going back to sleep. Despite, or in fact because of, the light touches, Tin stirred.

“Cantaloupe? It’s too early. Come back to bed,” Tin murmured, sleep warm arms wrapping around Can’s waist to pull him back in. “Come back to bed, husband dearest.”

Can shivered from the endearment. “You must be out of your mind to call me back to bed in that manner alone.” Can brushed back Tin’s hair from his forehead, earning a sleepy smile. “Or perhaps, is it that my husband is happy?”

Tin pressed a kiss to the bare skin of Can’s abdomen and that was answer enough.

Can looked out the window to see the sun continuing to rise as Tin’s tongue wrote words of temptation into his skin. “Tin, this is a very good argument as to why I should stay, but Captain Techno is going to get on my case if I’m late to training for the fifth day in a row.”

“I am your prince and I command you to skip practice and stay in bed with me,” Tin said, his voice muffled from pressing lips against warm skin.

“Surely that is an abuse of power?”

“Surely you mean to deprive your husband of your love?”

“What makes you so bold this morning?” Can pulled Tin up and indulged him with a kiss. A taste and nothing more. “What spirit drives my poor husband into such a frenzy so early in the morning? Or am I not satisfying you at night?”

“I should be the one asking that.” Tin traced the lines of Can’s muscles along his arms and back. “You asked me to keep going and going. I should be wondering if I’m enough for you.”

“You have always been enough.” Can kissed Tin’s forehead, his cheekbones and eyelids, teasing, taunting, until he captured Tin’s lips again. “Tell me the truth. You wouldn’t stall me like this for no reason.”

Tin pushed Can back down into the sheets, nosing along his neck and collarbone. Can lay there, content to play with the hairs at the nape of Tin’s neck until he could find the words he needed. “I don’t like the man you’ve been getting close to lately.”

“Lately? I’ve known Good all my life, Tin.”

“Unreasonable. Who shows up for a wedding a year after it happened?!” Can snorted before Tin reached between his legs causing a moan. “You laugh with him, you smile at him, you whisper your little secrets to him, I wonder if I’m being replaced,” Tin said as he languidly stroked Can’s growing erection. “I fear I shall be the next one to find you stumbling out of a hall closet with him.”

“Th-That was one time and uhhh P-Pete swore he wouldn’t tell!”

Tin shrugged as he sucked hickies into Can’s neck, but from Can’s perspective, it looked like his shoulders were shaking with laughter for a moment. “Pete isterrible at keeping secrets.”

“Tin…” Can moaned softly as Tin maintained his slow and steady pace, doing his best to pleasure and irritate Can at the same time. “Please, Tin… “

“Promise me,” Tin said before he kissed Can, all teeth and tongue and heat. “I refuse to be second to anyone.”

“S-Saint Fa-ummm-Father of the Southlaaaaaands, preserve meeeee.” Can whined mid prayer as Tin bit one of his nipples. “Save my husband from himself and his jealousy.” Tin bit the other one in a fit of pique. “D-Deliveerrrrrr him from the idea that IIIEEEEEEE SHIT THAT LUBRICANT IS COLD TIN l-lo-love anyone elsssssse oooohhhhh Tin please please please-”

“Now that’s a proper prayer. My name and the word please,” Tin said as he worked to stretch Can’s hole. “Love no one else before me. This heart you have, you already promised it to me.” Tin kissed the skin over Can’s heart before he pressed the head of his erection against Can’s entrance. “And I claim it,” Tin said as he thrust in smoothly. Can moaned and arched off the bed.

“Vow to me,” Tin whispered into Can’s ear. “Vow to me… all manner of things, all that you are… and that you possess.” Can keened as Tin’s next thrust hit his prostate. “I am yours… And you are mine… This bond you cannot break.”

“No… Never…” Can turned his head to kiss Tin and Tin gladly complied. “This, I vow.”

From that point, Tin took his time until Can was a quivering mess and in no state to go to training, much less stand on his own two legs. But as he wiped down the sweat and semen from Can’s body, Tin kissed Can’s lips softly and said, “Happy anniversary, Cantaloupe.”

Can raised a sleepy eyebrow at Tin. “All this jealousy and effort to get me to stay in bed with you on our anniversary? You could have just said-”

Tin silenced him with another kiss.

Chapter Text

Tin hadn’t exactly said he wanted to keep their relationship a secret. He hadn’t said he wanted Can to tell everyone either.

It was easier to be on the safe side. Normally anyway.

But after everything they’d been through, being with Tin made everything feel different. A drunken giddiness flowed from Can’s head to his toes. Everything seemed bright and new after a kiss and holding hands was like a shot of sugar to the heart.

So understandably, Can knew he was doomed to spill the beans on his not so little secret. But by some luck, magic, or force of will, Can had bit his tongue until he and Tin had hit the one year mark. 

A year of love and laughter. A year of secret kisses and hands held under tables. 

And yet, in an unexpected twist, it was Tin who managed to surprise everyone with the news.

Can was telling a – in his esteemed opinion – rousing story about a time Gucci had run off with his blanket to the team when Tin came to pick him up for their date. Tin tapped Can on the shoulder and Can waved him off. Tin replied with a raised eyebrow before putting his arms around Can’s waist and resting his chin on top of Can’s head.

The entire team’s eyes became as wide as saucers. 

“Gentlemen, my husband and I have reservations. So if you don’t mind…”

“Holy shit! Can got married to that IC guy?!” Techno shouted as Tin dragged Can away.

“It’s not like that!” Can slapped at Tin’s hands, but Tin was undeterred. “Damn it now they’re going to misunderstand! We’re just dating!”

“Reservations Cantaloupe. I don’t care if they think the sky is falling. Reservations.”

Chapter Text

It was a common misconception that a soul mark appeared at the height of your romantic emotions to show you and your soulmate were meant for each other. The feeling of an orchestral song swelling in the background, hearts racing, eyes full of stars… It was a horribly overused trope. But it did happen for plenty of people and their soulmates. 

Even if it was the most common way, it was not the only way, as Tin quickly learned.

Heartbreak could do it too.

Tin watched through tears and shower water as Can’s name wrote itself onto his wrist. The running water was essentially useless in drowning out Tin’s sobs afterwards.

“IT’S NOT FAIR!” Tin could feel the jarring impact travel up his arm as he punched unrelenting stone and tile. “WHY NOW?! WHY HIM?!”

But Tin knew exactly why. He could list every detail in alphabetical order. All the feelings that Can had stirred up, no one else had ever come close.

Through the sorrow and the pain, Tin cried not just for a love he felt was lost, but for a love that would burn forever and – perhaps now – never could be.

—–

Can wandered in a daze after Tin left him behind in the parking lot. At least Pete had spotted him and gently pulled him aside into the IC cafeteria. Not even the cool hum of the indoor AC, the signs and menus in English, or indistinct foreign chatter could shake Can out of his stupor.

It wasn’t until Pete put a large slice of cake in front of Can that a reaction occurred.

Pete hadn’t expected Can to devour the slice of Black Forest cake in thirty seconds and demand two more pieces until he felt human enough to talk, but it was a small price to pay to hear Can’s woes.

“But I can’t do it, Ai Pete,” Can said as he stared at the crumbs on his plate. “I… I don’t want to worry all the time. I don’t want to be stressed about Tin and where he is and what he’s doing all the time! Why isn’t being friends enough?”

“And would you honestly be less worried if Tin was only your friend,” Pete asked gently as he stirred his iced tea with a straw.

“Why not?! I never worry about Ai Ae or P’No or Ai Good…”

“But they’re not Tin.”

Can kicked at the shiny linoleum floor tiles. “They’re not…”

“So what would happen then, if you were only friends and Ai Tin didn’t text you for a day? Two days? A week?”

“Well…” Can pouted and scratched at his head. “It’d feel weird after even one day. I didn’t expect him to text so much all the time.”

“What if Tin made plans with you and then called to say he couldn’t make it?”

“I’ll punch him!”

“Would you punch P’Techno if he did that?”

“What?! NO!”

“It sounds like… Ai Can wouldn’t treat Tin like a friend even if he was a friend,” Pete said tentatively. “So if you don’t treat him like a friend… is he still only a friend?”

Can scratched at his wrist, it had started to burn for some reason. “Look… It’s not like that… Ai Pete please…”

Pete watched as Can scratched his wrist under his shirt sleeve. “Love is surprising, Ai Can,” Pete said, his voice suddenly even. “Sometimes we do not think ourselves deserving and love finds us anyway. And other times… love is right under our noses and we need only look carefully to see it.” Pete stood up and Can saw a flash of the name on his wrist, Ae’s name. “I hope you find out which situation is yours, Ai Can.”

“Hey! No one said anything about love!” Pete only waved as he continued walking to his next class. “Ugh… Why does my wrist… Oh.”

—–

Can kicked at the air in frustration as he stared at the name on his wrist. Tin’s name. It taunted him, reminding him of his words to Tin and Pete. It was a brand. An accusation. A claim. But Can couldn’t deny it. Couldn’t deny how right it felt to lay claim to a piece of Tin all his own. Even though Can had asked only for friendship to avoid the pains on his heart, that did not stop him from feeling them now.

Soulmates. Being Tin’s soulmate. Which made Tin his soulmate.

Did this change things? Did it have to? Soulmates, as far as Can had heard, were not always guaranteed happy endings. They meant compatibility. They meant there was a better chance than with anyone else for love, companionship, and care. But they were still work, all relationships were.

What did it mean to be in love? How was love supposed to feel?

Can whined as he watched the stars above him move, wondering if Tin had seen his mark on his wrist. And whether the pain Can had caused with his rejection was eased or enhanced.

If the phantom pains in Can’s chest were any indication, Can knew what this news had done.

“But do I care? Do I love him?” The empty room did not answer.

Can looked at the most recent selfie Tin had sent him. Blankets up to his nose, eyes shut and curved from a hidden smile, hair a mess around his pillow, Tin had wished him good night. It had been annoying in the beginning, but the silence from Tin tonight was jarring. A void that Tin had filled and Can had taken for granted had opened up.

Can traced the lines of Tin’s face with his finger.

“Is it love if you’re afraid?”

—–

Tin was not to be found, no matter where Can looked. For an entire week, it was as if Tin had disappeared. He became a ghost, a memory, and all Can could do was touch the name on his wrist and ask himself if he was doing the right thing. After all, he was the fool seeking out a man who did not want to be found.

The students Can had asked the following week claimed that Tin had returned. Can could not find even a hair.

And yet… There was something.

A feeling of eyes watching him from afar. A hand brushing his, sending sparks up his spine in a crowd. A whisper, like someone had said his name softly and left. A free lunch on a day where Can really needed it. A box of cookies he had “forgotten” in his locker on a night where he was starving after practice.

Small gestures, too benign to surely be Tin, and yet too targeted to be anything else. And the mark… It tingled and twinged as if it was brand new and Can wondered if it was trying to guide him. He spent an afternoon holding it out in front of him, as if it was a dowsing rod. After a merry chase around campus, Can only managed to find Tin’s usual parking spot recently emptied if the squeal of tires was any indication.

Pete would not answer Can’s questions and Ae couldn’t care less, but there was something in Pete’s eyes. A knowing twinkle followed by encouragement.

Wherever Tin was, he had not forgotten Can from his heart either. But Can wondered how much longer the fragile flame would burn for him until Tin snuffed it out.

—–

Technically, no student should have access to the announcing booth over the soccer field. No average student anyway.

Tin watched as Can ran across the field, his steps a bit slower than normal. His gaze did not track the ball, but kept scanning the field, as if looking for something.

Tin knew better than to hope Can was looking for him. But he wanted to believe it anyway.

When the soccer team retired to the locker rooms, Tin crept out. Five steps away from the entrance to the field, Tin felt a familiar hand upon his wrist, warm and inescapable.

Tin clenched his fist.

“Let go, Can.”

“Do you know how hard I’ve been working to try and find you, Ai Asshole?!”

“Let. Go.”

Can pulled on Tin’s arm but Tin dug his heels in. “We need to talk about this! I’m done chasing! I’m done pining!”

“Chasing, pining, I thought you wanted to just be friends? Do you chase and pine after your friends?”

“No. I don’t.” Can didn’t let go, but he did turn Tin’s arm over and traced the characters of his name on Tin’s wrist. “And I should have realized that. I don’t kiss them either.” Tin felt Can’s fingers trace the lines over and over and despite the pain in his chest, he could not help the shiver.

“You broke my heart. And you think you can tell me some pretty words and I’ll forget?”

“Of course not!” Tired of Tin looking away from him, Can stomped to stand in front of Tin. “But you tell me that you don’t still feel something! Tell me that I’m imagining the lunches, the cookies, the skewers and sticky rice! Tell me you’re not the reason why there’s always several of my favorite lollipops waiting for me in class!” The mark was burning on both their wrists. “Tell me you’re over me, and I’ll let go of your hand.”

“I’m over you.”

“Liar. Say it to my face.” Tin finally directed his gaze to Can’s face and Can found the truth in Tin’s eyes. The universe went off kilter and then righted itself. It was like the breath Can had been holding for two weeks could finally be released. “Will you give me a chance? Do I still have a chance?”

“I thought you didn’t like it. That you were afraid. So why ask for a chance now?”

Can looked down and dug his toe into the turf. “To love is to be afraid, I think. But I know that when I’m with you… I’m not afraid anymore.” Can met Tin’s eyes again and intertwined their fingers. The feeling made Tin’s knees buckle just a tiny bit. “You said I help you breathe. I think you make me brave.”

“Idiot.” Tin gave into the desires of his heart and pulled Can close. The feeling of Can in his arms was like coming home. “Using my words against me… Maybe you’re more clever than I thought.”

“Please don’t make me let go,” Can said into Tin’s chest. “This feels nice. Like I’m at peace.”

“We still need to talk about this…” But Can could tell by the tightening of Tin’s grip that he didn’t want to let go either. “But I can wait another minute.”

Can sighed. It was a start.

Chapter Text

Tin would not hesitate to say that he wasn’t a prude. He had no problems with tattoos, hair dye (he colored his own hair anyway), or piercings. 

But to say he was shocked when Can came over to his apartment, proudly brandishing a tattoo of a koi fish mid jump behind his right shoulder, would be an understatement. Can had never indicated he was interested in getting any tattoos, but he happily chattered away about the whole process and Tin could admire it as a piece of art. Aside from some gentle handling in the aftermath, nothing changed.

A month later, just as the koi fish was nearly done healing, Can came back with another tattoo. A graceful crane flying across the other shoulder. 

Tin pressed soft kisses to the healing skin as he rubbed the soothing lotion on for Can every day afterwards. But he asked no questions. Can would tell him in his own time.

A few more months would pass before Can returned home with a bandage on the underside of his left wrist. The word “trust” tattooed in English across it. 

It was this tattoo that made Tin ask why. 

“They’re about me and you,” Can had said cheerfully.

“This one, I know,” Tin said as he carefully traced the new tattoo with gentle fingers. “Because I trust you. And you trust me.”

“Yes!”

“But… The fish? And the crane?”

“The fish is me! I’m lucky and lively!”

“And why am I a crane?” Tin’s expression was more amused than confused.

“You’re noble and pretty.”

“Is that really all?”

“It was the only one that fit the theme after the koi!”

Tin did not stop laughing for five minutes while Can pouted. “Okay okay, I’m sorry,” Tin said once he stopped and Can stopped hitting him. “Do you think you can take me to where you’ve been getting your tattoos?”

“Huh? Why?”

“I want to get one too.”

Tin left the tattoo parlor the next day, the same “trust” tattoo on his left wrist to match Can’s.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t unreasonable to see Can happy. Can had a reputation for a sunny disposition. If he wasn’t happy, he was usually easily placated by food, candy, or a good game of soccer.

So when Can started always being exceptionally happy, no one really noticed except for the people who always paid more attention to the lives of others over themselves. 

And unfortunately there was only one person who actually fit that bill. 

“What’s up with Ai Can lately,” Pond asked. “He’s always really smiley these days.”

“Doesn’t Can always smile?” Cha’Aim flicked her boyfriend on the forehead. “Don’t be so nosy. You’ll regret it.”

“As if I’ve ever regretted anything from being nosy.”

“That is… a problem.”

—–

Can sat at a table in the canteen, furiously typing away on his phone. Pond crept up behind him as quietly as he dared. Can’s previous messages seemed to all be gifs from him and selfies from someone else, although Pond couldn’t quite recognize the face. It took another minute before Pond’s spy mission was interrupted by someone who wasn’t Can.

“Do you have a reason why you’re staring at Can’s phone?”

Pond and Can jumped at the sound of the voice. 

“Ai Tin!” Can immediately grabbed Tin’s wrist and pulled him away. “Just in time, I was dying I tell you! You don’t want to know the next message I was gonna send you…”

Pond failed to listen to the rest of the conversation or follow the pair, too focused on lowering his heart rate.

But as Pond left, he remembered Tin was the one Can had cursed out for five minutes straight. Pete’s friend. Ae’s rival of sorts.

“Why does Ai Can have pictures of Tin on his phone?”

—–

The next time, Pond found himself waiting for Cha’Aim at the mall and he happened to catch a glimpse of Tin in the lower level food court. It was odd seeing the IC student in an exceptionally casual outfit. It was all designer, of course it had to be, but for Tin to wear sneakers and a track jacket was nearly unheard of. 

As Tin stood around waiting in the food court, Can snuck up behind him before jumping onto him and clinging like a monkey. Instead of throwing the smaller boy off his back, Tin seemed to laugh and spin around before listening to something Can said in his ear and running off in a direction.

It was a completely mystifying turn of events that only perked Pond’s curiosity further. Pond moved to go down to the food court to follow but was stopped by someone pulling on his ear.

“And where do you think you’re going? I’ve been calling your name for the last minute,” Cha’Aim said.

“Ah… I thought… You might want me to get you a snack first?”

Cha’Aim made a face. “Aren’t we meeting for lunch now?”

“R-Right! I meant I saw something good downstairs, maybe we should eat there?”

Cha’Aim relented, but by the time Pond had a chance to look, Tin and Can were gone and Pond’s curiosity only grew larger.

—–

It was only in the least interesting of ways that Pond’s curiosity was finally sated. Pete had insisted that a group date of movies and dinner would be fun. Cha’Aim had accepted on Pond’s behalf during a study session and Can promised to be there with his boyfriend.

When Can had gotten into a relationship, much less with another man, Pond had no idea. 

The night of the date came and Pond watched Ae’s expression turn surly as Can walked up to join the group, rapidly texting. A surly expression towards Can from Ae was not a normal reaction. 

“What’s got your pants in a twist? Is Pete not letting you sleep with him anymore?”

“Ai Asshole, if you keep sticking your nose in my sex life I’m going to make sure you never have one!” Ae raised his foot threateningly and Pond jerked back. 

“Geez! I just want to know why you’re glaring at Can like he’s the devil. You two aren’t fighting, are you?”

Ae kicked at the carpet of the movie theater. “It’s not him I’m mad about.”

“Huh?”

“Finally! Why are you so late all of a sudden,” Can yelled.

“Some of us aren’t entirely enthused to be here,” Tin said and he jerked his chin in Ae’s direction. “Haven’t you seen your friend’s face? We both feel the same for once.”

Pond looked back and forth as Can and Tin bickered. Ae was cringing and Pete was struggling to hold back his laughter. Cha’Aim signed at Pond’s clueless expression.

“They’re dating, Pond,” she whispered in his ear.

“WHAT?! SINCE WHEN?!”

Can turned around and blinked. “We’ve been dating for months now Ai Pond. Haven’t you noticed?”

“What?! Since when are you so quiet about your personal life? I expected you’d have been shouting about dating someone! First Ai Shorty gets interested in sex and now Ai Can is quiet? What’s next? Will Cha’Aim let me touch her?” Cha’Aim kicked Pond and Ae gave her a high five. “Oh my god,” Pond said from his crouching position on the floor. “I’ve entered the Twilight Zone.”

“Will you stop being nosy now?” Cha’Aim said as she pulled Pond up. “They didn’t tell you because it’s none of your business. Now let’s buy our tickets.”

“Wait wait wait.” Pond pulled Can over while Tin glared. “You two aren’t doing it yet are you? I hope you’re using protection,” Pond whispered. “I mean, I might have a spare…” Pond pat his pockets.

Can opened his mouth, prepared to object, but Tin slapped a hand over it and said, “We’re fine. Thank you, Pond. I’ve got that covered already- Yuck!” Tin wiped spit onto his handkerchief. “Why are you licking me, Can?!”

“What do you mean you’ve got it covered?! We did not discuss this yet! And if you can’t even handle my spit, how are you going to handle-”

Tin, unafraid of Can’s tongue making a second attack, covered Can’s mouth again. “Not having this discussion in public, Cantaloupe.”

“Oh my god, do you guys need the sex talk? Do I need to look up tips on gay sex to give you guys the talk? Can Pete just give you the talk?” Pond continued asking questions long after Cha’Aim pushed him towards the ticket machines. It wasn’t until the movie started and Ae shoved a fist full of popcorn in Pond’s face that he finally stopped.

To Cha’Aim’s disappointment, Pond continued to not regret his decision to be nosy. Even after receiving Tin’s frosty glare during dinner when he started discussing different kinds of lube. 

Chapter Text

Can whined from the bed, but because his nose was stuffed up, it sounded like a dying animal. For someone so active and vivacious, Can was ridiculous when sick, every rant became a lament to his suffering. Tin tutted at him as he set down a bowl of porridge. 

“It’s a cold, Can. You’re not dying,” Tin said as he checked the box of medication. “Eat up and you can take another dose when you’re done.”

“It doesn’t even do anything!” Can sniffled miserably, but his appetite was still good so Tin knew he was just being dramatic.

“If you have energy to whine and eat, you’ll be better in no time.”

“Naaa, Tiiiiiiiiin, you should be nicer to me,” Can said between mouthfuls, nearly getting porridge all over their sheets. 

“I am already expending all my patience on you. If I thought you were a disaster when healthy, you’re mess when you’re sick.”

Can pouted at Tin’s words and coupled with his sniffles and Tin’s inability to deny Can 95% of all the things he asked for (the rejected 5% happened during the odd hours of the night when Tin would rather sleep than indulge him), Tin sat down next to Can and pulled him close. Can eagerly accepted the affection, burrowing himself into Tin’s side with a sigh. 

“I’m your mess now.”

“Yeah… You are.” Tin kissed the top of Can’s head. “Hurry up and finish and maybe I’ll skip class and watch a movie with you instead.”

“You’re lying,” Can said looking up at Tin. “Your class started twenty minutes ago.” Can made himself comfortable and continued eating. “So movie it is. You’re not going anywhere.”

Tin blinked. “Did you just manipulate me into taking care of you all day?”

“I learned it from you.”

Chapter Text

Pete watched as Can argued and pleaded with Tin after practice. A double date (movies and hot pot) was on the line. Pete watched as Can made several good arguments, but Tin crossed his arms and stood firm. 

And then Can pulled out the big guns and Pete started the timer on his phone.

Can’s eyes widened and his bottom lip trembled in a pout. 

“Damn it,” Tin said ten seconds later. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Fine, we’ll join Pete and Ae on their date.”

Can immediately perked up. “Thank you Tiiiin. Can loves you!” Can pressed a kiss to Tin’s cheek before running off to get Ae.

Pete walked over, a smile on his face. “You lasted a whole five seconds longer this time. It’s a new record, Tin.” Pete gently nudged Tin, who continued to glare at the grass under his feet. “I’m impressed.”

“Bite me.”

“That’s Can’s job.”

Chapter Text

Normally, Can was tolerable on his own. His exuberance was more of a benefit than hindrance. When he was motivated, he did pretty well at practice and Techno had no problem admitting Can was a good member of the team. A great member even.

He’d probably end up a captain at some point, Techno was sure.

Tin was a less loved addition. 

Now that Can and Tin were dating, Tin often came by to watch practice. If Tin had only watched, that would be fine, but it seemed the IC student even had opinions on soccer and how they were training and practicing.

It was a miracle Ae hadn’t started a fight with Tin yet and Can had already learned how to translate Tin’s judgmental speaking habits into something approximating non-asshole-ish as a survival tactic. 

Today, though, it seemed that Can was at morning practice alone and Techno decided to take a minute to tease him. 

“So when does the judgmental express arrive today?”

Can narrowed his eyes and quietly said, “Tin gets here at noon.”

“Oh good, so we can get practice done without his commentary today.”

“Hey! Tin’s comments aren’t that bad. Besides, he actually knows a little about soccer!” Can pouted. “I bet he can even juggle the ball better than you, Ai No!”

Techno jerked backwards. “What? No way!”

“Bet on it then!”

Tin arrived at noon on the dot and was immediately dragged onto the field by Can. 

“Cantaloupe? What’s wrong?”

“Ai No thinks you don’t know jack about soccer, so I made a bet,” Can grumbled. “I’ll show him… Underestimate my boyfriend… Seniors these days…”

Tin laughed. “Are you bragging about something again?”

“Maybe a little…” Can stopped in front of Techno. Two soccer balls were waiting for them. “Juggle the ball with only your legs and feet. First person to drop loses.”

Tin raised his eyebrow. “Really? We’re doing this?”

“Oi, if you don’t want to do it Nong…” Techno smiled. “It’s no big deal. Can was saying you could do it.”

Tin frowned. “Are you saying I can’t do it?”

“When did you ever learn anything about soccer?”

Tin rolled his eyes and then rolled his shoulders. “Are you ready or not?”

Techno blinked in surprise. “You’re going to do it?”

