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BL Short Stories

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Hello,

I'll be writing and taking requests of the following Dramas: ♡♡

I really encourage you to write your own stories, too if you're really passionate about it or if you simply like creative writing. So far, this work has really helped me to 'identify' my writing style and it helps me to improve it!

- Addicted
- Why R U?
- Tell The World I Love You
- Advance Bravely
- Because Of You
- Until We Meet Again
- To My Star
- SOTUS
- I Am Your King
- 2Moons
- Love By Chance
- Killer And Healer
- 2gether
- HIStory3: Trapped

I don't think I want to write any nsfw stories in this work, I hope you'll understand ^-^

Thank you very much for reading! I'm looking forward to your requests♡
The first Short Story will be about Jack & Zhao Zi from HIStory 3:Trapped!

Chapter Text

Trembling. Jack's body was trembling, shoulders tight, jaw clenching and hands in fists. Trembling and out of words.
It felt like the soft breeze turned into a cold storm, like his gloves became a pair of handcuffs he attached to himself by speaking out what shoudn't have been said.

"So what we have between us is just a mutual using of each other and no amount of feelings are attached?"

Zhao Zi's small figure appeared just a few meters in front of him but he just seemed to far away, so...out of reach. His gaze meeting Jack's eyes like apologizing for interrupting his conversation with Tang Yi but telling Jack he was hurting at the same time.

This pleading look...

Jack didn't mean to lie to him. Of course he didn't. It wasn't like Zhao Zi could just be considered one of his friends or business partners, Zhao Zi was...almost crying. But why didn't his lips move? Why didn't they move? They had to move, they had to undo what couldn't be undone.

Do something!

Fucking move!

"Zhao Zi. That's not what I meant." Jack's hand automatically reached for his arm like responding to his look. 'I know you're hurting but please don't leave. Not yet, you have to listen to me first.'
And as if he heard. As if he understood, as if he wanted to listen his body showed reaction.

A storm.

The handcuffs tightening around Jack's wrists unlike those of Tang Yi who had already managed to escape his own trap. Zhao Zi's bottom lip shaking from sobs he couldn't control, tears running over his slightly red cheeks, hinting at the cold wind that was surrounding us at this point but Jack's hand still held onto his arm.
'Please don't leave me. I never just used you.'
"Shorty, hey..."

Jack couldn't see Tang Yi at this moment but he practically felt his hand tightening around the cup in his hand, felt his confused look, felt Shao Fei's shocked expression and his questioning look asking 'Should we help?' 'Jack can handle it.'

He had to.

"Zhao Zi, I never lied to you." His voice as quiet as it has never been before making Tang Yi question his decision of not helping. Jack had to handle it. He had to handle Zhao Zi's body slowly sinking to the ground in front of him, hands hiding his face and he had to handle himself joining the love of his life on the ground.
Why was it called grounding if everything Zhao Zi did was...giving in?

Jack's eyes closed as he wrapped his arms aound the shaking figure, hardly being able to catch his breath and beginning to throw his fists on Jack's shoulders over and over again, the strength leaving his body with every sob. Over and over and over again...
"Why is everyone like this?!" But his voice still so strong.
Like this...two-faced. But Jack wasn't. He couldn't be. His head turned over his left shoulder to look at Tang Yi scrunching his eyebrows and Shao Fei nodding as an act of encouragement before Jack's gaze was focused on the sobbing police officer in his arms again.

Holding onto Jack for dear life.

Like he was his oasis.

No, he wouldn't let go. "Breathe, shorty...I'm sorry. I won't ever leave you. I'm right here."

His oasis.

Chapter Text

It was only beacause of Xia Yao's cries that Yuan Zong got pulled back into reality. Holding Xia Yao's small, cold hand tight in his own, drawing slow circles with his thumb into the soft skin, telling him he was still there. Yuan Zong wouldn't leave him alone. Especially not at night.
Knowing, Xia Yao looked up to him and knowing very well that he imitated Yuan Zong in many differnet ways, he relied on using actions rather than words. Pretending to be sleepy when Xia Yao worried at night and thereby telling him to stop thinking about tomorrow. Exchanging looks earlier and thereby giving him the courage to undergo surgery.

And soon enough Xia Yao fell back asleep.
Knowing Yuan Zong was still there, worrying about what might have happened if he didn't follow him. If he didn't fall for him...
Xia Yao's finges twitched from time to time and only the movement of his thumb managed to make him relax and drool into the hospital pillow again.

The moment was quite magical, now that Yuan Zong thought about it.

Take away the part of Xia Yao being hurt, they were close to each other, appreciated each other, enjoyed each others presence. It made the older one realize that true happiness could be found in the little things.
The little things that were interrupted by his phone ringing in the pocket of his tight, black jeans.

Not even a second after, the cold fingers in his hand twitched harder than before while his heavy eyelids slowly opened, giving Yuan Zong permission to have a quick glance at his eyes, filled with the moonlight itself but also tears from being sleepy.

Beautiful.

"Go back to sleep." Who even dared to interrupt such a peaceful moment? Peaceful and quiet, wonderfully quiet. His eyelids closed once again but the moonlight remained captured in Yuan Zong's heart. Surely. His hand being held even tighter. "You need to rest well." It must have been at least the third or fourth time the younger one woke up while whimpering and if Yuan Zong didn't know any better, he would think he was in pain. Luckily, he knew that what upset him was a mixture of slight pain, his racing thoughts and the loneliness he felt while being asleep and not having a chest near to rest his heavy heart on.

"Hello?" He tried to keep his voice down while answering the phone with his left hand which could be considered a challenge itself but it was even harder not to burst out in anger when he realized who was on the phone with him.
"Instructor, have you heard..." Shi Tianbiao. 2am. What was he thinking? This wasn't the first time he received late night phone calls but the difference was that he enjoyed them when they came from the man who just got into a fight for him. In fact, it was a huge difference. A very huge one and Yuan Zong was more than just ready to raise his voice when he witnessed another load of whimpers coming from the bed in front of him.
"So when the news reporter told me that they..." He easily ignored the voice on the phone but instead turned his concerned face towards Xia Yao who was sobbing at this point but not even squeezing his hand showed the slightest effect.

"Intructor, who is with you?" That would cost him more than just three thousand Yen this time. "None of your business." And with that being siad he hung up before questioning whether or not he was right when thinking Xia Yao wasn't in much pain. "Are you in pain?" This time Xia Yao's eyes remained closed as his chest moved wildly in time with his sobs. The younger one shook his head slightly and Yuan Zong felt a small rush of relief going thorugh his body. So he was right after all but if he kept sobbing like this, his body moved around too much which wouldn't do his injuries any good.

Instead of offering words of comfort, Yuan Zong would usually let him cry until the frustration was gone but he couldn't take the thought of him possibly hurting himself. Not again.

Xia Yao was cuddled up under the blanket on the left side of the bed which made it easy for him to carefully lay down next to him, paying attention not to touch any of the bandages attached to his body but scooting under the blanket next to him.
"Y-You can't just..." " Don't talk too much."
Yuan Zong took a quick second to analyze the man next to him. Facing the ceiling, crying his eyes out. It was too much for him to take.

"Don't cry, I'm here now. You need to take care of your wounds." With great care, he put a large, warm hand on the side of his bandaged head to slowly guide it to rest on a comforting shoulder. Yuan Zong let out a deep sigh as he felt his muscles relax into the mattress, making them ache for a second before actually getting used to the support from underneath. To relieve his aching heart, too Xia Yao's tears had slowed down. Apparently both of them had missed each others presence.

Carefully, the older one reached out to draw comforting patterns on the other one's shoulder. "You did well, rest now." Their eyes met and it was more than just easy to tell which emotion Xia Yao was battling against right now. His heart felt even heavier as tears formed in Xia Yao's eyes again but this time he could stop them from falling with a gentle movement.

"Don't be scared...I'll stay right here the whole night. Go to sleep, you're gonna be fine."
"But you..."
"Shh...close your eyes."

Eventually both of them fell into the most peaceful sleep they ever had.

No more tears and no more whimpers.

Chapter Text

This was exactly everything Team ever wanted to be good at. This was exactly everything Team loved the most about his university, exactly everything he liked to do with his friends. This was it.
By now, the swimming pool was completely empty, a sight which was rather rare for any of the members to witness. It was empty and cold. Well, maybe Team was cold because instead of being in the water, he just sat on the wet floor and didn't really move since...he didn't even know what time it was. But judging by the amount of light that managed to find it's way inside...

"Team?"

His whole body twitched slightly but still enough to make him hiss in pain as the muscle of his right calf startet cramping because of the way too sudden movement. Why was his body so entirely different from the others' bodies? In fact, he never saw any of the members having the ever so slightest cramp.

Before his hands could reach out to touch his leg and ease the pain, hands larger and warmer than his own made a move to help him out.
It wasn't like Team could help his arms trying to cover up his legs, it wasn't like he didn't appreciate Dean taking a seat next to him and it wasn't like he didn't need his help. "Team, what are you doing? You're in pain, let me help you."
He always had to be the one in pain. He always had to take the extraordinary path and stand out. Maybe he just had to train even harder to avoid cramps...

Eventually, Team felt warmth around his calf along with slight pressure before the pain got washed away just like his hope to ever be anywhere near to normal. "You should take a rest, you've been training very hard recently." Team didn't even want to turn his head towards Dean's worried face, didn't want to see his pity.

Rest.

Taking a rest meant becoming fat.

He wouldn't even think about taking a rest. The warmth moving from his calf to his shoulder. "Actually, now that we're here...let's talk it out." While he promised himself not to do it, his gaze met Dean's gentle smile. Talk it out? "I noticed..." He looked over to the other end of the swimming pool. "You've been acting differnet lately. You're so...tense everytime we practice. What are you afraid of?" Was he that obvious? How in the world could Dean see tension? Was that even a thing?

Damn Dean and his overprotective behavior.

Team almost looked like a curled up hedgehog at this point, only his dark hair and his face sticking out of his human-shell. "It's nothing." Of course his voice had to be shaky. Of course it had to be. Because what else did Team expect to happen? "Just know that..." Their eyes met once again. "You can talk to me whenever, wherever and about whatever you like, okay? Do yourself a favor and go back home. Win must be worried sick about you."

Win...

Team only brought a shirt and short pants to change into. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Maybe Win was already asleep in his room. Maybe he didn't wait for Team. Or maybe he was standing in front of Team's door with his phone in his hands. Why did Team even turn his phone off before swimming practice? Before he could think of somehow covering his arms, Win practically ran towards him before pulling him into a tight and loving hug.
Why did Team tear up?
Why didn't the hug feel right?
Why didn't Win's hands on his back and his breath on the skin of his neck feel good?

Still, he forced himself to place his hands on Win's upper back, too, his forehead pressing against his shoulder, while letting the shirt soak in his tears. "Hey, are you crying? Let me see your face..." No, no , no...he coudln't be crying, he couldn't take Win's pity. He just wanted to become one with his shirt.

Suddenly, Win started to rock them from side to side. That was different and...relaxing. it actually felt better. The gentle movement...From side to side to side...It was exactly what Team needed.
As hus eyes closed he focused on the calming and familiar smell so that he barely noticed Win's hands being under his shirt now, drawing circles on his back and...

No, no, no, no...

He can't, his back didn't even show any muscles like his did, he was becoming fatter and...and...
"Shh...calm down, Team. Deep breaths, okay? Relax, my love..." Relax? Why did he have to relax?
Oh...
Team's breaths came way too fast and he started squirming in Win's arms. "Don't try to get away from me, Team." His voice sounded so...hurt. "Please don't. Just focus on the sensations, alright?" The sensations...Win's shirt smelled nice and became warmer by the second. His hands even warmer and so gentle. Win always was so gentle towards him. So loving, so caring, so funny, so beautiful, so...perfect.

So perfect that Team didn't notice he was swung up into Win's arms. "Win, what are you..." "I just wanna be close to you. Don't struggle, you're gonna hurt yourself." So Win didn't even question his behavior? Why he stayed away for so long? Before he knew it, they were sitting on his bed - or better said, Win sat on his bed while holding Team in his lap, head pressed against his chest.
"I know it can be hard to...accept yourself the way you are. I really do know. I know you don't like the way your body looks. So, tell me.." His hands found their way to Team's bare back again but he was too tired to question since when he knew about how Team felt and too tired to protest against his actions. At the same time he couldn't even stop his tears. Weak.

"What do you see in me?"

Team looked up into his boyfriend's shining eyes, acknowledged his encouraging smile but just coudln't get himself to talk. His bright eyes, gentle smile, soft hands, lean body... "Hey, don't think, okay? Just talk to me." A feather-light kiss on his forehead as he felt fresh tears spilling from his eyes. His vision blurred, he couldn't see Win's smile anymore...Grounding, grounding, grounding...Soft fingertips wiped away the tears from underneath his eyes and a quiet laugh filled the room. "Don't panic, I'm right here."

"Y-You're just... gor-geous." Why was he sobbing now?
"You're prefect a-and you're so good at sw-swimming. Your body is...it's perfect."
"In that case..." Win smiled this gentle smile of his. And Team felt even closer, even more connected to his boyfriend.

"I see myself in you."

By now, Team just let the sobs shake his entire body, trying to become one with Win's shirt again, his fingers nearly ripping it in half.

"No more tears, okay? I love you."

Chapter Text

His body wouldn't move, his hands wouldn't raise, his legs wouldn't respond and his mouth wouldn't open. Leave. He wanted Seojoon to leave.

Leave.
Leave.
Leave.

Leave him alone. Get out of his life. Forget about him already. Impossible. The eyes in front of him told him something entirely different. They told him to stay, to hug him tight, to never let go. Neither of them moved and neither of them wanted to leave.
It couldn't end like this, Jiwoo had changed, certainly because others made him do exactly that. No, Seojoon wanted him back. The shy and gentle cook, his ability to talk through his look, to appear strong. He wanted to feel his soft embrace and his lips...Those eyes that provided a caring look for literally everyone around them. Those eyes that...had tears shining in them.

He shouldn't cry. Not because of Seojoon, not beacuse of someone as arrogant as him. So arrogant and careless. What did he do to Jiwoo? Just appearing in his life like that and insisting to stay.
His face felt hot and cold at the same time, he just needed someone to hold him now, to tell him it was gonna be fine, to...
"I told you to leave!" It was like the sudden scream echoed in his head.

Leave.
Leave.
Leave.

Too loud.
Too loud.
Too loud.

