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Karma's a Bitch (but so is heartbreak)

Chapter Text

For all his seemingly cold and aloof exterior, on the inside Third is Weak. 

He’s a fragile, pathetic mess who loves too much and hurts too deep and doesn’t know when to call it quits. Or how for that matter.

The conversation he’d just overheard at the club’s restroom though, is a clear sign that it is high fucking time. He needs to let go now. The ship has already sunk and if he keeps holding on any longer he will surely drown along with it.

And yet. It’s so hard to actually let go.

He laments as much to himself as he takes another sip of the drink he’d ordered when he’d first stumbled, already half-drunk, into his second bar of the night. Hearing that two of his closest friends had played him like that had hurt. It hurt so fucking much and he was so mad he could hardly breathe with the rage choking his lungs. His head was ringing with Khai’s careless words, every single one like a stab straight to his vulnerable heart. 

He’d needed to leave. To just get out and as far away from the man he was hopelessly in love with as possible. The man who had unwittingly held his heart in his hand for the last two and a half years and crushed it in his careless grip a thousand times over.

Not anymore though. That whole debacle tonight was absolutely the last straw. Third was going to get over Khai if it killed him.

At this point he felt like he was going to die either way.

He sighs as he looks around the bar. His phone rings for maybe the hundredth time since he stormed off- Khai and Bone have been calling him non-stop since. He wonders if they’ll come looking for him if he switches his phone off. 

Oh well, he thinks as he turns it off anyway, they would never find him. Not at a gay bar.

It was a place quite familiar to him. This bar was his very first foray into the queer world when he’d first realized he was gay back in his high school days.

He’d met his first crush here. His first heartbreak. He’d brought his first (and only) boyfriend here and they’d spent most of the night making out in a dark corner of the dance floor. He’d even met his very first fling here, back when he was single and looking to experiment, the summer before university.

Then he’d met Khai and fallen madly in love and this bar had become a distant memory. Until tonight.

He’s not entirely sure how he ended up here of all places. He just knew he’d needed to get away from those so called ‘friends’ of his. But he didn’t want to go back home- to Khai’s apartment . Somehow, he’d ended up here.

He orders another drink.

His head is spinning a little already and he knows he’s going to regret it in the morning, but right then all he wants is to drink until he forgets. Forgets how madly in love he’s been all this time. Forgets all the pain he has endured because of it. Mostly, he just wants to forget Khai- his stupid face, the way he smiles as he tells Third ‘I love you’ and then goes off with some girl. His stupid voice, that hint of mockery in it when he told Bone he’d ‘tested’ him.

“Well that’s quite a scary face you’re making.” an unfamiliar voice drawls from somewhere to his left “Someone must’ve really pissed you off.”

Third turns towards the voice to see a guy, about his age, leaning against the bar with a drink in hand and a knowing smirk on his face. Third hums, uncommitted, goes back to his drink.

“You’re one of those Extremes right?” The guy continues on, unbothered by Third’s clear lack of interest. “The Film kids?”

Third whips his head up, suddenly alert.

“How did you-” 

“I’m third year Architecture-” The guy replies casually. “-and your reputation kinda exceeds you.”

“Oh.”

The guy isn’t done though, since he keeps talking. 

“The name’s Phoom by the way.”

“Third.” He’s not sure why he’s answering. Or why they’re even talking in the first place, but he’s sure this Phoom guy wants something.

“I haven’t seen you here before.” Phoom is leaning awfully close right now and Third thinks he should be uncomfortable, but he’s honestly too drunk to care anymore. “This your first time?”

“First time in a while.” He reaches for his drink as he says it, but the glass is already empty.

“Let me buy you another one.” Phoom offers just as he’s about to call the bartender.

Of course. He should’ve known that’s what was happening. But he’s not out at the university so he usually only has girls asking him out and they’re easier for him to read. He’s never been the best at telling if a guy is interested in him.

Which is honestly such a disadvantage.

Phoom’s looking at him now, waiting for Third’s answer. He should say no. He knows he should. He hasn’t been with anyone since he met Khai and he hadn’t planned on breaking that streak of his. He shouldn’t give this Phoom guy false hope. So Third’s decided to say no, he has, but then as he’s about to say it, Khai’s stupid voice echoes in his head.

Anyone else would be all undressed and ready to bang

So what actually comes out is-

“Sure.”

Phoom looks surprised at his answer, like he really wasn’t expecting it. Which makes sense. If anyone’s ever heard anything about Third from the university grapevine it would have to be the fact that he ruthlessly rejects anyone that approaches him. No exceptions.

Until tonight. 

“Oh. Okay cool, cool.” Phoom says hurriedly, calling the bartender over to order them both more drinks.

Third thinks there’s more than one thing he’ll regret in the morning. 

^~^

He’s proven right roughly an hour later, as he’s slamming Phoom’s slightly taller body against said man’s bedroom door.

“You know-” Phoom says between breathless kisses “-I really wasn’t expecting this to work out quite like this.”

Third hadn’t expected this either. But then he’d had his millionth drink for the night and Khai’s stupid, hurtful words kept ringing in his head. A cruel reminder of all the many heartbreaks he’d suffered at the hands of the man he loved and it had made him so fucking mad. 

So when Phoom had leaned in, Third had grabbed his collar and pulled him closer.

Who did Khai think Third was anyway? Treating him like another one of his meaningless conquests? Like Third was so desperate for him he’d let Khai fuck him just because he gave him  a little bit of attention. Fuck that.

Third could have any guy he wanted. Just because he’s in love with Khai it doesn’t mean he’s got no self-respect. If Third wanted sex he could get it just fine on his own. He didn’t need Khai’s charity or mind games or whatever the fuck he was doing.

Maybe this was what Third had wanted all along, when he’d ended up at that bar, after all. Maybe he’d just wanted to go out and sleep with someone- anyone -just to spite Khai. To show Khai Third didn’t need him. Not that Khai would actually care, but-

Third could hope.

Phoom just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

“Either I’m exactly your type-” Phoom is still talking. Why? “-or you really wanna get back at someone.”

“Shut up.” Third growls, biting Phoom’s collarbone in a warning. The other man does not take the hint.

“Hit the nail on the head, did I, Little Extreme?” 

There’s a knowing smirk on his dumb face and Third wants to be annoyed more than anything, but with his messy hair and glazed eye, the smirk just makes Phoom look hot.

Why must he have a thing for smug assholes?

“Fuck you.” Phoom clearly needs to be shown who’s got the upper hand here.

“What, you-” Third doesn’t let him finish before he’s dragging the jerk forward by his collar and pretty much throwing him onto the small bed in one corner of the room. 

“Whoa.”

Whoa indeed. He’d forgotten how much of a rush that was.

“I didn't think I’d be into being manhandled by someone a whole head shorter than me.”

“That’s an exaggeration.” Third says as he settles himself over Phoom’s pliant body, short legs bracketing the other man’s broad hips on either side.

“Seriously though- you’re mad at someone right? This is some kind of revenge sex-”

Phoom, the nosy bastard, cuts himself off with a moan from a slow roll of Third’s hips. He feels strangely accomplished, watching Phoom writhe under him. Two whole years without sex. What the hell was he thinking? Khai wasn’t worth this deprivation, the asshole.

“You talk too much.” Third comments, calm and composed. Nothing like the hot urgency building up in his chest.

“I’m a huge gossip. Can’t help it.” Phoom replies, his hands on the back of Third’s neck, pulling him closer.

Their lips clash clumsily against each other in a wet, messy kiss. For a long moment, that’s all they do. Third kisses Phoom, harsh and desperate and bruising but Phoom definitely doesn’t seem to mind.

There’s a voice in the back of his head asking him what the fuck he’s doing right now. It’s the same voice that always reminds him of how much he loves Khai every time he considers moving on. Usually, the voice is impossible to ignore, but tonight Khai’s own words drown it out.

He doesn’t want to be in love anymore. And they do say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Maybe he can fuck his feelings away. It sure seems to work for Khai.

They break apart for air and Third’s mind is finally made up. He’s done pining for Khai.

Phoom is trembling underneath him, panting for breath. For the first time that night, Third takes a deep breath and looks .

Phoom is tan, tanner than Khai. His short, choppy hair is a mess from all the times Third has run his fingers through it. He grabs a handful to tilt Phoom’s head back, bends down to press his lips to his neck. Third can feel Phoom’s pulse through his sweat soaked skin as he bites and sucks at the point where neck meets shoulder. Can feel the choked out moan that escapes the other man under his own ministrations.