“Let’s go.”

Techno managed to bounce the ball on his feet and legs ten times before he dropped it. Sighing in disappointment, he watched as Tin managed to keep going for several more minutes before kicking it towards the goal near by, the net swishing with the force.

“No way…” Techno rubbed his eyes. “Did he really just do that?”

“We win!” Can jumped up and down and ran in circles around the both of them. “Now Ai No has to buy me lunch for a week!”

As Techno mourned for his wallet, Type walked up and whispered in his ear, “You know… Ai Can said Tin used to be on his high school soccer team, right?”

“WHAT?!”

“It was rigged. You should have just ignored him like the rest of us Ai No.”

Chapter Text

Can quickly realized that while Tin was exceptionally smooth when he wanted to be, it was actually a mask. Tin was often fumbling for words in private. Tin only managed eloquent when he had something to prove.

(”You’re a bigger disaster than I am!” Can had shouted after Tin had used the wrong words to describe a kettle. Tin had blinked and said, “I’m only a few inches taller than you, Cantaloupe. No need to blow things out of proportion.”)

It seemed that endearments fell into the same category. 

Can initially refused to get over the mild indignation that came from being called, “the cutest stupid.” Tin had plied him with chocolates and lunch until Can had forgotten. 

Today brought all the memories flooding back. 

They had been curled up together on Tin’s couch, a horror movie playing. Can sighed as Tin ran his hands through his hair. “Mmm… This is great. I love you,” Can said before snuggling into Tin’s shoulder.

Tin’s face had turned a pale shade of pink before he said, “I don’t really like people, but you’re okay I guess.”

Can sat up immediately before punching Tin in the shoulder. “I’M YOUR BOYFRIEND!” Tin curled up in a ball and yelped, but did nothing to ward Can off. However, the tiny smile on his face and laughter was enough to set Can off again, but the hits were gentler and more teasing. “I’m sitting here saying I love you and the best you can do is say I’m okay?! Are you some sort of tsundere anime character?!”

“Okay okay! Tin is sorry, Cantaloupe! Tin loves you very much!”

“God,” Can huffed as he sat back down and allowed Tin to curl around him. “We need to work on your endearments, Tin.”

“I promise to practice them very well, sweet Cantaloupe.”

“SEE WHY CAN’T YOU TALK LIKE THAT NORMALLY!?”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t often that Type called Pete. The senior was very rarely called upon to be the one escorting Pete when Ae wasn’t available. And while Type had plenty of good advice, Pete wasn’t ready for another talk just yet. 

And so when Pete’s phone rang and Type’s name came up, all of Pete’s self-preservation instincts flared up immediately.

“Hello P’Type. Is something wrong?” Pete bit his lip. “Did something happen to Ae?”

Type laughed, but it was a bit stilted. “N’Ae is fine. We’ve got a… different situation going on at the field. I think you might be able to help. Can you come quickly?”

Pete bit his lip. Tin had been suspiciously absent. And if there was trouble at the soccer field… Things started falling into place immediately. “I’ll be right there, P’. Don’t let Tin do anything!”

“You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, Nong. We’ll hold him off as long as we can.”

—–

Pete arrived to see Tin standing off with Ae and the rest of the soccer team sans Can. The most worrisome thing was the paperwork in Tin’s hands. Pete approached carefully, as if the paperwork was a bomb ready to go off. 

Knowing Tin, it would probably have the same impact as a bomb.

“Tin… What are you doing?”

“I want to have partitions installed in the showers in the locker room and these guys won’t let me.” Tin crossed his arms. “It won’t even take a day! Just let me do it!”

Ae pulled Pete over. “Apparently he’s jealous that we see Ai Can naked and he hasn’t yet.”

“What.” Pete looked to Type and the senior sighed and shrugged. “Tin, this is going too far.”

“Screw this! I do what I want.” Tin pulled out his phone. “I’ll just call the company to come anyway.”

Pete immediately pulled out his phone. “I’m calling Can.” 

The soccer team watched as Tin went from shock to dismay to annoyance and put away his phone. “Damn it.”

“Really? It’s that easy?” Techno asked as he peered around Type’s shoulder. “You can stop that IC kid with just a phone call to Ai Can? That’s wild.”

“Don’t. You. Dare.” Tin used his sternest glare, but the damage had been done and the soccer team was snickering. Ae looked particularly pleased with the news.

“I already hit dial,” said Pete.

“Fuck.”

“Whipped,” Good said quietly. Everyone nodded in agreement as Tin was forced to defend himself on speaker phone while Pete giggled.

Chapter Text

Can knew he had to take some things Tin had said about his life with a grain of salt. While he believed Tin’s story about his brother and family life, sometimes Tin was a bit over-dramatic. But it was fine. Tin was a delight.

Usually.

One surprise, and challenge if Can was honest, was how Tin was simultaneously great and horrible with affection. 

Tin was always the one holding hands, kissing (”Still too much tongue!” “I told you it’s not a kiss if it doesn’t have tongue, Cantaloupe.”), or planning all their dates. And it was fine. These were normal things.

However, Tin was absolutely awful when it came to more common and casual forms of affection. Can still wrinkled his nose when he remembered the trial of teaching Tin how to cuddle. Surprisingly, Tin had problems laying still with someone for extended periods of time.

Go figure.

But what took the cake was the most recent case. Tin had bought Can a slice of cake, a very fancy strawberry cake that Can had been coveting in fact. Overwhelmed with joy and emotion, Can had kissed Tin on the cheek before kissing him on the forehead. “Thank you, Ai Tin!”

Tin furrowed his brow, as if trying to stare at the spot on his forehead Can had kissed. “What was that?”

Can paused in his unwrapping of the cake and blinked. “Uh… Affection?”

Tin frowned. “Disgusting.” A pause. “Do it again?” 

Can did so while laughing, and Tin’s only complaint was the spit left behind.

Chapter Text

When Tin started chasing Can, it was impossible to keep the news out of campus gossip. Can was one of the loudest freshman on campus and Tin was one of the most famous. Naturally, the gossip mill followed both like blood hounds.

But a story that involved them both? 

You’d have to live under a rock not to hear about it.

So after months of pining and chasing, when the gossips were about to burst, things finally came to a head. The transcript of what happened had many variations based on what someone heard. The gist of it went like this:

Tin: Loud arguing. (Usually something about wanting to spend more time with Can.)

Can: Shouting loud arguing. (Usually something about afraid of change or confused about feelings.)

Tin: BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!

Can: …

The accuracy of what followed was highly suspect. Some say Can dragged Tin off somewhere. Others say it was Tin that did the dragging. The rest say both of them made out furiously on the spot. Most people found the third claim to be fantasy.

The only ones who could say what had actually happened were blissfully unaware and unwilling to spill the beans. But that was fine. Their happy glances, casual soft touches, and the brush of lips across cheeks were enough to keep the gossips satisfied.

(The only one unsatisfied was Ley. She changed her mind soon enough when she saw how happy Can was. She also played hard to get until Tin bought her another fancy bag, but Can didn’t have to know about that. Ever.)

Chapter Text

“Okay, you dragged me here. Now what’s the problem?” Tin stirred his iced coffee, the clicking of ice cubes against the glass a sign of his agitation. 

“This was a horrible idea,” Pete muttered to himself before sighing. “I need some advice.”

Tin’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline. “Trouble in paradise?”

“Not quite so extreme…” Pete bit his lip. “Ae is….”

“Oh… Is “Mr. Perfect For Me” suddenly riddled with flaws? Has the honeymoon ended?”

“The honeymoon was fine last night,” Pete mumbled before coughing to clear his throat. “Besides… Sometimes a flaw could make something even more beautiful.”

“Like with Ae and how short he is,” Tin snickered. 

“God, why do I do this to myself.” Pete pinched the bridge of his nose. 

“You have no common sense.” Tin took another sip of his coffee. “But you’re not just a good friend. You’re my only friend. So I’ll try to actually listen this time.”

“Gee, how thoughtful of you.”

“Oh of course. Now do you need advice on how to disappear Ae or how to switch things up in bed?”

Pete’s face did not lose it’s red color from Tin’s advice until minutes before he went to meet Ae that day. Whether or not the advice had been worth it was another story.

 

Chapter Text

It started out slowly. 

Em watched as his team manager, Tin Medthanan, pulled out their team’s proposal folder. In the top right corner there was a tiny sticker of a puppy. Em looked at his colleagues who all had similar bewildered expressions. Tin, to his credit, did not even waver. He made no notion of having noticed the adorable sticker and passed it to their boss who had already flipped the cover open without blinking. 

In the end, their proposal had been met with many grunts of approval and Tin even treated them all to dinner as a celebration. Everyone forgot about the puppy sticker.

The next time was a few days later.

Prae had stopped by Tin’s office to drop off the updated budget proposal and noticed something shiny on Tin’s laptop.

Holographic stickers of rainbows, princesses, and fairies were splattered across the laptop case. Tin’s face didn’t even show a hint of regret or shame. 

“Was there anything else?” Tin asked, prompting Prae to either acknowledge the stickers or leave.

“N-No sir! i’ll be on my way now! Thank you!”

The group team chat without Tin included was buzzing for the next two hours about why Tin had decided to accessorize his laptop with such stickers.

A week later, Knot logged the third “Sticker incident,” as the team had taken to calling them.

Tin normally carried a notepad with him to meetings so he could write down things happening if it took too long to boot up his laptop. That day, everyone got a glance at the cover before Tin flipped it open to a clean page. Princesses had been leading dinosaur stickers riding truck stickers to a castle sticker.

Knot argued adamantly that day in the group chat for Tin’s creative storytelling abilities that he was attempting to express through stickers.

Everyone didn’t buy it and called him a suck up.

The fourth time was when Tin left a team meeting to take a private call. On the back of his phone case, everyone noticed the large sticker of Snow White, mid-song with birds perched on her fingers. 

Everyone silently contemplated this before Tin returned and apologized and said he would have to cut the team meeting short. However, he smiled as he glimpsed at the sticker on his phone case before sliding it into his pocket.

“What’s wrong Khun Tin?” Em asked.

“Yes, is it something from the higher ups?” Prae asked.

“Oh no no, it’s a personal matter.” Tin smoothed down his tie. “I’m afraid my husband cannot pick up our daughter today, so I will have to go.”

The revelations of Tin’s personal life left his team reeling for the next month.

—–

Can came home that evening to find Tin’s briefcase belongings spread out on the living room floor with their daughter Pom humming as she perused the choice of sticker free items carefully. In her lap, an impressive pile of brand new sticker sheets, glossy and glitter-filled, were waiting for her choice.

“Nong Pom, Papa is home!”

Pom looked up and immediately the stickers were forgotten. “Papa!” She jumped into Can’s arms and Can swung her around in circles, her wild laughter bouncing from the walls. 

“Did Daddy pick you up on time today?” Can settled Pom back down into her place on the floor and presented the stickers to her again. 

“Daddy did! And he bought me new stickers!”

Can frowned. “Did you remind daddy that you weren’t supposed to get new stickers for another week?”

Pom bit her lip. “Maaaaybe I told Daddy that you said I could get them thiiiiiiiis week…”

“Sneaky,” Can said with a wink.

“Sneaky,” Pom said with a nod.

“Well, which thing do you want to decorate today?”

Pom tapped her chin in thought. “Daddy said he bought a new notebook today. And I did a good job on the last one. ‘Very creative,’ Daddy said.”

“Yes. Very creative. My team agrees apparently.” Tin appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, wiping his hands with a towel. “Dinner will be ready soon. And you Miss Pom!” Tin posed dramatically and both Can and Pom giggled. “How could you lie to your dear Daddy? I feel faint.” Tin pretended to fall over and Pom gasped.

“No Daddy! I’m sorry!” Pom ran over and pat Tin’s face carefully. “Daddy wake up! Pom promises she won’t lie again!”

Tin cracked one eye open. “Pinky promise?”

Pom hooked her pinky with Tin’s. Can watched as her other hand was held behind her back with her fingers crossed. “I promise!”

“Then I’ll live.” Tin immediately got up. “But you have to eat all your vegetables today or no dessert.”

“Daaaaddyyyyyyy!”

“You already got your stickers, N’Pom. The least you can do for Daddy is eat properly.”

Pom pouted and returned to her stickers. Can took her place in front of Tin, placing a kiss on his husband’s cheek. “Sounds like enough excitement for today already, huh?”

Tin made a face. “Don’t act like I didn’t see you teaching her. Enabler.”

“Me?!” Can’s eyes widened in shock. “How could you accuse me so?!”

“Stop teaching our child how to manipulate me.”

Can smoothly pressed a kiss to the underside of Tin’s jaw. “Stop being so easy to manipulate.” 

“Damn.”

Chapter Text

“I need you to remind me why we’re friends again,” Pete said as he sat down in his seat next to Tin, prim and proper. “You promised.”

“I did no such thing, much less break a promise.”

Pete put down his pencil case with a little more force than usual. “It was supposed to be my first date night with Ae in a while. You were supposed to take notes yesterday so I could skip class. Not skip class to make out with Can in a closet. I was counting on you.”

Tin looked up and blinked for a moment. The only hint that he acknowledged that he’d done something wrong was the faint blush blooming along his cheekbones. He then coughed as if clearing his throat. “That’s your fault. I have carefully cultivated a persona that screams, ‘You’re on your own.’ You know that.”

Pete nodded. “You know what, I do know that. But do you also know what I know?”

“What?”

“I know that P’Techno has been dying for a reason to extend practice today for an extra two hours and I think Ae would be able to persuade him.”

“Wait a minute…” Tin’s eyes widened. “Don’t you dare! Can and I-”

“Aeeeeee.” Pete was already on his phone, his voice sweet and soft. “It’s okay with me if you stay late for practice today. It’s not like we had plans or anything…” The cuteness of Pete’s voice was contrasted by the venom in his eyes directed at Tin. “Even better, you can stay over tonight if you do!” Tin couldn’t make out Ae’s words, but his excitement carried through enough. 

Minutes later Tin’s phone went off with messages of Can’s anger and sorrow about missing their date tonight because practice would run long. Tin glared at Pete who looked as if nothing was wrong.

“I’ll get you back for this,” Tin mumbled as he took more notes. 

“But first, go get us notes from someone else for yesterday,” Pete muttered back.

Chapter Text

“You’ll never believe what I saw today,” Can said as he slid into the seat next to Pete in the canteen. Pete didn’t have a moment to breathe before Can continued. “I saw Ai Ae and Ai Tin hugging!”

“What?” Pete loved Ae, but the image of him hugging Tin was so ridiculous it made him want to faint.

Can nodded so fast it looked like his head could fly off at any moment. “And then I realized they were choking each other and I was like, ‘Okay, that makes more sense.’”

Pete nodded along but then immediately realized a vital part of the story was missing. “But Can, did you stop them?”

Can looked up from his lunch, surprise and concern apparent on his face. “Oh. I knew I forgot something.”

“Can!”

(Fortunately enough Ae and Tin had both passed out in the parking lot before they managed to do any real harm to each other. Both were sufficiently embarrassed by the events that happened that they refused to try such a thing again.)

Chapter Text

Pete watched as Tin checked his LINE messages and smiled at his phone for the tenth time in that class alone. If Pete added up the incidents for the entire day so far, he’d pass one hundred easily.

“So when did this happen?” Pete asked while glancing up at the board. Tin only hummed to notify Pete that he was paying attention. “When did you start having feelings for Can?”

“What? Never,” Tin muttered as he typed some more. “You’re out of your mind.”

“This is the 115th time you’ve checked your LINE messages with Can today.”

“And you’ve already checked your messages with Ae 200 times. Stop judging. Besides, it doesn’t make sense to like him. It’s not rational.”

“You’re completely irrational, you know that?”

“Nope.” Tin checked his phone again and the same soft smile appeared.

Pete rolled his eyes, but fixed his expression before the class offered the professor a wai as she left. “One hundred sixteen. Admit it! You like him. You like Can.”

“Oh, come on. I mean, am I attracted to Can? Sure. Do my days feel better when I’m around him? Yeah. Does he get me in ways no person ever has? Indubitably. Do I fantasize about him? Yes, but only in two positions. But do I like him? The answer is no.” Tin sat back crossed his arms with a huff. “See here Pete, I can be rational when I want to.”

Pete tapped his phone screen. “Thanks! Now Can owes me a favor.” As if summoned, Pete’s phone started pinging and vibrating wildly. 

Tin sat up, a feeling of dread developing in his gut. “What?”

“Voice memo!” Pete’s phone vibrated some more. “It looks like Can really liked what you had to say.”

“You little-”

“Bye Tin! Can should be coming around soon. If I were you, I’d tell him what those positions you fantasized about are. I’m tired of you two beating around the bush.” 

Chapter Text

It had taken a while after Tin’s confession. After some distance, after letting the dust settle, after too many talks with Pete while Ae glared in the background, Can and Tin were able to be in the same room as each other.

Even better, they had something approximating a friendship again. It was painful to observe to everyone but Tin and Can. Tin was snarky, but overbearing and constantly doing little things for Can, like opening his water bottles or driving him places. Can was louder than ever, but somewhere along the line, Can had learned how to give an almighty glare at anyone taking Tin’s attention away from him unless it was Ae or Pete. 

Even worse, everyone could see the longing still shadowing Tin’s eyes or the yearning and confusion under Can’s. But Tin and Can allowed themselves to be blissfully unaware. Content to circle each other yet again.

Pete was absolutely not content to watch them circle each other again. Even if he found Can’s glaring skills hilarious. 

—–

“So, you and Can have gotten close again,” Pete said as he motioned at the two sharing a plate. 

“What are you talking about? He’s just mooching off of my plate. Again.” Tin pulled the plate back towards himself. Can pulled it back to the middle.

“Ai Asshole! You said I could have some!”

Ae frowned as Can and Tin pulled the plate back and forth. “Will you just admit that you’re not eating any of the food off the damn plate and give it to Can already?!” Ae dropped his utensils into his plate with a clatter. “Can whined about being hungry and you ran to get that food, Tin. Why you’re withholding it, i don’t understand.”

“That is absolutely not what happened.”

“I’ve never seen an IC student run faster in my life.”

“I’ll give you something to run from.”

“It’s so nice to see everyone getting along.” Pete’s smile was cheerful, but the way that Ae jolted for a second before calming down was indicative that Pete was up to something. “And it’s good to see Tin and Can be friends again.”

“We’re friends again?” Can said around the spoon in his mouth. “That’s amazing.”

“Yeah we’re friends…” Tin seemed to trail off. “But I’d fuck you if you asked.” 

“What?!” Can dropped his spoon.

“What? I didn’t say anything else!”

“You said you’d fuck him if he asked,” Pete said with a smile on his face. 

“Shit, I thought I didn’t say that out loud.”

“Tin…” Can’s expression was oddly blank and Tin wasn’t ready to deal with it.

“Look at the time! I’ve got to run. Bye.” Tin was gone before Can could blink. 

“Well, that’s the second time I’ve seen an IC student run that fast.” Ae didn’t even flinch that time when Pete pinched him.

Can, to his credit, had already bolted after Tin.

—–

Even if Tin hadn’t heard Can chasing after him, the feeling of Can’s hand on his wrist could never be forgotten. 

“Tin, did you-”

“Did I?”

Can scowled. “Okay, fucking isn’t love, but-”

Tin gathered up his courage and pushed Can against the wall in the side corridor Can had pulled them both into. “If I ever touch you sexually, it wouldn’t ever be without love.” Tin pressed himself closer, unsure if the racing heartbeat he could feel was his or Can’s. “I… I want to be over you, Cantaloupe… But I can’t…”

“Tin…” Can pulled Tin’s face down and let their lips meet. 

The familiar sensation and taste of Can’s lips was too much. Tin delved into Can’s mouth, doing everything he could to spark pleasure for both of them. Can moaned, fingers scrambling to find something to grip and settling on Tin’s shoulders. It was the same as the last kiss they had shared in Tin’s home, and yet so wildly different.

When at last Tin pulled away, breaths heavy between them and lips dark, Tin rested his head in the crook of Can’s neck. His voice was soft and trembling. “I still love you, Can. I don’t think I stopped. But if you turn me away again, I will.”

Can pulled Tin closer. “I… I thought about it a lot back then… And I think if I had the chance, I’d say yes instead of no.”

Tin lifted his head. “Are you saying…”

“I’m saying yes, Tin. I’m saying let’s do this.” 

—–

Pete caught the two of them kissing, shirts on their way to being undone. It only took one whistle for the two of them to straighten themselves out.

Tin had the laborious task of bearing Pete’s smug face for the rest of the day.

“I can’t believe that idiot plan of yours worked,” Tin muttered as he wrote down more notes.

“You’re both idiots, that’s why it worked. Now here’s how you can pay me back.”

Chapter Text

“Oh noooo… I can’t open this jar,” Can called out from the kitchen. “If only there was a big, strong man to come open it for me!”

Tin rolled his eyes and set down his newspaper before taking the jar from his boyfriend and popping it open easily.

“Thanks Tiiiiin,” Can gave a wink and turned around, revealing the tightness of his sleep shorts accentuating the curve of his ass. Tin raised an eyebrow as Can exaggeratedly bent over.

“Uh… Can you get the coffee, Cantaloupe?”

“Yup!” Can brought the carafe over and poured Tin a mug before leaning against the dining table. “Want some sugar with that coffee?”

“Huh?”

Can pressed a kiss to Tin’s cheek. “That sweet enough for you?”

“Are you… Are you flirting with me?” Tin blinked as he finally took in the full scope of what Can was wearing. Or more accurately not wearing. Too tight sleep shorts, no shirt, and a bright red silky apron were the only things on Can’s body aside from a flirty grin. “Uhh…”

“You finally noticed!” Can rolled his eyes. “Where’s your sense of romance, Ai Tin!?”

“This is… This is not what I think of when I hear ‘romance,’ Cantaloupe. What possessed you-”

“It’s our anniversary damn it!” Can set the carafe down with a bit less care than he should have. “Well.. At least the anniversary of when I first punched you!”

“You expected me to remember that and associate that with romance?!”

“Well… Maybe I want you to make new associations with today…” Can pouted and twisted the end of the apron. Tin made no attempt to hide his glancing at his boyfriend’s body. “So what do you say? Wanna make some new memories for today?”

Tin gulped down his coffee in record time before picking up Can and marching to the bedroom. Can’s pleased laughter echoed off the walls, but not for long before his moans followed.

Chapter Text

The sign taunted Can with it’s beauty and wonder. The promise of a deluxe lunch and tea set for couples with a list of tasty treats was a powerful lure. Can checked his phone. All his friends were busy or already on lunch dates. With another forlorn look and a gentle caress to the menu, Can sighed and walked away.

“You sound like you just watched your lover die.” Can turned to face the source of the voice. Another man, taller by only a few centimeters, handsome and well dressed, was smirking at him. “Is it really so sad that you can’t get the special here?”

“Do you have any idea how much I’ve wanted to try that!” Can stomped over and stood his ground. The man looked more amused than offended. “It only comes once a year!”

“So? You have an entire year to find someone to date. It’s not so bad, is it?”

“Argh, but why wait another year?!” Can bit his lip. “Wait… You’re pretty decent…”

“Excuse me?”

“How about it?! Pretend to be my boyfriend! We’ll both get to have a nice lunch and tea and then go our separate ways, never to be bothered again.”

“There’s a flaw in your plan,” the man said. “In that I’m not particularly interested in that menu like you are.”

“Pleaaaaaase?!”

“Are you five years old or something?”

“Twenty-five. Come on! It’ll be fun!”

The man huffed and looked like he was fighting a smile. “Fine. I’m Tin.”

“Can!”

“Lead the way, Can.”

—–

After the lunch – which had been ever better than expected to the point where Tin begrudgingly agreed – Tin and Can had gone their separate ways. 

Only to end up together again for a couples event at a movie theater for a horror film marathon.

The third time was a clothing sale at the mall. Can didn’t care that they had bought matching couples outfits, the price had been ridiculously cheap.

The fourth time was at a food festival. A food truck was giving out a special deal for couples.

“We have got to stop meeting like this,” Tin said as he offered Can his half of the couples meal. “Or people will think we’re actually dating.”

“Hey! I’ll have you know that I’m a catch!”

“Oh yes, I can’t believe no one’s snatched you up yet with your propensity for eating twice your weight every time you go out.” 

Can pouted but that easily flipped into a smile when Tin offered him his half of the cookies in apology. 

—–

“So word on the street is that you’ve been seeing someone,” Ae said as he passed Can his weights for the next exercise. “Who managed to tame the wild Can?”

“Pft. As if.” Can began his lunges. “Besides, I’m more worried about you and Pete.”

“Hmm… Pete and I are grabbing dinner tonight. Want to join us?”

“Yuck, I hate being your third wheel. You two are disgusting.”

Ae rolled his eyes. “Pete’s bringing a friend too. It’ll be good. You can talk to him.”

“Have you met this friend?”

Ae winced. “He’s… not exactly someone I approve of, but he’s Pete’s best friend. I’ve only got to tolerate him.” 

Can finished his rep and put the weights down to take a short break before starting the next. “Fine, but if he’s an asshole, I get to punch him.”

“If he really is an asshole to you, I’ll race you to punch him first.”

—–

Can cursed his luck when Pete arrived at the restaurant for dinner with his friend. It turned out the world was far too small.

“Ai Tin! You’re Ai Pete’s friend?!”

Pete looked between Can’s embarrassed face and Tin’s smug face. “You two know each other? Tin, is he the one you’ve been dating? The one you talked about at the office?”