His hands went cold, then numb just a second after. Heart beating heavy in his chest, way too heavy. So heavy that Seojoon was able to feel and hear it. It all felt like the world had just given up on him. It pulled the floor away from underneath his feet. Support, he needed support. It was moving in circles, made his head spin like crazy.

Too loud.
Too loud.
Too loud.

As soon as Jiwoo realized what just happened and what a lack of self-control could do to the older man, he practically ran towards Seojoon who was kneeling on the floor at this point. Hands forecfully attached to his chest, almost looking like he was in agony, eyes wide in panic, gasping for air.

"Seojoon...Seojoon, hey. I-I didn't mean to scream at you...You're safe, okay? No one can hurt you, I promise." Jiwoo himself was terrified, concerned, more than just that. Their eyes met as he felt the actor's hands on his thighs. "Please don'-...don't leave...me."
In a matter of seconds his face seemed to turn even more pale than it already was before Jiwoo pulled the older man into his lap, holding him against his warm chest, almost like a child, offering him a place of stillness and comfort.

"I'm right here, I'm here...We're okay...Shh..." At this point, both of them were crying, not wanting to move an inch, Seojoon's hands now pressing into the cook's arms. Jiwoo didn't want to let him go and he never even thought of doing so, even when it sounded like it, it wasn't him. He was certain he'd never consider doing so. How could he possibly let go of the most precious person he has ever met in his entire life?
Of the man who was being held tight, rocked gently from side to side and shushed, now that he looked so vulnerbale?

To anyone else this scenery would have looked somewhat childish but in fact..it was perfect. Quiet.

The older one's grip became more loose by the second but Jiwoo's hands still held him tight, paying close attention to his breaths, smiling with tears in his eyes.
"You're alright...I...Listen, this was the last thing I wanted to happen. Just...stay. Please just stay." And soon enough he ran out lf words. What else would he say? What else would he beg for?

"How would I sleep tonight without you by my side?" A smile on Jiwoo's dry lips. He was doing better but still didn't move which was perfectly fine for both of them.

Who would have thought of Kang Seojoon being the one in another man's arms? Slowly, the younger one leaned in for a comforting forehead kiss and although Seojoon's face couldn't be seen, he sure felt the smile of his.

"I won't let you go."

Chapter Text

"You should consider sleeping instead of thinking."It was the third time this night, Shao Fei had reminded Tang Yi of his tired limbs but he only managed to hum quietly, exactly like the last two times, feeling the blankets shift beside him, suddenly thinking, the ceiling had very interesting patterns to focus on.
Interesting dots and scratches and...

"Tell me everything."

Tang Yi turned his face over to look at his boyfriend at the order, being confronted with a gentle smile and slightly wet hair from showering earlier. Soon enough his body followed by turning onto his right side and looking directly into those concerned eyes of his. Why did he always feel so obvious and vulnerable at night?

"Your face looks way better without those creases..."
Before the ex-mob boss could make a move, Shao Fei's thumbs reached out to stroke his forehead in a soothing manner. Why did he always scrunch his eyebrows so hard when he was overthinking?
Too many questions. It didn't matter. And if he admitted it, the movement of the fingers drawing lines on Tang Yi's forehead, wishing to just stroke away all of the concern felt kind of...relaxing.

Sometimes Tang Yi really wished someone could just take away all of his worries so he would be able to sleep more peaceful at night.
"Tang Yi...Stop it." Just like that. "I don't know what you're thinking but whatever it is. Stop it." As soon as he pulled his hands back it added on to the slight feeling of emptiness inside of him, although Tang Yi could feel the skin of his face relaxing while looking at the smile in front of him. His hands grabbing the blankets tight in contrast to his boyfriend who just had half of his body covered.

"What's going on?" His voice was silent in an attempt to sound more comforting. A simple 'nothing' wouldn't do it, Tang Yi didn't even think of lying right now. But his lips remained sealed.

"Do you want some warm milk with honey?"
"Do I look like it?"

His first actual response of the night even had Tang Yi himself surprised and all of the sudden a quiet giggle filled their bedroom. "Honestly, yes, you do. Let me make some for us." Emptiness. Before even rationally thinking about it (could that be considered an improvement?) he grabbed Shao Fei's arm as he made a move to get up. Explain yourself, explain yourself...

"Stay."

His expression went from shocked back to concerned before he let his body sink into the bed next to Tang Yi again. It wasn't like he didn't want the hot drink. In fact, he would even enjoy it but he didn't want to feel any more empty on the inside. "If you feel like talking to me you can start at any time, Tang Yi." It was hard to find the right words. More than just hard. There were so many things Tang Yi should think about right now. So many questions to answer. So many people to worry about.

Their eyes were focused on each other and soon a relaxing silence spread in the room. Of couse Tang Yi had to interrupt it in some kind of way.

"Do you ever just...think back to what happened?" From concerned to relieved. "Not really...Didn't Jack tell me not to get too hung up on the past?" He really admired Shao Fei. Smiling while talking about the past. "Easy come, easy go?" Of course Tang Yi remembered Jack's words. Linked to his actions...How could he forget about Jack kidnapping a cop?
Once again his draining chain of thoughts was interrupted by Shao Fei's thumbs on his forehead, moving to his temples slowly.

"So you just choose to believe his mantra?"
Tang Yi couldn't help but close his eyes at the sensations. He knew exactly what Shao Fei was trying to do. "Mantra? No I just...look forward, I guess. What happened in the past changed us but it doesn't define us." Why did that just sound like a random quote Shao Fei looked up before going to bed? "Tang Yi..."

The movements got slower but he enjoyed the pressure on the sides of his head. "Don't be afraid to let go. Letting go is great. Imagine...Imagine reading a book. Why do you think we turn around the pages?"
Slower...
"We wanna know what happens next, right? If you think about it, Jack was right...Well...Just forget about what happened after he said that..." Tang Yi wouldn't ever do so. The first smile of the night made it's way on his lips. "Tang Yi...it's okay to let go of the past. It doesn't mean you're dishonoring it, it just means, you're strong."

And maybe, just maybe, like so often...Shao Fei was actually right. The movement stopped but Tang Yi didn't put any effort into opening his eyes again but instead was being pulled into a light hug.
Feeling how close Shao Fei was to him. Feeling the warmth surrounding his own body now.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Well, that was easier than back then...

Chapter Text

Another restless night. After restless night, after restless night, after...not being able to stop his thoughts from running in circles. It felt like Tul wasn't able to escape this madness. He lived in a rather big house, almost luxurious-looking, had a son, something to eat everyday, a comfortable bed...so why couldn't he sleep? Most of the nights...

His tired legs found their way off the bed and after taking a deep breath or even two (Tul learned that moving to quickly after a hard night will most likely make him really dizzy) he stretched his arms, making his bones crack slightly before looking out of the window next to his bed. Most of the nights Tul could almost feel the missing warmth next to him, thought he heard those steady breaths next to him, thought he felt a comforting hand on his.

It must have been the wind, he told himself, must have been the wind...

A warm hand on his, in contrast to his freezing and stiff hand.

The shiny black rock on his nightstand caught his attention and the bright morning light managed to somehow make it shine even brighter. Once in his hands, he turned and tilted it, hoping to create an even more beautiful color. His fingers feeling rather lifeless around the warm stone, Tul was sure it provided the warm love of...

It must have been the wind...

It was the first time in days, his mind didn't play a trick on him when he heard the front door opening and closing short after. It was the first time in days Tul found some sort of trust in himself. In his senses.

"I already told you he won't come back. Hugging the dirty stone of his won't make a huge difference except from the dirt getting on your shirt." Being caught in his daydreams, this endless chain of daydreams, Tul didn't realize his little brother, way smaller than him, standing only a few meters in front of him. He had to control his feelings, Hin wouldn't want him to...
"Where have you been all night? When your big brother couldn't get any rest?"

Tin's eyes looked brighter than usual but his face still showed the same blank expression he always used with his brother. Usually, his eyes were able to tell Tul how much he frightened his younger brother but today..."None of your business." Which meant he stayed at his boyfriend's house. Being able to sleep next to him. To feel his warmth. To take in the stillness and comfort. To hear his calm breaths. To hug him tight and coax him to sleep.

It must have been the wind, must have been the wind.

The lullaby he always provided for Hin, still unheard. The warmth he wanted to give to Hin, still captured in his own body, unshared.

It was more quiet than usual outside of his house. Tul's body decided he should rest in front of an almost heavenly-looking, rather large pond. Noticing it's blue and green colors, the morning sun looking like it danced in the water itself.

The silent melody of their love, unfinished. Discontinued.

His fingers which had warmed up slightly reached for the stone, admiring it's beauty in the sunlight. How his tears looked like tiny raindrops on it's surface. 'You'll be happy, little brother', he thought to himself. 'He will make you happy.' So, so beautiful in the warm sun. His tired arm reaching back, stone tight in his hand. Almost throwing it forward, right into the pond, when...

A warm hand catching his. It must have been the wind.

Dark eyes meeting his. Must have been the wind.

"I missed you..."

He'll say, it must have been the wind, must have been the wind, must have been the wind, it must have been the wind.

Chapter Text

Usually, Pharm would've liked it. Usually, meaning under rather normal or acceptable circumstances. It was already in the tour bus, which seemed to become more quiet as the awfully long seconds passed, that his nervous-system announced itself to start going crazy.

First, it was only his throat feeling more dry than usual. Nothing he couldn't handle by taking a quick sip of ice-cold water and letting his gaze wander around the people who would be on the trip with him. The swimming club. It wasn't like Pharm knew the members very well but having his closest friend and of course his boyfriend by his side made the whole trip more acceptable. Usually.

Next, his heart began beating faster resulting in his fingertips nervously playing around with his white shirt. Nothing he couldn't handle, he's been through this a thousand times already, that's what he told himself. Pharm didn't really notice his breath picking up on speed or the sweat running down his forehead. Occasional shivers down his spine didn't really make the situation any better. Not at all.

But he still tried to think of something - anything else so his gaze lay on the passing scenery. Thanks to Dean who insisted on letting Pharm sit next to the window he was able to somehow distract himself. The colors stayed the same, a few mountains... Up, down, green, green, brown, up...

Nothing new. Nothing fancy. Just some panic.

"Are you okay?" "I'm fine." It was like he answered automatically, without even thinking about his answer which was a full-blown lie or realizing who exactly he was talking to. It was only when he felt warm fingertips carefully wiping over his temples that Pharm realized, it was Dean.

Well, who else than the man in the seat next to him did he expect? "You're sweating a lot..." "Just excited."
A full-blown lie.

For the next round though, Pharm wasn't nearly as prepared. Prepared for Win and him going swimming near a little waterfall. Prepared for Team and Dean to 'be right back'. Prepared for his anxiety to kick in.

"-arm? Pharm!" The water. It surrounded him. Win was too far away. No one to hold him. No one to save him.
Too far away, why did he have to be so out of reach? "-out of the water, okay?" So cold, he was so cold. Win's voice. Down, down, down, blue, blue, blue...

Gone. Suddenly, all of the water was gone, instead he was on solid ground now feeiling wet arms around his waist. "Pharm, can you hear me? You need to breathe for me." Air. Oxygen. It entered his lungs again as the wet arms held him even tighter and he rested his head on the other one's chest. "That's it, keep breathing, you're gonna be fine."

Fine? He didn't feel fine. His limbs felt weak, his heart was racing and his body felt cold. Fine?

"Let's call Dean, okay? Stay calm, you're fine." Then why on earth didn't he feel fine? Not only was he sitting in an odd position that made his knees hurt but he felt too weak and too short of breath to protest against Win's actions, so he just decided to focus on his breaths, on his hands becoming cold, then hot, then cold again.
Now it came down to only one hand on Pharm's back and the other one holding his phone tight. Dean would think he was weird, too weak, too odd, not strong enough. Pharm didn't even notice the strange sounds leaving his mouth until Win tried to make them stop.

"I know it's scary, I really do know." Still he could hear Win cursing under his breath because Dean took way too long to pick up his phone. Breathe...Deep, full, conscious breaths. He's been through this. He's been through worse. He's been through this alone. Now he could press his hands into Win's back and soon he could hear...

"Pharm? My good boy...Can you hear me?"
His voice.

But he wanted him near. He wanted him even closer. "P'Dean..." Pharm felt the adrenaline rushing through his veins and heard his heart pounding in his ears. So cold, he was so cold...Usually, he would be more shy. He wouldn't even think about resting on Win's chest but it just felt like his conscious mind had given up on him a long time ago. That was okay, right?

"It's me, I'll be right there, okay? Let me hear some deep breaths." Now that he heard Dean's voice it was like his throat had opened up again, allowing him to breathe properly. "I love you so much, Pharm. Try to relax, you did well...Such a good boy." His voice. So strong yet so gentle. So grounding, so guiding, so calming, so loving.

He just wanted him close.

"There you go, just relax...Actually, can you look at me for a second?" This time it was Win's voice slightly above him making him realize, how much he had melted into the embrace. But he looked so weak right now. "Don't be shy, Pharm." Why did he need so much motivation, so many comforting words to do anything in this state?

Weak. He felt so incredibly weak.

So weak as his gaze met Win's concerned eyes, barely even lifting his head up. "There we go. You're even more pale than usual how is that even possible?" Pharm tried his best to copy the smile he saw on Win's lips. "You can get comfortable again."

And he did.

He tried his best to relax his shoulders down, to breathe like he was told to but then...Win hung up. And it hurt, it just felt like loss.

"P'Dean..." Pharm almost began crying at this point. "I know, I know. He's gonna be here in a minute. Will you let me hold you until he's here?" Pharm gave him a weak nod and let his words carry him to a state of stillness. He was being held. It was okay. He was fine.

Just a moment before he felt himself drifting off to a well-earned rest, he suddenly felt strong arms pulling him into another lap.

"Sleep well. I'm here now. I'll take care of you."

Dean.

Chapter Text

'You don't know what this boy could do. He would do absolutely anything for Tharn.'

It were those few words that somehow - Type didn't quite know how as he usually tried to ignore Lhong's words for the most of their conversation, got stuck in his head. 'You don't know.' 'Don't know what this boy could do.' Could do or had to do?

When looking at Tar, although Type was rather bad at admitting things, he saw a boy who struggled a lot. Who struggled a lot regarding his mental health and opening up about his feelings. Regarding his ability to speak up for himself. Protect himself. Love himself.