His hand finds its way to the hem of Phoom’s shirt.

“Off.” He demands, getting calmer with each breath. He may be a little out of practice, but this is still familiar territory.

Phoom on the other hand seems to be falling apart with every touch of cool lips on bare skin. Third wants to watch him break.

Third sits up, Phoom rushing to follow. There’s a moment of frantic hands pulling at the obstructing fabric until it’s off and being tossed aside.

Cool hands roam languidly over heated skin while the two men simply breathe for one merciful moment. 

Phoom is bigger and broader than Third by a lot; loose clothes hiding a surprisingly well-built frame. He can feel the faint outline of abs under his palms, as he pushes Phoom’s hips firmly down. Phoom’s body is clearly strong, stronger than Third’s tiny frame. But gods does it yield so  easily. Phoom gives so easily where Khai has only ever learned to take.

The contrast is a welcome one.

“So like-” Phoom says between panting breaths “-if this really is revenge sex, it totally lives up to the hype.”

He really talks too much.

“Phoom.” Third says, pinning the man’s wrists above his head with one hand, the other moving torturously slow down his bare chest. 

“Yeah?”

Third leans in close, lips coming to hover next to Phoom’s ear. He speaks slowly, with something of a dangerous chill in his voice. His fingers trace the button of Phoom’s denim jeans. 

“Do you want to talk-” he says, popping it open, “-or do you want me to keep doing what I’m about to do?”

A hitched breath and a moan accompany the answering reply-

“I swear I’ll never talk again please don’t stop.” 

It’s finally Third’s turn to smirk. Phoom isn’t Khai. But that’s the best part.

“Good.” He whispers, tongue slipping out to trace the silver ring hanging prettily off one earlobe. Fingers brushing lightly against his waistband before sliding further down.

Phoom looks utterly gone when Third moves back, so he kisses him breathless for good measure.

Good.

Chapter Text

Reality starts creeping in at some point after the high begins to fade. It’s one of those liminal hours when night meets morning and time doesn’t seem to exist. Third finds himself sinking into a soft pillow, in nothing but a pair of boxers and a borrowed shirt a couple sizes too big, and thinks-

Well, fuck.

Two years and four months. That’s how long he’s been in love with Khai. Two whole years since he’s so much as looked at anyone else. He’d always thought loving someone meant he could never want anyone else, be with anyone else. He’d thought it would feel like cheating on Khai somehow. Which made no sense, all things considered.

He knows he has nothing to feel guilty about. Yet, there’s a niggling feeling in the back of his mind, telling him he’s messed up. 

Anyone else would have been all undressed and ready to bang.

Right. That’s what he’d said. Disgusting asshole. 

Why should Third feel bad about having perfectly consensual, casual sex with a guy who had no ulterior motives, instead of saving himself for his ‘best friend’ who tried to seduce him to prove a fucking point. 

Khai’s  the one who should be guilty. Not that he ever would be. Selfish bastard. 

So he’s not going to feel bad either. He did nothing wrong. He knew that he hadn’t.  Fuck his heart for still loving Khai. 

Phoom grumbles in his sleep next to him. There’s a momentary rustling of sheets before a strong arm curls loosely around his waist, Phoom’s forehead nudges against his shoulder. It’s strangely comforting.

His mind drifts to Khai again, as it always does. He thinks about all the nights Khai has spent in his bed, all those times he slept over at Third’s. About how Khai would take up too much space and Third would steal all the blankets in retaliation. All those nights, all they ever did was sleep like friends do. And yet, every innocent brush of their hands made his heart race. Every platonic hug made him blush bright red. Khai’s warmth all around him made it impossible for him to fall asleep.

All of that from just innocently sharing a bed.

He turns his head slightly, gazing at Phoom’s messy hair, his marked up chest. There is nothing innocent about his being in Phoom’s bed. Yet, he feels none of that. He could stare at Phoom’s naked body next to him all night and feel none of what he does for Khai.

It’s vaguely disappointing.

A part of him had hoped this would fix everything- make him finally move on. He should have known though, that it wouldn’t be this easy. One night of sex couldn’t erase two years worth of feelings. No matter how great said sex was. 

Oh well, Third thinks as he finally drifts off, he could always just keep trying until it works. 

^~^

Third wakes up to an empty bed and a throbbing headache; surprisingly free of regret.

There’s no looming sense of self-hatred crushing at his heart. No desperate urge to get out of this stranger’s bed and back to Khai’s side. No sense of having doomed himself to a loveless life or some other such nonsense scenario his brain would otherwise come up with.

Khai really did mess him up too bad this time, huh.

Third runs a tired hand over his face. No point thinking about it now, he supposes. What’s done is done. This hangover is suffering enough for now.

“Oh hey, you’re awake.” Phoom says, breaking him out of his reverie.

The other man is standing in the doorway to what Third assumes is the bathroom. He’s wearing nothing but a pair of basketball shorts that hang loosely around his waist, leaving a well-defined six pack in clear view for the world to see. Well, for Third to see anyway. His hair is wet, dripping lazily onto a grey towel he’s got slung around his neck. Third can make out some of the many marks he himself left littered across the tan skin stretched over his broad chest.

All in all, Phoom looks like a walking wet dream. And, judging by the self-assured smirk he’s sporting, he clearly knows it. Smug bastard. 

“Mm.” Third says, burying his face in the pillows. It’s too bright and everything hurts and he needs to stop drinking forever.

The bed dips next to him and he cracks one eye open to spot Phoom now hovering above him. In the light of day- and the clarity of being sober -Third thinks he does look a little bit familiar. He’s probably seen him around campus and just never paid enough attention to bother remembering him. For a second, he wonders why Phoom had paid enough attention to remember him. The thought leaves as quickly as it comes though- it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.

“Are you planning on sleeping in my bed all day?”

The words seem harsh but they’re said in a playful way that reassures Third that Phoom doesn’t actually mind. Third’s glad he isn’t one of those, ‘kick you out the second you wake up’ types. With how badly his head hurts right now, he doesn’t feel like he can move for a while yet.

“So what if I am?” Third challenges. “What are you gonna do about it?”

Suddenly, the air  between them feels charged with a delicious kind of tension. Phoom’s gaze is drifting towards his pale neck, fingers coming to graze gently against a patch of exposed skin where the borrowed shirt must have slipped past his shoulder. The next second there are chapped lips on his collarbones and Third can feel himself getting hot. As Phoom works on, Third’s hands roam lazily across his chest, caressing his well-defined abs, blunt nails lightly scratching at the still-damp skin of his hips before moving down, down-

Phoom pulls away just a little, glaring half-heartedly at the smaller man sprawled under him.

“I just got cleaned up.” He says with a pout.

Third thinks it shouldn't suit him nearly as much as it does. He tries not to get stuck on the thought, focusing on his words instead. He sees where Phoom is coming from but, honestly, that’s hardly a problem. He figures there’s a pretty easy- and fun -solution here.

“How big is your shower?” He asks, a small smirk breaking through his normally cold features.

Phoom breaks out in a menacing grin as he says- 

“I really like how your brain works.”

For a while, Third forgets all about his hangover- as well as the reason he had one in the first place.

^~^

It isn’t until he’s in the hallway outside Khai’s condo that he realises his phone is still off. He’s distracted, trying to turn it back on as he finally enters the condo, which is why he completely misses the party of three panicking in the living room. At first.

He’s planning on going straight to his room, wanting to get out of yesterday’s clothes and back into bed more than anything. Unfortunately, he finds his forehead colliding into a broad chest. Curse him for being so fucking short. 

He sighs as he glances up, his phone still off, to see Khai looking furiously down at him with his arms crossed across his chest. He kind of looks like a mom ready to scold her kid. Which makes no sense, if anyone’s the ‘mom friend’ in their group it’s Third. 

“Where the fuck have you been?” Khai demands, clearly furious. Third doesn’t really care for it.

He rolls his eyes and tries to move past him only to have Khai pull him back.

“I asked you where you’ve been all night!”

“What’s it to you?” He spits back, the anger from last night simmering back to the surface.

“Third what the hell?” Comes Bone’s confused voice from his left.

He turns and spots the tall bastard standing by the coffee table, looking decidedly worse for the wear. Behind him, Two is sitting slumped on the couch eyeing him and Khai warily.