“He’s been talking about me?” Can all but shrieked. At last a tiny hint of shame appeared on Tin’s expression. “No way!”

“Was he not supposed to?” Pete tilted his head to let Ae kiss him hello. “I’m so sorry Can. If I had known-”

“No no, Can and I hadn’t discussed it properly,” Tin said while giving Can a look. “But I guess we should discuss it after dinner. Shall we, Can?” Tin offered his arm. The implications were clear and Can grumbled, but took Tin’s arm as they entered the restaurant.

Dinner was less awkward than could have been expected after such a revelation. Tin and Can could hardly avoid bickering playfully and Pete and Ae shot them strangely knowing smiles. 

And then Tin took Can’s hand across the table and rubbed Can’s knuckles with his thumb. The warmth of Tin’s expression hit Can and Can realized just how far their little fake dating escapades had gone.

—–

Of course, there was no avoiding the association now. Pete was thrilled to find Tin dating someone, especially Can since he was Ae’s friend. Double dates together became common. Can learned so much more about Tin and found Tin was more than just a handsome and charming asshole.

Tin was funny and kind, just the right kind of sweet tinged with sour that Can could appreciate. And Can could feel himself falling, but did Tin feel the same?

—–

“I think you might be my soulmate,” Can said as Tin offered him a candied apple covered in rich caramel and chocolate. “God this is amazing.”

“What did you just say?”

“Huh? Nothing.”

“No, you said I was your soulmate.” Tin pulled Can to the side of the sidewalk. “I’ve never heard you toss that around. Do you-”

“Well if you’re going to be so weird about it fine!” Can huffed and stomped his foot. “I like you. I didn’t think I would but I do.” Can couldn’t bear Tin’s gaze anymore and looked to the side. “Please just kiss me already. Or leave.”

Tin chose to kiss Can. 

Several more kisses followed before any talking happened, but at least Tin agreed.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t often that the things people said got to Tin. Can had seen the taller boy weather many such storms with nary a hair out of place. Even his battles of wit against Tul were an old hat now. 

But on the odd occasion, a comment would strike true in one of the holes in Tin’s armor. 

Tonight was one of those nights. A passing comment had found it’s mark during a business dinner. Of course, Tin gave as good as he got. If the comment had been one arrow, Tin would have launched enough to blot out the sun.

Can returned home to see all the lights off and Tin sobbing in their bed, blankets a soothing cocoon around him.

“Tin? Are you okay?” Can rubbed Tin’s shoulder through the blankets. “Please don’t cry… I’m here now… I’m here for you…” Can gave a gentle tug and Tin allowed Can to pull the blankets away enough to enter and wrap himself around Tin in their place. “Tell me what happened.”

Though his slowing sobs, Can listened patiently as Tin shared his woes. The moon rose and fell, but Can was where he wanted to be. And if it made Tin feel better, Can would spend a hundred sleepless nights comforting his boyfriend. And maybe a hundred days burning chilies and salt to curse the people that bothered him too.

Chapter Text

The engagement party for Can’s co-worker Ae was surprisingly posh, but Can chalked that up to Ae’s fiance, Pete. Can had had the pleasure of meeting Pete once before when Ae and Pete were still dating. Pete was nice, kind, a lovely balancing force for Ae. 

So it was entirely bizarre to find someone as sweet as Pete was friends with an asshole like Tin. 

The moment Can had come to say hello and give his congratulations to the happy couple, Tin had already scoffed and commented on the quality of Can’s dress shoes of all things. The rest of the first half of the party had been Tin coming up to Can and attempting conversation in the most insulting manner.

“Oh… I guess that’s not a bad hobby if you’re on a budget.”

“Well… I wouldn’t say that’s the best tool for the job…”

“Pft, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing something that cheap…”

Understandably Can had politely asked Tin to shove it and not bother him for the rest of the night. He refused to think about Tin’s expression as he walked away. A rich asshole like Tin didn’t deserve sympathy.

—–

The second half of the party had been slightly more worrisome, if that was possible.

Can had picked up an admirer. And he refused to take no for an answer. At least Tin had taken a hint and stuck to a corner, forlornly looking at his wine glass despite Pete’s consoling. This new asshole, Can had already forgotten his name, kept on coming.

Can had hoped to dodge him by going to the bathroom, but no such luck. He even followed and took the adjacent stall, chatting away. Can grit his teeth and crawled out the other side on the floor, abandoning his shoes in the hopes his stalker would think he was still in his stall.

As fate would have it, Can ran into Tin again shortly after.

“I know I said some things about your shoes, but that’s no reason to have abandoned them.” Tin looked at Can’s socked feet in puzzlement. “I wasn’t that mean, was I?”

“Compared to this new asshole, you were a saint. Now can you please move?” Can tried to push Tin to the side, but the taller man didn’t budge. “I kind of want to dodge this jerk.”

“Someone’s bothering you?”

“Yes, someone who can’t take a hint. Unlike you. So if you would please-”

“Oh there you are! I can’t believe you accidentally left your shoes in the bathroom!”

“Oh for the love of-” Can turned around to chew the other man out but found himself pressed against the wall, the searing heat of Tin’s body a contrast to the cool plaster. “What are you-”

“Work with me,” Tin murmured as he nosed at Can’s neck. Can froze at the pleasant sensation, the smell of Tin’s cologne permeating his nostrils. “Baby,” Tin said a little more loudly. “I wish you’d let me say sorry properly.”

“You have a lot to apologize for,” Can said, kicking Tin’s leg half-heartedly.

Tin let his leg buckle more than it should have. “Baby please…” 

Can wanted to swear. Watching Tin’s mouth move up close was surprisingly erotic. Damn handsome asshole. “You can beg better than that.”

“Baby… Can…” Tin’s voice had hit a depth that made Can shiver. “I’m sorry.” Tin trailed his hand up Can’s arm. “Let me make it up to you… I got a room…” The implications made Can’s face burn.

“W-well… Let’s get on with it then.” Can offered what he hoped was a flirty smile. 

Tin raised an eyebrow before turning around and grabbing Can’s shoes from his stalker. “I’ll take those. Thanks for being so kind. If you’ll excuse us.” Tin then pulled Can away into the crowd and out. Can laughed at the sight of the other man’s dumbstruck face. 

“I can’t believe that worked!” Can giggled as he slipped on his shoes. “You’re a pretty good actor. I’m impressed.”

Tin bowed. “I try.” But when he straightened up, Tin’s face was less confident. “So uh… Do you… Do you want to stay in a room here? In case he comes looking for you again?”

“Oh shit, he would, wouldn’t he…” Can bit his lip. “Maybe I can just go home…”

“How far away do you live?” Tin seemed to be wringing his hands. “Would you… Would you like a ride?”

“I live an hour away. I couldn’t possibly-”

“I wouldn’t mind at all. It… I’d really like to apologize to you, Can.” Tin ran a hand through his hair and suddenly the handsome man seemed more human. “I’m not very good at… At talking to people casually like this. And I was more of an asshole than I wanted to be. Please let me make it up to you and let me drive you home.”

“Well…” Can fiddled with his suit cuffs. An hour plus on a bus or just one hour with Tin, who didn’t seem to be all that bad after all. “Fine.”

Tin’s smile was breathtaking and Can cursed his luck.

—–

The drive to Can’s house had taken longer than expected. Several accidents on the highways had caused several lengthy detours, but Tin did not relent and three hours later, they arrived at Can’s apartment. 

Can glanced at the time on Tin’s dashboard. It was beyond late and likely that Tin would have to take the same detours home. Tin smiled all the same.

“Sleep well, Can. I hope… I hope we see each other again soon.” Tin offered his hand for a shake. 

“Well… It’s late… Would you…” Can bit his lip. “Would you like to stay the night? I have plenty of room. You can go home in the morning when everything has cleared up.”

“Are you asking me to sleep over?”

“Well if you don’t want to-”

Tin smiled. “I’d be happy to accept.”

—–

It turned out Tin was too tall to sleep on the couch which was how the both of them found themselves sharing Can’s bed. Originally Can had arranged his blanket like a barrier between them.

The morning found no such obstacle. Instead, Can awoke to being cradled in Tin’s arms, warm and strong. Tin’s hair was a mess, but his face was smooth and calm.

“Why did you have to be so handsome?” Can muttered.

“It’s part of my charm,” Tin muttered back. Can jumped but was trapped in Tin’s arms as he opened his eyes and smiled. It was like a shot to Can’s heart. “Morning.”

“G-good morning!”

“Did you sleep well?”

“V-very well!”

“Shouldn’t you be asking me these questions?” Can punched Tin’s chest, but with the minimal space between them, it didn’t do much. “Okay, that’s fair.”

Tin sat up and stretched, his undershirt pulling upwards to reveal his abs and Can whimpered. Of all the choices he’d made in dating partners, Tin would hardly be the worst. And perhaps, if given a chance, he’d be better than the rest.

So when Tin got up and moved to pick up his pants, Can sat up. “Breakfast! I-I mean… Would you like to get breakfast? I know a good place near here…”

“Wow, you’re not just kicking me out? You really know how to treat a guy after sleeping with him.”

Can felt his face turn red. “NOTHING HAPPENED.”

“Well… If you’re insisting, it’d only be polite to accept. And your blush is cute.”

Can’s reply was to throw his pillows at Tin.

(Breakfast went fine. They decided to do lunch for their next date.)

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

“It’s strange to see you looking so forlorn,” Tin said as he walked up to Can laid out on a stone bench by the IC building. “What’s on your mind, Thai Program?”

“Go away.” Can waved a floppy hand in Tin’s direction. “I don’t have the energy to deal with you.”

“The energizer battery of the Sports Science Faculty doesn’t have the energy to deal with me?” Tin’s expression was startled and offended. “Impossible.”

“Do you see this? This thing you’re doing right now, Ai Asshole? It’s why nobody likes you.”

“Ok now I know it’s serious because you’ve never talked like that before.” Tin sat down next to Can’s head. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

Can turned to face the back of the bench. “Don’t wanna.”

Tin nodded and sat there in silence. It lasted five minutes before Can broke it.

“Okay, fine! I’ll talk!” Can huffed as he sat up and scratched his head. “It just… Everyone seems to have someone today. Even Good has a date tonight!”

“So you feel lonely.”

“I feel…” Can pulled his knees up and hugged them. “Yeah… I guess I do.”

“So what are you going to do about it?”

“Do about it?”

“Yeah.” Tin pat the bench. “I mean a pity party is all well and good. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last. But how about you do something else?”

“Like what?”

Tin stood up and extended his hand. “I’ve got an idea.”

Can looked at Tin’s hand, expression wary. “Why should I trust you?”

“Well first of all, I don’t have a reason to kick you while you’re low. Not today, Thai Program.” Something akin to a smile formed on Tin’s lips. “And second… I’ve been there. And I’ve wished more than anything that someone would have done this for me.” This time Tin’s voice was softer, distant with recollection and Can could feel his curiosity rising. “So how about… We go be alone together?”

“Isn’t that a contradiction?”

“Perhaps…” And now Tin’s smile was just that fraction more genuine. “But isn’t that the kind of contradiction you like?”

Can snorted and took Tin’s hand. Before he could blink, he found himself pulled along at a run. 

The wild laugh that escaped Can’s mouth was entirely unexpected.

—–

Tin’s idea had originally been an Escape Room Challenge. The story had been about being framed for a murder. It had been challenging to work together, but in the course of the forty minutes they had, they had become a smooth machine of clue finding and mystery solving.

Then it had been late and Tin recommended dinner, a nice hot pot place. Then they went and saw a late movie. Then there was shaved ice and condensed milk. Then they got bubble tea and found a playground.

Can stared up at the night sky, a weight on his chest eased. It was comfortable, sitting next to Tin on the swings as the other boy tried to swing as high as he could. Tin’s laughter was surprisingly bright. 

Can’s phone buzzed and he finally checked it. “Holy shit, it’s 2AM! I’m beyond late!”

Tin slowed his swinging. “Do you want me to take you home?”

“I…” Can watched as Tin jumped off the swing at the height of the arc and landed gracefully. Tin turned around to face him, a sparkle in his eyes. “I kind of don’t want the night to end.”

“Too much fun?”

“It’s just… If tonight ends…” Can bit his lip. “You’ll go back to being an asshole. And I’ll go back to being lonely.”

Tin walked up to Can and tilted his head up. “I have an idea.”

“Yeah? This one turned out okay. So what do you have in mind?”

Tin leaned down slowly. Can closed his eyes. The kiss was soft and sweet. Tin just barely nibbled at Can’s lips, hands cradling Can’s head. Can clenched his fists in the back of Tin’s shirt and whimpered. 

“Date me,” Tin whispered. “And both of us will never be alone again.”

Can’s answer was to pull Tin back down for another kiss.

Chapter Text

“Okay, I don’t like you and you don’t like me-”

“This is a fascinating way to start a proposition.”

“Shut up, Ai Asshole! Let me finish!” Tin shrugged and continued drinking his iced coffee. Can took a breath and started again. “We don’t necessarily like each other, but we’re both worried about our friends, right?”

“Apparently.”

“Don’t lie to me. I know you don’t like Ai Ae. And I’m worried about Ai Pete.”

“Pete’s a saint. I don’t understand why you’re concerned.”

“Even saints can become sinners!” Tin rolled his eyes. “But anyway, the easiest way for both of us to watch after them is to go on dates together with them!”

Tin nearly dropped his coffee. “What?”

“It’s foolproof!” Can insisted.

“Except for the fact that we’ve never said a nice thing about each other.”

“That could… change?”

Tin chewed on the end of his straw. “You really want to do this?”

“Yes!”

Tin sighed. “I’ll pick you up at 8. Dress nicely.”

“What?”

“Pete’s taking Ae on a date to a more formal restaurant, his treat for once since Ae did well on his last exams. We’re going to go to the same restaurant.”

“I can’t afford that!”

“Well fortunately I can. Just dress up, Thai Program.”

—–

Can had done his best to comply and was ready and waiting for Tin by 7:45. Tin showed up at 8 on the dot and Can nearly bit his tongue off. Can’s dress shirt and slacks were fine but Tin looked like he was from another world. And when Tin smiled at him and offered him a rose (”For appearances at least, Cantaloupe.” “I DIDN’T SAY YOU COULD CALL ME THAT!”), Can felt faint.

The rest of the date had gone surprisingly well. When Tin wasn’t trying to be an absolute asshole, he was kind and doting. He even laughed at all of Can’s jokes while carefully keeping an eye on Ae and Pete who were several tables away. 

Can had such a good time, he had forgotten about his mission to watch after Pete.

—–

They went on several more dates whenever they heard Ae and Pete were going on a date before allowing Pete to ‘catch’ them watching. Can had pushed Tin against the wall to hide but Pete caught them before they could do much to ‘disguise’ themselves. 

And despite the ‘shame’ of being caught or Pete’s chiding laughter, all Can could remember was the sight of Tin’s pale lips in front of him and the stunningly strong desire to kiss them.

—–

The double dates were a new exercise in frustration and distraction. Every date, Can forgot about watching after Pete, spending too much energy flirting with Tin, making it believable that they were dating.

And Tin made it look so easy. Too easy. He smiled, texted Can often, took him out to lunch even when there wasn’t a date planned, helped him study, helped everyone study even. Tin was the perfect boyfriend in appearance and action and Can… Can wondered if the act was still just an act if he could feel himself falling in love with the IC student. 

Under the prickly and cold outside was a genuine and caring man on the inside. Despite his initial dislike of Can for his lack of fortune, Tin seemed to accept Can as he was, hyper moods and loud mouth all together. Tin had ended up the kind of person Can had hoped he’d end up with, someone who accepted him for what he was.

So Can found himself savoring their double dates more and more. Found himself seeking out Tin on his own, even if Ae and Pete were no where to be seen. And Tin indulged him. 

Can wondered how much longer this could last. If Tin was finally satisfied that Ae wasn’t in it for Pete’s money. If he could actually argue that he still didn’t trust Pete.

Can wasn’t a gambling man, but he decided to try.

—–

It was five dates and two weeks later that Can could not bear it any longer, the fear of being found out gnawing at his insides. And then Tin put down his cellphone and Can caught a glimpse of the lock screen. The world screeched to a halt.

“Am I your lock screen?” Can snatched Tin’s phone before Tin could grab it and clicked the lock button. “I’M YOUR LOCK SCREEN?!”

Tin frowned. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”

“I’m your lock screen.”

“Yes we’ve established that.”

“No no no, but I’m your lock screen.”

Tin rolled his eyes and pulled Can into a kiss. Can pulled himself closer, the sensation of Tin’s lips moving over his scratching an itch he’d been feeling for days. 

“We’ve been pretending,” Tin whispered in the space between their lips, the tips of their noses touching. “But I don’t want to pretend anymore. I haven’t been pretending for a while.” Tin rested a hand on the back of Can’s neck. “What about you?”

“Fuck pretending.” Can pushed forward and Tin met him half way. 

Chapter Text

Tin didn’t have many hoodies. They weren’t exactly his style, often too bulky, too loose, too thin or too thick. But the few that Tin did have were ones he liked a lot. 

In particular Tin had bought one recently that was very pleasant. A knit sweater type in a soft wool that was warm in the chilly AC and cool in the warm air outside. It wasn’t too tight and it was loose enough to hang on his body without making Tin look like his torso was swimming in it. Even the color was a pleasing gray that could go with many outfits. Essentially perfect.

And it was missing from Tin’s closet. 

Tin pursed his lips and thought back. It was a brief consideration. Tin had a strong memory of putting it in his closet at the start of the week after washing it. Can had visited the day after…

“Oooo… When did you get this? It feels nice,” Can said as he stroked the weave of the hoodie.

“Two weeks ago. Come on Cantaloupe, dinner is ready.”

Tin sighed and picked up his phone, Can’s number on speed dial.

“Ai Tin! I thought you said you’d come later today!”

“I’m not there yet Cantaloupe. Have you seen my hoodie? The knit gray one?”

There was a telling pause before Can replied, “Nooooooo….”

“You’re wearing it, aren’t you?”

“You can’t prove that in a court of law!”

Tin smirked and sat down on his bed. “So what else are you wearing?”

“…Would you be mad if I said only my underwear?”

“That… is exactly what I was hoping you’d say. Now I want you to do the following…”

Chapter Text

Can didn’t know much about the IC Faculty, but he did know that the standards were quite a bit higher than Sports Science. So when Tin would drop off the face of the earth for a day or two and then return as if nothing had ever happened and with three exams and two projects done, Can assumed it was normal. Even Ae had mentioned there were times where Pete had locked himself away in his apartment and emerged thinner than ever, but with all his projects done and positive marks on his report cards.

So when Tin disappeared for a day with only a single text saying he’d be busy for a while, Can took it in stride.

When Tin had disappeared for a week, Can realized he’d have to worry. 

It was easy enough to get into Tin’s house. The maids recognized him after the whole fiasco with Tul and his fist. They shooed Can in the direction of Tin’s rooms. Can knocked and a zombie resembling Tin answered.

“Tin!” Can pat Tin’s paler face in worry. “Are you okay? Nobody’s seen you in days!”

“Cantaloupe?” Tin swayed a bit on his feet. “You’re here? Why are you awake? Isn’t it 3 AM?”

“Tin, it’s 3PM.” 

“Oh… That explains a lot. Excuse me.” Tin shut the door and there was a loud thud. Can barged in to find Tin passed out on the floor.

Tin woke up hours later. A glass of water and a bowl of rice porridge on his nightstand and Can waiting next to him, playing a game on his phone. Can glanced at him out of the corner of his eye when he noticed movement.

“Awake now?”

“How long was I out?” Tin sat up and gulped down the water. The cool liquid did a lot to refresh him.

“Three hours. Did you sleep at all this week Ai Tin?”

“Partners are garbage,” Tin mumbled into the edge of his glass. He gave Can a mournful look and Can rolled his eyes before producing a large water bottle and refilling the glass. Tin gulped it down immediately. “Had to redo everything… Lost track of time…”

“Baby, you can’t keep working like this.”

“Gonna make my partners regret pulling this bullshit…”

“Tin…”

“Just you wait Cantaloupe… Gonna throw these assholes off the building…”

“Still delirious,” Can muttered. “Okay okay. You can throw the assholes off the building, but eat your porridge first and get some more sleep.” Can pet Tin’s hair. “I can’t believe you… No sleep for a week…”

Tin looked at Can with wide eyes. “Will you help me hide the bodies?”

“In a heartbeat. But before we consider committing murder, eat your damn food and sleep some more.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes, soccer wasn’t enough. Sometimes, there was an itch under Can’s skin that he couldn’t scratch in all the normal ways. Sometimes, on days where his smile felt a little less bright, Can needed to hurt

When Can had started dating Tin, the edge had been dimmed. There were suddenly other ways to just feel. The bite of Tin’s teeth against his skin. The press of Tin’s body on his joints, holding him back. The scratch of Tin’s nails down his back.

And it had been enough.

But Tin was out of town for the next two weeks and Can found himself itching.

Fortunately for Can and other boys like him, there was a place for them to get their aggression out. It wasn’t exactly a cage match. More like a dimly lit basement, but the rules were essentially the same. 

Can entered feeling ragged and looking fine. He left feeling fine and looking ragged. This was how Tin found him when he got home early.

“Is that blood?!” Tin immediately dropped his bags and ran over to where Can was dabbing at his knuckles with ointment in the bathroom.

“Uh… Noooooo?”

“Cantaloupe!” Tin brushed his hands all over, finding all of Can’s sore spots immediately. “What happened? Who did this to you?” Tin was already reaching for his phone. “I’m calling the police-”

“No!” Can slapped Tin’s phone away. “No police!”

“Can, you’re hurt!”

“I’m fine!”

“You’re bleeding!”

“Because I want to!” The truth hovered in the air like a specter and Can knew he’d have to come clean. “Sometimes… I want to hurt. Just a bit. I feel… It just helps me feel sometimes, okay?” Can picked at a cut on one of his knuckles that had started to scab. “And I just…”

Tin sighed and rested his forehead against Can’s. “Is this really the only thing that makes you feel better?”

“No…”

“Can we talk about the other things that make you feel better in the morning? After we clean you up?”

“…Yes…”

Chapter Text

“That is… certainly a culinary wonder,” Tin said as Can presented him with the dish he had made for their dinner. 

Tin had seen the ingredients that went into the dark, but spicy smelling mass on the plate Can had set down. It did not look like any of them had survived. 

It also looked as if it would sprout legs and attack at any moment.

“Now, be honest with me about how it tastes.” Can spooned some onto Tin’s plate with a bit of difficulty, but he seemed unconcerned. “It’s a family recipe!”

“Is it?” Tin poked at the blob with his spoon. “Is it a… Chinese recipe?”

“It is! You can recognize it from the spices, huh?”

“Oh yes… Very indicative of the… region.”

Can sat down and smiled. “Go on! Try it!”

“Should I get us something to drink first?”

“I already poured the water, Tin.”

“Do you want something else?”

Can narrowed his eyes. “Are you trying to avoid eating my dish?”

Tin tried his best to smile. “Not at all.”

“Well, go on then.”

Tin’s spoon managed to cut through the mass, but his muscles refused to bring it much closer to his face. Taking a deep breath and reminding himself how much he loved Can, Tin forced himself forward and bit into the goop on his spoon. An explosion of several different flavors and textures ran across his senses. 

None of them made sense.

“Well… it’s certainly… got flavor.” Tin reached for his glass of water. “A lot of flavor.”

“But is it good?”

“It’s… not… bad?”

“Come on, Ai Tin! I can take the criticism!”

Tin winced as his teeth hit something hard in the next bite. “I think…”

“Yeah?”

“Maybe you shouldn’t make this recipe again.”

Can paused, the spoonful he’d picked up jiggled with the momentum. “Huh?”

“It’s… It’s not food, Cantaloupe.” Tin gently set down his spoon. “Could we order something for dinner?”

Can calmly got up and proceeded to punch Tin in the arm.

“YOU SAID TO BE HONEST STOP HITTING ME!” 

“IT’S A FAMILY RECIPE!”

“YOUR MOTHER WOULD NEVER SERVE THIS!”

“MY MOTHER WOULD-”

“HAVE MADE THE RECIPE CORRECTLY!”

At last Can burst into laughter and collapsed against Tin. “It’s pretty awful isn’t it.”

“I can’t believe you knew it was awful and you made me eat that thing anyway!”

Can kissed Tin’s cheek. “Thank you for being a nice boyfriend and eating it anyway. I’ll call for some takeaway.”

Tin sighed and turned a little green when he looked back at his plate. “I’m going to go throw up. Come get me when the food is here.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

As part of his agreement with his father to keep Ae out of jail, Pete had packed up his things and left to live with his father. Ae had promised to wait. But three years was a long time for anyone to wait. And Ae… Ae deserved to be happy after the mess that Pete had caused. 

Pete stepped out of the airport, gaze expectant, but in his heart, Pete knew that the one he was looking for would not be there. There was only one person Pete had told about his return. 

“Tin, I’ve just arrived.” Pete scanned the host of people holding up signs. “Are you here yet?”

“I’m afraid… I had something come up. I’ve sent someone else to get you.”

Pete frowned. “That’s not like you.”

“Talking back like that isn’t like you either.”

“Three years, Tin.”

“Three years indeed! I told him to hold up a sign for you. He’s not as short as he used to be, so you should be able to see him just fine.”