And even though Type was rather interested in the 11th grader's backstory, he didn't quite know why exactly he behaved like this or at least - appeared to be doing so. After all, it was what Type saw from the outside. He was sure that his brother was the only one who was able to make his way around and up the wall he built around himself. A failed protection against people like the one sitting in front of him in a café on a bright day.

It reflected the opposite of how Type actually felt today. He felt...stuck. He felt like what those three people paid by the smirking person, eating rice porridge in the most provocing way Type has ever seen, had done to Tar wasn't the reason for his odd behavior.

Why did he feel that way?

"You seem uneasy. What are you thinking? Hope it's not about me?" And suddenly the food on his plate didn't look appetizing anymore. It always happened when Type was overthinking. He lost his appetite, his stomach felt tight, his hands startet sweating. His eyebrows scrunched and he practically felt the tense muscles of his forehead in great contrast to the relaxed, lazy smile of Lhong.

"Uneasy my ass. What's going on between you and that boy?" "You mean Tar?"

Instead of answering Type rather put all of his energy into a 'you know exactly who I'm talking about' - look. Actually, he didn't want to put too much effort into talking to Lhong, the only reason they sat at the same table was that Tharn had band practice and both of them had decided to go out to eat at the same time.
Of course this had to happen.
And of course Lhong was in the mood for meaningless small-talk.

"I don't trust you and your fake smile. You already did enough to him, what is it this time? Can't you see that kid is suffering?" His voice got louder by accident but he didn't really bother screaming at him. Not at all. If Type didn't imagine it, he could almost feel Lhong's expression becoming more blank, more relaxed, more...evil?

That didn't make any sense.

His imagination had to play a trick on him. He was too stressed out or too hungry to even process what exactly was going on with Lhong's expression. The only thing Type could hear was his empty stomach.

But his eyes...

"If you ever dare to tell Tharn about any of this..."

Their eyes met. So...empty. Like two worlds colliding and they sure were about to collapse.

"Trust me, Type then I'll do way more than just blackmailing that boy."

'You don't know what this boy could do.' 'More than blackmailing him.' The next thing he could hear besides his stomach was his spoon dropping to the floor. "Oh? Shocked? Surprise! I kept the video!" His smile growing bigger, like he was proud of himself and there it was...Evil.

Type's mind never played any tricks on him but with the next breath he took it went completely blank. He had filmed it? No, no, no...This couldn't be happening. Was this why he never saw Tar alone outside but Tum was always right beside him? Was this why Tar got really scared of anyone he didnt know? Was this why he was suffering so visibly? Because he was reminded of that day since...Since when?

In what felt like the matter of a second, Type reached over the table not caring about any shocked faces around them only to grab Lhong by the collar of his shirt. Why did Type's cheeks feel wet?

Why was he crying? Type? Crying?

"Aww don't cry..." Lhong's smile was rather small and soft at this point but his eyes provided a way more threatening look. He meant it. Lhong really did mean it.
And that only made his grip become even tighter. Why couldn't he hold his tears back? "How could you?! You..." "Type!"

Tharn...

Was his practice over already? Why did he stop by? His shocked expression but soft gaze, his fast breath. He would never know. It was when Type screamed at Lhong that his shaky voice gave up on him. Lips shaking with sobs.

He didn't just cry because of disgust, because of pity, because of disappointment. Type was scared. "Type...Calm down, let him go." He wished he could. How bad he wished he could be anywhere near to calm right now. What if he told Tharn by accident? And then Lhong would...What would he do to him?

He winced at the thought. Instead of calming down, his body practically fell against Tharn who sat down next to him and Lhong didn't hesistate to make his shirt look normal again while Type hid his face in Tharn's chest, sobbing his fear out.

"It's okay, Type...It's alright." It would never be. "I'm right here, it's okay...You can talk to me, you know?" He could never.

Tharn's chest got more and more wet by the second and Type could practically feel the pressure on him and Tar.

"Please Type...please tell me what's wrong."

He would never know.

"Please..."

And it hurt. But he would never know.

Chapter Text

He knew it was bad when he first saw them coming. Dressed in black almost matching shirts, skin of their arms covered in tattoos, not caring about the rain pouring down on their dark hair, not caring about others hearing and getting scared by their laughter, not caring about others seeing them playing around carelessly with the weapons in their cold and wet hands.

Not caring at all.

Boang knew it was bad when he saw them pointing fingers at him and Kheng, he knew it was bad to go out on a walk at 1 in the night, the rain seeming endless, holding onto a large umbrella covering both of their heads. Being honest with himself, Boang didn't know how else to help the older one after he couldn't seem to get any sleep so he decided to take him out on a walk, seeing the stars shining down on them, holding hands in the moonlight where no one else could see.

Instead of stars the nightsky was covered in large grey clouds and instead of holding hands, just enjoying each others presence, Kheng almost clung onto Boang's arm, clearly scared of the people in front of them but too afraid to let it show.

It was okay though, Kheng wasn't anywhere near to weak. In fact, he was more than just confident when it came to protecting his loved ones. But people like those in front of them didn't have any specific goal or aim at night. Just wanting to scare people, to have fun, to hurt them for fun. Meanwhile the rain didn't stop but kept pouring down on the umbrella above them.

This time though, none of them were prepared, none lf them could hold onto the umbrella as they were torn apart, just for fun. Just to hurt Kheng for fun.

Boang knew it was bad when he heard the knife slicing through the soft skin of Kheng's arm, probably even way deeper than that. He didn't hear any signs of pain, no screaming, no hissing, not even a deep breath but well,...that was just him. He wanted to be strong for the other one who didn't get hurt physically but instead they had hurt his heart by letting him see the person he loves suffer. It was even harder to bear than any sort of physical pain.

"Here, take this. Press it down on the wounds."

The first words spoken after they left with quick steps and vanished into the dark surroundings. Their hearts still racing and still panting from the shock. As their eyes met for the first time since leaving their home, the moonlight reflecting itself in those of Kheng, shining in fear and pain, he knew what he felt like. What he tried to hide.

And the rain grew even heavier.

"But you really like this one..." Even his voice sounded strangely worn-out and painfully quiet. Sure, he just handed Kheng his favorite scarf knowing that it would be soaked with blood in a few minutes, but... "But I really like you, too. And you're hurt." A short nod in agreement before he pressed the soft but wet fabric down on his right upper arm and Boang was sure that he could detect a small blush on the other one's face at the statement from earlier.

"Let's go home." Under normal circumstances, he would've added an 'okay?' or 'right?' but he felt way too guilty to even ask for permission to take care of his wounds. It was his duty to do so. But the guilt slowly anchored itself deeper in his mind and wouldn't leave his body. Not when Kheng's silent voice told him he was fine and not when they sat on their bed with somewhat dry hair, out of breath and out of words. Kheng for his part never really said too much but it was so unbelievably quiet.

So, so quiet.

"Let me see..." The other one immediately showed reaction by taking a deep, audible breath and slowly but surely letting their eyes meet. He was scared. Of course he was. By now, their breaths were the only sound to be heard in their room. Both of them looked down at the blood-soaked scarf which used to be grey before Boang carefully removed the trembling hand which still pressed it down on the wound as well as the scarf itself. That was way deeper than just skin.

"Take it." "Huh?" He was confused at Boang's order but soon enough he understood what exactly he was referring to. "I know you want to hold it. If it makes you feel safe, hold on tight, okay?" Not even a second after one of his plushies found it's way into Kheng's small hands and was squeezed tight.

He didn't want to show but he was scared, as their gazes met once again and his eyes provided a pleading look, just like asking Boang to be careful...And adding a tiny 'please' at the end of his sentence. "I'll be gentle, relax...Do you want to lay down?" Although he refused the offer, he visibly relaxed at the statement made but even at the first try to clean his wounds with a wet towel he pulled his arm away, afraid of what might happen next.

So cute...But how to make it more comfortable for him?

"Do you think you can give me your arm if I give you a hug?" "I-..." "I won't let go until I'm finished. Does that sound good?" Soon after they lay down on their bed, Kheng trying hard to hide in Boang's chest, his wounded arm exposed and the plushie between them.
"Relax...I'm right here. Just breathe, I'll do the rest.", Boang whispered, responding to the tense body in his arms.

So, so adorable. So vulnerbale. Such an easy target for those cruel people.

Although both of their breaths were rather heavy and loud, he was able to hear the tiny whimpers escaping Kheng's lips while Boang took care of his wound, really trying to get it as clean as possible. "So strong for me..." He had to remind the curled up man to breathe every once in a while but as soon as his wounds were wrapped up carefully both of them sighed in relief.

By now, Kheng's hair was all messy from pressing it into the other one's chest and his fingers were hidden in the fur of his tiger plushie. "We don't have any painkillers left. Does it hurt bad?" He had already looked through the box providing all of their medicine yesterday but painkillers were nowhere to be found. "Can you just...keep holding me like this?"

Boang could feel the smile on his lips and the tears in his eyes while pulling Kheng's fragile body even closer and giving him a caring forehead kiss. "As long as you need. You did great." But as he kissed the soft skin he thought of one more thing to say.

"Please don't hide from me anymore. Don't be scared to let me see your feelings...You'll be alright. I'll take care of that. You can relax in my arms, okay?"

Kheng felt himself melting into the touch and his pain slowly fading away.

'The power of touch', he thought to himself. 'It can truly heal wounds and take away all of the pain.'

Chapter Text

Did nights always feel like this? This was cold, empty and numb. Nothing like Fighter had ever felt before. Nothing like he ever wanted to feel again. And though he still had the whole night and it's complete meaningless beauty in front of him.

Maybe this was just what it felt like to sit on the smallest and coldest bench of them all in front of the university at 1:30 in the night. The wind wasn't blowing like it usually was but his body was still shaking. It didn't rain like he expected but his cheeks and chin still felt wet. The only grounding that offered itself to him was his earring but his hand felt too weak, his fingers too numb to take it off and press it against his chest. Trying to let it soak in all of the warmth his heart could give.

He just wanted to forget what happened a few hours ago. Leaving his boyfriend behind. Leaving the necklace behind and leaving his feelings behind. And for what price?
"I already gave my blanket away, this is all I have left to warm you up, take it."

Fighter's whole body flinched at the sudden but soft voice before realizing, Saifah took a seat next to him. Who would want to sit on that bench voluntarily? Why was he still awake this late or more importantly... " Why do you walk around the campus with a blanket at 1:30 in the night?" Well, maybe that question wasn't any more important than the first one but he still wanted to satisfy the last bit of curiosity that was left in his body.

While Fighter's face felt cold and tired, Saifah made a rather awake expression literally scanning the other man with his eyes. "Well, I...it's..it's cozy...Also, take it already." Up until now he didn't quite notice that Saifah's hands tried to hand him a jacket and for the sake of listening to his own body, Fighter let the soft fabric slip into his trembling hands before placing it over his thighs.

"Who did you give your blanket to? You're way too kind sometimes."

All of the sudden Saifah's expression became rather sad and a silent sigh escaped his lips but was carried away by the wind the next second. "You should know better than asking." The night became even darker. Not him. Not now. "He chose a worse corner than you did."

A single star chose to finally show itself and come out of the dark. The only one. Brave enough to start. He had to be brave. Brave enough to hand the jacket back to his kind-hearted friend who gave him a weak smile at the gesture. Brave enough to ask for his location before being brave enough to make his way there, not paying any attention to his tired limbs anymore.

He was hurting, too. The love of his life was hurting.

'Thank goodness Saifah has weird habits.', he thought to himself as he quickened the pace of his steps towards the right direction. 'Kinda cute though.'

Towards the right direction and towards the man who was sitting behind the building, wrapped up in Saifah's fluffy blanket and judging from the sounds...he was crying. Fighter was more than just certain that Saifah himself had wrapped him up like this. Calling his name would be useless. Of course it would be. He wouldn't ever just look up from where he was hiding.

Just kept on crying.

And slowly but surely, Fighter couldn't take the sight in front of him anymore. Sure, just a few hours ago he told Fighter to leave and didn't even want to see his necklace anymore but...
To his surprise, instead of trying to get away when Fighter pulled him into his lap, he leaned on him, just crying but accepting the warmth Fighter's body could still give.

"I'm right here...", Fighter reassured him when his body shook with every sob and hiccup sound escaping his lips, making the tears burn in Fighter's eyes as he rocked them back and forth. And only Saifah was able to wrap him up like this, blanket carefully folded over his shoulders, around his back and legs. And soon enough he couldn't hold his own tears back any longer.

"Just lean on me." His voice didn't sound very convincing at this point but convincing enough to keep them grounded. "L-Let me just...hold you" By now, Fighter found himself sobbing, noticing how much he missed the feeling of holding someone in his arms, resting his chin on someone's head and his hands on someone's back.

Rocking back and forth, back and forth... " I-I love you...so m-much. Please don't..let go."

And as the two of them reassured each other, leaning their foreheads together, promising each other to never let go of the other one, Saifah just watched from far distance with a slight smile on his face and tears in his eyes.

This was when he knew that he would never get his blanket back. And he was just fine with that.

Chapter Text

"Team?" The younger one had entered Win's room at night, asking if he could join Win in his bed which never really indicated anything good or anything Win couldn't be concerned about. They all had exams coming up so he could simply be overthinking and stressed or it could be one of those nights.

The room was flooded in a warm light, making it easier for Team to go to sleep or at least - that's what he thought would help or offer some comfort.
It could be one of those nights were all of the tension that had built up throughout the day just wouldn't leave Team's body at night. Win wasn't quite sure if the atmosphere in his room helped in any way as he heard Team whimpering and saw him squirming next to him.

"Team, what's wrong?" After realizing, there wasn't gonna be an answer to his question, Win scooted over until he was right behind his nervous soon-to-be roommate who was hugging a pillow tight, hugging his knees into his chest and breathing fast. Take away the part of the fast breaths, Team looked way too adorable in this shape. "Can I touch you? If you don't want it..Just say the words, okay?"

To be honest with himself, Win could barely hold himself up from cuddling and kissing him but the other one's sense of comfort would always be his priority. Seeing Team like this hurt him every time. It hurt like his heart was being squeezed tight, making him realize how much he loved him and that had to protect him at all costs.

He just wanted to be close to Team, to comfort him, to love him.

As there was no response at all for the next minute which stretched itself painfully long, the older one moved even closer until his chest touched Team's back, using his hand to draw circles on his shoulder which was pulled up to his ears. Now all he had to do was to find the right words and slowly get the one in his arms to talk to him.