“You just disappeared last night-” Bone continues “-and then we couldn’t even call you. We were worried!”

“My phone died.” He says, feigning nonchalance, suddenly glad he hadn’t had a chance to turn it back on before he’d been ambushed.

He waves the blank screened device momentarily before making a second attempt to slip past Khai and into his room. He’s stopped yet again by said man’s vice grip on his arm. Third can feel Khai seething in front of him. He refuses to acknowledge it.

“Answer the fucking question asshole.” Khai demands.

“I told you I was leaving.” He says instead, looking straight at Two, the only one he can trust right now.

“I told them that!” Two says “These two idots kept fucking calling  you anyway. Then when Khai came back and you weren’t here the fuckers panicked.”

Two scoffs, clearly annoyed. Khai seems to take this as a challenge, voice raising as he yells-

“Of course we’d worry he was fucking missing!” Any other day those words would have made him melt. Today, in the wake of his friends’ betrayal, they only serve to further fuel his anger.

“I wasn’t missing !” He exclaims, finally wrenching his arm out of Khai’s grip. “I only said I was leaving the bar I never fucking said I was going home.”

“But you were gone all night! You always come home! What was I supposed to-”

“So what am I supposed to wait for you to come home like some fucking pet?”

Khai seems taken aback at the harsh words being thrown at him. To the side, Bone is grimacing in that way that he does when he’s figuring something out. Two is silently inching closer to Third, eyeing the other two warily. He probably senses the fight clearly building up.

Third stands his ground, glaring daggers at the tall asshole blocking his way. Khai, for his part, looks decidedly hurt. Third wishes he didn’t care.

“What is wrong with you? Why are you being like this?” Khai’s voice isn’t as loud as before but the anger is still there. “I’m your friend, can’t I-”

Third bristles at that stupid word. He needs to get out. So he spits out a ‘fuck you’ and tries to push past the asshole. Only to get pushed right back. Khai has the collar of his shirt bunched up in his fists now. They’re trembling a little with rage. He’s snarling, lips moving to curse him out, when his eyes drift downwards and then he just-

Freezes.

There’s a myriad of emotions that pass through Khai’s face within the timespan of a shuttered breath. It starts with confusion and goes through shades of recognition before slipping into something Third can’t quite put his finger on. His features finally settle on annoyance as he grips his shirt tighter.

“The fuck-” he says, voice cold “-is that?”

It suddenly hits Third that Khai is glaring at his collarbone. His collarbone which Phoom had been kissing and sucking and fucking biting at mere hours ago. Fuck. Third knew he’d left a mark how could he have forgotten fuck fuck fuck.

Khai knows. The man that he’s been in love with for over two years knows that he spent the night with someone else. How the fuck is he supposed to play this what the fuck?

“Oh please.” The words are flowing before he can ever realise he’s talking “Someone like you should know what a hickey is.”

So we’re going the asshole way huh. Okay then.

“Are you fucking telling me that while we spent all fucking night worrying you were  just out somewhere screwing some chick?”

“What like that’s not how you spend every other night?”

“Third you fucker!” Khai pushes at him. He pushes back, gearing for a punch.

He’d always wondered if he’d enjoy punching someone. Maybe today’s the day to find out. Two is quick to get between them though, breaking them apart, standing like a wall between them with an arm over each of their chests to keep them separated. 

“That’s enough!” He says, equally pissed. “Khai let him go. I told you he was fine and he is. Case fucking closed.”

That’s not good enough for Khai.

“Like hell it is! This asshole had us worrying all night because he didn’t have the fucking decency to let us know he was getting laid!”

Third is seething. He’d never been this mad at anyone in his entire life. Let alone at Khai. But the jerk kept making him angrier with every stupid, self-obsessed word that comes out of his mouth. Khai has no fucking right to judge him. To act like some caring friend when last night proved he didn’t give a shit about Third or his feelings. Khai never cares about anyone but himself. He doesn’t get to pretend otherwise.

“Oh screw you. Aren’t you just mad I didn’t end up in your bed asshole.”

Third knows he messed up the second the words leave him. Everything stops for a long moment while he heaves heavy breaths, panic finally trickling in in wake of this disaster. He can feel three pairs of eyes on him but he can’t get himself to look up. So he just stares silently at the floor, hoping it would swallow him whole.

No such luck.

It’s Two who finally breaks the suffocating silence- the only person in the room who has no clue as to what’s going on.

“What are you talking about?” he asks. When Third doesn’t answer he turns to the perpetrator. “The fuck is he talking about?”

Khai doesn’t speak up. Bone does.

“You heard us didn’t you?” His tone is soft and careful. Like he’s worried about setting Third off again.

Probably a good move.

“You heard us talking in the restrooms last night, didn’t you?” he asks again when Third doesn’t answer the first time. 

He finally looks up and there’s Khai- standing stock still behind Two. This time the look on his face is easy enough to decipher- fear. Third doesn’t know what he’s afraid of, but the fact that he is at all makes some of the panic subside.

“Yeah.” he finally says, looking straight at Khai “I did.”

“Heard what? Will someone fucking explain?”

“Ask this asshole what he did.”

“I didn’t- I was just-” Khai stutters “-Bone was talking nonsense okay!”

He pauses, visibly gathering himself before attempting a more coherent answer.

“Bone was talking nonsense, saying Third had feelings for me. It was dumb but he wouldn’t shut up about it! I was just trying to prove him wrong.” 

That last bit comes out quiet, almost ashamed.

“By trying to seduce him!?!” Two screeches is disbelief. “What the actual fuck Khai?”

“I just flirted a little okay, I wasn’t actually gonna do anything! It was harmless. He’s straight anyway, why should he care?”

Both Two and Bone sputter at that. Third feels himself clenching his fists. Maybe Two will let him punch the asshole now. He can see Two and Bone gearing up to say something in protest but Third beats them to it.

“Are you for real?” Khai doesn’t answer that. Whatever. “I’m not- you wanna know where I was so bad? I was hooking up. With a guy . Because I’m gay you absolute moron!” 

That, apparently, is the fatal blow. Khai looks confused and sad and angry and scared all at once. There’s a sense of panic in his eyes as he trips over his next words-

“No- that’s- what? I don’t- I didn’t mean-”

Third has had enough though. So he says nothing, finally storming past Khai and into his room, slamming his door shut behind him. He can hear the other three talking heatedly outside but decides to ignore it. He’s too tired to care anymore.

So he simply changes into a fresh pair of shorts and buries himself under the blankets. The sooner this day ends, the better.

^~^

Third’s not sure when he drifted off or how long he’s been asleep when he wakes up to the soft thud of his door closing shut. Khai walks in- steps soft and careful and Third silently wishes he was still asleep. 

He doesn’t say anything, waiting to see what Khai will do. The asshole just stands by the door for a minute, probably contemplating something, before nodding to himself and slinking into the bed next to him. Annoying fucker.

“Khai fuck off.” He doesn’t have the mental capacity to fight right now.

“No. We need to talk.”

“I don’t think we do.” He counters stubbornly.

Khai settles himself so his tall body is curled up on its side, mirroring Third’s own position. It puts their faces right opposite each other and Third tries so hard not to look into those dark, alluring eyes that keep dragging him deeper into this misery.

Khai looks at him with sadness and guilt in his eyes and the most serious expression Third has ever seen on his usually goofy face.

“I’m sorry.” he says, all quiet and vulnerable “I’m so sorry.”

He sounds strangely heartbroken and Third is left to wonder if he’s imagining things. He thinks he remembers waking up but maybe this is actually a dream.

“Third?” Khai says, breaking him out of his thoughts. “I’m really sorry.”

“For what? Not knowing I was gay? Messing with my feelings to prove a point? Or for treating me like one of your hook-ups that you forget about the morning after? Like I don’t matter.”

“For all of it. But especially for being a shitty friend.” 

Third scoffs in disbelief.

“You’ve always been a shitty friend, why apologise now?”

“I never meant to hurt you.” He says in lieu of an answer. “I didn’t think-”

“That my best friend suddenly trying to get in my pants out of nowhere would mess with my head because I was probably straight? That doesn’t make it okay, by the way.”

“I know it doesn’t but  I never meant it like that I swear!” Khai protests. “I was just trying to show Bone he was being delusional. Someone like you would never- ugh whatever it doesn’t matter.”