The gears started to turn. “You didn’t.” Pete’s eyes scanned the field of people again, heart beating just that bit faster. “Please tell me you didn’t- Damn it. You did.” Pete finally spotted him. Ae had come to pick him up. “I hate you.”

“What’s that? Sorry, I’ve got to go! Cantaloupe says let’s do dinner once you sort yourselves out. Bye!”

—–

Ae had wordlessly taken Pete’s suitcases and lead him to his car. The first twenty minutes of their car ride were steeped in silence. Pete fiddled with his phone and Ae’s gaze was fixed on the road before them.

“Ae krab… Thank you for coming to get me.” Pete turned his phone over in his hands. “I didn’t think-”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back?” Ae’s voice had gotten even deeper, richer. It still made Pete’s heart flutter. Pete hated it.

“I didn’t think-”

“Do you know how much I hate that Tin of all people told me to come get you? Bad enough how I had to go to him to help my family and-”

“Tin helped your family?”

“Well if it wasn’t for your father-”

“I already said-”

“Yes, I know but-”

“Sorry and you know the reason why I left was-”

Ae covered Pete’s mouth. “Ai Koon Chai, that’s enough.” Pete nipped at Ae’s hand and Ae nearly jumped out of his skin. “Did you just-”

“You know the reason why I left.” Pete crossed his arms and huffed. “And I didn’t think you’d be waiting for me to come back.”

“What?! Have you gone crazy? Why wouldn’t I wait for you?”

“Why would you wait for me?!” Pete finally turned to look at Ae, his profile still just as manly and handsome as ever. “Do you even still love me?”

“Of course I love you! I nearly killed for you! I would still kill that damn asshole Trump for you!” Ae punched the steering wheel and stomped on the brake, jerking them to a stop on the side of the road. “Three years, I waited for you! I loved you then, I love you now!” Ae’s chest was heaving now and Pete could feel hope blooming in his chest again. “Do you even still love me?”

“I never stopped.” 

“Thank Buddha,” Ae said before pulling Pete into a kiss.

Ae might have grown and changed, but the feel of his lips, their taste, the smell of his skin, it was all still painfully the same. And all at once, as Ae’s tongue lapped at Pete’s lips, Pete finally felt that he’d come home. 

Chapter Text

Tin did not expect anything from Can on his birthday. Not that he didn’t expect Can to try, but more that he had emphasized that he didn’t need a birthday present or party. Can’s presence would be enough.

And yet when Tin arrived home, he found Can staring into a bowl with his hands stained red. A sticky red substance dripped off of Can’s face and covered his clothes. It was everywhere. The walls, the cabinets, the ceiling…

“Are you okay? Is that blood?” Tin dropped everything and grabbed the kitchen tea towels before trying to clean Can’s hands. “Are you hurt? Can?”

“Why…” Can’s lips wobbled. 

“Can? Baby, are you okay?” Tin looked over Can’s hands and arms for any wounds, but none seemed to be forthcoming. 

“Why… I can’t do anything right…” 

“Can did you hurt yourself?” Tin cleaned Can’s face of the sticky mess. “Cake batter?”

“I just… I just wanted to do something nice. Just for once, something simple…” Tin wiped away Can’s tears with a clean towel. 

“Can… It’s okay. It’s just a cake.”

“It’s not just a cake!” Can knocked the empty bowl into the sink. “I saved up to buy all these ingredients and they just splattered everywhere and I can’t believe I just wasted all this and-”

Tin pulled Can into his arms, uncaring of the mess. “Okay… Okay… I should have known you worked hard to do this.” Tin pressed soft kisses against the side of Can’s head. “Thank you, Can. Thank you for trying. Thank you for working so hard.” Can only shrugged. “How about we go take a nice shower together?”

“Can we have a bubble bath after?”

“I think that’s a better present than a cake.” 

Can’s laugh was shaky and watery, but at least he was on the mend. 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

“Tin, breathe,” Pete said from the couch in the waiting room as Tin paced across the room. It wouldn’t be long before Tin wore a rut into the floor. “Everything will be fine. It’s just your engagement party.”

“But Can isn’t here yet!” Tin pulled at his hair, messing up the styling. “He must have gotten cold feet.” Tin pulled out his phone. “I’m calling the police…”

“Absolutely not.” Pete pulled the phone away from Tin. “It’s rush hour. Ae is coming with Can. Don’t worry. Now get out there and greet your guests.”

“Are you going to make me?”

“As a fellow child of proper upbringing, yes.”

“Liar. Your mother never made you play the piano for everyone.”

Pete turned red. “Only because she made me play the clarinet instead!”

“Toh-may-toe, toh-mah-toe.”

“Poh-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.”

—–

Tin plastered a smile on his face and made the rounds, making excuses for Can as applicable for their friends and family. Fortunately Pete stood by him, providing a modicum of support.

And when at last it was time for the formal speech, Can burst into the room followed by Ae, huffing and puffing for breath. All at once, all the stress Tin felt, wondering where Can had been, vanished and Tin felt light headed. It didn’t help that Can was dressed up in the tailored suit they’d picked together.

“Finally… God… He’s so pretty I think I’m gonna faint,” Tin murmured and Pete just laughed before pushing him.

“I think it’s time to greet your fiance properly.”

Tin didn’t need any further encouragement. He strode across the ballroom floor and kissed Can. The sound of blood rushing in Tin’s ears was louder than the cheers. 

“You’re late and you look amazing,” Tin said in a rush as their lips parted. “I want to take you somewhere and get you out of that suit.”

“After all the trouble it took to get here in this damn suit, you can wait at least fifteen minutes.”

“Ten minutes. And I’ll do that thing-”

“Done.”

Chapter Text

“Tin!” Tin winced as Can slammed doors open and shut as he made his way through the apartment. “Tin, you have a lot of explaining to do!”

“Do I have to?”

Can stopped short in front of his boyfriend. Expression dangerously close to some mixture of anger, annoyance, and exasperation. “Yes.”

“I’m too sober for this.” Tin reached for his coffee mug and Can blinked, former rage forgotten.

“You don’t even drink.”

“Maybe I should start.”

“Maybe you should tell me what this is.” Can held out a billing statement from the college. “What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. It has your mother’s name on the payment receipt.”

“And I told you the other day we might have trouble paying. Now Ma says I’m all paid up and then some for the next couple of years.” Can pulled Tin down so their eyes would meet properly. “Now what did you do?”

Tin sighed. “I didn’t do much of anything.”

“Tin…”

“Your mother came to me, okay?” Tin sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I was perfectly willing to give her the money and let it all be quiet. I’d have even paid it all myself if she asked. But we came to an agreement. One that she can afford, no interest.”

“So you gave Ma a loan?”

“If it was for you, I’d have bought a city for her.”

Can paused for a moment. “Please do not buy me a city.”

“Noted.”

“And why didn’t you talk to me about this?”

“Would you have accepted it?” Tin rested his forehead against Can’s. “Would you have willingly let me try to help you? I know your pride, Cantaloupe.”

“I’d have taken it a lot better if you AND Ma had talked to me first.”

“Doubly noted.”

Can sighed and pressed a kiss to Tin’s cheek. “Thank you. For helping my family and helping me.” Can stroked Tin’s cheek. “Please don’t buy me a city.”

“But I already picked one out-”

“No.”

“Haven’t you always wanted to be a mayor?”

“No.”

“Damn.” 

Chapter Text

Life was hardly perfect, but Can and Tin had worked out a routine of sorts. After their freshman year, both their schedules had gotten busy, but that was what weekends were for, late nights and early mornings, fleeting touches and long phone calls. 

And then Tin had a sudden burst of exams and projects. Finding time to be together, to just BE, it was suddenly so much more difficult. 

Can told himself it was only for a while. A short span in the greater scheme of things.

But then one thing led to another. Can blinked and two months had gone by without him seeing Tin outside of school. Tin was still affectionate, but he was often distracted. It was hard to pull Tin away from his phone or laptop. 

And the next weekend, things went from bad to worse.

Can was already tired, exhausted from following Ley and his mother around as they shopped around the mall. But no matter how tired he was, Can would always recognize the profile of Tin’s body, the sound of his voice, the cadence of his steps.

Tin was shopping, dressed up in a way that Can knew he did when he was aiming to impress. That alone would have been fine. 

Tin, however, was not alone.

One of the most beautiful women Can had ever seen took Tin’s arm and smiled at him. A row of pearly white teeth along side bright red lips. Her stiletto heels could kill. Her hair was luxurious and shiny.

She looked perfect on Tin’s arm and Can couldn’t stand it. 

Can thrust the bags he’d been carrying into his sister’s arms and ran at Tin before tackling him to the floor. The beautiful girl’s scream was nothing but a buzz in Can’s ear as he shook Tin with all the force he could generate while sitting on his chest. 

“YOU ASSHOLE! YOU JERK! THREE MONTHS! PRETTY GIRL?!”

“Can! I can explain!”

“Do you even still love me?!” The shaking had stilled but the tears had started. Can wanted to care that he was staining Tin’s dress shirt. Wanted to care that the girl was trying to pull him off of Tin, stop him from making a scene. Wanted to care that his mother and sister were rushing over. “Three months, Tin. What happened to never letting go?”

“Can I…”

“P’Tin! I’m calling the police!” 

“N’Nai, that won’t be necessary.” Can moved to get up, but Tin pulled him back down. “Cantaloupe, let me explain.”

“You had your chances!”

“And I have failed you.” Tin stroked the swell of Can’s cheekbone. “I have failed you in ways that I wish I didn’t.” Can nuzzled into Tin’s hand amid his hiccups. “Let me explain.” Can shook his head. “Please, Cantaloupe?”

“P’Tin… We really should-”

“That’s enough, N’Nai.” Tin shot Nai a look. “See yourself home.”

Nai twisted up her face but walked off, as poised as ever.

“Who is she?” Can said between softer sobs. 

“My cousin.” Can scowled and Tin smoothed out his brow. “No. Seriously. She’s my cousin.” Tin tapped Can’s hip and Can allowed Tin to sit up. “After all the exams and projects, she just showed up and demanded to be entertained and father foisted her on me.” Tin ran a hand through his hair. “It’s been a month of taking her around and… I’m sorry Can. I didn’t mean to let things drag on like this without seeing you, without saying a thing.”

Can picked at a hole in his jeans. “I’m sure.”

“I’m serious, Can.” Tin put a hand on top of Can’s. “You don’t know how often I wanted to call, but I was so tired or so busy… No. That’s an excuse.” Tin sighed. “But I do love you, Can. I promise you that will never change.”

Can looked away. “Sushi.”

“What?”

“I want sushi. And then I want bubble tea. And I want at least two dates a week for the next three months. And I want-” Tin cut off Can with a kiss.

“Name your price, Cantaloupe. I will pay it gladly to earn your forgiveness.” 

“You’ll have to work for it.”

“Gladly.”

“It’s bitter work.”

“But your love is sweet.”

At last Can laughed. And Tin knew he had a chance to fix the entire thing.

Chapter Text

It had been a long time, years now, and Can had been through a lot with Tin, together and apart. It was with a solid assurance that Can could say he knew Tin, knew the jagged edges of his heart, the weave of his soul, and he knew all the places where he fit in. 

Sometimes it was at Tin’s side, holding his hand and walking together. Other times, it was watching Tin’s back, keeping an eye on Tul to prevent him from stabbing Tin. 

And sometimes Can’s place was in front of Tin, between him and his demons.

Tin sat curled up in the corner of his sofa, gaze distant as he watched the sky change colors in the early morning. Can padded over and draped himself over Tin’s shoulders, nuzzling Tin’s cheek.

“Hey.”

“Hi.”

“Twenty questions?”

“No thank you.”

“Five?”

“That counts as one.”

“Tul?”

“No.”

“N’Pha?”

“Negative.”

“Me?”

“I would tell you.”

“You?” Can could feel Tin roll his eyes and he knew he was on the money. “Want to tell me?” Tin shook his head. “Holding everything in doesn’t help, you know.” Can brushed Tin’s hair back from his forehead and Tin tilted his head back, allowing Can to look into his eyes. “Tell me?”

“I’m too sober for this.”

“You don’t even drink.”

“Maybe I should start,” Tin muttered. 

“Tin…” Can kissed TIn’s forehead. “Just be honest with me.”

“Okay okay…” Tin returned his gaze to the window. “I… I’m worried about providing for us.”

“What.”

“You know… I want to be able to provide for both of us. We’re graduating soon and-” The punch to his arm jolted Tin out of his melancholy. 

The third was just an insult. 

“YOU SAID TO BE HONEST STOP HITTING ME!” 

“You jackass! What is it with you and being a provider?!” Another punch, but softer than the last three. “You’re rich anyway!” A fifth punch, more like a tap. “What could possibly-”

“I want to start my own business.” Tin stared straight forward and Can could feel his jaw drop. “I want to leave my family behind. I want to be more than my name.” Can watched the clench of Tin’s jaw. “And I… I don’t-”

“Okay,” Can said as he reached for Tin’s hands and rubbed his knuckles.  “Okay, so maybe I didn’t see that coming.” 

“Not surprised.”

Can pulled himself closer, resting his chin in the crook of Tin’s neck. “If you want to do it, then do it. If you want to succeed, you’ll succeed. Even if you fail…” Can pressed a kiss to Tin’s cheek. “I will love you. That is not contingent on how many things you can buy. You know that.”

“It’s nice to hear.” Tin’s voice sounded distant and soft despite how close his mouth was to Can’s ear. 

“And I will always be here with you. And I will do everything I can to help you.” It seemed so simple, an easy affirmation. But Can knew that it was the simple things, the simple promise of support and love, that Tin often missed. “Tell me how I can help you now.”

“If you don’t hug me right now I think I might fall apart.” 

Can fell into Tin’s arms and squeezed him as tight as possible. Neither of them said anything about the way Tin’s body shook or the wet spots on Can’s shirt. 

They both watched the sun rise on a new day and a new phase of their lives. 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

Time is all that people say Tin will need to forget Can’s rejection. 

“Time heals all wounds, or lessens their burden,” is what they say. “One day there will no longer be a part of you that he has touched and known.” 

Even science says how many days must pass until there are new skin cells that have never been touched by Can, how many days until the cells in his blood have never witnessed the adrenaline his kiss causes, how many months and years until the reflex to reach out and run his thumb along Can’s bottom lip will fade.

Tin thinks it’s all bullshit.

How can he forget when all he sees are the places where he and Can have come together? The streets where Can grabbed his wrist and argued. The places where they have eaten lunch together. The building where they first kissed. Even Tin’s car carries a memory of Can rubbing his back all over it, making it “dirty.” Tin’s home is no longer a refuge after Can’s visit to watch movies and their passionate kiss in the home theater.

No, there is no forgetting, not when everything carries a memory. 

And perhaps, if no place is safe, Tin wonders if it’s time to find some place new.

Money is not a problem. Tin could buy an apartment elsewhere, enroll in a new school with his excellent grades, start all over without a trace of Can to remind him. What surprises Tin is how viable it all is, how easy it would be. 

Pieces fall into place. This is not the only university that has received donations from the Medthanans. This is not the only place Tin can live. 

A student overhears Tin talking about sending his transcripts to new schools, some of them abroad. The gossip mill goes wild. 

When pressed, Pete simply says that he knows nothing. It isn’t a lie. Tin hasn’t discussed this new plan of his with him at all. And Pete knows that it is simply Tin’s way of dealing with his pain. If Tin decides to transfer and move away, he will tell Pete in his own time. 

But when Tin emerges from the school administrative offices a few days later, several heavy envelopes and packets in his hand, he finds himself tackled to the ground. 

A familiar smell of fresh cut grass and sweat flashes through Tin’s mind before his mind picks up what Can is yelling at him.

“-CAN’T MOVE AWAY AI ASSHOLE! I FORBID IT! YOU’RE GOING TO STAY HERE WITH ME!”

“Can?”

“That’s right! You’re going to stay here! And we’re going to… to…” Can’s face turns bright red. “We’re going to be adults and talk and I refuse to be sad about the remote idea that you’d leave and-”

“And?”

“And damn it Tin…” Tear drops fall on Tin’s shirt before Tin finally looks at Can’s face properly. Can scrubs at his face furiously, but Tin can see the bags under Can’s eyes and feel the tremors as Can sits on his chest. “I really… I want to say… I think that I…”

Tin sighs. “I’m not going away.”

Can’s head snaps up immediately. “What?!”

“I’m not moving, I’m not transferring. I decided not to do it.”

“But you-”

“It was just an idea, a possibility.” Tin sighs and looks around at all the students staring at them and resigns himself to another social media scandal. “I’ll get over you one day, Cantaloupe. I just needed to acknowledge that I felt that strongly. Looking up possibilities helped.”

“No.”

“What?”

“You’re not allowed to get over me, not when I finally work up the courage to confess to you, Ai Asshole!”

Tin, despite his better judgement, laughs. “That’s not how this works, Can.”

“But it is how we work, isn’t it?” Can leans down over Tin, and Tin hates how his traitorous heart beats faster as Can’s face gets closer to his. “I… I know now that I want us to work. And I’m sorry.” Instead of going for the kiss, Can rests his forehead against Tin’s. “I’m going to trust you. And I want you to keep trusting me.”

Tin’s heart gives a painful thump. The underlying meaning of Can’s words give him hope. 

Tin reaches out to trace the lines of Can’s cheek and jaw. 

“I almost made it, you know?” Tin’s voice is a soft whisper. “There was almost a part of me that had never known you. A part of me that could have finally forgotten how you make me feel.”

“And do you still want to forget?”

Tin’s grip on Can’s shoulder is almost painful. “No.”

Can finally leans in for the kiss. 

(The entire scene is uploaded to YouTube and Tin weathers another storm from his father about improper public conduct. Tin simply slips him a copy of his proof of purchase for his new apartment and walks away.)

Chapter Text

Can normally loved all his seniors. Techno, Type, and Champ were the ones he interacted with the most often since they were on the soccer team, but the Sports Science major was very tight knit and Can had plenty of other seniors he could bug for things.

And then there was Rao.

Rao was a fourth year senior and he constantly reminded everyone. He was also the most judgmental asshole of the whole Sports Science department. 

“N’Can, stand up straight! Stop begging your seniors for food,” Rao said as he walked past while Can talked to Techno. “Honestly, the nerve of some of these Nongs…”

“P’Rao, I wasn’t begging P’No for food!” Can barely remembered to wai before stomping his foot and stepping forward. Techno grabbed Can’s arm to pull him back just in case. “P’No was reminding me about practice for today!”

“There’s no need to cover for him, N’No,” Rao said as he leaned against the wall. “One day you’ll have to let him fend for himself.”

“No really, P’Rao,” Techno started, “We were just-”

“I lament for your future, N’Can.” Rao messed with Can’s hair and Can frowned. “Who would want to hire you or date you as you are? I had hoped the soccer team would give you some discipline. But I have enough things to blame N’No for.”

“P’! That’s too harsh!” Techno complained. 

“P’Rao, you will eat your words!” Can took one more step into Rao’s space. “As a matter of fact someone is dating me!”

“Poor N’No! If N’Can is dating, you must be losing money twice as fast to fund their dates.”

Before either of them could argue, another voice cut in. “Cantaloupe, what’s taking you so long?” Everyone paused as Tin walked in, offered Techno a wai, put his arm around Can’s shoulders and sized up Rao. “Is this your senior? Introduce me, Cantaloupe.”

Can smiled, bright and menacing. “Ai Tin, may I introduce you to P’Rao. P’Rao, my boyfriend, Tin Medthanan.” 

Rao’s face went through the seven stages of grief before he smiled, but it looked more like a grimace. “N’Tin, it’s nice to meet you. I did not know you were dating N’Can.”

“P’Rao… Ah Can has told me… so much about you.” Tin offered a wai to be polite. “But you really must excuse us, Can and I have a date.”

“But N’Tin, surely you know N’Can is only in it for your money?”

Tin turned a frosty glare on Rao. “Considering that he has rejected every gift I have attempted to give him, I would say otherwise.” Tin took a step forward and Rao took a step back. “Considering how sweet my boyfriend is, how kind and caring and considerate, I do not think you should be talking about him that way, P’Rao.” Another step and Rao had nowhere to go. “So do be kinder to my boyfriend, P’Rao.” Tin leaned in. “Because my boyfriend is nice, but I am not. And if I hear that you’ve made him feel bad again, you might start having troubles of your own.”

Rao could only nod as Tin pulled Can away, who was now smiling brightly and chattering about his day. 

“Who was that Nong?”

“Take my advice, P’Rao,” Techno said, his face surprisingly serious. “You don’t want to mess with N’Tin. The last P’ that did transferred schools.”

——

“So, did I do a good job?” Tin looked at Can out of the corner of his eyes. “Do you think P’Rao will back off now?”

“Maybe you went a little too hard, but I am happy.” Can pulled Tin down for a kiss to his cheek. “Come on. P’Spirit and P’Exact get out of their class now. If we’re lucky, we can intimidate them too.”

Chapter Text

Pete struggled to keep his face neutral after he noticed the dark spot on Tin’s bottom lip. At first, Pete thought it was a bit of sauce or perhaps Tin had been biting one of his pens and it had burst. But after biting his own lip, Pete knew that Tin had been kissing someone. 

The facts made sense. The bruise was on the wrong side to be from Tin biting his own lips. Tin had almost been late to class and his lips were a bruised pink. Tin’s tie had also been askew and Pete had never seen that happen before. 

“Did something happen today?” Pete slid a little closer to keep his voice down. “You look… off.”

Tin scowled. “None of your business.”

“Tin, you have a bruise on your lip.” Pete’s smile looked cheerful, but Tin immediately knew that Pete had smelled blood in the water. “It’s an interesting bruise.”

“I-I must have bitten myself during breakfast.”

“Wrong side.”

“I’ve always had a bit of dental problems.”

“Looks like someone else’s dental is your problem.” Tin cursed and shoved at Pete’s shoulder. Pete laughed. “So who is the lucky person?”

Tin’s face finally turned a pale shade of pink but the tips of his ears were bright red. “I guess you know them already.”

“Oh? So did you and Can work things out then?”

Tin whipped around but his face was now bright red. “Nobody said it was-”

“I’m so glad!” Pete pat Tin on his shoulder. “We should plan a double date soon.”

Tin groaned and collapsed against the desk. “When did you get this good at reading me?”

Pete poked at Tin’s shoulder. “When it’s about Can, you’re an open book.”

Tin banged his head against the desk a few times and Pete giggled. 

——

“Oi Can… Do you have something in the corner of your lip?” Techno wiped at the corner of Can’s mouth with a napkin, but the dark smudge remained. 

“Huh? What?” Can poked at the offending corner with the tip of his tongue and flinched when he realized what was there. “Oh that bastard!”

“What bastard?” Type set down his plate and looked at Techno. “Did something happen?” Techno shrugged. “Right, so boy troubles again then, huh?”

“WHO SAID IT WAS AI TIN?!”

Type scanned Can from the top of his head down. “You did.”

Can pouted and sat back down. “No I didn’t!”

“You mentioned him this morning during breakfast.” One finger. “You mentioned him no less than three times during practice, all somehow relating to how tired your legs were.” Three more fingers. “You just blurted his name out right now and no one even mentioned him.” Type’s thumb joined the fingers. “So did lover boy give you that bruise?”

Can’s red face was enough of an answer.

“That’s so weird… How do you bruise the corner of your mouth?” Techno wondered aloud. 

“Well…” Type’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “When two men love each other very much…”

“Ugh I should have known you’d go there.”

——

A few hours ago…

Tin pecked kisses across Can’s cheeks, feeling more than hearing and seeing the shorter boy giggle. The giggles stopped as Tin kissed him properly on the mouth. 

Can’s lips parted easily for Tin’s tongue and his legs parted to let Tin slot his thigh between them. The jolt of pleasure traveling up Can’s spine started a moan and ended with him biting Tin’s lip. Tin hissed from the sting before Can soothed it with gentle laps of his tongue. 

In retribution, Tin sucked bruises into Can’s collarbone, always below the collar as per Can’s request, before nipping and sucking a kiss into the corner of Can’s lips. Can hardly noticed, distracted by the hands Tin had worked down his uniform pants. 

“Tin… Tin, please…” Can whimpered as Tin’s thumb rubbed against the slit of his dick. “Baby please…”

“I have class in five minutes, Cantaloupe.” Tin nipped Can’s ear and felt another spurt of precum. “Can you come in two minutes?”

“If you’d mmm…” Can thrust his dick into Tin’s hand. “Squeeze properly, I’d… I’d cum in one.”

“I love how easy you are,” Tin murmured as he gave another few swift and tight tugs and Can came in his underwear with a cry. Tin pulled out his soiled hand and licked it clean to Can’s whimpering. 

“Tiiiiin! Don’t do that! I’m gonna want to go again!”

“Be good until your afternoon break.” Tin tongued at the bruise left on his lip from Can’s bite. “You’re returning the favor and doubling it for this bruise.”

“Or you could skip class…” Can palmed the front of Tin’s pants, feeling the bulge there. “And I could repay you now?”

“Tempting, but I don’t want Pete to give me more shit than he already will.”

“I still can’t believe that sweet sweet Ai Pete gives you shit.” Can winced as he felt the wet spot as he rearranged his underwear. “Ai Ae must be rubbing off on him.”

“In more ways than one.”

Can shoved Tin away as he laughed and ran off to class. “Dirty bastard.”

“You’re the one that got hard from watching me lick my hand!”

“SHUT UP AND GO TO CLASS!”