"Nervous?" A tiny nod in response, making Win sigh in worry. One of those nights... "It's okay...Take some deep breaths. I'm right here, right behind you." Because sometimes, all Team needed was a little reminder of how close they were to each other and the conclusions that could be drawn from that fact managed to make his world complete again.

He was safe, warm, not alone, loved.

To Win's satisfaction, he was able to hear some deep breaths of Team who still seemed to be somewhat uneasy. "There you go. Good job, precious.", he praised him before pulling him into a loving back hug, snuggling as close as possible, trying hard to let any air between them disappear. "You're safe with me. Can you feel how close I am to you?" Of couse Team could. Of course he could feel the hands on his chest, the warm breath on his neck and the leg on top of his.

And just as expected he could see another nod.

Internally, Win felt kind of proud of himself. He knew for sure that this was Team's favorite hugging position because judging by the way his body responded he was able to relax the most in it. To feel the most of Win. His leg gently pressing down on Team's legs and his hands drawing gentle patterns on his chest.

This was what love must feel like.

"You're doing so good, there's nothing to be afraid of...So relaxed already, I'm proud of you." Usually, it would take Team at least half an hour to be somewhere near to relaxed but Win could practically feel his muscles relaxing against his touch and with every time he spoke. "You can close your eyes, don't hold it back, okay?" Silence before Team decided to say his first words of the night.

"Win?"
"Hm?"

He waited patiently until the younger one gained enough courage to ask his question and until then he placed gentle kisses on his neck hearing his breaths evening out more and more with each second passing. "Please don't let go..." Something he didn't expect Team to say but Win could feel the smile on his lips as he answered, placing a final kiss on his cheek. "I won't ever do that. When you wake up, I'll be right here, hugging you tight. Does that sound good?"

Although he already spoke up, he just nodded at the question, slowly feeling his heavy eyelids closing.

"I'll protect you, just go to sleep, my love. Relax..." As he felt Team's body relax in his arms he had a reason to be even more proud of himself. Proud to call Team his boyfriend.

"Thank you, Win..."

His favorite hugging position, for sure.

Chapter Text

At this point in his life his surroundings actually managed to fit his feelings. The cicadas chirping and singing in a rather comfortable rythm, feeling like a constant heartbeat, something Ae could get used to. Chirping like the night would be endless, like they have found their happiness. Ae thought, he did so, too. But as the sun set and the moon showed itself, making the world feel at peace again, feel free again, the emptiness only grew larger, only waiting for someone to make the sun stop setting, to make the moonlight seem beautiful again.

But as the night came, the fear came, the loneliness came, the darkness came...
"Ai'Ae!"
The darkness came...
"Ai'Ae!"

And he unwillingly chose to turn his head towards the right ony to face his tired and mad friend. Not even the moonlight was bright enough to make him see clear not without...him. "You're crazy, aren't you? Unlike your handsome friend over here you might use some beauty sleep." Ae remained silent at the accusation and let his gaze wander around the messy room rather quickly before looking down at his hands again.

Sitting upright in bed at 3 am. 'What a pleasure', he thought to himself.

The chirping slowed down, almost sounding like a sad heartbeat. Like a... "I'll go for a walk." And out of nowhere his own voice sounded unfamiliar. So drained and out of his mind. Just like Ae didn't quite believe himself he kept looking at his shaking hands and the bracelet. Even though he didn't really trust himself in that moment, he found himself in front lf the building at 3:30 am.

'What a pleasure', he thought to himself 'to be alive today.'

Otherwise he wouldn't have had the chance to feel the soft wind playing with his hair, almost swirling up around him. Around his chest, his waist, his arms and his fingertips before it went to say goodbye. Everything will say goodbye. 'True', Ae thought. So, so true.

His index finger sliding over the cold peace of metal around his bracelet. Also, he wouldn't have had the chance to see Type at 3:34 am. "Didn't think I would see anyone outside at this time. What brings you here?" Ae didn't even know himself. And as the man took a seat next to him, let out a deep sigh and looked up at the completely black sky above them, he was even more unsure of what to say to him.

3:37 am.

"You?" Type pressed his lips together, eyebrows scrunching slightly as he thought about his answer and...Ae was rather focused again as his hands pressed down on the cold stone underneath him. "Thought I could use some fresh air to relax. Especially calming at night." Type nodded slightly, seemingly happy about his own answer. So confident.

"Had to think of him?" Yes, yes, God, yes, of course he had to think of him. Since cheering practice at 9 am. It felt like nightsky functioned as a giant black hole sucking in all of the light that was left on earth. So dark.

3:41 am.

"It reminded me of him...The bracelet, I mean. Just couldn't get myself to sleep." Well, at least Ae was being honest to Type and most importantly honest to himself. Their gazes were focused on the sky again. Willing to hand it the last bits of light. "It's important to accept where you're at today. Listening to what your body and mind might need right now. That's why we're here now, isn't it?" Yes, it was.
And that was good, wasn't it? It actually felt better now. Not as cold as before, not as empty as before. Well, maybe it was just warmer because of the arm on his shoulders.

"How about a picture? Day 52, is it?"

This time, Ae couldn't resist but to look at the man in awe. But Type didn't even seem to pay much attention to his gaze, instead his hand patted his shoulder a few times. Picture, phone, he had to take out his phone. "Oh, uh...sure."
While Ae didn't sound quite comfortable (also something pointed out by Techno during practice), he actually loved the idea. And there they sat. Ae taking a picture of the sky, handing his phone over to Type for him to add the caption.
--------
(picture of the nightsky 🌌)

And the stars keep on shining. Stars, stars above me, stars everywhere. World keeps on moving, no matter what I do. Light keeps on coming. Tears keep on rolling. Stars, stars everywhere. In my heart.

-------

And he held onto his bracelet tight.

Stars, stars everywhere around the world.

Chapter Text

Right now, right here, at 9:45 am on the football field, he regretted everything. Well, maybe not exactly everything. Actually, the team captain enjoyed watching the field getting more and more empty by the second as the practice was over, he really enjoyed each bit of the fresh morning air and he really enjoyed not having any other classes today. The only thing he regretted at this point was...

"That's a very cute diary you keep in your bag, you softie you."

He almost wanted to snap back at Type before he remembered that his words were true, it in fact looked really cute. Rather thin and handy, blue and white stripes perfectly matching his shirt. He wouldn't want anyone to see. Not Type, not even the one who gave it to him. And as he thought about it, the grass under his shoes seemed to be even warmer, the air even more refreshing but the smile next to him looked just as annoying as it did before.

Techno was...scared. At this point, he kind of forgot what fear felt like but could that be considered a good or a bad thing? He wasn't really scared of anyone seeing the diary but...did he honor it enough? "Hey, I didn't mean to upset you. I wouldn't ever dare to open it. It's cute you keep it, though." "It's okay, I'll get changed."

And just after he got dressed, after Type finally left and after, for the first time in forever, Techno was all alone, his hands reached to pull the diary out of his bag in one gentle movement only to open it and being greeted by a new, blank page. Still, Techno kept looking at it like it was the most precious gift he had ever received, maybe because it really was because everything else he received for his birthday were pretty much just his favorite bentos. Still delicious though...

Even though Techno had to admit, he found the idea of keeping a diary somewhat childish and odd at first but Kengkla had given it to him and had explained it's purpose. Kengkla told him, he knew Techno was stressed out and struggling a lot as the team captain, he found it fitting for him. Told him that he would love to see Techno writing into it, filling the blank pages with whatever came to his mind.
And after accepting the gift with a smile he soon enough fell in love with it. Maybe that meant he was a softie just like Type mentioned earlier but he couldn't really care less.

So he grabbed his pen, lifted the corners of his mouth ever so slightly and began writing.

Writing and writing while Kengkla watched with a smile on his face. He used to wait for Techno outside because he agreed on being picked up but he allowed himself to have a quick galnce at the dressing room when he took longer than usual or...well, Kengkla was simply worried about him.

And there he stood, next to the entrance not even really trying to hide as he saw Techno's pen moving with ease in his hand. So adorable, so perfect, so...
"Enjoying the sight?" "Oh, uh...I just...I'm sorry, I was worried when you didn't show up outside but Type had already left so I thought..." With a quiet and shy laugh, he interrupted himself, shifted his weight from one foot to the other one nervously watching Techno grabbing his bag.

"You look great today, P'No."

As their eyes met both of them ready to leave the dressing room his heart felt at ease when Techno gave him this shy smile of his. Like thanking him without actually having to say a word. And it was when Techno's smile lasted longer than usual that Kengkla somehow gained enough courage to make the next move. But his bag...It was already pretty late what if Techno wanted to leave and...He felt his own smile disappearing at the thoughts but forced himself to stay present.

"Are you...uhm...Can I.." Why was this so hard? "Can I give you a hug?"

 

Kengkla didn't quite know why or how but...he wanted Techno close. He wanted to feel his arms around him. He wanted to feel his warmth. Just...him.

And when it happened the two of them closed their eyes just focusing on the feeling of being close to each other. Just taking in the moment, not wanting to let go, hugging the other one tighter with each second passing. "You're quite adorable." And that almost made Kengkla's heart jump out of his chest, almost made his lungs run out of air. Could it be...?

- a little flashback -

Type entered the changing room with a tiny yawn, actually tired from getting up at 6 am although it was way past 9 am now. Being thankful for the fact that he could talk to his friends now, his lips showed a little content smile which was washed away pretty quickly when thinking about how he teased Techno about the diary he kept earlier. Kengkla had actually asked him if it was a fitting gift for him and - the softie Type was himself, he couldn't resist but to approve the idea with the biggest smile on his lips.

Actually he just wanted to get changed quickly when he saw a little sticky note next to Techno's bag.

~When you're all alone
Where no one else can see
When you're feeling lonely
And no one else can notice
Open the book
Grab your pen
And be yourself
Because that's who I want you to be~
-Kla

A sigh, a little laugh of adoration before he put it in Techno's back.

How bad he wished Tharn had a sense for poetry.

Chapter Text

"Did you get your results?" Kit didn't flinch or show any other reaction on the outside but he could tell that his heart skipped a beat at the sudden familiar voice right behind him, making him question why exactly he didn't hide the papers in his hands yet.
Right after he received his results from the English exam he took last week Kit's tired body decided it was best to take a seat at one of the empty benches, practically staring down at the letter at the bottom of the thin paper in his trembling hands.

C. He had promised himself to do better. Not to fail like this again. But he did. Failed again. Like he always did Always will.

A shaky breath escaped his lips. Again. Failed again. As Kit lifted his head, neck aching from sleeping in an odd position on a way too hard pillow last night, his eyes spotted other students from his faculty screaming in happiness, other gave a slight smile at the papers in their hands whereas Kit...

"Kit?" This time though, his whole body, even his fingers twitched while noticing, the voice had changed it's location. By now, there was a concerned face right in front of him, eyes providing a curious but caring look. Phana. Kit didn't quite know what exactly it was but something inside of him wanted to feel warmth. Wanted to hear comforting words. To feel like he wasn't a failure. "Do you want to talk about it? Or should I go and get Ming for you?"

Although this was probably supposed to be some kind of joke Kit actually felt his heartbeat picking up on speed at the idea. Ming. Mingkwan. He needed him desperately. And he never thought that he would admit it but he needed him close right now. Kit could feel his hands stiffening around the papers as he forced himself to look up into his friend's serious face. Kit had to snap out of it. He just had to. Right now or else... "You stay here, I'll look for Ming."

Beam who had joined the two of them had an even more concerned look on his face and he could barely hold himself up from hugging his best friend. Beam knew very well that Kit used to beat himself up over a bad grade. Not talking about a day or two but rather a whole week or two until he was ready or just too drained not to let Beam hold him while he was crying and...To keep it short Beam didn't ever want to risk seeing Kit with heavy eyelids, read eyes and this tense expression at school again. Never again. Didn't want to see him cry like this over a grade again. It hurt him. Of course it did.

"I will...I-...I'll look for Ming."

Within the matter of a second Beam grabbed Kit's arm tight goving him a questioning look like asking 'are you sure? You don't look too good.' "I'm fine, guys. I just need someone to talk to." Did Kit just turn his conscious mind off or why did the words just keep coming out of his mouth without having a chance to actually think about them first? What if they provided too much information? Too much insight into his thoughts?
His feet barely even lifted from the ground but although he felt like he could pass out at any second, the thought of Ming's arns around him made him feel oddly comfortable. He had to hold on. If only he could find him now...

"Oh, P'Kit!" His best friend. Wayo. Of course. He had to know where Ming was, right? If it wasn't him, who else would know?

Kit's gaze drifted from the pink milk in his hand to his greeting and warm-hearted smile. "Uhm...Where...I-...Where is your friend?" Oh, great. Good job. First Kit didn't even greet him properly and then he stuttered like a child. How in the world would he know who Kit searched for? His eyebrows scrunched slightly as he filled his cheeks with some air only to puff it out a few second later. Was he thinking? What if he couldn't find Ming? What if he didn't come to school today? What if he was hurt or sick or...He had to get better at reading people. For sure.

"You mean P'Pha?"
"Actually I...I mean Ming. The one I fell in love with? I- oh my god..."

After Kit took the deepest breath he had taken all day, no - all week, his index finger and thumb pressed down on the bridge of his nose, gaze straight down at his feet. Great. Even better. What was he supposed to say to him now? He couldn't be in love with Ming if..

"Right here, P'Kit!" What exactly was holding his body up from passing out like right now?

He could feel his face heating up at the voice and the sight in front of him. Cheery like always, a big smile on his lips and waving at him casually. So cute...He had found him. Now all he had to do was to open up to him. Couldn't be that hard, right? Especially not after what he just said. Not at all.

But why did he feel light-headed?
Why was his vision blurred by tears?
Why did the smile of Ming turn into a worried look?

Failure.
Failure.
Failure.

"P'Kit?" No, no, no...He couldn't tell him. Thinking about it now...why even tell him? He would be fine in a week or two after hating himself more than he already did.
"P'Kit-Kat? Can you look at me? Please?" He didn't quite realize that both of them were sitting on the ground, Ming's hands on his shoulders, his sad look. But there it was. This slight cheerful smile as Kit looked up.
"If you love me, then please let me help you, okay?"

And he did.