Someone like you. Yeah. That doesn’t hurt at all.

“I wasn’t trying to play with your feelings. I’m sorry.” Khai seems sincere, but Third knows he’s a good liar when he wants to be.

“Why didn’t you just ask me?” He’s going to ignore the apologies until he knows what to make of them.

“If I had would you have told me?”

Third’s not expecting that. He suddenly feels on edge, like he’s the one on trial here.

“If I had come up to you-” Khai continues “-and asked you if you were in love with me would you have told me the truth?”

“Yes.” he lies.

“Well then, are you?”

He’s definitely not expecting that , either, but then again, he should’ve known Khai would call his bluff.

“Bastard.” he says “I don’t even like you as a friend right now.”

He kicks out blindly, bare foot connecting with a clothed thigh. Khai yelps and shifts away a bit, hands coming up in a ‘stop’ gesture. 

“Okay! I got it! You don’t like me. Message fucking received.”

What a complete and utter idiot. A blind fool. A whole dumbass.

“You’re an ass.” he says instead.

“Agreed.” Khai has a small smile on his face for a second before it morphs back into that serious look from before. “My point still stands though. You don’t talk to us.”

He wants to protest at that. Wants to get mad at Khai for insinuating this is all somehow his fault. The rational part of him understands that’s not actually what Khai is getting at. The heartbroken part of him doesn’t quite care.

In the end, he says nothing.

“You never tell me what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling. You keep everything inside and we never know what’s going on with you because you never fuckign talk to us.”

“What, like you care?”

Khai reacts to that like a punch in the gut. Third tries his best not to cry. It’s all getting a bit too much.

“You’re my best friend Third.” Sure doesn’t feel like it. “I love you.” You don’t act like you do. “Of course I care.” I wish I could believe you.

For a while neither of them says anything. Simply stewing in the tense silence that hangs between them. Third tries not to think about how sincere Khai looked when he said those three cursed words.

Khai always looks sincere when he tells him ‘I love you’ but that doesn’t mean he is . Not to mention. Even if he was, it still wouldn’t be in the same way that Third loves Khai. Taking them seriously would only spell more heartbreak for him.

“Why didn’t you say anything last night?” Khai finally asks after they've been lying there for half an eternity.

“I don’t know.”

“Were you ever going to?” 

“Maybe.” They both know he’s lying.

“No, you weren’t. If things hadn’t happened the way they did, you never would’ve brought it up. You would have kept all your anger inside and let it fester until it ruined our friendship.”

The bastard may have hit the nail on the head but Third isn’t about to give him the satisfaction of admitting it.

“You ruined it all by yourself.”

“Maybe I have.” The asshole gives in, visibly frustrated “But you’re letting me! Don’t fucking let this be the end fo us Third, please. Give me a chance. Let me fix this. I’ll do anything. Please!”

“Why?” Third doesn’t understand this Khai. This desperate, pleading version of him.

“Because you’re my best friend and I don’t want to lose you!” Then, in  a softer voice- “I can’t lose you.”

How is he supposed to get over this man when he says things like that?

“Fucking fine!” he says, because he’s weak “You’re not forgiven yet, but I’ll give you a chance to earn it.”

“Yes! I’ll do anything.”

Love me back. He thinks. Love me right.

“You have to buy my lunch.” he says.

“That’s it?”

“And all my drinks.”

“Okay.”

“For a month.”

“Done!”

The taller man lunges excitedly and proceeds to drape himself over Third’s smaller body in a too tight hug.

“Thank you.” he says, grinning like he just won the lottery or something.

“Fucker.” Third replies. “You’re already making me regret it. Get off me you’re heavy!”

“Let me sleep na!” The idiot whines. “I couldn’t sleep all night cause I was scared something happened to you.”

The ice around his heart melts a little more. Curse Khai’s dumb mouth for saying dumb things.

“Then sleep in your own bed. Not on my shoulder.”

“But this is more comfy.” he says, holding on tighter.

Third might as well give up now. There’s no winning against Khai when he’s being like this.

“Clingy baby.” Third teases, poking said baby on his side.

“Mmm.” Khai hums, already drifting off.

Third sighs and shakes his head. Khai speaks up again just as Third is looping one arm around his waist.

“Third?” he says all soft and vulnerable “Please don’t ever leave me.”

Third doesn’t reply. Makes no promises to break. He stares at the ceiling instead, willing the tears pooling in his eyes not to fall.

It takes around half an hour before Third is sure Khai is fast asleep. He extricates himself from the now slackened grip. For a moment he just stands there, looking down at the sleeping face of the man he loves.His heart aches for all that he’ll never have. All the things he can no longer hope for.

“I love you.” he whispers into the void one last time. “I’m sorry.”

Third grabs his phone from the nightstand, takes a deep breath and walks away. He only stops once, in the doorway, to look back. Khai is still blissfully asleep. 

Please don’t ever leave me.

The words echo in his head as Third shuts the door closed and leaves

 

Chapter Text

Khai usually prefers waking up alone. It’s a lot better than the alternative of waking up to a clingy chick all up in his face. He’d much rather his usual bedmates leave of their own accord before he wakes up. It sure saves him the trouble of having to (politely) usher them out when they’ve overstayed their welcome.

So, falling asleep next to a warm body only to wake up to a cold bed is good, great even. Just not when that warm body is Third’s.

It feels wrong somehow. Third’s presence next to him is more comforting than being in his own bed. So while falling asleep next to him is warm, waking up alone after is a disappointment like no other. Khai isn’t usually one to get attached to people like this but Third is an exception to that rule.

Third is an exception to a lot of his rules. He really is his most precious friend.

He shifts onto his side, staring at the creases in the empty spot where said friend should have been with a tired huff. He wishes he could have slept some more, considering he was exhausted from being up all night. But the strangely unsettling dream he vaguely remembers having must have shaken him awake.

I love you.

The words from his dream echoed like a nightmare stuck in the back of his head. The voice had been Third’s, distorted and far away, but clearly his . Khai had said those words himself to his best friend a million times over without ever garnering a response like that and he’d never thought he cared enough for one.

Until now. 

And yet, all the  hurt and pain that seemed to be packed into those three simple words made Khai wish he would never have to hear them come out of Third’s mouth in reality. Not like that- all miserable and broken. 

Third was the strongest person Khai knew. He should never, ever, be miserable and broken. Not even in a stupid dream.

He sighs and rolls out of bed, suddenly uneasy being in Third’s bed all by himself. Which is weird. This is his condo, dammit! He has no reason to feel uncomfortable in any part of his own home. He can sleep wherever the fuck he wants!

He ends up on the living room couch, scrolling through his phone. There’s a message from Third telling him he’s at Two’s and to not wait up for him cause he’ll probably be home late.

Just in case you panic and try to call the cops again . It says. Dumbass .

It reads like a typical Third text, right down the casual insult at the end he can’t even mind. Yet, it just feels off somehow? Ever since Third came back home this morning everything has been, just, off. 

It’s probably because he messed everything up.

There’s also that lingering sense of guilt and dread in his gut to make everything that much worse. Third may have said he’d give him another chance but it doesn’t change the state of their friendship. It feels like there was an invisible line that he’s unknowingly crossed and now everything is crashing down around him and there’s just no going back. Third is still right there, where he’s always been, but it still feels like he’s lost him for good.

Fuck. He should have never listened to Bone in the first place. Should have tuned out his nonsense and pretended that the seeds of doubt that the man had planted didn’t exist. He’d known nothing good could ever come out of it. So why had he done it? Why does he do wrong things despite knowing they’re wrong?

He doesn’t even know, but there must be something truly wrong with him. Why else would anyone hurt someone they love over something so stupid? 

I love you . Dream Third echoes, sending a guilty pang down his chest.

God he’s an asshole. A truly terrible fiend. No wonder the real Third never says it back. He doesn’t deserve it. 

He looks back at his phone where his gallery is open. He doesn’t remember doing it but somehow his fidgeting fingers had drifted over and settled on a picture of him and Third from when they were packing up the booth. He’s grinning at the camera- Two’s he remembers -with one arm slung loosely around the shorter man. Third has a small smile on his face, eyes drifting away from the camera and towards the arm on his shoulder.

I love you . His mind offers.

Third doesn’t love him. He shouldn’t. Khai has no illusions of being a good guy, but he’d always thought he was a good friend at least. Now that’s gone too and all he is is an asshole. One who doesn’t deserve to be loved by someone like Third. He never has.