Chapter Text

Tin had lots of secrets and Can knew that sometimes Tin needed them. It was slow work, but Tin was learning to open up again around Can. Can trusted Tin to be forthcoming and tell him the truth if need be. And Tin trusted Can to not push if it wasn’t a secret that needed to be told.

Can was still sour that Tin deemed his recipe for his special cake a top secret that would probably go with him to his grave. 

But Can knew there was something Tin was hiding as he finally perused the movie options in Tin’s home theater. The offerings were minimal, anything popular in the last decade, a couple of western films here and there, and a smattering of old classics. 

It was typical. It was plain. 

It did not explain where Tin had gotten a blue-ray version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Not that Can complained. He sat, completely enraptured and curled up in Tin’s lap. Can was so focused, he didn’t notice Tin had matched him in contemplation and silence.

The next hint came when Tin arrived for his sleepover at Can’s house with several western classic musicals. They watched Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and The Sound of Music. Can refused to admit he cried at the end of Mary Poppins as she floated away. 

“I’m glad you have an appreciation for the classics, Cantaloupe,” Tin teased as he wiped Can’s tears away.

“Why can’t they all be funny like the one with the guys getting married?”

“Mary Poppins wasn’t sad. She taught the whole family a lesson. They were happy in the end.”

“But it’s sad she won’t be happy with them!”

Tin sighed and pulled Can a bit closer. “It’s true, her job is sad. But Mary Poppins knows she needs to move on because they don’t need her anymore.”

“Really?”

“She said as much, Cantaloupe. Come, we’ll watch The Wizard of Oz. That should cheer you up.”

Sure enough, Can did not stop singing about going off to see the Wizard of Oz for the next week. The only reason why it lasted a week was because everyone begged him to stop singing off key.

The final hint was when Can insisted on watching the SAW series. Tin agreed but spent the entire night with a running commentary. The look in his eyes was more passionate than Can had ever seen him over a topic that wasn’t sex, stocks, or Can. Can lost focus about the gore and mind games happening on screen and lost himself in Tin’s voice and explanations. 

“You… You really know your movies,” Can said as they lay together in his bed. “I didn’t know you knew so much about movies.”

“It’s… It’s a hobby I guess.” Can could feel Tin fidget next to him. “Is it-”

Can turned around and kissed Tin softly. “I like it. I like that you’re so passionate about it.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Tin, I like knowing the things you enjoy. I want to encourage them.” Can stroked Tin’s cheekbones. “You don’t get enough encouragement for positive things. It’s weird.”

“Do you…” Tin looked to the side. “Do you want to see my film blog?”

“You have a film blog?!”

“Too much?”

“Not even! Show me!”

Tin grabbed his phone from the nightstand and spent the next hour showing Can his blog and write ups on different movies. 

“So… do you like it?”

“Of course!” Can tucked Tin’s head against his chest and Tin chuckled, but Can knew the motion was appreciated. “Is there a reason why you hide it?”

“Tul.”

“Don’t say anymore. I already want to punch him into next week. If I find out he burned your tapes or something, I’ll punch him to Mars.”

They lay in the quiet for another moment. “Thank you, Cantaloupe.”

Can rubbed Tin’s shoulders. “You’re welcome. But next date I get to pick the movie!”

Tin nodded against Can’s chest. “As long as I get to comment on it.”

“As if I’d stop you!”

Chapter Text

“Your daughter is Pomegranate,” Ae said as the aforementioned little girl ran up to Can.

"Of course she is! Sweet and tart, like her papa,” Can said as he picked her up before kissing her cheek as she giggled. 

“So who named your son Tangmo?" 

"I did,” Tin said without blinking. Tangmo only looked up skittishly from behind his book. “At least I didn’t name him Watermelon like Cantaloupe over there." 

Can leaned over and whispered, "He was a tough nut to crack, but Ma managed it in the end I guess.” 

Chapter Text

“Huh…” Tin checked his wallet again. “I forgot my card.”

“Eh? You did?” Can also peeked inside. “That never happens.”

“Cantaloupe, can you…” Can was already handing over his card to the person at the ticket booth. “Thanks.”

“Gosh, you forget your card and made me pay.” Can nudged Tin with his elbow but Tin did not catch Can’s cheeky grin. “Maybe it’s a sign I should move on. You’re clearly not the provider in this relationship anymore.”

Tin stopped walking. His heart nearly stopped as well. “What?”

“What?” Can tugged on Tin’s arm. “Come on, we’re gonna miss the movie.”

“I just forgot my card once.”

“Yeah?”

“And you’re going to dump me? I thought you couldn’t be bought.”

“I’m not telling you to buy me out?”

“So why are you dumping me?!”

“I didn’t say I was- Wait, you… Oh.” Can frowned and slapped his forehead. “I made a joke and it shouldn’t have been a joke.”

“Cantaloupe-”

“Tin,” Can pulled Tin down so their eyes were level, “I am not dating you for your money. You know that. I have told you that several times.”

“But you-”

“I am not mad that I paid for our tickets. I was trying to joke and I forgot for a moment that you don’t like those kinds of jokes.” Can cupped Tin’s face. “I like you not for the things you provide, but because of the way you make me feel.”

“That was hard enough,” Tin huffed, but a small smile was forming on his face anyway.

“I know. We’ve both worked hard for this, haven’t we? And I’d be stupid to throw it away just because you forgot your credit card once.” Can pressed a small kiss to the corner of Tin’s mouth. His face turned pink from the display and Tin was smitten all over again. “So let me say I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.”

“Apology accepted.” Tin kissed Can’s forehead. 

“Movie?”

“Movie.”

“Awesome. You’re going to love this one. A real thriller, the reviews said!”

“On top of what just happened right now, at least my heart is primed.”

Chapter Text

Can’s lips were the sweetest thing Tin had ever tasted, even without candy or soda or chocolate. It was a taste Tin could not ignore. In fact, Tin was sure every part of Can tasted sweet. 

The salt of his sweat highlighted the sweetness of Can’s skin as Tin kissed his neck and chest. The tang of precum was a sharp contrast to the sweetness of Can’s dick. 

“Sometimes I just want to lick every part of you,” Tin murmured into Can’s skin. “You’re amazing. You’re so amazing.” Can only whined in reply as Tin bit and pinched Can’s nipples, making Can cum for the first time that night. “Wonderful.”

“Why do I… feel like… you’re going to devour me today,” Can panted as he felt Tin lick up his release while inserting a finger to begin to stretch his hole. “Tin… Wait… Did we… Did you…”

Tin frowned. “You forgot to buy condoms?”

Can groaned and covered his face. “I didn’t have time after practice! And Good kept giving me weird looks when I mentioned wanting to go to a convenience store.” Can pouted. “I thought you had some spare.”

Tin rummaged in his drawers. “Shit.”

“Tin…”

“Cantaloupe, I know you wanted me to-”

“You could do it anyway.” Tin slowly turned to Can’s blushing face. “I mean, I’ve never done it with anyone but you anyway,” Can mumbled. “So I don’t have anything?” Can fidgeted. “So you could just… fuck me anyway?”

“Are you sure?”

“It’s not like I don’t know the rumors about you are lies now, Tin.” Can sat up and pulled on Tin’s arms until he came close enough to kiss. “I know you haven’t done anything this serious. At least until me.”

“And I’ve done that plenty,” Tin said into Can’s lips. He was still smiling even as Can smacked his chest.

“So I think it’s okay. We’ll be okay.” Can lay back down and spread his legs, the puckering of his hole taunting Tin. “It’s okay. Do it.”

Tin draped his body over Can’s, preparing him in between kisses and squirts of more lube. Can’s body seemed more receptive than ever, excitement or nerves, Tin couldn’t say. Can jerked himself to orgasm for the second time as Tin worked four fingers in and out.

Still gasping and moaning, Can nodded and Tin pressed his dick into Can. The sensations were different without a barrier, that much was sure. The slick wetness, the heat, all of it felt different. But Tin lost the train of thought as Can moaned again, tried to pull Tin closer by crossing his ankles. 

Tin set a hard and fast pace which was exactly the kind Can liked. Can’s moans were even louder than usual and Tin was vaguely thankful he’d finally gotten a place all his own. If only to avoid the hushed whispers of the maids. 

Soon, perhaps too soon, Can cried out, splattering his cum up his chest and on his own chin. Tin licked it all off, still thrusting as Can’s body clutched at his dick.

“Do it… I wanna feel it,” Can said, hiding his face. “I wanna feel you cum in me.”

“Cantaloupe-”

“Please?”

Can clenched his muscles and Tin could only moan and thrust as deep as possible as he came. Can’s body shuddered and his dick twitched just a little. Tin slowly pulled out of Can’s body, kissing him soft and sweet.

“How do you feel?”

“It’s… it’s weird…” 

“Weird how?”

Can made a face. “I can feel it coming out.”

“What?” Tin looked down at Can’s hole, a little worse for wear from sex, but sure enough, Tin’s seed began to leak out. “Oh…” Tin’s voice was distant and faint.

“Tin?” Can asked as Tin pushed his legs upwards to expose Can’s ass. “What are you- AhhhhH!” Can moaned as Tin licked his leaking ass. “Shit, wait Tin- Ahhmmmm! Why does it- IEEEE!” Tin’s tongue worked Can’s ass, licking up all traces of cum leaking out. Tin even worked his tongue inside, chasing taste. “You… You’ve never…” Tin let go of Can’s legs and Can let them flop to the bed. “Did you just eat me out?”

Tin scrubbed at his mouth a bit before he could reply. “That was… That was hotter than I expected.” 

“Did you…”

“Yeah.”

“… All of it?”

“Most of it.”

Can wrinkled his nose for a moment. “Can I kiss you?”

“Are you sure you want to?”

“I’ll give it a shot.”

Tin leaned down to kiss Can. It wasn’t an unpleasant taste, simply something Can didn’t expect. “Okay?”

“Weird, but I don’t hate it?”

“Want to do it again some time?”

“Maybe? It feels weird when it runs out.”

“I was right though.”

“Huh?”

“You taste sweet everywhere. Even your ass.” Tin smirked. “Maybe you are eating too much sugar.”

“TIN!”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean I’m not allowed to be on your team, Ai Koon Chai?” Ae was still smiling so Pete took it as a good sign that his news had not been too poorly received. Yet anyway. 

“Well the person in charge told me couples aren’t allowed to compete together.”

Ae raised an eyebrow. “But some of these challenges look like they’re supposed to be done as a couple.”

“That’s uh… the reason! It’d be too easy for couples! Right, Can?”

Can nodded furiously. “That’s why you have to partner with Ai Tin!”

“I’d rather die.”

“Then die,” Tin said as he walked over. “Honestly, why do you even want this prize Cantaloupe? I could just-”

“DO NOT.”

Tin grumbled but looked sufficiently chastised. Dating Can had been good for Tin, Pete supposed. Before, Tin would have ignored people’s wishes and did what he liked anyway. 

Ae and Tin eyed each other with a tension that could kill. Pete crossed his fingers behind his back and Can just kept smiling.

——

The first challenge had been a three-legged race. Ae and Can were both shorter than Pete or Tin, and so the difference in pace would be the toughest challenge. Can and Pete managed to come in second by communicating well. Can nearly pulling Pete along also had something to do with it, his competitive streak refused anything less.

Tin and Ae on the other hand had gotten disqualified for arguing over which legs to tie together.

The second challenge had been a blindfold challenge. One player was blindfolded and the other had to direct them through a short maze verbally. Pete, now used to the way Can referred to things, was able to get him to the target easily enough. 

Ae had run Tin in circles just to be petty. 

During the half-time break in activities, Pete and Can watched from the side as Tin confronted Ae.

“Look, you want to win this just as much as I do so we can give our boyfriends the prizes, don’t you?” Ae frowned but nodded. Tin offered his hand. “So, for now, truce?”

“It feels like I’m making a deal with the devil, but fine.” Ae shook Tin’s hand.

“Well at least that’s one thing I can respect about you, Thai Program.”

“And what’s that?”

“We can both swallow our pride if we want to.”

——

With their combined efforts for the second half, Ae and Tin managed to get enough points to win the second place prize, which was not necessarily a consolation. Some how Can and Pete had managed to win the first place prize anyway. 

While Can and Pete celebrated their good fortune, Tin sighed before turning to Ae. “Good effort.”

“Ai Tin, that almost sounded like a complement.” 

“Don’t get used to it.”

“Don’t want to. It gives me hives.”

Ae and Tin glared at each other for another few moments before Pete and Can joined them. 

“Look! They’re getting along! It’s been two hours since they actually yelled at each other!” Can tugged at Tin’s arm. “See, Ai Ae isn’t so bad!”

“He’s not that great either,” Tin grumbled. “But I guess he’s tolerable enough at the right moments.”

“Ae…” Pete snuggled up next to Ae. “You didn’t mind working with Tin today, right?”

“I’d still rather die,” Ae said glaring at Tin. “But if I have to live, I wouldn’t hate having to work with him.”

“That is an improvement!”

“Awesome! Let’s use the first place prize and go eat,” Can said, waving the meal vouchers around. “This was totally worth it!”

“There you guys are,” Pond said as he ran up, Cha’Aim behind him. “Why did you guys swap?”

“What are you talking about,” said Ae. “Ai Pete said the organizers said couples can’t compete together.”

“Huh? So why did they ask if Cha’Aim and I were dating first?”

“WHAT?”

Pete and Can glanced at each other before running for the parking lot.

Chapter Text

The Medthanans were a more than well-to-do family, with many people living and working their family lands. In their prestige and wealth, they had negotiated many alliances to continue maintaining their advantage. Among such negotiations was the marriage of their youngest son, Tin, to the son of the Kijworalaks, Can. 

The Kijworalaks did not possess much land, but it was rich in metal mines. Accordingly, their family was well known enough for their fine metalwork and jewelry techniques that had been passed down the family line. 

So it was with great dismay, that the Medthanans suddenly found the Kijworalaks befalling hard times after the death of the head of the family, Sun Kijworalak. His wife, Apple, was shrewd enough to keep things running, but grief had shut down much of the production by the family for far too long. 

While it would be possible to pull out of the arrangement, it would sour the reputation of the Medthanans greatly. So with a heavy heart, they pressed forward, much to the consternation of Can.

“I don’t want to marry that ice cold bastard anyway!” Can’s hammer blows rang louder than they needed to and Apple and everyone else in the family workshop winced. “Stupid asshole! Never worked a day in his life! Never-”

“Cantaloupe!” Apple twisted Can’s ear and Can’s howl was even louder than his hammer. “You are also a man of proper upbringing! Mind your tongue!”

“But Ma! Did you even see the wedding gift he sent?!” Can waved at a large opened box that was getting dirty in all the heat and dirt of the workshop. Apple made a face and waved at one of her maids to move it. “It’s a damn bunch of fabric! As if my clothes aren’t good enough-”

“The traditional Medthanan wedding present is two parts.” Apple slapped Can upside the head and everyone else stopped watching to return to work. “The first present is before the wedding. An offering of something fine. 

“What jewelry, what metalcraft could he offer you? What use have you for pottery when your hands work metal? Fabric is a finery that you can use and appreciate.” Unmindful of the sweat and grime on her son, Apple dragged him away. “Now let us properly see what your husband-to-be has sent you.”

——-

In the light of Can’s room, the maids had arranged the fabric within Tin’s package artfully. The first was a large hand-painted silk robe which the maids hung up to display. Unlike the rougher and lower lights of the workshop, Can was able to admire the artistry to the fullest. A powerful bird in flight, it’s nest within view and it’s partner resting within. The bird soared above thorns and bramble into a cloudless sky. The details were so fine, Can was able to count each feather. The lapels and collar had fine gold embroidery and the buttons were actually incredibly intricate and ornate knots. 

The second gift was a finely embroidered and well stuffed duvet. The fabric was wonderfully soft to the touch and sticking a hand underneath it left Can feeling far too warm. A perfect thing to have in the colder regions where the Medthanans lived. 

Something to clothe him. Something to protect him. An assurance of sorts that Can would be treated well after his marriage. Can had not expected half so much after the last times he and Tin had met. 

At the first meeting, Can thought himself lucky. At least Tin was attractive. Perhaps he could grow to like him.  He had heard many things. Among them, that Tin was accomplished and well-spoken. Although there was no time to let them talk that day, Tin had seemed thoughtful and clever. Things Can appreciated.

The second meeting, Tin had taken him on a tour of the mansion, showing Can books and other entertainments, showing Can the workshop they were building for him so that he may do as he pleased. Tin’s expressions were much softer, kinder. He took Can’s hand as if it were nothing. It took great effort for Can to speak without stumbling over his tongue and Tin accepted it all so indulgently. At this point, Can thought perhaps they could have a happy future.

The third meeting had been confusing. Can had done his best to make an effort to get to know who he was marrying. Instead, Tin had been cool and aloof, curt and insulting. His language was fine, but stilted, completely unlike the informal language Can was used to with his family. It was such a drastic change from their last meeting that it gave Can whiplash. Not knowing how to respond Can had left feeling frustrated and ill-tempered. In the end, Tin had barely said good bye, but at least he had helped Can into his carriage. Can did not pretend to remain unfazed by the way Tin shook his hand out afterwards, as if Can had a disease.

“It is not so poor a thing now, is it,” Apple said as she too stroked the duvet. “Tin cares. These are not inexpensive things.”

“Mistress,” said one maid. “There was something else in the box. But we did not think the young master would like us to display it.”

“What?!” Can ran over to where the maids had the box and his face turned bright red. “H-He did not!”

“Oh my, I suppose there is some affection after all if that is your expression,” Apple said in between giggles. “Is it very forward?”

Face flushing crimson, Can removed a pair of silk underwear from the box. The maids barely stifled their giggles. 

“Very forward,” Can managed to say.

Apple dismissed the maids who finally rid themselves of their giggle fits. “So what do you say now to your fiancee? Is his gift… suitable?”

Can sighed. “You did not send our wedding gift yet, did you?”

“No. You know what our tradition is.”

“Then please allow me some extra time. I think I’ve something else I’d like to make for my… future husband.”

Apple only smiled.

——

On their wedding day, Tin’s face was calm but his insides twisted and churned. Can had not replied after receiving Tin’s gift. Nor had he sent his wedding present yet. 

Perhaps the effect of Tul’s words had been too great. 

“You’ll never be happy. Not so long as I live. Not even with your little metalwork toy,” Tul had sneered. “He’ll use you and you’ll see. You’ll see you were meant to be broken. That there is no soul who will fill the cracks in yours.”

By the time Tin had shaken Tul off, Can’s visit was over and Tin had been truly poor company. Can had made such earnest and interested efforts to know him, and Tin had been too distrustful. But Can’s hand had still burned as hot as the fires and forges he worked with and Tin could not shake the feeling of how wonderful such warmth felt.

He had hoped his wedding presents would make up for them, although perhaps the underwear had been too forward. But Tin could not think of another way of making his intentions clear within something traditional and not entirely scandalous. It was another way to say he adored Can, was interested in Can in many ways. 

The other option was that Tin had been too forward. And that in itself was a nightmare.

A knock at the door shook Tin from his thoughts. His best friend, and best man for the wedding, Pete gave him a small smile, carrying a small, highly polished, wooden box. 

“A servant from the Kijworalak family just came by to drop off Can’s wedding presents for you.” Pete pressed the wooden box into Tin’s hands. “It is his request that you wear them for the ceremony.”

Tin opened the box to find the bird he had painted on Can’s robe exquisitely crafted in metal in many variations. A tiepin of the bird in flight, noble and regal. The two birds nesting together, small gems as their eggs, made lovely cuff links. A pendant of the two birds circling each other, graceful and free. 

It was charming, all too charming and lovely. And Tin knew perhaps his intentions, his promises, had been understood. 

Pete smiled as Tin quickly exchanged the pieces he was wearing for Can’s work. “How nice of you to receive them so well. I shall tell them you’ll be ready for the ceremony soon.”

——-

At the start of the ceremony, Can was strangely silent, but his expression was pleased when he saw Tin wearing his present. At the presenting of the wedding rings, Can’s was of course, the bird Tin had painted, but beautiful enamel and filigree work made it stand out. Classic elegance that befit Tin’s style. 

Tin almost regretted the ring he had picked for Can, it seemed gaudy by comparison to offer something so simple as polished amber, the color of Can’s eyes, set in silver and gold. 

Can admired it regardless and so Tin took it as a win.

Tin did his best to continue to placate Can during the reception. He kept his husband’s plate and cup full and listened intently to everything Can said. Can in turn took Tin’s hand in his own, and unless he was eating, he did not let go.

Tin wondered if this was what happiness could feel like.

——

After the reception, they retired to Tin’s bedroom. Can looked almost giddy and Tin couldn’t help the effervescent feeling in his chest.

Tin turned to remove his jacket, but Can stopped him, running his hands over his work that Tin so proudly wore. “I am glad you liked my presents. I did not sleep until they were finished.” Can pressed his fingers to his lips and then pressed them to the pendant and tiepin. He lifted Tin’s left hand to his lips and kissed the cuff link before kissing the ring. 

“You are a very confusing man, Tin Medthanan.” Can pulled away and Tin could not help the hand that reached out for him. “You seem so charming one day, so cold the next. Your gift first threw me into a rage and then embarrassed me into silence.” 

“I beg you to forgive me.” Tin pulled himself closer again, against Can’s back. “My brother… I could not shake his words that day, and am sorry that I caused you pain.” Tin’s grip tightened. “But I promise you, I care for you. Our last meetings have secured your place in my heart, if you will have it.”

“I think… I think I will.” Can slipped out of Tin’s arms and took his jacket off. Tin enjoyed the sight of Can’s shoulders and arms working as his shirt also slid to the floor. But what tipped Tin over the edge was the sight of the silk underwear he had sent to Can as a present, stretched taught over his ass. “If you’ll come to bed, husband, I have another present for you.”

Tin barely managed to slip his jacket off before he was tackling Can into the soft sheets of his bed. Can laughed, wild and surprised, as Tin pressed kisses on all available skin. 

“You are a tease,” Tin said as he bit Can’s earlobe. “A delightful tease.”

“Do you not enjoy how your present looks on me?”

“It looks far more fine than I could have imagined.” Tin’s hands slid up Can’s thighs and the moan from Can was like music. 

“Should I give you my other present now?”

“Is this not it?” Tin kissed Can, searching for the taste he had found during their first kiss after the ceremony.

“No…” Can said, breathless. “It is not.” Scrambling to find something on the bedside table, Can presented Tin with another box.

Tin opened it to find a large metal ring. “What kind of ring is this?”

“One forward present deserves another. It is no ring for your finger.” Can’s hands slid into Tin’s pants and Tin shivered. “It is for something bigger.”

“I-I thought I was too forward by sending you undergarments.”

“Well… Shall we see how you enjoy this present?”

(Their marriage was a happy one in many ways after all.)

Chapter Text

It was supposed to just be a small dinner with Phupha and his mother. Tul was expected to be away and Tin’s parents were definitely away. Everything had started out fine. Better than fine even!

Phupha and Can had sorted themselves out. Apparently they played the same video games and had finally bonded. Most of the day they had played together and Tin enjoyed a quiet afternoon chatting with his sister-in-law. At the dinner table, they chatted away excitedly, talking about strategies and levels, things that flew over Tin’s head. 

They had gotten through dinner proper and the maids had gone to bring in desert. 

Tul walked in shortly after.

Of course, Phupha was happy to see his father and his wife was pleasantly surprised. Tin’s expression did not waver until Tul spoke.

“Tin, I see you’ve brought your… friend. I do hope he was able to eat his fill tonight.”

“There was nothing to bother my appetite. I ate just fine, thank you, Tul,” Can said while clenching his fist. 

“I don’t remember asking you.”

“But you asked about me. Tin doesn’t want to talk to you right now.” Can tugged on Tin’s hand and received a small smile. “We were just leaving anyway.” Can pulled Tin along and Tul moved to intercept. Can stopped him with a hand to the chest. “I said Tin doesn’t want to talk to you and we are leaving.”

The only hint that Tul was upset was the twitch in the corner of his eye. Can smiled as they left.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Tin said as he drove them home. “I can handle him.”

“But you don’t have to.” Can put his hand over the one Tin had on the stick shift. “As long as I’m around, I won’t let him get close enough to hurt you again.”

Tin’s smile was soft and pleased the rest of the drive home. 

Chapter Text

Tin’s alarm went off first. Can curled toward’s Tin’s pillow and grabbed it as Tin sat up. Tin pressed a kiss to Can’s forehead before attempting to climb out of bed. Can’s hands were quick to pull Tin back, but Tin plied him back to sleep with soft words and kisses. 

Can’s alarm blared twenty minutes later, but it was the smell of coffee that woke him up. Stumbling into the kitchen, Can accepted the mug Tin pressed into his hands before sitting down at the breakfast table. Tin moved about, setting up breakfast prep for after their run while Can sipped down his required caffeine and pet Gucci.

Once fully awake, dressed, and Gucci leashed, the trio went for their morning jog. Gucci, for once, tugged at his leash, pulling Can along at a slightly faster pace than he liked. Tin laughed as Can complained for several laps.

Breakfast was slices of quiche with glutenous rice and pickled vegetables. Tin preferred pickled radishes and Can preferred pickled cucumbers. And despite the time Tin spent plating everything for Can’s obligatory Instagram posts, Can immediately placed all radishes on Tin’s plate and took all of his cucumbers.

Getting dressed for work was paced by slow kisses and greedy hands. 

Fortunately they left on time.

——-

They met for lunch. Tin glared at all of Can’s clients and Can slapped his arm. 