He let Ming wrap his arms around him, speak to him in a low, comforting tone, just hold him. "It's okay...it's okay...As long as I'm here, there is no need to hate yourself anymore. I'm not going anywhere, I'll be right here for you. You're gonna be fine." He felt Ming's hands gently cupping his face, wiping away some of the fresh tears. "Don't cry anymore...And now, give me a little smile, P'Kit-Kat."

He felt the corners of his mouth lifting before he melted into the embrace.

"Thank you for letting me in. It's gonna be okay now. I promise."

Chapter Text

He never really imagined it. He never even considered it. Not only talking about the situation. Guns weren't anything new or bewildering for Jack although they managed to make shivers run down his spine with everytime, they were pointed directly at him. It wasn't just that. It wasn't just the fact that they were standing in the middle of an almost completely dark room if it wasn't for the moonlight to make it's way through the surprisingly big windows.

They.

Jack wasn't alone. And although he disliked being alone (or better said without his favorite cop by his side) he was sure that it were the other people that gave him goosebumps.

They.

Not only was it Chen Wen Hao who wouldn't have been much of a problem for Jack and his butterfly knife to handle. No. Zhao Zi. It was him...His shaking hands and trembling kness, the tears in his eyes which provided a concerned look, the dried blood on his arms which were raised above his head, the dirt on his face.
It was his boyfriend the most precious person in his life that made Jack swallow hard in this moment.

That and the gun which was pointed at his forehead.

Chen Wen Hao wouldn't shoot. Not after he already told Tang Yi about their past. He wouldn't hurt Zhao Zi again. Jack couldn't take the sound lf the knife cutting through the soft skin of his shoulders again. He couldn't bear another of his screams in agony. Not again. As soon as they were home he would take care of the wounds and...

"We could make this a lot quicker if you only gave up." He knew for sure that Zhao Zi couldn't really take the sight of a gun being pointed at Jack's forehead and in addition to Chen Wen Hao's cold look...it must have been frightening. As soon as they were home he would hold Zhao Zi in his arms and he would gently shush him until he felt safe and...
After all, Jack's hands remained raised above his head. It was only when Zhao Zi began what sounded like choking on his own sobs that one of Jack's fingers found it's way in front of his own lips, signalizing his boyfriend, who in a situation like this appeared to be even more fragile than usual, it was going to be just fine.

"Let him go first, don't hurt him anymore and you'll get what you want."

Hands returning behind his head, a slight smile on his dry lips trying to pretend he wasn't scared, knowing about the gun in his jacket and the knife in the pocket of his jeans. It was going to be alright. "Take it out, it's a simple as that." Jack tried really hard not to flinch or let his gaze soften at the statement. He knew about the gun?
Neither of them moved. Jack's smile deepened, hand slowly reaching for the loaded gun, pressing it onto the older man's throat a second after and if his brain didn't play any tricks on him, Jack could hear Zhao Zi's gasp at the gesture. "J-Jack?" He scared him. But it had to end. Jack's expression turing blank, hands freezing cold.

"Take it out? There you go."

A quiet laugh filled the room and added on to the frightening atmosphere. The laugh of Chen Wen Hao continued until the gun slowly disappeared from Jack's forehead, his hand lowering it down. Both of them already knew. Chen Wen Hao never wanted to shoot. Never wanted to go back to jail. Whereas Jack...
"Ja-ack...please..."

He couldn't bear it. He couldn't, he just couldn't. Steps. Coming closer and closer and...Zhao Zi's shocked and scared face appeared right next to him and it was only now that he realized how deep the cuts were, how dirty and wet his face was, in how much pain he was in, how tight Jack held on to the gun with both of his hands, how his own vision became blurred by tears. "Jack, you d-don't want this..."

How did Tang Yi do it? How did he manage to escape his pressures? "How did he do it?!" Zhao Zi winced at the sudden scream releasing Jack's thoughts that were dragging him down and although he never wanted to raise his voive in front of his boyfriend the noise showed effect when the face of Chen Wen Hao had a puzzled look on it. He couldn't hide it. And neither could Jack.

"I really do admire you. But if you wanna know about Tang Yi-" "Tell me! How did he escape? How did he do it? Because I can't!" The gun now pushing forward as his voice gave up on him. And for the first time since they met Jack wasn't able to read the expression on Zhao Zi's face as he continued to clench his jaw, a broken sob escaping from his lips.

Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry, he couldn't cry.

"Let it out Jack...B-but please don't shoot."

Don't shoot, don't shoot, don't shoot.

His fingers were almost cramping from holding himself back from pulling the trigger. "Y-You don't want this J-Jack..Please don't...don't shoot, please." Zhao Zi almost begged him at this point as both of their cheeks got more wet by the second. In fact, Jack was crying miserably at this point, his breaths coming short and his hands shaking so he didn't realize Zhao Zi's hands reaching out to cup his face.

Those concerned and scared eyes, tears on his cheeks, trembling lips. Still, he remained somewhat calm as his thumbs stroked away the tears from underneath Jack's eyes who was sobbing all of his heart out while trying to find grounding when looking at Zhao Zi, feeling his thumbs on the sides of his head before he leaned both of their foreheads together. Why couldn't he hold his sobs back? Why did he have to look so weak and why did his fingers slowly relax around the gun before...A loud noise. And it finally feel on the ground.

"Shh..." Jack closed his eyes at the sound but everything seemed more and more faded so there wouldn't even be any point in opening them again. "You did well, Let us handle the rest, okay?"

Us?

"Is he okay?" Was that Shao Fei's voice right next to his ear? Jack felt cold, so cold... "He's on the right track now...A-Fei!" So cold... "Don't think too much!"

Zhao Zi, he wanted to feel him... The door closed. Silence and then...Warmth surrounding his body. "I'm so proud of you. I'm right here, I'll get us home, hold onto me."

And he did.

Chapter Text

Up until now Win was able to hide it. probably not all of it - especially not in front of Team, but most of it. He didn't exactly know if that could be considered a good or a bad thing because he had to skip swimming practice and lunch oftentimes and even more frequently since the last week making him question how long he was still able to keep the truth to himself.

It wasn't like Dean gave him concerned looks everytime he went to swimming practice and practically scanned his whole body for any abnormalities. It wasn't like Team came in for hugs or cuddles more often and at more random times beacuse he was able to tell, Win wasn't doing too good but didn't want to push him into talking. And it totally wasn't like it happened again. In the changing room when he wanted to get ready for his practice. When everyone else was already dressed and in the water.

But as he took some unsteady steps back his shoulders touching the lockers behind him, looking up into their faces he could feel the fear crawling up his spine. It was odd enough he didn't even know their names, only a few weeks ago he had never seen them before because they didn't study in the same faculty as Win did. And still. It happened.

Win's mind was too foggy to even question how they got into the changing room without being caught. Too foggy, too scared, too weak to even think about fighting back as their hands were all over his chest, pushing him even further back, the lockers probably leaving marks on his skin.
"Don't touch me!" When finally getting his body out of it's paralyzed state and trying to push them away from him or at least get their hands off Win began panicking when he got punched in his ribs by one of the three guys.

No, no, no, no...

He couldn't hide the red mark that this would leave behind. Or blue? Green? That hurt even worse than just green. The cold air around him seemed to contain less and less oxygen. His eyes were giving up on him as the lockers now had black spots dancing on their surface, back aching from the ice-cold metal, hissing in pain, barely breathing. He's been through this. The same punch. Same spot. Why was it so hard to breathe now? As the hands finally let go of his. As he curled up into a ball. As he gasped for air. Why didn't Dean hear them? Or should he pray for Team not hearing them?

"What the hell did you do?" "I just punched him? Who knew it would turn out like this?" "You should've thought of that!" "Let's get out of here, hurry up!"

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Their fast steps faded away and Win couldn't care less if they actuall slipped on the wet floor as he now crouched down hugging himself as tight as possible, trying to get some fresh air into his body.
"Win?"
Yet again he couldn't decide if it was good or bad that Team finally decided to look for him. Good because he could help him in some kind of way. Bad because...no one was supposed to him like this. Especially not him.

Not even a minute after Win found himself crying helplessly in Team's lap, his arms wrapped protectively around him just holding him tight, counting out their breaths. Win didn't really like feeling this vulnerable, so weak he couldn't even breathe by himself although he should be the one to protect Team. To soothe him, comfort him, hug him, love him. "Another round together?" Win nodded desperately. He needed Team's guidance. That was okay, right? "You're doing great..."

And so they breathed together, inhaled for four, exhaled for six for quite some time before Team went silent and began to rock Win front to back which even did his aching muscles something good. Still he continued to cry, hiding from the world.

Just feeling he wasn't alone. He'd never be.

"Don't make me cry with you...I'm not mad at you. You don't have to talk about it yet. Just...let's just go home and cuddle okay?"

Win cried but smiled at the same time, grip tightening around Team's back. He just wanted to stay here and capture the moment even if that meant that they would take even longer to get home. Team just continued the gentle movement as if he could read his thoughts, stroked through Win's hair with soft fingertips and pulled him even closer.

"You're okay now. I won't let them hurt you again...Please stop crying, you're okay."

Instead, he sobbed his heart out, pressed his face against Team's chest who was helpless at this point but even so, he wanted time to stop right now. "Shh..it's okay now, we're safe...No one can hurt us, I won't let them. Don't be scared..." But Win just squeezed his back harder, showing him how grateful he was. He wasn't scared. How could he be scared in Team's arms?

And Team understood.

Wanted to stop time as he held him tight.

"I love you, too."

Lost in the moment.

Chapter Text

Jiang Yuelou didn't quite manage to think about something - anything else since he made the first steps out of his bed, which wasn't nearly as comfortable as it used to be only a week ago. Not even the birds, whose songs were especially beautiful this morning, not even his favorite tea, not even the thought of seeing Yuzhi again could put his mind to ease.
Of course it couldn't and while looking out of the window and bringing the teacup to his dry lips he couldn't help but to feel off.

A rather normal feeling after barely three hours of light sleep thanks to...his recent condition. He would experience chest pains. Not throughout the day where he could somehow manage the pain through movement but only at night when he tried to put his body to rest and when finally drifting of to a well-earned rest Jiang Yuelou found himself being scared awake by an unknown source, a sound so familiar and loud so short and brutal it made him wince in pain.

A gunshot.

Now that he thought about it...Why tell Yuzhi about it? He was sure he was just sleeping in an odd position or...perhaps he drank too much caffeine. Barely any of it but...

And this was where his mind started going crazy over something so small, something he did a hundred times already. Meeting Yuzhi. Maybe it was different because they didn't meet to discuss a serious manner, they just wanted to...go for a quiet walk. And as his eyes were focused on a bird which was sitting on a roof that could be seen from his window he got nervous.

Yuelou said he didn't regret. He'd shoot him another time if he was only given the chance to do so. But why did this unknown feeling expand in his chest then? It wasn't like he never used somewhat violent methods as a policeman before - good or bad that was up for a long discussion. Still, he didin't understand the tricks his body had been playing with him since it happened a week ago.

The bird flew away with rapid movements almost making Yuelou flinch. Almost. Like he did almost every night since the whole week. Shifting, tossing and turning underneath the huge stack of comforters. Why tell him, right?

'Let's go for a walk tomorrow.', Yuzhi said, 'to see something else instead of red lanterns'. He knew exactly what he meant by that. But when seeing his smile, shining eyes filled with hope...how could he possibly reject such an offer? 'Why tell him?', Yuelou thought to himself. He was a grown man. He had to handle this on his own.

"Jiang Yuelou? Yuelou!" When finally walking their first meters together he was suddenly snapped out of his draining thoughts by Yuzhi who, as almost everytime they met, had a concerned and caring expression on his face smile slowly ebbing away a crease building between his eyebrows. They stopped their movements just to look at each other for a few seconds. "Didn't you get enough sleep last night?" Jiang Yuelou looked at his feet for a breath, smiled, gained his courage back, wanted to reassure him that... "I'm fine, just tired." But Chen Yuzhi noticed the slightly red, swollen, heavy eyes in front of his own. The slight but rather forced smile, his skin more pale than usual, his chest rising and falling in an uneven pattern. "Let's slow down a bit. Take a deep breath." They breathed in and out, Yuelou releasing the air through his mouth.

'Take it slow' This was what Chen Yuzhi had reminded him of in prison. And to be honest with himself, he had repeated those words over and over again in his head last night, imagining how he took a deep breath for Yuzhi, concentrated for him, let him in. But it didn't really do a thing. Of course it didn't. Because in the end he was still haunted by the moment. Panting in shock, looking around only to see people screaming and running from him, chest aching, meeting Yuzhi's shocked and concerned gaze. He had scared him. But when everyone else ran away, he stayed, tried to calm Yuelou down.

He still tried to fix him.

"Lately...It's hard to fall asleep." This time they didn't stop walking through the rather empty streets. A rare sight. And this time Jiang Yuelou didn't really put any effort into holding his barrier up, hiding, smiling when he felt like crying. With his barrier down, he got nervous when Chen Yuzhi looked at him with a good amount of curiosity in his eyes, listening with all of his heart. This was what he loved about him. Never tired of listening to new stories. Never tired of helping. He took a deep breath, looked forward and tried his best to still the other one's curiosity. "I always find my chest hurting in bed. Scared awake by noises in the night." "Noises?" A small laugh escaped Yuelou's lips. "Gunshots." And it was gone.

He knew very well that it was all in his head. And Chen Yuzhi understood without asking another question or letting another word escape his lips. Instead, he put an arm around Jiang Yuelou's shoulder pulled him close and smiled. "I think I can help. But for now...Let's go and eat hot pot."

The evening came faster than expected. Way too fast. They had agreed on meeting at 9pm and when Jiang Yuelou looked at his watch then up at the door in front of him he noticed he had started shaking. Nervous? Or all in his head? Slowly but surely it got colder outside he could even see his breath in front of him and he was sure that Chen Yuzhi was already waiting inside. Waiting patienly until he was ready to step in. Greeting him with this gentle smile of his, wearing his warm colored layered suit, a cup of tea nearby. Or two?

8:57 pm. He knocked. And stepped in.

But instead of just handing him some tablets and a cup of tea, smiling and taking notes on his condition Yuelou was handed a towel, new, light clothing and the order to take a shower before going to sleep upstairs. He would stay the night. Sleep here. Just thinking about sleep made his chest feel tight in the shower again. He wanted tablets to calm him down although he knew they wouldn't really do him any good. How could he possibly fall asleep next to Yuzhi? Didn't he have any other idea? Any prescription, any...