He scrolls further down to another photo of them. One of them sitting on the steps outside the com arts building, side by side. They are facing each other, talking excitedly, looking ready to burst into easy laughter at any moment. It makes him smile.

Sure, he isn’t worthy of anyone’s love as he is now but- maybe he wants to be.

^~^

Third finds himself in front of Two’s door after escaping Khai. Which is hardly a surprise. Since finding out his secret the other had quickly become his confidant and the one keeping him sane. And he sure could use some sanity right about now. 

Unfortunately, his day isn’t about to get any easier though because it’s not Two who opens the door for him. Instead, he finds himself face to face with none other than Bone.

“Hey Third.” the tall asshole says with an awkward smile.

“Hey.” he says, brushing past his ‘friend’.

So maybe he’s still pretty mad about everything. It hasn’t even been twenty four hours so can anyone really blame him?

“Where’s Two?” he asks as he sprawls out on the bed. “He said he’d be here.”

“He went to get some drinks.” Bone looks awkward where he’s still standing by the door. “Can we talk?”

There’s a pause as he contemplates. On the one hand, it is best to talk things out now and clear the air before the situation has a chance to escalate. On the other, he’s still pretty fucking pissed.

“Third please-” Bone says when the silence hangs between them for a little bit too long. “-just hear me out.”

He huffs, defeated. Guess he’ll have to be mature about this too. The things he does for friendship. These bastards really need to start appreciating him and his patience more. He sends a cold glare at the traitor before gesturing for him to go ahead. Better to get it over with already.

“I’m really sorry.” Bone starts, guilt clear in his voice. “I didn’t think it would end up like this.” 

Of course he didn’t. None of Third’s friends ever fucking think before they act. He’s well aware.

“What did you think would happen then?” he doesn’t actually care but a certain point needs to be driven into the idiot’s head “You’d tell Khai I was in love with him and he’d miraculously give up his mission to sleep with every girl in Bangkok to- what? Play house with me?”

Okay so maybe he’s a lot more pissed than originally calculated.

“I didn’t- I don't know what I was thinking okay! I guess I wasn’t thinking-”

“When do you ever?” he cuts in, tone casual but glare fully equipped.

“How can someone have such a sweet face and yet be so mean?”

Third answers that with a justified smack. Violence is better than words.

“Okay! I deserved that.” Bone says, moving out of reach. “I’m sorry I was an idiot. Please forgive me? I really shouldn’t have let Khai play with you like that…”

“You shouldn't have told him in the first place.” 

“Yeah, I shouldn’t have but I honestly only brought it up at first cause I figured he knew. No offense but you aren’t exactly good at hiding it.”

“Oh fuck you!”

What would Bone know? He’d hidden it well enough for two years. Maybe he just got tired. Has no one thought of that? Fuckers, all of them.

“No thanks you’re not really my type.” Bone throws back without missing a beat.

“I’m everyone’s type.”

He manages to hold his glare for about two seconds before they both burst out into easy laughter, the tension from earlier finally disappearing.

“I’m sorry.” Bone says once again when the laughter finally dies down.

“I forgive you.” It’s exhausting, being mad at his friends. “Anyway, at least something good came out of this.”

The tall one raises an eyebrow in question.

“I can finally let go of this stupid pipe-dream of Khai liking me back now.”

“Third-” the bastard looks all sad now. 

“It’s fine.” Third cuts him off. “It’s good , actually. I needed to move on.”

Two takes that exact moment as his cue to barge in, plastic bags full of beer cans hanging off both arms.

“You idiots talk things out yet?” he says in lieu of a greeting.

“Why? Were you expecting to come back to find us trying to kill each other?” Bone spits right back.

“I definitely thought Third might try to kill you . You know how he gets when he’s pissed.”

“I’m not that bad.” Third protests.

“You’re a tiny ball of rage.” The bastards are ganging up on him now. Great.

“Hey,” Two says, handing him a beer, “-drink this and chill.” Then, to Bone- “You staying for movie night?”

“I’m staying for the free beer.”

“I’m not drinking.” Third says, trying to hand it back. “I drank enough for a lifetime last night.”

“Oooh is someone regretting their little late night tryst?” Two teases.

“No, you ass. I’m still hungover.” 

“Un huh, sure.” Bone says from his other side. “What was that like anyway? Your first time?” He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively at that last part. Like an idiot.

“Bastard.” Another well-deserved smack. “It wasn’t my first.”

“Wait what!?!” Two chokes on a mouthful of beer. Bone looks equally shocked on his other side.

“Did you idiots really think I was a virgin?”

“It’s not like you’ve ever so much as looked at anyone as long as we’ve known you!” Two protests. Bone nods along.

Third thinks that’s fair enough. But he doesn’t say so.

“I had three whole boyfriends through high school and I’ve been with people outside of that. I haven’t been a virgin for years, what the fuck?”

“Whoa.” is all the idiots have to say to that. Third rolls his eyes and starts the movie.

“So-” Two begins as the paramount logo comes on screen “-was he hot? Did you get his number?”

“No to the number.” he answers “He did follow me on insta though.”

It was the first thing he’d seen when he had finally turned his phone on as he was leaving Khai’s condo earlier.

“Oh oh show!” Two makes grabby hands towards his phone like an over excited child begging for candy. Bone leans closer too, apparently just as interested. 

Third rolls his eyes at their antics before passing it over. While he’s never really been one for their habit of showing off hook-ups, he figures they get a pass this once. It’s the first time he’s been with someone since they’ve known each other. It’s only natural that they’d be curious.

“This guy!” Two exclaims as he scrolls through Phoom’s feed. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, what about it?” 

“Wow! Third’s got game!” Bone has a death wish. Clearly.

“Asshole. Why the fuck do you sound so sursprised?” Why did he decide to stay friends with these two again?

“I’m just saying!” Bastard No. 1 defends himself “I’m as straight as they come but I still know a hot guy when I see one.”

“Plus-” Bastard No. 2 adds on, “-I know this guy and he’s like really popular around campus. So, like, hell of a catch dude.”

Third’s mind flashes back to this morning- to Phoom in the shower with his wet hair messily tousled and beads of water collecting on his chiseled abs like something out of an R-rated film. Yeah, good catch indeed . Not that these bastards need to know that.

“You’re both disgusting creeps” he growls out, snatching his phone back.

“Yeah we are.” said creeps chuckle out in unison.

“I thought we were supposed to be watching the movie.” He grabs a beer, finally giving in. 

Tomorrow’s hangover is Future Third’s problem now.

“Aren’t you going to follow him back though?”

“Why should I?” 

“So you  can get more dick, duh.” For a straight man, Bone is getting way too comfortable with this conversation. “Why? Didn’t he fuck you good?”

“Keep talking and you die.” 

“Ouch. Rude. Did I hit a nerve.”

“Bone, my friend-” Two speaks up “-I think you have Third figured out all wrong. Don’t be fooled by his sweet face, he’s a straight savage.”

“How would you know?”

“I can feel it in my soul, okay.”

“Bullshit. Third is too cute to be a top.” 

“I’m telling you you’re falling to stereotypes. Fucking straight people. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Don’t make me laugh asshole. It’s been a whole year since you had your bi realisation and you haven’t even made a single move on a guy yet.”

“That doesn’t mean anything!”

“I think it means you’re scared-”

“Oh fuck you-”

“I’m way out of your league buddy. If I had to pick I’d totally go for Third anyway. At least he’s cute.”

“Oh please, you couldn’t handle Third-”

“HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?”

“I JUST DO!”

“I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON’T BOTH SHUT UP RIGHT NOW I WILL NEVER TUTOR EITHER OF YOU AGAIN!”

That gets their attention.

“No! You can’t!”

“I’m shutting up I swear!”

Third just rolls his eyes for the millionth time that night and focuses back on the movie. Not that he has any idea what’s going on at this point, but it’s better than listening to the morons bicker.

They’re quiet for about half a dialogue before Two gets all up in his face and goes-

“I got it right didn’t I?”

“Like hell you did!” The other one protests, also leaning in too close.

All the patience in the world couldn’t be enough for him to deal with these two and honestly, Third is done. So he grabs them both by their necks and bangs their heads together in punishment for their crimes. 

“Can you two bastards not be disgusting for one fucking night?” he grits out, forcing the two closer together when they try to get away. 