Only half the day had passed, but Can had acquired enough stories and gossip to fill the entire hour with chatter. Tin only smiled and nodded, placing food in Can’s plate and reminding him to take bites in between sentences.

Can paid for coffees to go afterwards, kissing Tin good bye with lips that tasted like grilled pork.

Tin returned to work with the taste lingering for the rest of the day.

——

When evening fell, Can let Tin speak about his day, letting words and numbers wash over him. And if Can fell asleep on the drive home, Tin said nothing and continued anyway. 

Can took Gucci on his evening walk as Tin prepared dinner. 

Dinner was curry ramen. Can loaded his with cheese on top and Tin made a face but let him do it anyway.

They sat together on the couch on opposite sides, legs tangled together under a blanket, after dinner. The TV provided background noise as Tin typed away and Can played video games. 

They shared their evening shower. They also shared wandering soapy hands, biting kisses, and steam filled air. Collapsing into bed on top of cool sheets was a blessing. Tin pulled up the covers as Can shut off the lights. 

Can curled up next to Tin, sighing in satisfaction as Tin put his arm around him.

A happy and satisfying day had drawn to a close. Tin and Can asked for nothing more. 

Chapter Text

This had to have been the worst idea of his life, Klengkla was sure. 

After so many years of pining. Years of just “happening” to be around when Techno came home from practice, sweaty and disheveled. Years of trying so hard to turn off his stuttering and blushing cheeks without any success to Technic’s annoying delight. Klengkla found himself in a pickle from which there would never be escape.

I’ll never escape because I’m going to die here,” Klengkla thought. “And at least I’ll die happy.

Technic only snickered and took more photos on his phone. “You were right. Helping P’No up to his bed was a great idea, Ai Kla. I’ll be able to blackmail you for ever with just these.” Klengkla moved to take a swipe at Technic only to be pulled tighter against Techno. The press of Techno’s body burned hotter than the blush on his face. “Now Ai Kla! That’s so rude of you to almost wake up your crush. You should let him sleep some more.”

Klengkla had seen his senior in many ways, fallen in love with all of them slowly but surely. But Techno’s drunken cuddling was not something Klengkla had ever thought he’d experience in front of an audience. 

“When I get out of here-”

“If you get out of here. How long have you dreamed of this very scenario?” 

“Three years, five months, fourteen days, two and a half hours, fifteen seconds.”

“Then you best enjoy it,” said Technic, not even phased by Klengkla’s timekeeping. “I’m going to bed. Yell if you realize your BL drama dreams aren’t coming true.”

“You’re actually leaving me here?!” Klengkla felt the blood finally drain away from his face. “I’ll actually die if I stay here!”

Technic gave Klengkla his blankest face. “Then die. At least I’ll get to keep your car.” With that, Technic shut the door and left Klengkla to his fate.

At first Kengkla kept his body stiff. Any time Techno’s legs moved, or Techno breathed, Klengkla could feel his body ramp into overdrive. Techno smelled like sweat and grass. Like beer and chips and smoke. Like everything his teenage dreams wanted and more. And Klengkla hated that he was here, on the precipice of more and that he couldn’t have it.

Techno, after all these years of flirting and hints, had never seen him as more than a boy only two or three years his junior. 

“But I’m a high school senior now, P’No.” Klengkla reached up to brush Techno’s hair out of his face. “I’ll be your college nong soon. Can you please wait for me? Can you see me as a man you could love soon?”

Techno pulled Klengkla closer still. It was surprisingly comfortable to share body heat this close with the AC on and whirring above. Klengkla prayed for strength, for luck, for hope, and let his arms wrap around Techno as well. 

If he was well and truly damned, then Technic was right and he should let himself have this one small thing before Techno woke up the next morning and never let him around again.

——

Techno’s alarm blared but he found his arm wouldn’t cooperate to shut it off. Or more rather something was holding it back. 

The alarm faded into silence, assuming a snooze was in order. Techno cracked open his eyes to thankfully see the ceiling of his room and a pair of arms around his chest, holding him close. Klengkla it seemed, had gotten into his room and fallen asleep, pulling Techno close.

Techno was not very observant, but he knew somewhere in his heart that Klengkla had been chasing him in his own little way. He was over far too frequently if it was only for Technic. He found ways to do little things for Techno, cold water bottles after practice or protein bars in his favorite flavors. Klengkla was even helping him study for English. 

And there was something in his smile, in the soft and slow way that Klengkla talked to him, so mindful of his words. But Techno had to admit he had no problem with Klengkla’s nervous stuttering either.

Here in the early sun, Klengkla’s jaw was more defined by the stark light. Techno saw the angles and shadows cast by Klengkla’s face and asked himself when Klengkla had grown up. When had the little boy who chased after him become a handsome young man. 

“Who are you, anymore, N’Kla?” Techno brushed Klengkla’s hair out of his face. “Are you truly even my nong anymore?”

“’Mmm always your nong, P’No,” Klengkla murmured in his sleep, pulling himself closer and resting his head on Techno’s chest. “Let me be your nong, P’No…” 

Feeling his face turn pink, Techno let himself stare into the ceiling again. But no matter how hard he looked, it provided no answers as to why his heart was beating just a tiny bit faster than normal.

Chapter Text

Perhaps it was the the fact that Tin had not and could not send him texts while he was away on an IC trip abroad. Or maybe it was that the lingering smell of Tin’s cologne had evaporated from the handkerchief Can had once used to dab Tin’s sweat. It could also possibly be that there was a taste he was suddenly craving, found only on Tin’s lips.

Whatever the reason, Can found his feelings about Tin had started to change. 

Initially, Can was sure they’d only be friends. Or at least, it was a game to Tin, but Can was sure he’d play and still come out on top. 

Even though friends don’t kiss, at least not with tongue the way Tin kissed him.  Friends didn’t make your insides tingle, make your heart beat faster, make you feel like gravity had flipped and that you were walking on the ceiling. Friends didn’t do a lot of the things he and Tin did.

So what was Tin if he did do all those things?

Did he like Tin? Did he want to keep doing these things with Tin?

So many feelings. So many worries. But was it worth it? Could he be the one to put that smile on Tin’s face? Could he be the one to melt the Ice Prince’s heart?

“Stupid Tin, making me confused.” Can punched his pillow and almost didn’t hear the ding of a text message. 

Seeing Tin’s name on the screen shouldn’t have felt as good as it did, Can was sure. He was also sure it shouldn’t make his heart flutter or make his palms clammy with sweat. 

And perhaps there was only one answer as to why it did. Even though the answer scared him, terrified him really, it was the answer. 

“Damn it,” Can muttered to himself. “I like Tin.”

Chapter Text

Pete watched as Tin’s mouth ran faster than his brain. Can took offense as usual and ran his mouth back. Both looked equally frustrated before parting. 

“I watch you talk to Can, and I can’t understand why the rumors say you’re so highly sought after,” Pete said as Tin returned to his seat.

“Mouth. Shut.” Tin picked up his pen and resumed his notes. “I don’t need advice from a person whose method of flirting is acting helpless.”

“And yet, Ae and I are doing fine.” Tin made a face. “Your mouth. Shut.”

Tin groaned and collapsed into his notebook. “Can is… A lot of things. And I like most of those things.” Tin cracked an eye open to watch Pete’s reaction. “So why the hell can’t I talk to him like a normal person?”

Pete’s expression softened just like Tin expected. “You’re too used to not talking about how you feel. You need to remember, not everyone is your brother.” 

Tin closed his eyes again. “It’s not about remembering. It’s feeling.”

Pete smiled and pat Tin on the head quickly before his hand was swatted away. “For once, I agree.”

——

On the bleachers by the soccer field, Can whined again for the third time in five minutes and Good knew that there would be no peace until he heard him out. 

“What did… you say to… Tin this time?”

“He said something snarky about my hair being a mess.” Can flopped his arm about. “Which totally wasn’t true. Then I told him at least I don’t have the personality of a rejected Star Wars villain.” Can curled up on himself. “Then he said I had the personality of a comedic relief character instead and I said the only funny thing here was his face and sense of pride in it.”

“That almost… sounds like… a real burn.”

Can turned to face Good. “Do you think it was a bad idea to actually do the reading for English class? Who is that Jane Austen lady anyway?!”

“Have you… tried just… not responding?”

“You mean not saying anything?” Good nodded. “But at least he notices me! At least he says something! What if he just… stops?”

“But Ai Can… if he really… just treats… you badly… why should you… like him?”

Can groaned. “I hate when you’re right.”

“Only because… you never are.”

“OI AI GOOD!”

——

Pete watched the next meeting of Tin and Can in the library and was just as surprised as Tin when after Tin opened his mouth and inevitably put his foot in it, Can kept his face neutral and walked away. 

Pete rubbed his eyes and stared at spot Can had previously occupied. He continued as if reality would fix itself or it were a trick of the light.

Tin resumed his work, but he was listless and unfocused. Pete put a hand on Tin’s shoulder, and to his surprise, it remained. And that was the most shocking thing of all.

——

Several more times did Tin try to engage Can and each time Can walked away, silent. After the last time where all Tin said was, “Hi, Thai Program,” and was still ignored, Tin stopped. Pete was not privy to what happened that night, but Tin came to school the next morning with blood shot eyes and refusing to talk to anyone.

Tin didn’t even look at Can as he walked past Tin several times that day. Tin carried on, as if Can was invisible. It didn’t matter where they were, Can was now a ghost, a non-entity. At one point Tin had even bumped into Can, causing him to trip and fall, and Tin did not look back once.

And a few days later, a gloomy cloud hung over Can. The hyper albino monkey of the Sports Science faculty was hyper no more. And while the quiet had been fine for a moment, the silence and lack of energy became obvious. The entire mood of the program had been brought down.

——

“Please talk to Can,” Pete said one day as he and Tin shared their usual table at the library. “The entire campus is depressed.”

“Why should I even bother anymore?”

“Because you like him.”

“He doesn’t like me.”

“You haven’t tried-”

“I have tried enough.” Tin’s expression showed his exhaustion. “I am tired, Pete. I am so tired. Don’t ask me to try anymore.”

Pete looked around, expression changing as he caught sight of something. “I understand, Tin. I understand how tired you are.” Pete placed a hand on Tin’s. “But I need you to try just one more time. Will you come with me?”

Tin allowed himself to be pulled up by Pete and lead to a study room. Tin caught a glance of who was sleeping inside before Pete shoved him in and barred the door from the outside to prevent him from leaving.

“Damn you Pete!” Tin banged on the door. “Let me out!”

“You’re both stupid and you need to talk,” Ae yelled back. “Come on Ai Koon Chai, if your friend is as stubborn as you say, they’ll be fine in there for a while.”

“You dirty son of a-”

“Who the hell is- AI TIN?!” Can sat up and looked around frantically. “Ai Good? Ai Ae? You bastards!” Can ran up and banged on the door, shoving Tin aside. “Assholes! I knew you didn’t want to study!”

“You weren’t… studying with us… anyway.”

“Damn it, Ai Good! Don’t do this to me!”

“I’ll be… back in… twenty. I hope you… talk well. Both of you.”

Tin slumped against the wall and slid to the floor. Can watched him wearily. Tin met his gaze for a moment before looking away.

——

They spent the next ten minutes in silence. Tin spent them, eyes closed, head tilted upwards, sitting against the wall. Can let himself observe Tin’s profile again after so long. Let himself admire the shape of Tin’s jaw, the broadness of his shoulders, all the physical things that had attracted him in the first place. 

But the thing that had attracted him most of all, Can had not seen in a long time. 

“Are you lost?” Tin kneeled before a little dog. Can hid behind a car to watch the so-called Ice Prince of the IC program treating a dog with such reverence and care. “Do you have a tag? Do you have a name? It must be a strong name. You’re so brave to be out here on your own.” Tin picked the dog up, stroking its fur. “I’m not that brave. No tags? Are you hungry?” Several barks. “Ah, well I don’t have food right now, but let’s see if I can’t do something for you.”

——

Another ten minutes passed. Good made no indication of returning. Tin had taken a chair to sit as far away as he could from Can in the small room. Can checked his phone for the fifth time in a minute. 

Silence was clearly no longer the answer. 

“What ever happened to that dog,” Can asked. He kept his gaze averted and did not see Tin’s confused expression.

“What dog?”

“A few months back, you found a dog.” Can took a deep breath. “I saw it, in the parking lot. You found a small dog and talked to it. I wonder what happened to it.”

“Concerned for the dog? Are you worried that I’m treating him so poorly?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” Can finally turned to Tin. “They called you the Ice Prince of the IC Program. And there you were, talking so sweetly to something so small. How can someone not wonder what you did to such a poor dog after the way you talk to everyone else?”

“And how do I talk to everyone else?” Tin crossed his arms. “You’re not so sweet yourself.”

“How would you know?!”

“How else does anyone find out anything? Or have you forgotten every conversation we’ve ever had.”

“You insult me every conversation! Who would talk with kindness after that?! And these days you don’t even acknowledge me!”

“I tried!” Tin realized he had stood up and sat back down down. “In all the last times I tried to not let my mouth run. I tried to just say hello to you. I have tried so many times. And each time you have ignored me. So why should I even acknowledge you?”

Silence fell for a minute. 

“We’re both kind of dumb, huh?”

“Speak for yourself, Thai Program. Who else would be upset about being ignored after ignoring someone first?”

Can frowned. “Can you at least acknowledge that insulting me all the time didn’t help either?!” Can pulled at his hair. “God, why do I even like you? You can’t even talk to me without calling me dumb or stupid or a mess!” Once the words were spoken, Can slapped his hands over his mouth.

“You like me?”

“Regrettably,” Can said through his fingers. “I wish I’d never seen you talk to that dog. It all went downhill from there.”

Tin closed his eyes and sighed. “I named him Honeydew. Cause he reminds me of you.”

“What?!”

“He’s small, energetic, very sweet, soft, and he makes me smile when I don’t want to.”

“WHAT?!” Can nearly collapsed onto the floor. “Did you just-”

“Name my dog after a boy I very clearly just admitted to having a crush on? Yes. I did.” Tin rubbed his face. “I’ve been trying for ages to talk to you like a normal person. I don’t do…” Tin waved his other hand around. “Feelings properly. I blame lots of things. I also blame myself. It’s not easy for me to communicate like this.” A huff of breath. “Every time I see you, my heart wants to say one thing and my brain says something else.” Tin finally looked to Can’s face again. “So there. I said it.”

Can walked around the table to sit next to Tin. “So do you agree we’re both idiots now?”

Tin sighed. “Evidence points to yes.”

“Do you want to be idiots together?”

Tin put an arm around Can and Can leaned into the warmth of Tin’s body. “I think I’d actually like that.”

(In all honesty none of their friends had left and they had sat there, ears pressed against the door the whole time, waiting to see if they’d finally get their heads out of their asses and get together.)

Chapter Text

After years of dating and living together, Tin was sure that Can could not keep a secret for his life.

Can had confessed countless surprise birthday plans, countless surprise interrogations, and countless “surprise” visits from Ae and Pete before Tin had to do much more than stare at him.

So the fact that Can was kneeling before him, ring in hand, and Tin had no prior knowledge of it coming (outside of discussing if marriage was ever really a thing either of them wanted) was fascinating.

“I uh… had a speech prepared. Ai Pete helped me write it and everything.”

“Okay.” Tin’s heart was beating too fast to be normal. He was sure of it.

“But I can’t remember it right now because I’m scared out of my mind.”

Tin smiled softly at Can. “Okay.”

“But I think I really love you, Ai Tin. I think there’s no one I’d rather spend my life with.”

“Okay.”

“And I know it’s kinda not legal in Thailand yet…”

“Okay.”

“But… Will you marry me?” Can held the ring out like an offering. It wasn’t much, just a plain gold band, but Tin knew Can must have been saving up for a while for it, especially given the strong yellow hue. 

Tin took the ring and put it on his finger. It was a perfect fit. Can was also a perfect fit.

“Yes,” said Tin, voice a bit breathless. “Yes, I’ll marry you, Cantaloupe.” Tin picked up Can and spun him around, kissing every spot of Can’s face he could reach while Can whooped in joy. 

“He said yes!” Can screamed on the next swings around. “TIN SAID YES!”

Can held Tin’s head steady to kiss him properly and even though they were making a terribly loud scene, quite a few people stopped in the street to applaud.

Chapter Text

Can pursed his lips as his eyes darted between ice cream flavors. Tin had said he was only allowed to pick one, but while strawberry was a staple, Can was loathe to leave behind the red bean flavor. Can turned to Tin with pleading eyes.

“No. Aren’t you the one who was complaining to me about how my abs are better than yours? How will two pints of ice cream help?”

“But Tin! It’s strawberry or red bean! How can I decide?!”

“Flip a coin, Cantaloupe.”

“Or…” Can clung to Tin’s side. “You could buy me both.”

“Of course I could buy you both. But I’m not going to.” 

“Please, Tin?” Can pressed a soft kiss to the corner of Tin’s mouth. 

Tin rolled his eyes, but that could not hide the fondness in them. “Fine, buy both. But don’t complain to me about not having any abs tomorrow.”

——

“Tin! Stop glaring at P’No!” Can ran from the locker room door to where Tin was glaring down Techno. Techno was more confused than scared which said a lot. “What did he even do to you?”

“He looks at you funny.”

“Everyone looks at me funny. I’m hilarious.”

“You’re a disaster,” Techno said as he slowly backed away. 

Can rolled his eyes and pressed a kiss to Tin’s cheek. “It’s okay. P’No means well. Stop glaring.” 

Tin did stop glaring only to ask Can to kiss him again properly, so Can counted it as a win.

——

After the fifth or sixth time that Tin had been persuaded into doing something for him after a kiss (”Please Tin? Just one little snack in bed?” “Fine, but if I find one crumb-”), Can had realized the pattern and the dangerous power it held. 

Tin was already obliging enough and abusing the persuasive power of kisses was potentially catastrophic. 

“I wonder if I could get Tin to do something crazy,” Can asked Good the next day. “Like if I could get Tin to make a professor disappear.”

“Who am I disappearing?” Tin waved at Good who nodded at him before ditching them both. “Why on earth are you telling Good about me making people disappear?”

“No real reason. Say, Ai Tin, Can you give me a ride home today?” 

Tin raised an eyebrow. “I thought you said you were leaving late today and didn’t want a ride.”

“Well…” Can stood up and pulled Tin down by his tie. “I mean, I could give you some… Incentive to wait for me…”  

“Like?”

“Like this.” Can kissed Tin, lapping at his bottom lip. Tin’s lips parted, but Can only gave him a teasing lick on the inner side of his lips before pulling away. “You’ll get the rest later if you wait for me.”

Tin looked into Can’s eyes and put a hand over the one holding his tie. “Well, I could work on a paper in the library…”

“Good answer,” Can said before pulling Tin close again. “Let me give you another installment of that incentive…”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean you’ve never made a blanket fort?!” Tin blinked as Can’s agitation increased. “I mean, it’s a fundamental part of childhood!”

“I just… didn’t? Cantaloupe, is this really something to be that-”

“YES IT IS!” Can cupped Tin’s face in his hands. “Don’t worry. I’m here for you. We can fix this and I can show you the wonders of a well made blanket fort.”

“It’s really not-”

“It is,” Can said, his voice firm. “Now give me like twenty minutes, thirty tops!”

“Are you ever going to be this motivated about your homework?”

“Nope,” Can shouted as he ran off.

Twenty-five minutes later to be exact, Can returned to drag Tin away from his desk. It did not escape Tin’s notice that his pillows and blanket had been taken as casualties in Can’s enthusiasm. 

In the living room Can had built a structure consisting of several chairs with blankets draped over them in varying degrees and filled with all the pillows and cushions he could find. Tin eyed the entire thing warily despite Can vibrating with excitement. 

“And we’re supposed to just lay in there? And do what?”

“God, you’re so smart but you’re so dumb.”

Tin raised an eyebrow. “You’re enjoying this too much.”

“Just get in the damn blanket fort, Tin.”

After crawling inside, Can instructed Tin to lay down before he curled his body around Tin’s. After taking a moment to relax, Tin had to admit Can had a point. It was nice, like a private hiding space. The lights were dim through the blankets and it was warm but not too warm. The sounds from outside were muffled. Can’s body was a soothing presence next to him. 

“I guess this isn’t so bad,” Tin said as he ran his hand up and down Can’s side. Can hummed in agreement. “Is this all you do in here? Just lay down and do nothing?”

“Of course not! This is just one thing we can do!” Can sat up for a moment. “We can tell stories, we can play games… There are lots of things to do in a blanket fort. What do you want to do, Ai Tin?”

Tin pulled Can back down, tucking him back against his side. “This is fine. We can just do this for a while.”

Can’s grin was maybe a little too pleased, but Tin didn’t mind.

Chapter Text

“You don’t look like a hitman,” Tul said as he sat down across from a young man, eyeing his silver hair and round face. The man’s expression darkened from his frown. “How do I know you’ll get the job done?” Tul blinked and felt a scratch across his cheek and the thud of a knife into the arm of his bodyguard. The man offered Tul a napkin, sunny smile back on his face despite the howling of Tul’s bodyguard. “I guess you’ll do.”

——

“Oh, is that your new neighbor?” Pete pointed at the moving truck parked outside. Tin didn’t even grunt in acknowledgement. “I wonder who he is.”

“No one important, I’m sure.”

“Hmm…” Pete continued to peer through Tin’s window. “Looks like he’s got nice legs.”

“What would Ae say if he heard you say that?” At last Tin looked up from his laptop. “Do I need to call him?”

Pete looked Tin directly in the eye and said in his driest voice, “I dare you.”

Tin tapped his phone screen. “Message sent.”

“Wonderful! He’ll come home early tonight.” Pete skipped over and pat Tin on the shoulder. “Thanks, Tin. Now he’ll be jealous and I won’t be in trouble for telling him directly.”

Tin blinked. “You played me.”

“Like a fiddle.” Pete picked up his bag. “Have fun getting to know your new neighbor!”

“Have fun being railed all night,” Tin yelled back before Pete left.

“I intend to!” And the only indication of any embarrassment on Pete’s face was the pink tint to his ears.

——

Tin had been determined to avoid meeting his new neighbor if only to spite Pete. However, there was no avoiding the association after a late Saturday morning wake-up call. Tin answered the knocking at his door to be greeted by a half naked man with damp silver hair and a far too bright smile on his face. 

Tin also hated to admit that Pete was right, he did have nice legs.

“Hi, I’m Can, I just moved in next door.” Can wai’d. “I just wanted to say hi and introduce myself.” Can grinned sheepishly. “And maybe ask if you’ve got some spare coffee grounds?” Tin took it all in, raised an eyebrow, and shut the door in Can’s face. “HEY! IS THIS ANY WAY TO TREAT YOUR NEW NEIGHBOR?!”

All the late morning quiet was lost afterwards. There was no hope for the afternoon or evening either as Can continued to stomp around his apartment all day. 

Tin wondered if he could file a grievance to get Can evicted. 

——

It took a week before Can came to bother Tin again. Only this time he was completely dressed – Tin refused to let his eyes wander, no matter how narrow Can’s waist looked in his shirt or how long his legs looked in his skinny jeans – and equipped with cookies that were obviously made using store-bought cookie dough. At the very least, Can had wrapped them up in a nice bag with some ribbon. 

Tin leaned back as Can thrust the bag into his face. “I wanted to say sorry for last week. I over-reacted.”

“If that’s you over-reacting, I’d hate to see when you’ve got your emotions under control.” 

Can waved the bag in Tin’s face. “Aren’t you going to accept?”

“Do I have to?”

“God, what is wrong with you? I’m trying to apologize! Are you always this much of an asshole?!”

“Apology not accepted.” Tin moved to shut the door and Can stepped into Tin’s apartment, passing through the gap between Tin’s body and the doorway. 

“I’m trying to be nice here!” Can attempted to put the cookies on the nearest surface before Tin grabbed him by the collar and shoved him out the door before Can could do anything else.

“OUT!”

——

It took quite some time before Tin saw Can again, and at least this time, they had little choice. The apartment superintendent had insisted on inviting everyone down for a meeting and everyone was seated by apartment number. Which left Can sitting next to Tin.

Initially, Can kept up a chilly silence, but after several topics, Can had started making comments under his breath. Tin agreed with several of the assessments, including how unnecessary the meeting was. 

He even engaged Can in snarky conversation. Can’s eyes were wide with surprise, but the smile on his face was far too pleased. They spent the rest of the time making faces at each other every time the superintendent turned around. 

——

Funny faces during the now mandatory weekly meetings became text messages. Text messages became breakfasts and dinners and movies and laughter. 

Breakfast and a mug of coffee some how lead to a kiss.

Tin sat back in his dining chair, mug forgotten as Can crawled into his lap, kissing as if he could suck the soul out of Tin. Tin wanted to let him, weeks of tension, fleeting touches and silly smiles slowly driving him mad. Can wasn’t so bad after all. He was funny. He was charming. His attitude was infectious. And apparently his mouth was very skilled. Tin cursed his traitorous heart for skipping a beat as Can’s tongue swirled around his. 

Can smiled against Tin’s lips and Tin bit his plump bottom lip, making Can shudder. 

“Do you want to take this to the bedroom?” Tin gasped against Can’s mouth as Can gyrated his hips. Can nodded furiously moaning as Tin picked him up and carried him off.

——

Tin awoke to the sound of buzzing coming from Can’s pants. Can did not stir and slept on, burying his face into Tin’s pillows with a satisfied sigh. Tin dug out Can’s phone to silence it only to find a number he did not expect and a glimpse of a message. 