"I wanted to thank you. For telling me about your issue, I mean. I can explain your condition tomorrow, for now, you can get comfortable." If only it was that easy. If only it was easy to try and sleep only a few inches next to him. He was already laying on his back, hands as a little pillow before he looked up at Yuelou who was sitting upright in bed, staring down at the blanket surrounding him. They shifted.

"What's your favorite sleeping position? Show me." And although it sounded like Chen Yuzhi was smiling, trying to be seductive just like when he was getting the bullet out of his back, Yuelou did as he was ordered because maybe it was all part of the treatment. Maybe when he woke up tomorrow he would feel better than this. And finally after seconds of awkward shifting he curled himself up in a fetal position face turned towards the wall, noticing the water on the nightstand. "Fetal position, hm? I see...that works." His voice was way closer than before but comfortable. Kept at a low volume, almost sounding like a whisper right next to his ear. "My hands are a bit cold, I'm sorry."

What was he doing? Why did his voice sound so deep at night? Jiang Yuelou just stared at the wall in front, trying to distract himself, when he suddnely felt warm breath on the skin of his neck that made him more...relaxed. That was when the sensations just began to drop down on him. Chen Yuzhi's hands found their way underneath the soft fabric and although there were cold, the gentle patterns that were traced on his back along with the slight pressure felt comforting. Internally he had already prayed that his heartbeat couldn't be felt but he was amazed when he started feeling sleepy, his eyelids felt heavy and...

"Try to relax, if you feel sleepy, don't hold it back. Don't be scared, Yuelou."

 

- 'Can your mother who sold her body for opium be called a worker?' Screams all around him. Echoing in his head. Making his head pound. Hands freeze. Heart cramp. Screams getting louder, pictures were taken, Jiang Yuelou in the middle of it. Ready to threaten. Ready to hurt. Ready to kill. 'Chief Jiang, to tell you the truth. We, several guys also care for your mother's opium business.' Eyes burning with tears, vision fading, hand lifeless around the gun in it. 'I slept with your mother. So maybe you should call me daddy, good son'
>BANG<-

Jiang Yuelou was panting, shaking, a whimpering mess, almost crying from the pictures he saw. Breathe, he had to breathe. What if he woke... "Shh...It's okay, we're safe." He pressed his eyelids together trying to control his shaking when suddenly he felt a hand grabbing his own hand. So warm and gentle. "You're alright, Yuelou. No one's in danger. Everything is just fine." And somehow those words made their way right to his heart, Chen Yuzhi's thumb drawing circles into his cold skin. "It's okay, I promise. Just breathe. I'm right here." The warm breath on his neck still there, the hand still holding his, his chest felt at ease and the tears stopped sooner than ever. Safe. He felt safe. Safe as a gentle kiss was placed in his hair and made Jiang Yuelou's heart jump comfortably.

"I told you, I'm the only one who can treat you."

Always has been.

Always will be.

Chapter Text

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to go to the bar after they've just been arguing. Maybe it wasn't Type's fault at all because he just did as he was told which was odd enough itself but no matter how hard he tried to find a different solution than just staying silent the answer was nowhere to be found.
Or maybe it wasn't Tharn's fault at all because he has just been worried about his quiet behavior and tried to climb the wall Type has built around himself. Or maybe...Maybe they were sitting inside of P'Jeed's bar now, just analyzing the other one with their eyes while being entertained with gentle guitar music and other people's way too loud conversations.

And Tharn was sure that he noticed Type's hands twitching every now and then and his eyes wandering around the bar as if he was waiting for someone to enter. Lucky him that the other people's amusement drowned out his sighs. Sighs of worry and slight annoyance as no one dared to say a word and it was in situations like those that Type noticed he couldn't handle silence very well.

"Are you gonna perform next?"
"Mh"

The conversations were kept short and meaningless and it was in situations like those that he noticed how much he wanted to go back to normal. Normal before he had discovered Type crying in the café. Normal before he noticed the evil glance of Lhong. Normal before... "It's your turn, grab your guitar!"

And it all just felt like too much to handle when Type was left alone with his thoughts, surrounded by nothing but hot sticky air, racing thoughts, and the urge to do something to get his mind of this stupid order he had to follow. His head pounding to the rhythmic talking of the people as his fingertips carved lines on the surface of the wooden table feeling like he counted the days until he was released out of prison. Discharged from the contract. To be completely honest to himself which was already challenge enough the soft guitar melody and the lovely voice coming from the stage didn't really give his headache any release so Type decided to take action.

It was only one glass at first but by the time his performance was over Type had already had 4 glasses and couldn't help but hold his boyfriend's hands as soon as he was back. "Type!" It wasn't demanding or pitying, just the normal annoying statement to let Type know that Tharn wanted to talk. His hands felt warm and comforting whereas his hands were shaking and red from the amount of alcohol he already had.

And it was just past 2 am.

"Now that you're drunk, can't you tell me the truth about what happened already?"
"The truth? I love you...I really do...I just- you're eyes are- you're so cute when you're mad"
In reality, though, Tharn wasn't mad or disappointed but his eyes searched around the bar in an attempt to find what Type has been looking forever since they arrived but he admitted the fact that they soon had to leave or many more people would start to lift their phones in an attempt to record them.

Started laughing and giggling. Started telling their friends about them. Started pointing fingers at them.

"Type! Let's go home, let's talk it out tomorrow."

But when looking at Tharn, his heavy eyes and felt his hands turn into fists, Type's body felt..different. It was definitely his mind that felt drowsy and heavy. He was ready to talk. Ready to let it all out. Ready to let go. But then his inner eye reminded him of this evil smile that would haunt him for a long time. He felt sorry for Tar. Not only that. He felt the urge to protect the boy. To check on him and make sure he's safe.

"Type?"

Type was sure his brother was able to take good care of him but he wouldn't know about his pressures.

"I-I really love you. Believe me!"

His heart felt lighter as he started crying for the amusement of all of the people recording them but couldn't quite control his actions or the number of tears leaving his eyes. Tharn's face showed worry, a questioning look was written in his eyes as he stood up, walked around the table, and pulled Type in for a hug.

"I know, Type. Let's go, okay?" "Don't go..."

Type just pushed his head further against his chest and he began sobbing miserably, began to shake all over. Half of it probably the aftermath of the alcohol but the other half... "Type...stop crying, you're drunk."
He was drunk but the feeling was real. He was feeling drowsy and dizzy but the dear was real. The fear that crawled up his spine as he heard the words like they were played from a broken recorder just repeating over and over and over again.

"If you ever dare to tell Tharn about this..."

"Oh? Shocked? Surprise! I kept the video!"

Luckily Tharn pulled the plug by wrapping him in a virtual blanket of love, Type didn't dare to look up as he was way too scared to spot the pastel-colored and striped shirt again that he last saw a few days ago at the café. Way too scared, way too weak to let go.

"Don't...leave me."
"Type...I won't leave, I'll go home with you. People are recording us, let's go, okay?"

The sobs just got louder and more heart-breaking as Type was battling against himself. Talk or keep quiet? Talk or regret? Talk or suffer? Talk or hurt the one he loved? And Tharn's hands continued to hold him tight making him feel like he didn't deserve to even get this much attention, also talking about all of the cameras being pointed at him because of the love confession earlier.

"You can tell me whenever you're ready. For now...let's go home."

Home, where he could feel the other one's embrace all night long. Home, where he was safe from the danger. Home, where no one else could hear them because the walls were no longer too thin to hear arguments or sobs through them.

And maybe. Just maybe. Maybe it was a good idea after all.

Chapter Text

- 'Cause it's too cold for you here. And now so let me hold both of your hands in the holes of my sweater-

He wanted to come home, throw himself on his bed, stretch his limbs and fall asleep as soon as possible then he noticed this...feeling. It could just be the storm outside. The big raindrops crashing onto the windows. The wind howling around the building. All of this was exposed to him because the curtains were still open just like he left them when he left for his classes in the morning. But a storm couldn't make him feel this way, right? He wasn't scared of thunder or rain. Never has been. Never will be. And instead of letting his heavy body fall onto the matress offering him some support something inside of him made him want to sit on his balcony and let the wind move his hair in all the different directions.

Just wanting to feel he was alive. Step. Step again. Before he opened the big door and felt the storm of songs crashing down on him. He wasn't the only one that wanted to feel alive. Wanted to feel like he was part of everything. Like he belonged to something even bigger, even greater. Like he was human.

-All I am is a man. I want the world in my hands. I hate the beach but I stand in California with my toes in the sand.-

The man he talked about was the man he was scared to confess his feelings to. Sitting on the floor of his balcony on the opposite of his, knees hugged up to his chest and arms wrapped around them careful not to get too wet and therefore sitting close to the door where the raindrops barely fell. His body seemed tense, shaking and weak. Head hidden in his arms, curling up as much as he could to hide from everything that could possibly hurt him.
And Kongpob felt the smile on his lips disappear as he stepped out into the cold and watched from far distance how the body rocked itself back and forth, head lifting to wipe away the tears every now and then. He never wanted anyone to see him like this. But in his heart he knew that his junior was one of the few people that wouldn't judge him for his true colors. As his feet got colder and the first raindrops found their way on his dry hair he questioned if Arthit's feet were cold, too, if his hair was wet at this point. For how long he's been sitting there like this. So vulnerable-looking. In need of attention. How sore he'd be tomorrow. Or sick?

-Use the sleeves of my sweater. Let's have an adventure. Head in the clouds but my gravity centered
Touch my neck and I'll touch yours-

If Kongpob knocked on his door now he wouldn't be let in. If he texted Arthit, he wouldn't receive an answer. But... In the blink of an eye the rain got even heavier Kongpob could've sworn that he saw Arthit's body shaking with sobs. Rythmic but not comforting in any way. He wanted Arthit close. He wanted to hug him tight amd feel his body in his arms. He wanted to tell Arthit that wathever was wrong was going to be okay, eventually. He wanted to take Arthit for a quiet walk, for an unforgettable adventure to show him that the world was cruel but as long as they had each other they were going to be just fine.

"P'Arthit?"

He picked up. Placed his phone at his ear. Thank God he picked up. That was good. Now he had to guide him. Arthit couldn't hold on to his sweater to be guided but he could hold onto Kongpob's voice. "Kongpob?" His voice was small and so shaky, it almost shattered his heart into pieces. And suddenly their gaze met over their balconies. He expected Arthit to hang up as soon as he realized Kongpob had been staring at him for the last 8 Minutes. He expected him to go inside. But he didn't expect to hear his heart-breaking sobs through the phone while seeing Arthit stand up on shaking legs and making his way inside. His goal? Unknown. Silence.

"If you want to talk, I'm here for you, P'Arthit. You should change into dry clothes first, so you don't get sick. We can talk after that if you like. Or I can talk and you can lay down and listen. If you like I could..." A sudden sharp knock on his door as Arthit hung up so he put his phone aside and stared at the door for a second. Emotions undefinable. Could it be...? Kongpob made his way to the door with steady steps but once again he didn't expect...

"P'Arthit..."

- Oh, he knows what I think about. And what I think about. One love, two mouths. One love, one house. No shirt, no blouse. Just us, you find out. Nothing that I wouldn't wanna tell you about, no. -

His clothes not as wet as expected and neither was his hair. His body not as shaky as he expected and his eyes not as teary as he expected. Arthit was trying to hold himself back as he pinched the bridge of his nose for a second or two before he let himself into Kongpob's room. "Anything you want to tell me?" The freshman's slight smile was back as he analyzed the other man's behavior. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other one, biting his lip, their eyes locked together, hands in the pockets of his wine red uniform, trying to look rather casual although he seemed like he was on the edge of a breakdown.

Arthit nodded slightly, looking on the floor while doing it not wanting to admit he actually needed help before he walked to Kongpob's bed. And Kongpob pulled him into a tight hug. "You don't have to act strong in front of me, P'Arthit. I can take the lead."
For sure, Arthit's cold body was shaking in his uniform as he slowly lay his arms around Kongpob's lower back as if he didn't quite have all of the energy to hold them up. But that was alright.

- 'Cause it's too cold for you here. And now, so let me hold both your hands in the holes of my sweater -

"Hold on tight.", Kongpob whispered and Arthit let out a shaky breath as if he regretted his decision but enjoyed the company at the same time before his fingers curled themselves into the soft fabric of Kongpob's soft sweater. Arthit inhaled the fresh smell, closed his eyes tight. And exhaled all of the excess. Keeping his eyes shut tight enough to escape the rest of the world. "Do you feel like talking yet?" But Arthit simply shook his head, pressing his lips together and feeling Kongpob's hands drawing slow circles on his back.

- And if I may just take your breath away. I don't mind if there's not much to say. Sometimes the silence guides our minds. So move to a place so far away. The goosebumps start to raise -

Finally Kongpob could feel the body of his senior in his arms. Arthit didn't feel quite comfortable in the embrace yet or at least that's what he could tell from the tense breaths of his. But he just smiled and nodded, ready to wait for the other one to open up. In the meantime they just breathed, enjoyed the goosebumps on their skin that developed from the other one's presence and slowly but surely he could feel Arthit melting into the touch. He could hear Arthit's sighs, could feel the grip tightening on his sweater and the breath on his neck made him smile even more. "I'll wait."

- These hearts adore. Everyone the other beats hardest for. Inside this place is warm. Outside it starts to pour -

"Do you hear that? I think it started thundering." Kongpob didn't accidentally think out loud but wanted to keep Arthit from overthinking too much. His senior nodded, eyes and lips still pressed together but the shaking had stopped already which made Kongpob's smile grow even bigger as he tightened the hug. He closed his eyes and felt his rythmic heartbeat in his chest as he let out a content sigh.
To be honest, Kongpob wasn't quite sure if his senior would ever open up to him, warm up or open his heart for him. But now that they were close, just holding each other he was proud of Arthit. And the rain grew even heavier, the thunderstorm having a rather calming effect on both of them. "Kongpob...I'm really sorry." And Kongpob didn't want to prove Arthit wrong, although he felt like teaching him a lesson on why there was no reason to be sorry about the past he just decided to listen. "I know, I hurt you. I'm just sorry..." "That's okay, P'Arthit. I'm glad you're here now...I'm proud of you." They pulled back. Their eyes met.