They don’t bring up his sex life again after that.

^~^

Khai wakes up on the couch with a dry throat and an aching neck to the morning sun illuminating his Third-less apartment. Because he kept waiting for Third to come back and he clearly never did.

That’s two nights in a row spent waiting on someone who never showed. Fucking pathetic.

He grabs his phone off the coffee table, only to find the battery dead. So he gets up and plugs it in to charge, stomach rumbling with hunger as he does. He’s not sure when he ate last. While he’s usually very punctual when it comes to food, he doesn’t really remember eating at all yesterday. 

His body is absolutely gonna hate that.

His stomach growls loudly once again but he ignores it in favour of going through his messages. There’s a bunch of them from random chicks; some he’s hooked up with before and others he hasn’t. They all want the same thing. For the first time in his life, he can’t get himself to care. He deletes them all without reading a word and at the end he’s left with a single message.

One message. He has three best friends and one message. From Two.

It’s a picture of Third, slumped on Two’s bed, clutching an empty beer can to his chest with Bone’s head resting on one shoulder. They’re both fast asleep. The caption reads-

He passed out halfway through the second movie. Don’t panic when he doesn’t come back home xD

They’re never going to let him live that one down. Clearly.

“Rude bastard.” he mutters, throwing the phone back on the bedside table.

So Third didn’t come home again. Whatever. So all of his friends had movie night together and didn’t even bother telling him. He doesn’t care. Nope, not sad at all that they’ve clearly abandoned him.

It’s what he fucking deserves.

He’d probably wallow in his misery longer but then his phone rings with a call from Third and he forgets all about it for a second as he rushes to pick up the call.

“Third!” he yells, far too excited for this early in the morning.

“Ugh why are you so chirpy?” Third grumbles “Keep it down my head hurts.”

“Are you coming home?” he asks, quieter this time.

“Yep. On my way. Do we have food at home? I haven’t had breakfast yet.”

“I don’t know, let me check.” He says, already moving to the kitchen. In the background, he can hear Third humming some song. 

Khai thinks he has a nice voice but he never lets anyone hear it. 

“We have eggs and rice and some vegetables?” he finally answers, giving the fridge a once over. 

He never used to have food around that wasn’t instant noodles before. But since Third moved in, he keeps the fridge well-stocked and Khai gets home cooked meals. He hadn’t realised how much he missed eating proper, homemade meals until he started getting used to them again. Now, he doesn’t know how he’ll cope if Third ever moves out. He doesn’t think he can go back to living off of cheap takeout.

“Okay good.” There's a long pause where Khai thinks Third may have forgotten to hang up, but then he speaks up again. “Have you eaten yet?”

“No.” His stomach growls in punctuation. 

“I’ll make us breakfast when I get home.” Third says before promptly hanging up. Khai doesn’t even get a chance to say bye.

He pouts at his phone, thinking about all that has happened in the past few days. He’s clearly lost Third’s favour and he desperately wants to earn it back but he doesn’t know how, dammit! Third said he’d give him a chance but he’s obviously pulling away and he cannot lose his best friend like that but he really doesn’t know what he can do to fix things.

Well, Third had said to buy him lunch but that can’t possibly be enough can it? He may be a bit dense sometimes but he’s not a complete idiot. That’s not nearly enough to make up for what he did. But then again, he thinks as he looks back at the closed fridge. It is a start, right?

Food is always good. Buying food is too easy though, he should cook for Third like Third does for him! It’s only fair! Except he doesn't know how to cook. Which could be a problem. He looks back into the fridge again. The tray of eggs stare back at him.

Eggs can’t be that hard to cook can they? He could make a fried omelette and they can eat it with some warmed up rice. It’s simple but good enough. Yes, he can do this!

He grabs everything he thinks he needs- eggs, oil, a pan. That’s all right? He’s seen Third do this before and he doesn’t think it needs anything else? He just needs to crack the eggs and mix them in a bowl without getting any shell in it. 

Scratch that, he needs to find and remove all the shells from the bowl first. Then he’s gotta mix it. How much should he mix though? Is overmixing a thing? Probably not. But better safe than sorry. So he mixes it three times with a fork because three is a good, solid number. 

Now all he’s gotta do is put oil in the pan, pour the eggs in and put it on the stove to cook. Simple enough.

Except the eggs look really weird floating around in the oil. It’s nothing like how it looks when Third makes them and he has no idea what he’s doing wrong but it’s been way too long and they’re not cooking. 

He’s checking to see if maybe the gas is off, bending down to spot a tiny blue flame working steady under the large pan, when he hears the main door open. Third is home and his eggs are a floating, uncooked mess. Why is this his life?

“Um, Khai?” Third’s voice drifts into focus from somewhere behind him. He sounds confused. “What are you doing?”

“Making breakfast.” He replies, eyes glued to the eggs that are still just floating. Maybe if he glares hard enough they’ll start cooking.

Third steps up next to him, peeking into the pan with a grimace. His disapproval is all too clear in his face and it makes Khai’s heart sink. He doesn’t know how it happens but the next thing he knows, he’s sitting on the kitchen floor, head in his hands. There’s an overwhelming exhaustion seeping into his bones and it’s getting harder to breathe. “I messed it up didn’t I?” he mumbles through his palms. 

He doesn’t know why he’s asking. It’s so fucking obvious that he did. Just like he does everything else. 

“Khai?” Third’s on his knees in front of him, looking concerned. “Are you okay?”

“I just wanted to make you breakfast.” he’s so fucking pathetic.

Third’s expression softens at that and he looks almost like he’s sad. Which is not at all what he wanted. He doesn’t want to guilt Third into staying dammit he wants to earn his friendship back. This is wrong, it’s all so wrong.

His chest tightens, it gets harder to breathe.

“Khai? Hey, Khai, are you listening?” Third says, shaking him out of his thoughts. “Did you hear what I said?”

“No. Sorry. Third, I'm so sorry.”

“It’s okay.” It’s not. Nothing’s okay anymore. “I said it’s fine if you messed up. You can just start over.”

He- he can? 

“I can start over?” he asks, hesitant. 

“Yeah, sure. As long as there’s more eggs in the fridge. You want me to show you?”

“Yes!” he yells, springing back into action. He’s up and rushing to grab more eggs. “Show me how!”

Third looks confused but goes along with it anyway. He starts with dumping the now somehow burnt eggs and apparently way too much oil into the trash. Then he gets everything together and tells Khai about all the ways he messed up- from the tiny bits of shell he didn’t quite manage to fish out to the undermixed eggs and the too low flame. Basically, he messed up pretty much every step. But it’s okay! Because after, Third shows him the right way and two minutes later there’s a perfect omelette. 

“Go heat up the rice while I make another one.”

“No!” Khai protests, getting in between the shorter man and the stove. “I’ll make this one.”

Third looks like he really doesn’t want that but Khai presses on, unhindered.

“I promise I’ll make it just like yours, please, please, please!”

“Fine.” Third finally relents, handing over the spatula and taking a step back.

“Third?” he asks, getting a hum in response. “If I make it right will you eat it?”

There’s a long moment where Khai is sure he’s about to be politely rejected by his best friend. He’s honestly preparing to live with the heartbreak, until Third sighs and says-

“Only if it’s edible.” Victory!

The other boy swiftly turns away from his smiling face, working on the rice and ignoring his mini celebration. But Khai doesn’t care about that. He knows what he has to do now and he knows that he’ll probably mess up but he’s gonna keep trying. As long as Third is willing to keep him around he’s got a chance. So he’ll just have to keep trying until he gets it right. 

And he will get it right. 

^~^

Third watches from the small dining table as Khai stares unblinkingly at his third attempt. The second one had burnt while he was trying to plate up the rice. Now he refuses to look away from this one until it’s perfectly cooked.  

Third’s not sure what’s brought on this sudden interest in cooking but he thinks it’s probably a good thing. Khai should learn at least some basic stuff before he moves out. Maybe he can teach him how to cook some basic stir fry if he gets the eggs right?

He looks back towards the counter to see Khai trying to carefully get the eggs onto a plate without dropping them. He’s concentrating hard, tongue poking out from a corner of his mouth. Third thinks that he looks quite cute-

Oh no. Nope. Not going there again brain back the fuck up. He’s moving on and people who are moving on do not think about how cute their ex-crush is being. Not at all.