The phone dropped to the floor with a clatter and Can sat up, eyes darting around just quick enough to catch Tin running for the door.

“TIN! WAIT!” Can grabbed his phone and pants, cursing when he saw the message and that he’d brought the wrong phone with him. “I can explain!”

But Tin had already armed himself with a kitchen knife as he stood by his front door. “You stay over there!”

“Tin, let me explain! I’m not going to-”

“You let my brother hire you to kill me!” Tin wanted to scream and laugh and cry all at the same time. “I can’t believe I was so stupid!”

Can stepped forward, each step soft and slow, hand out and open. “Tin… Tin, you have to let me say something.” Can was half way across the room before Tin held up his phone, the number for the police already dialed, thumb hovering over the call button. “Okay, you can call the police. You should call the police. But I am still technically an assassin sent to kill you and if I wanted to kill you, you’d be dead before they arrived.” Tin renewed the pointing of his knife in Can’s direction. “Uh… was that the wrong thing to say?”

“Get the fuck out out my apartment!”

Can continued advancing. “I don’t want to kill you, Tin. I may have wanted to when you were an asshole-”

“Not helping!”

Can winced. “What is it about you that makes me put my foot in my mouth?!” Can pulled at his own hair. “I was going to tell your brother I’m dropping the contract anyway!” The tip of Tin’s knife lowered a tiny fraction. 

“I like you, Tin. I genuinely like you. You’re an asshole, but I like you.” Can’s arms dropped to his sides. “And if you need proof, you can come here and kill me first.” Can continued walking and let the tip of Tin’s knife press against his throat. Tin’s arm jerked, a small drop of blood welling on Can’s skin, but Can didn’t move. “I wouldn’t blame you if you did kill me. Hell, I say like, but I’m willing right here and now to die for you, Tin. Because I don’t think I could bear the burden of your death.” 

Can slowly reached up and put his hands around Tin’s. Can’s eyes were clear and warm. They held Tin’s gaze easily. “You can kill me and clean it all up. You’ve got the money, the power… I know you do. 

“Or, we can talk about this. And I can earn back your trust. And I can help you get even with your brother.

“Which one do you want?”

Tin wrenched his hand out of Can’s grasp. The knife fell to the floor with a clatter that was too loud to be possible over the frantic beating of Can’s heart in his ears. Tin curled into a ball on the floor and Can rushed over to cover him with his own body, murmuring apologies and soothing words.

There would be time later to sort things out properly, but Can thanked his lucky stars that Tin believed him enough to give him a chance to set things right.

(And of course, if Tin asked, Tul’s death would be gratis.)

Chapter Text

The rainy season always slowed down Can, in lots of ways. Too much rain to do anything outside. Too many cloudy days dragging his energy levels down. 

And yet, as Can finally diverted his gaze away from the horror movie on Tin’s theater screen to his boyfriend, there were some advantages. The rainy season meant Tin was also similarly stuck indoors. Which also meant he had lots more time to spend with Can.

Can lifted Tin’s arm and snuggled himself closer to Tin’s body. Tin only pulled Can closer still, not glancing away, not arguing, and definitely not being snarky. Despite the screams of horror coming from the sound system, Can found himself relaxing further. He hummed and that finally got Tin’s attention.

“Sleepy?”

“Mm…” Can pulled the throw blanket over himself. Tin tucked it in further. “Too cloudy.”

“Should I turn off the movie?”

“Not yet,” Can mumbled. “Can still pay attention for a bit longer.”

Tin huffed and Can took it as a loud burst of laughter. “What’s the point if you’ll fall asleep in another minute?”

Can cracked an eye open. “Shush. Be a good boyfriend pillow.”

“Aren’t I already?”

“You’re short one thing.”

“What is it, Cantaloupe?”

“Give me a kiss before I take my nap.”

Another huff. “Of course.” Tin thumbed at Can’s bottom lip before pressing several soft kisses in succession. Can preened under the attention before curling up further. “Enjoy your nap.”

“I want pizza when I wake up.”

Can was already drifting off, but he could feel Tin rolling his eyes. “Of course you do.”

“With… mmm…. chicken wings….”

Thankfully, before Can’s order could get any more extensive, he finally drifted off. Tin shut off the movie before curling around Can. A rainy day nap wasn’t a bad idea. Punching in an alarm to wake him up to place the dinner order. Tin finally allowed himself to sleep as well.

Chapter Text

“Chompoo, you really need to be more observant! If you look carefully at these photos I have here, you can see just how much P’Tin loves P’Pete!” Ley carefully laid out several printed out pictures. “This is my favorite.”

Chompoo looked at the photo. “Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure!”

“Because… It doesn’t look right,” Chompoo said before biting her lip. “P’Pete looks at P’Tin differently than he looks at P’Ae.”

“P’Ae?! Who’s P’Ae?!”

Chompoo blinked. “Don’t you know P’Ae? Doesn’t he play soccer with P’Can?”

“What? That P’Ae? What do you mean he looks at P’Ae differently?”

Chompoo tapped her chin. “It’s weird. He… how do you describe it…” Chompoo looked through the photos. “Uh… Oh! It’s like this!” Chompoo pulled out a photo Ley realized she’d forgotten to throw away. Tin was looking off to the side where Can had been walking by. Knowing the context, Ley had intended to throw it away. “P’Pete looks at P’Ae like this!”

“Wait… Like this?!” Ley examined Tin’s expression carefully. It was soft and distant, but surprisingly focused. If Tin really had been looking at Can, it was as if Can didn’t have to do anything but exist to get his attention. Like all the stars and planets revolved around him. “Impossible!”

“But I swear it’s true! If you come with me tomorrow morning to the Engineering canteen, you’ll see it for yourself!” 

Ley frowned but agreed all the same. There was no harm in confirmation. Perhaps Tin would also be there and Ley was hoping to catch another photo or two of them together. 

——

The following morning, Chompoo lead Ley to her favorite spot to watch Ae. Sure enough Pete was with him that morning. And sure enough, Pete’s look as he watched Ae walk off to get their breakfast was painfully laden with more emotion than any look he’d ever given Tin. Pete was positively besotted. 

“This… this is all wrong!” 

“Huh?” Chompoo turned to Ley. “What’s wrong?”

“No no no, this is not the way he should be looking at anyone but P’Tin!”

“But… why does it have to be P’Tin?” Chompoo frowned. “Look, P’Tin is over there looking at someone else.”

“WHAT?!” Ley whipped around and found Tin chasing after her idiot of a brother. “No! P’Can needs to get out of the way! I’m sure P’Tin is looking at P’Pete!”

“But P’Pete is in the other direction.”

“Irrelevant!”

Tin continued to follow after Can, eyes sending hearts in Can’s direction. Can seemed to feel them, and would swat the air around him. And yet, when Tin caught up and grasped his wrist, Can smiled, something soft and indulgent, calm and peaceful and Ley wanted to cry. 

“See! They’re looking at different people the way you want them to look at each other,” Chompoo announced. “I think your… analysis? Is wrong?”

“I’ll show you wrong!” Ley marched up to Can and Tin, interrupting their weird staring. “P’Can!”

“Huh?! Ai Ley, what are you doing here?” Can turned around and ended up leaning back into Tin. Tin casually put his arms around Can’s waist and Can did nothing to dislodge him. “Why aren’t you in class?”

“Never mind that! Get out of P’Tin’s arms!”

“But, it’s comfy?” Can peered up at Tin. “Are you comfortable?”

“Never been better.”

“That’s- You- Argh, P’Tin is dating P’Pete!”

Can blinked. “Didn’t we sort that out a while ago?” Can looked up at Tin again who looked only slightly less amused. “Are you dating Ai Pete? You should have told me. I’d have bought you condoms.”

Tin coughed politely and Ley felt her blood pressure rise. “Take this seriously, P’Can! Stop getting in the way!”

“Lemon,” Tin said and Ley froze at the seriousness in his voice. “I am not dating Pete. I am dating Cantaloupe.” Tin ignored Can’s slap to his arm at the use of his full nickname. “Pete is dating someone… else.” 

“You can say Ae’s name, you know.”

“If I say his name, it counts as acknowledging him.”

Can rolled his eyes. “Ley, go to class. We’ll talk about this later.”

Ley frowned and stomped off, Chompoo following behind. “Why are you so upset, Ley? Isn’t it enough? To let them be happy?” Chompoo asked. “Why does it matter that TinPete isn’t a thing?”

“Wouldn’t you be upset to realize that something you wanted isn’t something you’ll get?”

Chompoo fell quiet for a moment. “I was. And then I realized that if you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if it’s not with you.” Chompoo pulled Ley to a stop. “So that’s why I’m happy that P’Ae and P’Pete are dating.”

“You knew?!”

“Of course I did. I spent so long crushing on P’Ae. How could I not know.” Chompoo pat Ley’s shoulder. “I hope you’ll learn to just be glad that P’Pete and P’Tin are happy.” Chompoo walked off to leave Ley with her thoughts and to reevaluate her thoughts about shipping TinPete.

Chapter Text

Can had never had the opportunity to join in on a murder mystery dinner party. That sort of thing, despite sounding interesting, had always been outside the scope of his usual family and friends to organize. But who had known that Tin, received invitations to them nearly every year? And this time, as news about Can dating Tin had spread through the high society social circles, it was only polite to invite the young Medthanan’s boyfriend as well.

Can stared at his invitation in wonder as it detailed the scenario in delicate script, with clear instructions to not give away his character’s identity until the day of the party. The large amount of excitement was almost causing him to vibrate.

“Tin! We have to go!” Can tugged vehemently on Tin’s arm and Tin wondered if he was going to need to see a doctor to pop the joint back in. “I want to go! Can we go? Please?!”

“You know you’ll spend more time fooling around with the mystery than the eating, right?” Tin eyed his own invitation with just a bit of scorn, but also said nothing about who his character was.

“But it’ll be fun! I’ve always wanted to go to one. Please Tin?!”

Tin sighed and refused to look at Can’s puppy dog eyes. The answer was already obvious. “Alright. Fill out your RSVP. We’ll go.”

“Yay!”

The night of the dinner, all guests were instructed to bring their invitations and hand them in for a mask. Can received one that was a simple black masquerade mask without any frills. He happily pulled it on and made poses. Tin received one that was light blue with sequins and feathers. He eyed it with distaste as Can laughed and encouraged him to put it on.

“I am Detective Conan!” Can announced as he took his seat at the dinner table. “It is a pleasure to meet you all!”

“Mrs. Frost,” Tin said in a deadpan voice sitting next to him. “I do hope dinner is not a drab affair.” Can cackled as Tin’s voice lost any and all emotion or infliction. “I do hate boring dinner parties.”

The rest of the guests introduced themselves appropriately and yet Tin’s completely emotionless introduction continued on through the rest of the night with his acting. Even during the final reveal of Mrs. Frost as the murderer, Tin remained completely cold.

“Oh no. That my plan could be seen through so easily,” Tin recited as if he was a robot. “I will not forget that you foiled my plan Detective Conan. Not in the next ten lifetimes.”

“Ai Tin,” Can stage whispered. “Could you at least try just a little?”

“No.”

Can bit his lip and after the dinner was completed he came to whisper to Tin again. “How about if I ask you to do some role play with me at home? Will you act a bit better then?”

A glance with some heat. “And what do you want to act out?”

Can pulled on Tin’s tie. “Professor… I was wondering if I could see you for some office hours about my grade…”

Tin’s hands tightened their grip on Can’s arms. “I’m sure you have some good arguments…”

“The best kinds of arguments. With physical evidence.”

“Well… Let’s see it then.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

Tin pursuing Can had been quite a learning curve. For everyone. Tin and Can included. But everyone could agree at the end of the day, that this was clearly a fine match. Can grounded Tin in ways no one else could, particularly because he was spectacularly capable at handling Tin’s bullshit. Tin was good at neutralizing Can’s excess of energy, perfectly fine with quietly listening to everything that came out of his mouth and responding quickly. 

It was nice. And how could Pete complain to see Tin happy for once? Everyone else was just pleased that Can wasn’t yelling at the top of his lungs or asking them for snacks. 

Can’s parents had also reaped the benefits of higher grades since Tin had been tutoring him.

Of course, learning how ridiculously saccharine they were around each other was also going to be a learning curve.

And Pond had thought Ae with Pete was bad.

The gang had decided to all pitch in and go for a nice seafood buffet. Tin had only opened his mouth to offer to pay for the whole thing before Can had shut it for him and said they’d love to join and split the bill. This in itself was fine.

The part that was hard to bear was when Can had loaded his plate full of crab legs, shrimps in shells, brilliantly red crayfish, and two massive lobster tails. He then dumped it all in front of Tin and held out a second empty plate.

Tin only blinked once before cracking open and peeling everything for Can who snapped it up the moment it touched his plate. Every other bite was fed to Tin. Tin didn’t even look. He opened his mouth before Can’s fork finished it’s approach and ate the offered morsel. 

Even Ae had sat in wonder, mid shrimp peeling for Pete no less, to observe what was going on. 

“This is too much! Ai Can, learn to peel your own food!” Ae had started off on a lecture without even realizing the irony of all the shrimps Pete had asked him to peel. Never mind the fact that Pete had finally learned how to peel them himself anyway.

“Why are you complaining! I’m feeding Ai Tin too! See?!” Can held up a luscious bite of lobster tail and Tin bit it off his fork without even blinking. “He’s not just peeling it all for me!”

“I never thought I’d see the day,” Pete said fondly. 

“Ai Pete,” Pond began. “You’re okay with this?”

“It’s love. What’s not to be okay with.” Pete turned to Ae. “Ae krab…. Can you feed me a shrimp too?”

“Oh, of course, here.” Ae offered the peeled shrimp in his hands to Pete who ate it happily. “Does it taste good? Do you want more?”

“Mmm!”

Pond turned to Cha’Aim. “Do… do you want me to peel a shrimp for you?”

“Touch my food with your dirty hands and I’ll slap you.”

“That’s my babe.”

Chapter Text

Champ prided himself on being able to sleep through most things. But he was glad to be awake now as Techno tossed and whimpered next to him. Having dealt with Techno’s nightmares before, Champ sat up and pulled the covers back so Techno wouldn’t get tangled. 

Techno’s nightmares were typically about grasping hands that wouldn’t let go, malicious smiles, and invasive darkness. Champ had also faced many a flying elbow the first few times. So tonight, Champ put a gentle hand on Techno’s shoulder and whispered a litany of calming words in his ear. 

“You’re not with him. You’re with me, Champ. You’re safe. You’re healing. He can’t hurt you, not while I’m here. Not while any of us is here.” Champ rubbed a few small circles into Techno’s shoulder, feeling the other boy ease by degrees. “You’re safe. It’s okay. Come back.”

At last, Techno stilled, but with a deep breath, he opened his eyes and looked up at Champ. “Did I wake you?”

Champ rolled his eyes. “You know that’s not a problem.” Champ pulled Techno up and against his chest. Techno leaned in and took another deep breath. “I’m here because I want to be here.”

“I just… I just want to not… Remember… To not feel him…” Techno sniffled against Champ’s neck. “I feel like my skin is crawling after every nightmare…”

“It’s a process,” Champ said as he tightened his grasp on Techno. “You’ll work on it bit by bit. And I’m here.”

Techno frowned. “And what if we never…”

Champ looked down at Techno with a raised eyebrow. “So what? Did I say I’m dating you just for sex?”

Techno pushed away. “No!”

“So then it doesn’t matter, does it? My hand still works.”

“You-” Techno huffed, but he still settled back against Champ. “Thank you, Ai Champ, for understanding.”

“Don’t thank me. This is the way it should be.” Champ kissed the top of Techno’s head. “Now, how about some warm milk? That should help you calm down, hmm?”

As Champ moved to get out of bed, Techno tightened his grip. “I don’t need it… I just… I just need this. Can we just do this for a while longer?”

Champ’s expression softened. “Of course we can. For as long as you want, Ai No.” Champ pulled the blanket back up around them. “Just say when.”

And Techno knew in his heart that Champ meant that for more than just cuddling. 

Chapter Text

Can: So Valentines Day is coming.
Can: Our FIRST Valentines Day.

Tin: I am ready. I will be be romantic.

Can: I’m putting in a rule.
Can: No buying gifts.

Tin: …
Tin: So you mean no gifts over 1000 baht?

Can: Smaller.

Tin: So you mean no gifts over 30 baht?

Can: TIN!
Can: NO BUYING

Tin: Making?

Can: Making is acceptable.

Tin: Cake?

Can: I like cake.

Tin: Valentines Day cake?

Can: Very acceptable!

Tin stared at his phone and frowned before turning to look at the pile of soccer and video game merchandise he had purchased already as gifts for Can. He glared at the pile, as if that would make Can accept the items. “For his birthday. He can’t refuse me on his birthday,” Tin said with finality before heading to his laptop. “Now a cake recipe. How hard could it be?”

The wide variety of different kinds of cakes was not lost upon Tin. But the easiest was deemed too simple and the most complex was designated as too ostentatious. Tin decided upon red velvet as the red color would fit the theme of the day and proceeded to look up the ingredients he would need.

Here, a new roadblock was hit. Some recipes specified a size of egg, some didn’t. Some said vinegar and baking soda, some said no vinegar, just buttermilk. Some said to use a special cocoa powder, others said just use red food coloring. 

Even a spreadsheet had not been enough to help keep track of all the variations. Tin threw the whole thing aside, picked the easiest looking recipe, and went to work.

The maids stared from the side as Tin measured with precision, mixed with care, and baked to the very last second on the timer. None of this could explain the horrifying mess that emerged from the oven. The cake was burnt black, and yet still as floppy as rubber. It resisted pokes from knives and toothpicks alike.

Dutifully, Tin still covered it in cream cheese frosting and packaged the result in a box, tied up with a pretty red ribbon before shoving it in the fridge for tomorrow. 

Can rubbed his hands greedily as Tin placed the box in front of him with a resounding thud. From the outside, the spreading of the frosting was neat and even. Can nodded in approval before Tin handed him the knife. Upon the first attempt, Can had to push down with all his strength to cut it. 

“Uhh…” Can frowned as he tried to tug the knife out to make another cut. “Tin? What kind of cake is this?”

“Red velvet.”

“That… No that doesn’t explain anything. Did you bake it properly?”

Tin shrugged. “I followed the recipe.” 

“You are… detail oriented. So why does this… not cut right?”

Tin helped in pulling out the knife and making another incision. The slice that was removed was a burnt crimson red with absolutely no crumb, looking like Tin had stacked red rubber disks on top of each other to make a fake cake.

“Happy Valentines Day,” Tin announced as he stabbed a fork into the rubbery mess before presenting it to Can.

“Thanks… Tin. I’ll enjoy it. I think.” Can pulled the fork out with a concerning noise. “Umm… Maybe next year we can do gifts that you can buy.”

Chapter Text

Can closed his locker after another successful morning practice and nearly jumped out of his skin to find one of his juniors waiting there for him. “Nai? What are you doing? You scared me half to death!”

“P’Can, didn’t you promise you would show me some new trick shots before class today?”

Can frowned. “I did?”

“Yes, right at 11!”

Can checked his phone, several messages from Tin were waiting, but indeed, the time was 11 AM. “Uh…”

“Come on P’! You promised to show me! And then we should get lunch after!”

“Nai… You can’t just-” Nai pouted and Can suddenly recalled his time as a freshman and how badly he bothered Techno. “Okay, I’ll teach you one shot and then a quick lunch.”

“Thank you P’Can!” Nai squeezed Can’s arm in a hug. “I appreciate it!”

“Um… Yeah… Sure…” Can looked at his phone. “Just head out to the field. I’ll be there in a minute.”

——

“P’Can!” Nai barged into Can at full strength, which for a young man about the same height as Can, was a lot. He wrapped his arms around Can’s waist and rested his chin on Can’s shoulder. “P’Can, what a coincidence seeing you here!”

“N’Nai… We’re both Sports Science. Of course you’ll see me here in the building now.”

“Mn, but P’Can, you’re usually not here at this time.”

Can paused in his attempts to dislodge Nai. “What do you mean?”

“You’re usually either here early or here late. I hardly ever see you here at 11 AM.”

“Is that… so?”

“But since you’re here now, P’Can, you should help your nong!”

“How so?”

“I’m having trouble with some of my assignments, P’. Can you teach me?”

“Umm…” Can checked his watch. “P’ can tutor you for an hour.”

“Oh great! Then it’s lunch time! Let’s have lunch after!”

Can winced. “Uh… How about just a coffee after?”

Nai frowned and sulked, but Can didn’t relent in his restriction and so Nai accepted.

——

“Yes, I promise I won’t be late today,” Can said on the phone as he walked as fast as possible to the parking lot. “The last couple of times were not my fault! I was paying my dues for being an annoying junior!”

Can looked around cautiously before continuing on, and yet he was still blindsided by Nai jumping out of a bush. “P’Can!”

“N’Nai! You have to stop jumping out of things!” Can said after he recovered. His voice covered the distant shouting from his phone. “Why are you here?”

“I saw P’Can was running somewhere and I wanted to make sure you were okay!”

“Well, as you can see, P’Can is fine. Now I really have to-”

“But P’ we’ve met and now it’s 11.”

Can froze mid step. “What?”

“We’ve met at 11. That means we have to do lunch!”

Can winced. “Can I take a rain check today?” Can waved his phone, unaware the call was still connected. “I’m a little busy today and I can’t run late.”

Nai frowned, but Can held firm until the boy was chased away.

——

Nai watched and waited for his amazing P’Can. He was sure it wouldn’t be much longer until P’Can liked him back! They’d had so many lunches together already due to his cunning plan. Who knew that business students knew how to do something right?

As Nai waited, he saw a tall and handsome senior walk in and block his line of sight. Based on his uniform, Nai was sure he was from the IC program. The senior IC student continued to stand there and wait, the longer he waited, the more he annoyed Nai.

Just when Nai was going to burst from annoyance, Can appeared. He ran right up to the IC student and Nai’s jaw dropped as Can kissed him soundly.

“Tin! You came!”

“Of course I did. Apparently I have to come and make sure you’re not distracted these days.” Tin glanced out of the corner of his eye and Nai ducked down, as if Tin’s stare could pin him to the wall. “And it is 11 AM so naturally a lunch should follow.”

“Eh? You’re still saying that?!”

“Well I think you needed reminding,” Tin said as he tugged Can along. “Besides, this rule only applies for you and me.” Tin looked over his shoulder and Nai ducked down again. “Not anyone else.”

Chapter Text

“Cantalope.”

“I told you not to call me that,” Can yelled as he stood up from his seat. “What do you even want, Tin? Why are you in the Sports Science canteen?” Can looked around. “Isn’t it too dirty for you.”

Tin sniffed and sat down delicately. “I’m here on a matter of business.”

“Business with a dirty Thai Program? Are pigs flying?” Can leaned over to look outside. “There must be.”

“Do you want to hear the proposition or not?”

“Propo-what?”

Tin sighed. “I need a date for several parties next week.”

Can picked up his spoon and sat back down. “So what does that have to do with me?”

“I want you to be that date.”

Can’s spoon fell to the table with a clatter. “What?!”

“I don’t need you to date me for real. I just need you to come with me to some parties, be as loud and obnoxious as possible, eat all the food, and then leave.” Tin smirked. “You know, like how you normally act.”

“You asshole!”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.”

“If you’re going to talk like that to me, then I’m not even going to think about it!”

“I’ll pay you.”

“I don’t need your money.”

“The food will be very, very good.”

Can opened his mouth, closed it, thought for a moment, and then said, “How good is very, very good?”

“The best chefs in Thailand will be cooking the food for every. Single. Party.”

“And I can eat as much as I want?”

“Yes.”

“Even if you have to roll me out of the venue?”

“I’d prefer you ate even more than that.”

“Okay, then I’ll do it!”

Tin raised an eyebrow. “You won’t be my fake date for money, but you’ll be my fake date for food?”

“I have principles, Ai Tin,” Can said stiffly. “I wouldn’t expect a person like you to understand.”

“You literally sold yourself out for food. You don’t get to be snide with me, Thai Program.”

——

The first date was for some commercial real estate conglomerate. Can couldn’t remember the name of the company for the life of him. Tin took him around to greet a bunch of people, introducing him as his “very sweet boyfriend” and then left him to sit at a table with an endless stream of waiters bringing him food. Can counted it as a success. At least until people started coming up to him to talk.

“So, how ever did you meet N’Tin,” a lady dressed in a sparkly gold dress and large pearls asked. “You seem so… interestingly matched.”

Can chewed thoughtfully. Tin hadn’t asked him to lie, just show up, eat, and be “obnoxious.” “Ai Tin nearly ran me over with his car.”

“He did what?!”

“Oh Can loves to tell that crazy story,” Tin interjected, smoothly sliding into the seat next to Can. Can yelped though as Tin stepped on his foot. “It wasn’t nearly as close as he makes it sound.”

Crisis averted, Tin took over the conversation and Can continued to stuff himself. And while he was glad to no longer be the focus of the conversation, Can found himself just a bit miffed that he was not paid any attention by his supposed date.

“You’re an awful date,” Can said as they left the party. “Who would believe you’re anyone’s boyfriend when you leave them alone at the table?”

“Are you saying you want me to spend more time with you?”

Can made a face. “Not so much time. You’ll ruin my appetite.”