- Coming down. One love, two mouths. One love, one house. No shirt, no blouse
Just us, you find out. Nothing that I wouldn't wanna tell you about, no, no, no -

His eyes provided a slightly confused look but neither of them wanted to talk, instead they just looked into each others eyes that were filled with love and soon it was when Arthit's eyes were beginning to look teary, red and heavy again that Kongpob pulled him back into the loving hug. "You can cry, P'Arthit. You can be weak, that's fine. Just...please cry." And with that being said the first sob escaped his mouth so Kongpob held on even tigther and the grip in his sweater became tighter, too. "We're okay." And as Arthit nodded but cried at the same time there was no need to talk any longer but the warmth just spread around the room by itself.

- 'Cause it's too cold. For you here and now. So let me hold both your hands in the holes of my sweater.
It's too cold for you here and now let me hold, both your hands in the holes of my sweater

And it's too cold
It's too cold
The hand of my sweater. -

Chapter Text

It was when he first woke up that he almost decided to stay home this day. Shocked, startled, panting. Whimpering, crying, sobbing. But alive. Still alive. And that was the most important thing right? They say what didn't kill you made you stronger. But why did he feel so weak right now?

Still Tutor somehow managed to get his stiff legs off the edge of his soft mattress to try and catch the start of his day at work. Wearing colors that didn't quite fit his current mood. Pastel green and white. Which colors fit a nightmare anyway? Dark blue and...black? Or purple and red? Well, maybe he should've picked wine red, the color matching his eyes from crying too much over something so small. "You look so fragile sometimes, I'm scared to squeeze your hand to tight because you might break apart." Who would've thought that he was able to understand his overprotective boyfriend one day?

Wine red, the color matching the blood coming from his nose now as the weird metallic smell seemed to spread around the bathroom in the matter of a second and almost made his stomach turn upside down. Almost. And he was very glad it didn't.
But instead of looking into the mirror to greet his own reflection with a gentle smile (because successful people did so, right?) he shut his eyes tight trying hard to stop the nosebleed with a cold towel and some tissues but just as he thought it couldn't get any worse, as he thought that the limit was reached and the luck had to be on his side for the rest of the day Tutor turned out to be wrong once again as pieces of the nightmare began working their way into his overworking brain again.

The memories were vivid, pictures coming to live in front of his eyes, screams echoing through every cell of his body sending occasional shivers down his tense back. A loud sigh escaped his shaking lips as he twisted a few times trying to release some tension from his aching back and trying hard to wring the sponge. Just wringing all of the excess out, everything he didn't need to think of during the rest of the day. But if the body could be considered a sponge, taking in everything around him that suited him then why didn't the sponge stop the bleeding?

And if someone asked him how he was he'd just show them his slight dimples along with a 'Fine, thank you, and you?'. But once again it was all in his head and it didn't work out the way he wanted it to work out. Why did he decide to go to work again?

Too late to think about when he was already there preparing to clean the tables before the first customers would rush in to get some breakfast as some kind of nutrition for their tiring work day ahead when everything he received were closed doors and his reflection laughing at him in them. And for another time in his life he was glad his stomach didn't turn upside down fearing the bakery got closed before having a glance at his phone and...Sunday, Tutor. It was Sunday.
"-ear me? Tor? Tor look at me!" Metallic smell? Blood? Nosebleed. And a worried face right in front of his. How bad he wished the crease between Fighter's eyebrows would disappear, how nad he wished the corners of his mouth were lifted and how bad he wished... "You can hear me, right?" Yes, he could. Of course he could hear the man nearly screaming in concern, holding him upright and waiting for an answer right in front of him. An answer? "O-oh, yes...thank you, P'Fight." The hands on his shoulders almost made him melt into the comforting warmth his boyfriend could give but if there was anything warm he was able to feel right now it was the blood running from his nose, making him feel uncomfortable. "We're not done yet, you can thank me when we are. Sit down. Follow my breaths."

Concerned and demanding, kinda cute?

The hands on his shoulders slowly pushed him down on the ground just so that his still tense back could touch the door behind him and he just let it happen as both of their chests were rising and falling in the same rythm while now dried blood was wiped away and he was given an encouraging smile. "P'Fight, I'm okay-" "One more time, don't stop now, for me?" He counted out their breaths one more time, elongating their exhale as Fighter finally let the breaths of his confused boyfriend return to their normal rythm before pulling him into a hug.

To be honest to himself, Fighter didn't even know where to even start questioning things, probably starting with why on earth he was wanting to go to work on a sunday morning leading to the next question about the blood and his red eyes but instead... "How do you feel now?" Just as he practiced. Fine thank you, and you? Fine thank you, and you? "I-..." Tutors eyes meeting the worried gaze of his boyfriend, the hand on his neck making his stomach flutter in a comfortable way before he couldn't stop himself from being honest because honesty was what the eyes in front of his needed.

"I could use...a hug?" The gaze softened. "Question or answer?" "Answer?" Honesty. Fighter briefly shook his head, a chuckle escaping his lips before he pulled his boyfriend close enough to hear his steady breaths, close enough to feel the tense muscles of his back and definetely close enough to plant a gentle kiss on his forehead. "You can tell me when you're ready, don't rush it. Just saying that all of this wouldn't have happened if you wore your nacklace, right?"

It was supposed to be teasing but the question managed to bring creases to Tutor's forehead. He didn't wear it? But he..."I...I really did...I forgot to put if of last night. I woke up wearing it. I-I swear I felt it around my neck. I really did and then bathroom I...I just...Not again..." Just like when je woke up from his nightmare, Tutor felt out of breath, like he just ran an entire marathon without him actually realizing it but of course - he didn't win. Felt like his ribcage was squeezed by an iron hand, like, like... "Hey, hey...Tor, look at me. Look at me, Tor, please." Their eyes met. Fear in both of them. "I'm right here, you're okay. Shh...it's okay, just breathe with me." And with Fighter talking to him, hugging him tight once again, stroking his back up and down, up and down... "You're doing great."

It became easier to breathe but he couldn't help throwing gentle fists at Fighter's back to distract himself from the fear he was gonna pass out. In the past, Tutor used to throw fists at his own leg or arm before his boyfriend offered to be his human punch pillow and his fists have never been so gentle, so light just like a feather before. Still enough movement to make him stay in the present moment. "You did well, everything's fine." His words sweet like honey seemed to work their magic as Tutor was able to take full breaths again after they used to get stuck somewhere in the middle of his throat. "There you go...Are you with me?" A nod while he desperatley tried to find out where exactly he has left his nacklace. His lucky charm. Everything that was missing right now.

He was certain he felt the cold metal on his collarbones just before he went to sleep feeling more secure than usual but after he stepped out of the bathroom his momories just seemed to stop. He let oit a deep sigh, leaning his forehead against Fighter's shoulder. "As long as you have me, you're going to be okay. You don't need the necklace if all of my love already belongs to you no matter what. Think about it." Tutor thought about it. Smiled at the thought that Fighter could be his punch pillow and lucky charm at the same time. Closed his eyes. And cried.

Neither of them was able to understand how the necklace found it's way on top of Tutor's pillow. Maybe it was because Tutor pulled it off his neck as soon as he woke up from the nightmare only to press it onto his chest. Maybe it was because Tutor found comfort in holding it tight and maybe because he forgot to lay it on his nightstand afterwards.

"You're gonna be okay."

Chapter Text

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Who said that? Didn't really matter. Why was it said? That seemed to matter even less. The only thing Tang Yi knew was that he came into the backroom once again. Prepared like always, wearing his favorite suit, rearranging his tie with one hand although it didn't really do anything as it always fit perfectly. It was just an act of self-encouragement taking over his body as soon as he closed the door and made the first steps forward.

The scent of his perfume slowly spreading throughout the room which felt oddly small on days like these. Tang Yi looked ahead of him and saw a frightened man, jaw clenching, eyes pleading, hands in fists, his whole body jerking on the chair. Tang Yi's expression had to stay the same though, blank as always, blank for nearly everyone except his loved ones. Or simply Shao Fei. He took a deep breath in, the deepest breath he has taken all day, held his breath...and exhaled as he had a quiet look at his own hands. Sometimes he hated them, especially in moments like those were they hurt people, making them cry and beg. Sometimes he adored them, especially when they managed to calm his boyfriend down or hold him tight.

His boyfriend... Would Shao Fei hate him? Refuse to look at him? Refuse to talk to him? But Tang Yi did what was right. He started acting where the law had no rights to take action because of the lack of evidence. What is too much of a cliche to assume that he didn't seem to recognize himself anymore? Not just talking about his eating habits changing when it came to spicy dishes and cola...also talking about his actions. Promising the love of his life not to hurt people on purpose anymore, not to pretend like he was the law, not to lose himself in his anger, not to lose himself in his wish to avenge something.
He promised it. Hugged Shao Fei after. Telling him not to worry because he had already learned his lesson when his boyfriend took the second bullet for him. It was a mystery itself that it took two bullets for him to realize what exactly he had become and right here, right now he risked even more than just that. He risked his love.

His fists slowly turning into solid stone.

Not good, not good, not good.

"Make it fast, just do it already!" When lifting his head up Tang Yi wasn't quite sure how much his current facial expression exposed about his thoughts but he tried to play it cool. To look annoyed by the demand of the tied up man. "Why would I want to kill you? Do you see any guns?" The taller man tried his very best to stress the end of each question, not wanting to lose his reputation but he couldn't really tell if it all worked out.

Play it cool, play it cool, play it cool.

All of his energy whas put into letting his tight shoulders hang lose, letting the crease between his eyebrows disappear and his fists open up. Did it work? "What are you waiting for? If you procrastinate why don't you just let the police handle this? The evidence can't be hidden forever. Just do it already!" "I should've really just shut your mouth first!"

The first scream and suddenly...Did he hear things now? Was that a gasp? Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate. He did. Broke his nose. Made him bleed. Did he regret? Yes. Did he still hear gasps? Totally. Did he know why? Absolutely not.

And when he considered his job done, Tang Yi couldn't find the right words to think of as he looked down at his hands once again, already thinking about how in the world to confess to his boyfriend. Could this be called some sort of confession? What exactly did he have to confess?
Tang Yi broke his promise. Beat someone up. Couldn't control his anger. Broke Shao Fei's trust. Too much to confess. Too much to think of, to spend his valuable energy for while wiping the blood of his hands and waiting for Shao Fei to return home from work to let the police handle the matter after he already pretended like it was his business while it clearly wasn't. Shouldn't have been.

There should be no blood on his knuckles to wipe off. There should be no one in the backroom. There should be nothing to confess. Nothing to keep a secret. Nothing to pretend. And there shouldn't be gasps coming from outside the room. Tang Yi was imagining things. Like aways. Nothing new. Nothing to be concerned about. No.

This time though, it was different. For both of them.

While Tang Yi was in the backroom Jack would usually sit outside of it, right in front of the door until his job was done. In front of the door where all noises, all screams, all of the pain could be heard. In the past Jack had been able to collect and distract himself with conversations or his knife. This time though he was alone and when Tang Yi's scream echoed through his head he let out a broken cough, an attempt to distract himself from what was happeining while focusing on playing with the knife in his hands which were covered by his gloves.

He felt less secure without them. More vulnerable. But right now nothing gave the impression of being anywhere near helpful.

Next, Jack clasped the wooden chair with one of his hands, trying to refocus on the present, trying to figure out what the wood felt like. Playing a round of 'name me five things' never really bothered to show any effect, too and as he felt the cold texture underneath his fingertips he was right - nothing worked.

The first hit. Judging from the sound it probably hit the victim's nose. There would be blood, for sure. Coughing and coughing, trying to distract himself, to put his attention to anything else instead of his chest. Another painful scream from inside as Jack pinched the bridge of his nose even questioning why he didn't try to convince Tang Yi to let the police handle everything. Slowly but surely he ran out of ideas as he could feel his heart almost jumping out of his chest and his fist involuntarily hit the table, a loud sound of the tea cup losing balance following.

It was too loud, too much, just too much. So much blood, there would be so much blood.

His fist clenching trying to create a hole on the surface of the table breathing through his mouth now, feeling the cold air in his throat and noticing it getting stuck somewhere on the way to his lungs. Breathe, he had to breathe. The knife fell down, his fist slamming on the table over and over again, trying hard to cope with the agony. His heart which felt like it experienced cramps, his hands which were soaked with a thin layer of cold sweat, his dry lips. No, no, no, no...breathe!

"Jack! Jack, what's going on? What's happening?" This couldn't be. Tang Yi was right when he heard the gasps rythmically appearing to him hurting the man. He knew his ears weren't playing tricks on him but still he didn't quite understamd why on earth Jack was breathing way too fast, willing to hurt himself by almost destroying the table, looking up at him with eyes full of fear and pain. Tang Yi's worried gaze was focused on Jack's face as well as his chest before he grabbed his fist, let his glove slip of his hand before drawing circles into his warm almost pulsating skin.

"You're hurting yourself. Was it the noise? Did the noise startle you?" Suddenly, even though Jack himself wasn't able to comprehend how it happened, a broken sob escaped his lips as he continuously felt the air getting stuck in his throat, fearing he might pass out any second. His trembling fist now surrounded by the warmth of Tang Yi's hand, eyes focused on the floor, giving it more attention than ever while he just couldn't escape his boss's looks. "You need to breathe, nice and slow, I'll show you how. I'll put your hand on my chest okay? Copy me best you can."

Copy him? Copy him while his lungs felt like they were on fire? Copy him while there was dried blood on his hands? He can't, oh God, he can't.

How bad he wanted to express his thoughts bit his mouth just decided to turn them into a few whimpers making it sound like Jack was in a weird type of pain. "Shh...Breathe now." Was that really his boss? Why didn't he ever show himself from this side? And while his hand was placed underneath the first layer of Tang Yi's suit and he was able to feel his deep breaths, Jack put immense effort into getting the air down into his lungs while slowly gaining control over his thoughts back and looking up only to meet worried eyes and srunched eyebrows. "Keep breathing, we're safe. I'll make sure of that." Tang Yi was more than just terrified and even forgot about his confession for a few minutes while feeling the energy coming back to his tired body as he deepened his breaths, kneeling in front of Jack and wanting to figure out what exactly happened that managed to put his best assistant into that kind of state.

The noise? The blood? But then again, Jack himself owned a knife. "I-I...I don't know..." "Shh...You can tell me later. For now, just relax. I'm here." And so they breathed, Tang Yi's thumb reaching out to let any left tears disappear, watching as Jack caught his breath and looked around as if getting to know his surrundings. "You okay?" A simple nod. "I just- the noise...I don't know. The blood and-" "I understand. I'm sorry I startled you...Well, I think I should save the apology for Shao Fei."