He forces himself to look away, eyes falling onto the screen of his phone. It’s open to display Phoom’s account. He’s been wondering about it since last night. About what he should do. If he should do something at all. He’d told Two and Bone that it was a one-time thing, and it was, so really there’s no point in following back. Except, there’s no harm either? Is there?

He looks up and there’s Khai, grinning at him as he shows off the actually pretty decent omelette he made. He looks so genuinely happy and Third wants to feel proud but all he feels is sad. He looks away before he becomes too miserable.

Phoom’s face grins from his profile picture. It doesn’t make him feel anything that Khai does. He  clicks follow back because really, what’s the fucking harm, right?

He chooses to ignore the part of his mind that’s trying to convince him this is a bad idea. 

He’s moving on.

Chapter Text

There are times when Third really regrets blowing up on Khai that day and telling him the truth. Not because he clearly hurt his best friend’s feelings, no, the asshole totally deserved that. But because Khai, in all his overzealous attempts to win back his favour, had become absolutely insufferable. 

Third had told him to buy him lunch for a month mostly to get him off his back. He’d figured Khai would do what Khai does best- half-assed apologies and quickly forget it happened in the first place. But that’s not what happens. No, instead Khunpol decided that this was the time to finally grow a fucking conscience and now he won’t leave Third alone. At all. 

It’s putting a very big wrench in his plan to get the fuck over him already.

Khai has always been clingy with him, but his behaviour the past week or so has been borderline obsessive. Every morning Third comes out for breakfast to Khai and his goddamn omelettes; he’s pretty sure he’s gonna hate eggs forever because of this. Then, after Khai has watched him eat the now no longer burnt omelettes, he offers Third a ride to class. Every single time Third says no and the tall bastard takes that as his cue to hop in his car as they leave. They already have all the same classes and all the same friends they hang out with and since they’re living together- great plan past Third, so fucking smart of you -he has virtually no time to himself. 

Khai is always fucking there. It’s annoying as all hell.

“There’s something wrong with Khai.” he announces without preamble during lunch at the canteen one day, a little over a week after this whole mess started. Two and Bone look at him like he’s speaking in tongues.

“What do you mean?” Bone says, turning to look at where Khai is lining up to get their drinks. “He seems fine to me.”

Just as he says that, Khai turns and catches them all staring. The tall boy grins and starts waving at them. They wave back just to make him stop. It’s weird. It’s all so, so weird.

“See! He’s being too nice and cheery. I'm pretty sure he’s having, like, a nervous breakdown or something.” he says once Khai has turned back around.

Two and Bone look unconvinced. 

“He just feels bad about what happened.” Bone offers.

“Yeah.” Two agrees “Just give it time the guilt will fade and he will go right back to being a self-centred asshole.” 

“No.” Third insists, because they’re not getting it . “It’s not just that he’s doing nice things cause he’s guilty, he's like obsessed with me all of a sudden. He keeps following me around everywhere and making me breakfast and buying me stuff like a goddamn sugar daddy! It’s insane!”

“Wait what kind of stuff are we talking? Could you get him to pay for all our drinks next time we go clubbing?” Bone says at the same time Two squeaks- “He’s cooking? He doesn’t know how to cook!”

At least one of them has his priorities straight, thank god. 

“Exactly my point. Although, his omelettes aren’t too bad these days. The first few ones were pretty hard to eat though.”

“Why would you eat something Khai cooked that’s the same as asking for food poisoning.” Bone says matter of factly. He’s not entirely wrong. 

“If I try to say no he looks like I killed his cat or something. Plus, the first time he tried to make it he had a whole panic attack and I’d rather not have a repeat of that anytime soon.”

“Khai had a what!?!” “A panic attack?” the two idiots shriek together. Luckily, the canteen is just loud enough that no one hears them over the din of the crowd.

“Probably should have started with that.”

“You think?” Two says, smacking his shoulder. “What happened?”

“I don’t really know.” Third explains “I came home that day after movie night and he was just sitting on the kitchen floor freaking out while a bunch of eggs burned on the stove. It was weird.”

“He didn’t say what happened?”

“I didn’t ask?” Now it’s Bone’s turn to smack him on the other shoulder.

“What the fuck Third! Not cool!”

“He seemed fine after I said I’d show him how to make the eggs so I figured it was just about the cooking. But then he’s been weird ever since so I don’t know anymore.”

Two and Bone look disappointed in him and he understands why, of course he does. But also, he’s trying very hard to get over Khai. Can they really blame Third for ignoring him? Before he can explain himself though, Bone spots something behind him and his whole demeanour shifts.

“Wait. Isn’t that The Guy?” the tall bastard asks Two, pointing at someone over Third’s head.

“What guy?” he refuses to look back and indulge them in their childish antics.

“Your guy. From the other night.” Two explains, and then before Third can even process it- “I’m calling him over. Phoom!”

What. The. Fuck.

Third swivels around and yep. That’s Phoom alright. Standing a few tables away, next to a guy Third vaguely recognises from their editing class. He’s looking right at them too. Third would really like for the ground to open up and swallow him whole right now, thank you very much.

“Two what the hell!” he hisses, turning around to the traitor. “Don’t call him here!”

“Phoom! Over here!” the bastard clearly has a death wish. Because Third is gonna kill him when this is over.

Third winces and glares down at the table, praying Phoom wouldn’t come even though he knows it’s hopeless. That smirk he’d caught a glance of momentarily before he ducked down was enough for him to know his ex hook-up wasn’t about to give up this opportunity. Maybe Third should have just replied to the guy’s IG messages from a couple days ago, then he wouldn’t be stuck in this awkward ass situation. 

“Hi.” he hears that annoyingly familiar voice say from somewhere to his left “I wasn’t expecting a summons from the Savage Gang anytime soon.” 

“We weren’t expecting to see you around these parts either.” Bone throws back.

What is this, some kind of turf war? What the fuck are his idiot friends even doing?

“Are y’all done with your little role-play now?” he says, finally looking up with one of his infamous glares firmly on. 

Phoom just laughs at that because he clearly has no regard for his safety. Third already figured as much from their one night- and technically one morning -together. But he expected better from his friends. They usually knew better than to piss him off like this. Clearly not today though. 

Today, they had chosen death.

“I was just here to meet my friends you know-” literally who asked? “-not here to stalk you or anything.” 

“You sure about that?” What is Two doing? What is his plan? Does he even have a purpose here or is he just living to annoy Third? “Then why’d you come over?”

“You called me-”

“It’s okay if you were checking out Third.” Bone interrupts. “Everyone knows he’s in high demand. Got a fanclub and everything.”

“Oh my god stop talking about me like I’m not here!” Third groans. 

He’s pretty sure his ears are reddening from a mix of annoyance and embarrassment over his friends’ antics. Phoom is looking unaffected as ever, that arrogant little smirk still firmly on his face. Third feels a strange sense of pride at the thought of how easily he could get rid of that smirk with just a few words if he wanted to. 

This really isn’t a good time to be thinking about sex! He berates himself. He refuses to turn into his sex obsessed friends. No way in hell. 

“Chill-” Bone says, breaking him out of his thoughts “-we’re just having some fun.”

“Yeah well, your fun is my headache.” 

“You have a headache?” he hears Khai say from his other side. Fuck.

He turns to see his soon-to-be-ex crush standing on the other side of the table, glaring at Phoom. This day just keeps going huh. 

“I’m about to.” he grumbles, glaring at Two for causing this mess.

“Why-” Khai starts, but he’s cut off by Phoom talking over him.

“Aww don’t be like that.” he says, voice teasing and eyes twinkling with mischief. “Did you really not want to see me again? I thought we had fun last time.”

“And who the fuck are you?” 

Third winces at the anger palpable in Khai’s voice. He always was way too protective of him. Third should’ve known Khai wouldn’t take to some random guy flirting with him too well. He should’ve shooed Phoom away before Khai came back, dammit!

Phoom, on the other hand, looks unaffected as ever. His smirk is just a tad bit wider and his eyes are narrowing at Khai carefully before glancing down at Third. Understanding flashes over his features briefly before it’s gone the next second but the damage is done. 

Phoom knows . And Third knows that Phoom knows. Fuck his life.

“Nobody.” Phoom answers Khai after a long pause where he must’ve been contemplating what to say. “I have to go now, but I actually would like to see you again.” There’s a hand brushing his shoulder and Khai is definitely growling. “So please text me back? See ya!” 