——

The second date was a river cruise and Tin sat next to Can for most of the night, as if he’d taken Can’s criticism to heart. He placed bite upon bite of food on Can’s plate without stopping as he chatted away with other business people. Can, to his credit, attempted to interject once in a while whenever Tin nudged him and he was given polite stares. At least until the dessert course.

“Oh it’s a Japanese cheesecake,” Can had announced after a glance at the slice on his plate.

“I wasn’t aware that Sports Science majors were well versed in patisserie,” the man sitting across from Can said. 

Tin glanced at Can out of the corner of his eye, but Can wasn’t ruffled in the slightest. “Well, I’m not well versed in patisserie, but I know a Japanese cheesecake when I see one, sir.”

“Do tell us then, what should we be seeing?”

Can rolled his eyes. “Here we see that it is surprisingly fluffy, with air bubbles from whipped egg whites.” Can pointed at some with the tines of his fork. “And yet…” He cut into his slice. “We also see some creaminess to the texture. More like a mousse than an actual tear-away cake.” Can ate a bite. “A smooth and delicate flavor of the cream cheese with just a hint of vanilla. The feeling of bubbles popping in your mouth.” Can smiled. “Not a bad Japanese cheesecake at all, sir.”

Tin put his arm around Can and Can fought the instinct to throw it off. However, once he settled, the weight and warmth from Tin’s arm was surprisingly welcome. “You see? My Cantaloupe is talented in many interesting ways.”

“Hmph, clearly.”

Tin smiled and turned to talk to someone else as the rest of the table proceeded to eat the cake. Tin’s arm slipped away and Can found a part of himself mourning the loss.

“Was that better?” Tin asked as he drove Can home. “Did I spend enough time around you to convince others?”

“Why are you worrying about my opinion? Shouldn’t you ask the people you’re trying to trick?”

“Well, if you’re not happy, they won’t be convinced either, won’t they?”

Can bit his lip, unable to find a flaw in the logic. “You… They… I guess it was fine.”

Tin smiled just a bit. “Is that so? I’ll remember that.”

——

The third and fourth dates, a surprisingly chaotic theater dinner and a pool party respectively, had passed in much the same way. But Can started to notice that despite the attentions Tin paid upon him, Tin was still approached by many a man or woman looking for his attentions. 

Can stuffed his face more than ever, as if food could fill the yawning void opening in his chest. “Why should I care that Tin’s not paying attention to me?” Can mumbled to himself as he ate another fancy, completely overloaded, hot dog during the pool party. “It’s not like I want his attention or anything.”

The fifth date was their last date for the week and Can was surprised to find it was a proper ball. Tin showed up to Can’s house two hours early with a neatly pressed suit. With much cajoling and effort, Can finished putting on the whole outfit. Tin’s face was composed as Can came out to show off, but Can could feel Tin’s eyes burning through the layers of cloth.

The ride to the venue was quiet. Can fiddled with the cufflinks Tin had given him and spent most of the time staring out the window, wondering why his heart was thudding away in his chest. Once they arrived, the pair was formally announced and Can felt a thousand eyes staring at him as they made their way down to the floor.

Before Can could run off to their assigned table, Tin pulled him on to the dance floor. “You owe me one dance before you’ll eat so much I have to roll you out of here,” Tin said before pulling Can into position. “Just don’t step on my toes and we’ll be fine.”

“I’ve got enough coordination to not just avoid your toes! I’ll dance circles around you!”

Tin smiled, a genuine smile not a smirk, and Can was forced to blink at how bright it was. “I’ll look forward to seeing that.”

Tin lead Can into the dance, a mess of steps, twirls, and whirls. By the end of the song, Can was laughing, pleasantly enjoying the final spin that Tin put him through. “Again! Again!”

Tin looked down at Can, his smile still bright. “Did you enjoy it that much?”

“Spinning in circles is always fun. Come on, one more!”

“Well, I-”

“Oh Tin!” A girl fluttered up to them and the smile fell off Tin’s face. Can found himself unconsciously looking down, as if he could find the shattered remains of it on the floor. “I’m so glad you made it. You promised me a proper dance last time.” She looked to Can. “And I see you’ve warmed yourself up already. So don’t waste any time. Let’s dance this next song.”

Can moved to let go of Tin’s hand, suddenly aware of how tight his grip was, but Tin held firm. “I’m sorry P’Prae. I promised my boyfriend one more dance before dinner. I hope you’ll excuse me so he doesn’t call me a liar.”

Can’s head shot up to look at Tin’s cool expression. “Oh? Did you?! Well that is right and fair then. Come find me after dinner. A fine dancer such as yourself, I won’t let you escape tonight until I’ve had my chance.”

“Of course, P’Prae.”

“Ai Tin…” Can pulled on Tin’s sleeve as Prae walked away. “You don’t have to-”

“You’re here as my date. I should treat you properly, right?” Tin pulled Can along and their dance started again.

After dancing, Tin lead Can to their dinner table to let him eat his fill. “I know you didn’t like it last time, but I really do need to talk to some people for a few minutes. I promise I’ll be back before the second course.”

Can nodded and reached for his appetizer. “Okay. Second course.”

Tin wandered off and Can kept a careful eye on him in between bites. And if he bit into his second course just a little more vehemently as Tin was still not at the table, no one had to know. Tin arrived at the start of the third course and Can chose to ignore him. Tin, to his credit, did continue to lavish attention on Can, but it fell on deaf ears. 

“Can. Cantaloupe.” Can shot Tin a glare at last. “I’m sorry I took a little longer.” 

“Not my concern,” Can said imperiously as he cut his steak. “You do what you have to.”

Tin frowned. “You’re upset.”

“Hardly.”

“You never talk in short sentences except when you’re really really mad.”

“And how would you know?!”

“I’ve made you mad plenty of times to know.”

Can paused, bite of steak part of the way to his mouth. “You…”

Tin pushed the bite closer to Can’s mouth. “Finish eating. You’ll feel better after and then… We can talk.”

“Nothing to talk about.”

Tin rested his chin on his hand. “You’re jealous.”

“Who’s jealous? Not me.”

“You’ve been looking at me across the room all night. You were ready to squeeze my hand to death with P’Prae around.”

“Means nothing.”

“There’s a part of you that’s jealous,” Tin said as he turned Can to face him. “There’s a part of you, that doesn’t want this to be fake anymore.” Can’s eyes widened as Tin’s face got closer. “Am I wrong?”

“You…” Can’s heart was racing as Tin’s face drew closer. “I don’t-”

“If you didn’t feel something, would you be so specific over how you want me to treat you?”

“You should treat me like a person!” Can pushed Tin back but it did nothing as Tin leaned back in again.

“Want to give it a try? Date me for real?”

“I’m not jealous!”

Tin put his hand over Can’s hand that held his fork. Can refused to acknowledge the tingles going up his arm. “Consider it, okay?” Tin moved to walk away and found his wrist held by Can.

“I considered it.”

“And?”

“And… I’ll let you have one date.”

“Five.”

“Three.”

“Deal.”

“Argh!” Can scrubbed at his hair and then Tin straightened it out again. “You tricked me! You just wanted more than one date!”

“Guilty.”

“Why am I even considering this?!” Tin smiled at Can and Can’s heart jumped again. “Oh… That’s why.”

“Hm?”

Can pushed Tin away again. “Go get me more dessert!” Tin laughed and did as was requested, but Can rested his hand on his chest. “He can’t smile like that around me. I’ll die.”

Chapter Text

“It’s just so hard!” Can whined as Good sat across from him in the Sports Science canteen. “Tin never seems to understand what I want!”

Good set down his utensils and poked Can in the head. “Have you… tried telling… him what… you want?”

“Don’t be so ridiculous, Good! It’s not that easy!”

Good huffed a sigh before pulling out his phone, scrolling down to a number and hitting the call button and putting it on speaker. Can blinked at it until the upside down name made sense.

“Why are you calling Ai Zee?!” Zee was one of their fellow soccer teammates and a second year in the Law Faculty. He was friendly enough and more than capable enough. But when had Zee gotten close to Good?

“Ah! N’Gooooood!” Can jerked away from the phone. Zee was loud enough to rival him, and that was with the reduced volume Good kept his phone at. “What troubles my most kind and beloved sir?”

“P’Zee…”

“Hmm?”

“I want… to go… on a date… tonight.”

“Ooohhhh…. I’m on it like a Defense attorney during Discovery phase!” 

Good looked Can straight in the eye as he followed up. “And I… want to… go to… the new… arcade downtown.”

Zee gasped in delight. “Why N’Good, that is an excellent idea. I, too, would love to go to the arcade.”

Good’s stare turned near uncomfortably intense as Can watched him continue. “And… one more… thing.”

“Yeeesssssss?”

“I love you… Phi.”

“And I you. Muah. Muah. Muah. See you tonight after your last class!”

Can felt his eye twitch, but more out of nerves than anything else. “So… Uh… You and Ai Zee?” Good only nodded while pocketing his phone. “So when did…”

“While you… were busy… yelling about… Tin.”

Can pushed his rice around his plate. “Well when you say it like that…”

Good flicked Can in the middle of his forehead. “Just tell… Tin what… you want. And then… work it… out from… there.” Good picked up his utensils again. “Communication is… important. Tin isn’t… a mind… reader. And just… because you… like to… yell doesn’t mean… your yelling… contains anything… useful.”

“Ouch. You’re taking too many lessons from P’Type on how to burn people.”

“At least… I’m learning… something. Unlike… someone else.”

“AT LEAST GIVE ME TIME TO RECOVER.”

Chapter Text

Tin arrived at Can’s family home to the sound of soft flute music floating through the air amid happy barks and Ley’s cries for quiet. A moment later, Can was running out the door while Ley screamed something about serving Can for dinner. A traditional khlui phiang aw* was clutched tightly in Can’s hand as he collided with Tin’s chest. Tin immediately reached out to stabilize the shorter boy 

“Hi. That’s new,” Tin said nodding at the flute in Can’s hand. 

“Ai Tin! You’re here just in time! Save me!” Can turned them so Tin was between him and the door. “I was practicing like mom demanded I do and Ley wants to cook me for dinner!”

Tin blinked as he tried to assimilate the new information about his boyfriend.  “Since when do you play the khlui?” 

Can kicked at some dirt behind Tin. “Mom made me learn how to play when I was little. She figured it’d teach me how to sit still.”

“That clearly didn’t work.”

“Nope!” Can smiled and waved the flute around. “Instead, I taught Gucci how to dance to it!”

“He also learned how to annoy me with it,” Ley said as she finally emerged, chef’s knife in hand. “P’Can, I told you not to-”

“You can’t do anything this time!” Can shouted back in retort. “Ma told me to practice! You’re being the unreasonable one!”

“Then you should play nicer songs!” Ley huffed and stomped her foot. “If I have to hear that old classical song one more time…”

“I’m not learning a complicated Kpop song just for you!”

“Ley,” Tin said softly. Ley immediately stood at attention and twirled her hair around her finger. “Let your brother practice. I have presents for you and your mother with me today. Let that be the apology.”

“Oh… P’Tin… That’s really not necessary… But I accept…” Ley said with a sweet smile. “I’ll… just go finish dinner… Come in soon, P’Tin!” And with one last giggle, Ley returned inside.

“As for you…” Tin turned around and put his arms around Can. “I wish you’d told me sooner you could play an instrument.”

“Why?” Can scratched his head with the end of his flute. “It’s not like I’m all that good at it.”

“We could have a jam session,” Tin said with a shrug. “I play piano.”

“Oooo…. Ley learned that. She’s got a keyboard inside.”

Tin raised an eyebrow. “Well your ma did say you should practice, right?”

“Yeah…”

“So I don’t think she’d object to a duet, would she?”

Can’s smile turned bright. “And the fact that it annoys Ley is just a bonus? Or did you really think she was going to cook me for dinner?”

“I won’t confirm or deny,” Tin said simply. “But I did bring her a present after all. She has to earn it a little bit.”

Chapter Text

The problem with dating an assassin, Tin soon realized, was that there was more of a learning curve than he expected. The things you’d normally do to surprise your boyfriend in the middle of the night or early morning as a wake up call, didn’t often work.

(The first time Tin tried to give Can a wake up blow job, he found himself being choked out between Can’s thighs before Can realized what was going on.)

But there were some advantages at least. 

Can was good with his hands. His knowledge of pressure points and strong fingers were useful when it came to massages. Can’s handiness with knives meant he could be relied upon to clean and chop vegetables or skin and butcher meat. The actual cooking was left to Tin though. 

The other advantage was how Can tended to cheer Tin up.

“Rough day?” Can asked as Tin walked in looking tired and worn out. 

Tin collapsed into the couch next to Can and closed his eyes. Can crawled over to sit in his lap. “Just… This business deal…”

“Is the CEO an asshole?”

“Big asshole.”

“Bigger than Tul?”

“The biggest asshole.”

“Ah…” Can pressed a kiss to Tin’s brow until it fell slack. “You want me to kill him?”

Tin cracked open an eye. “I’m tempted, but…”

“But?”

“But do not kill the CEO. If you do, his son inherits and he’s been against this deal the whole time.”

“So… Kill both?”

“Do not kill anyone to cheer me up.” Tin paused for a moment. “Do not kill anyone yet to cheer me up. Having you here already helps.”

“Well, how about instead of murder, I order some takeout, massage your back, and when you’re all relaxed, I give you a blowjob? That’s about as good as murdering your opposition, right?”

Tin blinked. “Yeah, okay.”

“Great! Take off your top while I call for pizza.”

Chapter Text

Can knew that Tin Medthanan was attractive. Everyone in Thailand knew it. Which was partially why it was so infuriating to find that even in person, Tin was very attractive. The red apron provided by the charity hosts for their cooking program should have looked garish, at least against Tin’s designer casual outfit for the day. Instead, it highlighted his waist and made his shoulders look wider. 

Can pouted before looking up to see Tin’s gaze was stuck on the screen where one of Can’s challenge videos was playing. Tin’s gaze when they first met had been rather incredulous, but now was transfixed as Can’s body contorted on screen.

“That’s insane…” Tin muttered under his breath before looking back down at his cutting board to continue chopping vegetables. “Absolutely mental…”

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad,” Can said with a cheeky grin. But whether it was pride or something else that prompted the smile, Can found himself unable to say. “I’m quite flexible actually. I majored in Sports Science.”

Can felt Tin’s eyes roam over him and his own red apron, lingering in places as if he had x-ray vision. “You don’t say.”

“I do!” Can casually twirled the remaining length of the string around his waist. “Watch!” Can fell backwards into a crab walk for a moment before turning it into a handstand, and then back into standing. “See!”

Tin’s eyes appeared unfazed, but Can noticed his face was turning as red as his apron. “That… That’s impressive.”

“Is the light reflecting off your apron or something?” Can pat at Tin’s face and Tin jerked away, “Are you turning red?”

“Must have eaten a chili pepper,” Tin mumbled. “Are you going to help or not?”

“Haha, Ai Tin, I can burn water! Or did you not see my jjapguri and steak Parasite challenge video?”

“I… I guess I haven’t.” Tin sighed and put down his knife. “Please… excuse me for a moment…” Tin moved to walk away, but as he shuffled along, Can noticed he was holding his apron weirdly, as if to cover his crotch.

“Are you okay?”

“Oh… Yeah… I’m fine…” Tin waved him off and continued to shuffle away. “Just… Make an excuse for me. I’ll be back. Soon. Later. Whatever.”

“What did you do to him?” Ae, Can’s fellow challenge Youtuber, said as wiped his hands on his blue apron and came up to Can. “Why’s rich boy acting so weird?”

“Uhh…” Can blinked and looked back at the screen where his body was still contorting into several yoga poses while the camera was focused primarily on his ass. “Oh. I think I might need to talk to him later.”

“Did he say something asshole-ish?”

“Nooo….” Can fiddled with the hem of his apron. “But he might be interested in my asshole,” Can mumbled before walking away.

“Wait… What did you say?” 

Chapter Text

“Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble!” Can chanted as he raised his arms dramatically. The blanket tied around his neck shifted and Can returned it to the positioning he preferred and then gently nudged his pointy witch hat which did nothing to change it’s position. Can then dumped the contents of a box of macaroni into the boiling water in the pot.

“Fillet of a fenny snake! In the cauldron, boil and bake!” A sprinkle of salt. “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog!” Can drained the boiled macaroni and and returned it to the pot. “Adder’s fork and blind worm’s sting! Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing!” Milk, butter, pepper, fresh rosemary, and cheese powder fell into the pot and Can continued stirring. 

“For a charm of potent trouble, like a hell broth, boil and bubble! Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble! Cool it with a baboon’s blood...” Can added a bowl full of shredded mozzarella into the pot. “And then the charm is firm and good!” Can leaned over the pot, inhaled deeply, and then cackled loudly. “THE POTION IS COMPLETE!”

From the doorway into the kitchen, Tin sighed. “It’s macaroni and cheese. Was the costume necessary?”

“Yes.” Can flicked his fingers dismissively at Tin. “When you stop taking dramatically long showers to contemplate your life, you can tell me to stop making dinner dramatically,” Can said as he started plating the dish. “Until then, come eat.”

“When I taught you Hamlet for your English class, I should have expected this would be the outcome.”

“I’m not responsible for your bad decisions.” Can walked by and shoved a filled plate into Tin’s hands before re-adjusting his blanket cape again. “But I am responsible for making sure your snobby rich life is interesting, so eat. It’s my best dish!”

“After all that drama, it had better be.”

Chapter Text

“Oh, it’s you.” Tul’s eyes barely flickered away from his scotch as he stood at the bar in the living room of the Medthanan home. “The trash needs taking out again, it seems.”

Can crossed his arms and glared up at Tul, but not until after he finished looking around for Phupha. “I agree. I’m here to knock your teeth out.”

Tul swirled the liquor in his glass. “You’re reaching too high. You should know your betters.”

Can looked around sarcastically. “I don’t see any here!”

Tul smirked. “Can you even reach my face? Or am I so high up you can’t see it?”

Can walked up to Tul, face blank. “Say good bye to your kneecap motherfucker.” With a sharp kick to the side of Tul’s knee, Tul kneeled in pain, crystal tumblr clattering to the floor. The amber liquid reflected Can’s face as he stepped closer. “Thank you for condescending to my level,” Can said, finally smiling, before winding up and punching Tul square in the jaw. “And if I hear you talk shit about Tin again, I’m gonna really let you have it!”

Chapter Text

Whatever the perceptions of his attitude were, Tin prided himself on being an absolute professional. He was always cordial with staff, makeup artists, and designers. He could politely disregard his fellow models unless required. And for the right price, Tin could even be asked to get close to one for a photo.

None of this could explain why Tin was finding himself the target of a particularly potent stare. Especially from another model.

Tin sipped his coffee and observed his “admirer” through his mirror. Short, tan, not your usual runway model look, more childish and cute than sharp and handsome. But Tin mentally tipped his hat to his admirer, he could cut a decent figure in couture. 

Tin stood up and felt the eyes on him track up and down. Ah.

Taking a wide circle around the dressing room, Tin passed his admirer. Again his eyes tracked up and down before lingering. 

“Do we have a problem?” Tin said just as he was about to step away.

“Huh?” The other model stood up. “Who said I have a problem?!”

Tin tilted his head. “You keep staring. You either want something or you want to start a fight.”

“Well I-” The other model bit his lip and pouted. “Your pants.”

“What about them?”

A pink tinge spread across the other model’s cheeks. “…they fit really nice… Like really nice.” The pink color darkened. “Especially around your ass…”

Tin blinked. “Are… you complementing me?”

The other model scrubbed at his hair, messing up all the styling. “Am I not supposed to?”

Tin sighed. “You’re new, aren’t you.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m not a good model! You’ll see!”

“I didn’t say you weren’t.”

“Oh.” The model blinked. “Can I have your number?”

Five minutes later Tin walked away, a new number saved under “Can Kirakorn Sudacool” on his phone. And it was already blowing up with overly enthusiastic texts.

Chapter Text

Tin rested his head against the cold glass of the window in his dressing room, trying to let the coolness wash over him, calm his mind, and still his heart. It failed to do either. The silk tie around his neck had already been loosened a fraction. Tin debated loosening it a fraction more. 

Pete had already attempted to soothe Tin’s frayed nerves and Tin had waved his best friend off. Some distant part of him registered it as a mistake. At least some company meant Tin was not alone with the thoughts in his mind, all of which were telling him how he didn’t deserve to be here. 

All of this distracted Tin from the sound of the door opening.

“You’re a mess in here, aren’t you.”

Tin squeezed his eyes shut. “Cantaloupe, you’re not supposed to see me yet.”

“That’s a western tradition,” Can scoffed. “And besides, I’m not looking.” Through the faint reflection in the window, Tin finally noticed that Can was facing away from him. “Want to tell me why you’re freaking out?”

“We’re getting married.”

“Yes. This is normally a happy thing?” Tin only huffed in reply. “Are you... not happy to marry me?” A sniffle. “Or are you just having one of your usual dramatics?”

At last, Tin felt the corners of his lips twitch up. “You’re one to talk.”

“Excuse you,” Can said and Tin could hear the pout in his voice. “I have outbursts. I do not have dramatic hysterics. That is entirely something in your family not mine.”

“Sorry, Cantaloupe.” 

“Are you smiling?” And this time Tin could feel the smile radiating off of Can as well. “You almost sounded like it. But I need a confirmation.”

“Yes, Cantaloupe, I’m smiling.”

“Good. Today is a happy day. I’m marrying the man I love. I expect nothing less than smiles.” A pause. “Even if it means letting you call me Cantaloupe.” A few footsteps. “You’re not going to run, right?”

Tin snorted. “Your sister would kill me.”

Can shuddered. “You have a point. But that’s not the correct answer.”

Tin sighed. “Yes, I’ll meet you at the altar.”

Can kissed his fingertips loudly and held his hand up. Tin rolled his eyes and did the same. “Air kiss accomplished! Now I’m going to go finish getting dressed. Ai Ae is terrible with this stuff. Thank god you sent Pete away. He’s the only one who knows how to tie a tie around here.”

Chapter Text

For someone who had initially been rather resistant to advancing their relationship physically, Can’s near constant hunger for sex after their first time threw Tin for a loop. 

Not that Tin was complaining. He was attracted to Can and possessed of a libido as well. But there had to be a limit to how often a normal human could orgasm in a day and Can seemed to take that as a challenge.

It started with sleeping over. After an initial denial and fight, Can always walked into Tin’s space, throwing his clothes any which way until he was “comfortable,” leaving Tin to pick up and fold everything properly. This usually meant Can was doing homework in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, which also meant Can was promoting “easy access” of sorts. Once Can was bored of his homework, it lead to Can pushing Tin’s laptop off his lap like a cat and settling into its place, warmer, heavier, and much more insistent for attention, mouthing along Tin’s jaw.

Tin was a good boyfriend. He paid Can all the attention he requested after that. Besides, Tin was ahead in assignments anyway. He’d be fine.

This would usually be it. Can with his insane refractory period would get off at least three times as Tin worshiped his body before he was satiated and Tin was left to coolly collect himself and not appear as worn out as he felt. Can would then deny that he was interested in doing anything for the next few days, claiming that Tin was the cause of going multiple rounds. 

Tin would always fire back that it wasn’t him pulling Can’s ass onto his crotch the immediate day after. Can could only pout in reply.

Next, Can started pulling Tin away at lunch to make out in quiet IC Faculty bathroom stalls. Tin found himself always having to kiss Can deeply to muffle his moans as he stroked Can’s insistent erections to a quick climax lest he hump his thigh and leave stains right before going back to class. Can was more than happy to reciprocate after that and continued to tease Tin after one particular instance when Pete came looking for Tin. 

Can had been sitting on the toilet, Tin’s dick stuffed deep into the shorter boy’s unsurprisingly large mouth as Pete talked to Tin through the stall door about not being late for a presentation. Tin refused to admit that the subsequent orgasm had been one of the best of his life, but Can’s shit eating grin as he wiped his mouth was a significant indication that he knew better.

Attempts at a repeat of such an event were not successful, much to Can’s disappointment and Tin’s relief. Pete’s grin as Can pulled Tin away at lunch was often far too smug after that day as well.

Tin had a feeling things were getting out of hand when Can started taking his right hand away from the steering wheel on drives home to grind against. Tin thanked the fact that his car had automatic emergency breaking for the fact that they hadn’t gotten into an accident yet. 

He was also mildly upset that Can had nearly conditioned him to reach for his dick instead of the gearshift. Can’s moans were a rather nice incentive after all.

It was only after moving in together that Tin took a second to tally up the surprisingly large amount of sex he was having with Can. The resulting number was essentially a lot. Waking up to Can’s morning blowjobs, shower make out sessions, lunch handjobs, drive home handjobs (and the one passenger seat blowjob which had been particularly distracting, difficult, nerve wracking, and far too erotic), and then regular sex at least three times a week on nights with no homework. 

Tin was not complaining per say. Other people weren’t either. Apparently orgasming more than five times a day had been good for modulating Can’s energy levels and loudness. Or it could be all of Can’s shouting during the day was difficult when he was already nearly hoarse from moaning during morning sex. 

“Are you trying to break a record?” Tin asked after one particularly spirited night. 

“Are you not enjoying it?” Can said as he curled up against Tin’s side. “You’re the one who said you wanted it too!” Can then threw his leg over Tin’s hip, letting his half hard dick rub against Tin’s thigh, making sticky trails on skin. “Just one more...”

Tin huffed, made a mental note to buy stronger coffee and some vitamin supplements in the morning before grabbing Can and tumbling them over into the sheets again as Can simply laughed about his victory.