He’s walking away with a wave to the others before Third has even fully processed what just happened. 

“What the fuck was that?” Khai asks again. 

But Third can’t focus on anything other than Phoom quickly disappearing from sight around the corner. He can’t just let the other man go now that he knows Third’s secret. Who knows what Phoom is up to. What he might do with that information. Nope. He can’t just let him leave.

“I gotta go.” he announces, quickly rushing to go after him.

“But!” Khai’s voice calls out “I got you your favourite!”

“You can have it!” Third says, not even looking back. 

Maybe if he had he would’ve seen Khai’s face fall and would have wondered, once again, what the hell was wrong with his best friend. But at the moment he’s got other problems to worry about.

^-^ 

“Phoom!” Third calls out when he finally catches up to the other man in the secluded hallway that connects the cafeteria to the main building. 

“Miss me already?” Phoom says with that fucking smirk fully on as he twirls around like a cartoon villain to face him.

“What the fuck was that?” Third demands.

There’s no point beating around the bush here. Phoom already knows about Khai, that much was clear from the look in his eyes when he was flirting with Third earlier. Now Third’s priority was to make sure he never tells a soul. If Khai ever found out about his crush, Third might just end up killing the messenger. 

Khai can never know. Not now that he’s finally given up on him.

“Oh come on!” Phoom says, smirk turning into an exaggerated pout. “Don’t get mad I was just helping you out!”

“How’s that so?”

“It’s him right? Mr Tall and Jealous? That’s the guy you’re mad at; the one you wanted revenge on.”

“First of all he’s not jealous. Secondly, that wasn’t what I was doing.” 

It wasn’t. He’s pretty sure it wasn’t. How could he get revenge on Khai by having sex with Phoom when Khai couldn’t care less who he does it with? Hell, outside of their fight that morning, Khai hasn’t even brought it up. Not even out of curiosity like Two and Bone had done. 

“Khai doesn’t care.” No matter how much Third wished he did. 

“I don’t know about that.” Phoom insists anyway “He looked pretty bothered when he saw me all over you.” 

“That’s just because he’s protective.” 

“But you just said he doesn’t care.” They’re going around in circles now.

“I meant he doesn’t care about me.” Fuck why does he have to say it out loud? It still hurts. “Not like that. I’m his best friend and that’s all I am.”  

“But you want more than that right?” 

Why the fuck is Third so obvious to everyone but Khai? He never thought of himself as the type to wear his heart on his sleeve but he might as well be with how many people suddenly know his deepest, darkest secret.

“I’m not having this conversation with you.” 

He turns to leave but there’s an arm on his wrist dragging him back. Maybe Bone and Two were right and this bastard really is stalking him. It would be Third’s luck that the first guy he sleeps with in years ends up being some obsessive creep. 

“Grab me one more time and I swear you’ll regret it.” he growls, snatching his arm back.

“It’s really fucking sexy how angry you are all the time.” 

“What, do you have a degradation kink or something?” 

Sometimes his mouth says words he’d much rather it didn’t. It gets him in situations he’d prefer to avoid, like that morning when he blew up at Khai. Or like right now, with Phoom hovering over him, gaze settled on his lips and face inching closer as he whispers-

“You wanna find out?”

“Fuck you.” he says, ignoring the hint of excitement that bubbles deep in his chest.

“That is what I’m offering, yes.” Phoom says with a laugh. But he does back away as he does so Third can breathe normally again. 

“You’re an asshole.” 

“I know. But I’m not a snitch.” he assures, as if he could tell what was bothering Third all along. Bastard. “I won’t tell anyone, I promise.”

“You better not or-”

“I know, I know. You’ll make me regret it.”

More and more, this whole day is starting to feel like something out of a movie. This isn’t how normal people live. Contrary to what all his favourite movies were like, the average college student doesn’t randomly bump into their one-night stand whom they’d been avoiding and then have said one-night stand find out about their secret crush on their best friend. And the average college student definitely doesn’t find themselves threatening said one-night stand in an empty corridor. 

Why is this his life?

“Why won’t you tell him though?” Phoom asks after they’ve both been standing there like idiots for a moment too long. 

“Why do you care?” He’s never been one to give straight answers, after all.

“We’ve done this before! I’m a gossip queen!” 

“Nosey bastard.”

“That works too.” 

Third rolls his eyes at that but it’s mostly for show. The tension is leaving his body by now. As annoying as Phoom can be, he's probably not an asshole.

“I’m not telling him because he doesn’t need to know.” Third offers. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Because you’re moving on?”

“You sure catch on quick.”

“I’m not just a pretty face, you know.”

“You’re not that pretty anyway.”

“You’re breaking my heart here.” And that smirk is back. Of fucking course it is.

Third sighs, the urge to wipe that smirk off Phoom’s only sort of pretty face suddenly overtaking any other thought in his head. He steps forward, getting all up in Phoom’s face- even though he has to stretch on his toes a bit to get there. Phoom steps back a little, taken aback by the sudden change in Third’s demeanour, but Third is quick to grab his collar and pull him close. Phoom’s breath hitches as his Third’s lips hover over one ear and Third feels that familiar heady rush that always comes with making men lose their minds.

“That’s kind of the point, asshole.”

He’s already across the hall and walking back to the canteen by the time Phoom’s brain starts working again. He doesn’t have to look back to know it, the all too loud ‘fuck’ that echoes through the quiet hallway is evidence enough. So maybe Third’s an asshole too. Sometimes. 

^-^

Khai has spent every day since their fight telling himself he can still fix things. That he won’t lose Third. But he can never quite get himself to believe it. Not with how distant Third has been all week. Not when Khai can feel their relationship deteriorating. Can feel his best friend slipping away. 

Third’s still right there but he feels so far away. It’s almost like he’s leaving to a place where Khai isn’t allowed to follow.

“Who was that guy?” Khai had asked when Third had come back to the canteen. 

“No one important.” Third had answered nonchalantly, before digging into his food.

But that can't be right. Because Third wouldn’t kiss someone in public if they weren’t important, now would he?  Khai is sure he didn’t see wrong. He couldn’t have. The image of Third reaching on his tiptoes to leave a kiss on the stranger’s cheek was burned into his memory. He couldn’t stop seeing it even if he tried.

So Third was lying. He had to be. And going by the looks Two and Bone were sending him they were in on whatever it was Third was hiding. So why wasn’t he allowed to know? Why was Third keeping his new relationship from him?

And fuck. Third. In a relationship. With another man. For some reason, just thinking about it made his stomach drop. 

He’d felt the same way when Third had yelled at him that he was gay too. At the time he’d attributed the feeling to being related to his guilt over his own shitty actions. Now, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Couldn’t understand why the thought of Third being with another man made him so irrationally uncomfortable.

Was it just because he was so unused to Third being with anyone or- or was the problem that it was a guy he was with? Was he homophobic? He’d never really thought badly about queer people, not as far as he knew. He’d always been pretty neutral about it so why was he being so weird now?

Fuck was he actually homophobic? Is that why Third had never come out to him? Why he was hiding his relationship with this guy now? 

No. That’s not it. It couldn’t be.

Two and Third would never willingly be friends with a homophobe and if they thought he was like that they’d definitely call him out on it. So that could not be it. But then every time he remembered Third kissing that guy he felt some combination of rage and dread rise up inside. So if he wasn’t homophobic what the fuck was that about?

He looks at Third, sitting next to him and laughing at some stupid joke Bone made. 

Third seemed like a devil under that cute face but he wasn’t indestructible. He had a soft side and he got hurt just like anyone else. Even though he’d try to hide his tears and pain under the guise of anger, Khai could always see right through him. He liked to pretend he could take anything but that didn’t mean he should ever have to. Third gets hurt sometimes and Khai absolutely hates it when he does.

Maybe that was it. Maybe he wasn’t mad because he was homophobic, it was just his protective tendencies acting up. Third never let them take care of him but god knew Khai wanted to anyway. He wanted to keep his best friend safe, no matter what. 

Whoever that guy was, he seemed like an asshole. Definitely not someone Khai could trust with Third’s heart- or his anything for that matter.

He had to fulfill his duty as Third’s best friend and self-appointed protector. It didn’t matter that Third still hated him for what he did. Third still was- and would always be -the most important person in Khai’s life. So he’d make sure this new guy would never even consider messing with Third. 

If he did, he'd have Khai to answer to.