Barely even speaking of him he entered the door. Zhao Zi following behind. It would be a long day. That was for sure.

Chapter Text

"So you really understood class today?" Stepping out of the classroom this morning Kit felt rather proud of himself. A rare feeling just like an imaginary pat on his shoulder as he smiled at the thought and nodded slightly. Since a few days it almost felt like unlocking an achievement when understanding any classes and under normal circumstances Kit has never been part of the lucky one's who always managed to do exactly that.
They took it for granted. To be honest with himself, Kit felt some kind of...external motovation to show up for class and try his best to follow through and he was sure that if it wasn't for Ming being sick, he wouldn't have tried.

At least not that hard.

Thinking of Ming the corners of his mouth made their way back to a neutral position but Kit had to stay focused instead of worrying about his...best friend. He had to shake the feeling as long as he was with his friends or even in public place as he knew that he wasn't the best at hiding his thoughts and feelings. Not even anywhere near that best. And neither was Ming while he just did that on purpose.

"You okay?" And that was exactly what he meant by that because no matter how hard he tried to hide his fake smile never looked convincing and his eyebrows seemed to hang low when he was tired and overthinking just...doing their own thing. Barely even daring he looked up into Pha's concerned face making Kit feel even more vulnerable and fragile whenever his taller friend had the concern written all over his face, he looked down slightly and waited for an answer.

Patiently, of course.
But as so often Kit just nodded, practically feeling Beam's looks all over him scanning the smaller one for any injuries but soon enough the smirk that formed on Pha's lips made him snap out of his paralyzed state and coming back to his old self, pouting like a kid. "What's so funny?" "You're quite worried about him, huh? Don't overthink too hard or those creases will never disappear." A small laugh before Kit had to remove Pha's hand out of his hair to hold him up from completely destroying it but the gentle smirk just wouldn't disappear as easy as his hand did.

"Yo said that he's doing better but he still feels weak, kind of weird though, it's been going on for over a week now...Someone should definetely look after him today. How about the one who understood class?" Facing a sick Ming who would probably bee al clingy? Maybe even enjoying the company? Not being able to hide his feelings? Making him feel worse? Worse, no he couldn't be worse. It's been over a week now and Ming was still weak. That went against mostly everything he has learned so far. And if his condition worsened... No, he needed Pha or Beam or anyone who knew what they were talking about and dealing with. Not him, not Kit. Not him, not him, not him.

"-me? Kit? Kit! Snap out of it!" Their eyes met. Confusion met worry. Confusion met scrunched eyebrows and an analyzing look. "Don't think. If you're worried, spit it out. We're here to help you, damn it. I don't want to see you like that ever again." "I-I'm sorry." "Stop apologizing."

Well, that was a fast little conversation which he was rather used to between Pha and Yo. That was...new. And as a deep sigh escaped the taller one's lips Kit felt his body sinking into a puddle of guilt. Maybe he should have looked after Ming sooner, after all he was studying in the faculty of medicine. Should he go and risk getting closer to the other one? Risk failing to help him? Take the risk or lose the chance right? "I'll go check on him." Wait, what chance? "Kit?" As his glance wandered around for a second they soon met Beam's glistening eyes filled with worry and...guilt? No, not guilt, why sould Beam feel guilty? His eyes were rather wide open, his fingers fidgeting around with the sleeves of his shirt and his lips pressed together. But he didn't want his friend to feel guilty...

"You'll be okay, right?" A slight smile worked it's way on Kit's lips and he was sure that some of the guilt left the other man's eyes at the sight of his smile. "I promise."

Soon enough he remembered that goods like wellbeing couldn't be promised out of nowhere. He relaized it after he knocked, stepped in and looked up. Why did he smile as he saw Ming reading a book on his bed? Why did he smile although the other one looked pale? Why did he smile knowing that Ming was well enough to focus on the written words in his book? That was good, right?

"I...uh...I bought us lunch. I mean, if you can..." "Of course I can, I'm hungry." This lazy but loving smile of his. He smiled, that was good. He even brought himself into a sitting position and stretched his hands out. His hands? For a secoond or a few more Kit thought the younger one wanted to go in for a hug before realizing that he still held the bags in his hands and Ming wanted to eat. Well. That was okay. He would go for a hug, eventually. But not before pouting when he was lrdered to lay down again after eating.

"Stay here, I'll give you a sponge bath." "Wait, P'Kit-Kat...Don't go..." A hug? "I won't leave, I'll just get a towel and a bowl." "D-Don't go, please" As his bottom lip was shaking and he stretched his arms out for another body to hold him tight Kit couldn't help but to let his worry grow. People were always clingy when sick. That was normal right? It was normal for them to almost cry. Right? They were just...more emotional. Yes, that had to be it.

Kit's hands began sweating as he tried to memorize his lessons but this just...felt so much more real. So different from theory. It felt as if his presence was needed and not only assumed because showing up for class was the right thing to do. Did he understand class today? Yes. Did he feel helpless still? Totally.

So against everything that his friends would expect him to do (because what med student would let a sick person spend an hour on a bathroom floor?) he lifted Ming up, noticed that even after having lunch he was way lighter than expected, and sat him down on the bathroom floor while preparing a bowl of cold water.

Did he do the right thing? Ming didn't feel alone anymore as he could watch the older one from short distance and he seemed a lot calmer than just a few seconds ago. If so then why did his hands shake so hard? Then why did he feel nervous around Ming? Then why did he feel something pulling on his leg? Wait... "D-Don't lea-eave..." He cried. Ming cried. He just made a sick person cry. But what did he do wrong? They were so close to each other now...But he promised Beam that he would be okay...He had to.

So as he placed the bowl on the floor and dunked a small towel into the cold water his eyes constantly checked on how many tears left Ming's eyes and listened to the sound of his heart shattering at the sobs. "I'm not going anywhere, I'm right here, can't you see?" "P'Kit..." Suddenly Kit realized that he really prefered Ming calling his name from far distance, adding a quick wave of his hand and a gentle smile than his name being sobbed out like it was an anchor. Some kind of mantra. "Don't talk too much. I won't leave, Ming. I want to make you feel better. Trust me. Give me your hands." Even his hands shook slightly from the force of his sobs that made him look ten times more vulnerable than his normal state did and in this exact moment Kit thought really hard about how Ming behaved around his best friend who took care of him in the last few days. Just as clingy as now? Just as emotional as now? And Yo never told them about it? Impossible.

"You act like now one's ever done that for you before.", the med student thought out loud as he let the soft towel move up and down his thin arms only earning even more of a puppy look from Ming who seemed surprised and confused by the action. His tears had dried on his cheeks as his eyes nervously followed every movement Kit made. Did that mean that... "Wait, you mean that? Then what did your best friend always do during the last week?" All of the movements stopped as he patiently waited for an answer. "He...he al-ways bought me food a-and...medicine." "That's it?"

That was it. And Kit felt stupid for asking that question because most of the other students in his faculty would agree. What else to do than bringing him to eat and take his medicine? Well... "For me...that's not how this works.", Kit continues as if talking to himself while carefully moving the cloth around Ming's neck getting him to leaning into the touch. How did it work then? It was more than just clear that Ming needed some sort of attention. Constant attention. Otherwise his hands would reach out for a hug or he would start crying, letting his emotions burst out. To prevent that from happening or simply after Kit's rules...

 

"P'Kit-Kat? I-I don't wanna be a-lone..."
"I didn't plan on leaving you."

Everything felt at peace as both of them were laying on Ming's bed, the younger one's head tucked unter Kit's chin who couldn't help but whisper sweet nothing's into his ear until he was asleep. Probably according to his friends, the last thing he should be doing was hugging a sick person but his exams were all done so he couldn't really care less and apart from that...his presence was needed.
"You did well today...So strong earlier..."
"You deserve some rest."

 

And why exactly was Kit not surprised when Ming got out of bed at 7 in the morning feeling refreshed and healthy?

 

That was exactly what he had learned.
That was why he wanted to treat a patient and not the symptoms.

Chapter Text

Lin Xun didn't really know if he has ever been exhausted to this enormous extend. He had never almost carried a drunk person home and never had he thought of it to be so challenging and draining. He had never layed a drunk person whose limbs seemed loose like jelly on a bed and he had never...kissed a drunk person before.

Well, that was an incident he should worry about in the morning and definetely not when he tried to relax his body and put his mind to rest after the best meal he ever had.

But just as he looked past his left shoulder and over to the sleeping man his heartbeat began picking up on speed almost like it wanted to win a marathon that no one has told him about. Maybe it was better that way. It would be draining and insane if humans were to know everything there was to know in the world. Bewildering. Were those what ordinary people called late night thoughts? Probably. Did he still analyse the other one like a madman? Yes. Were the drunk person's cheeks stained red, his eyes shut tight and was his hair pointing in every different direction that he knew? Absolutely. Did he look cute like this?

This was when Lin Xun knew he had to go to bed. Screw the shower and the fact that he had to share a bed. He just had to fall asleep. Just fall asleep. Just fall asleep. Maybe, just maybe if he repeated the mantra over and over again it would actually happen. Even though he knew that it was impossible to fall asleep next to a rather heavy breathing person that still smelled like alcohol and couldn't quite control his limbs. As long as they didn't touch, he would be fine. Actually...
After all Lin Xun found himself at the edge of the bed, curled up in some kind of fetal position, not daring to move an inch while Yuan Jun Cheng's body seemed to be all over the other half of the bed. Insomnia, that's what this would be called. And Lin Xun would just go with the flow.
All up until...

A small grunt coming from the other half of the bed as Lin Xun's mind was somewhere between a light sleeping state and being awake but the noise still startled him. Yes, he was a jumpy person and yes, he tried to turn around as slowly as possible but lost his confidence when he lay on his back.

Don't move, don't move, don't move, he didn't move.

His breaths as labored as they could come swallowing huge stacks of fear down his dry throat. Were drunk people clingy? In need of attention? Emotional? Honest?

"Don-..." Done? Don't? What? Lin Xun has never dealt with people who talked during their sleep but he knew for sure that you could start a conversation with them. If only he had the confidence to do so...

"Go...ngh..." Don't go? Why couldn't he talk any more clear? Maybe he could read his lips? As his heavy body slowly turned on to his left side so he faced Yuan Jun Cheng he noticed the skin of his face realxing at the knowledge that he wasn't alone. Deep inside he was aware of the fact that he hated being alone at night but he never bothered to pay much attention to his fear. He thought of it as irrational and dumb. Then again every fear had it's ratinal and irrational aspects. Apart from that their roots had to be found. Maybe Lin Xun just needed someone to protect him.

"-ease...don't..." Please don't go. Nonsense, was it? Probably. But what if it wasn't? The other one's forehead showed tension and so did his hands and shoulders. Soon enough Lin Xun found himself battling...against himself. He was here to help. He wanted to leave the planet a better place. He wanted to start small and help the ordinary. He was a good guy. Still, a little gasp escaped his lips as the older one went in for a tight hug all of the sudden, hid his face in the crook of Lin Xun's neck and continued to mumble inaudible things.

He was a good guy. He was a good guy. He had to help people. It would make him feel good. "Hey. Hey, wake up." The tone of his voice was somewhere between a whsiper and a shout but it still showed effect as the drunk person stirred slightly. "Wake up...Please wake up." And he did. The other one woke with a short gasp, he seemed a lot more sober now but nearly no one could escape the feeling of vulnerability at night, just wanting to be safe as a result of turning the conscious mind of and actively trying to fall asleep as soon as possible. As safe as possible. Damn it, he waited way to long...What should he say or do? Was it a nightmare? Accoring to his breaths and the depth of the embrace...

 

"I-...You're alright." Unsure of what to do he reached out to gently pat the other one's head nervously. "We're safe here. I promise." A quiet groan in response. Vulnerable and...cute? Slowly Lin Xun knew what he had to do and just decided to let his heart lead the way. Out of his thinking mind. He just had to feel it out.
"Shhh...calm down. I won't go anywhere. I won't leave. We're in bed. And we're safe." That was the best way he could think of when calming someone down from an unpleasant dream. Reminding him of his location, his surroundings, the date and time, his safety. Lin Xun swallowed hard as his rather small hand which felt like it wasn on fore continued to stroke the other one's messy hair, his movements nice and slow, careful not to apply too much pressure, not to startle him. And with this much knowledge Lin Xun felt more confident in his abilities to settle the scared man down.

Yuan Jun Cheng's grip on his shoulders grew tighter. Did he do something wrong? His hand moved from his hair to his tense back and rubbed soothing circles into his shirt. Or at least he hoped they made him feel better in any way. "Keep breathing, it's okay...Just a nightmare, nothing real. It's not real, it's not real..." Lin Xun whispered, his voice way more stable than just a few moments ago. "Slow down, just breathe. It's okay now, I promise." Eventually his breaths evened out and both of them melted into the embrace. Something Lin Xun hasn't felt for...way too long.

And it felt so good. So comforting and warm. So loving.

" 's too hot..." "huh?" "Too hot..."

Too hot? Well, it was pretty warm but...Should he just pull apart? The last thing he wanted was the other one to feel uncomfortable because Lin Xun might as well use a long hug because...That didn't matter. So his arms slowly let go of the sober person but to his own surprise he received another groan as a response. "Don't go..." His voice so sluggish and sleepy that it almost sounded cute. "I'm not leaving, I'm just leaving space between us so you won't be hot."Lin Xun's eyes grew wide as his opponent grabbed the bottom of his shirt with trembling hands before he got his shirt of and left Lin Xun with an open mouth ready to be the first one to jump off the bed...Just in case.

His body ten times as tense as before was being pulled into the hug from before again earning a satisfied, deep sigh. Yuan Jun Cheng was ready to fall asleep again. Oddly enough he put his arms around the older one again and continued to draw circles on his shoulderblades. Just in case. Slowly but surely with every second passing he could feel every inch of his body relaxing and his eyelids growing heavy. "I won't go..." Lin Xun whispered into the hot air and did his best at keeping the nightmares away from them.

"Thank God you're not my brother..."

Yes, thank God they weren't brothers.

Chapter Text

Team couldn't say 'no'. That was for sure. He tried, to say the least.

He tried to say no when Win wanted to have dinner with friends in an overly crowded restaurant. He tried to say no when Dean made him take care of the swimming team for a way too long amount of 30 minutes. He really tried his best to say no when Win wanted to have a fun evening with friends but well...He just couldn't get his heavy and aching heart to do so because it would hurt other people's feelings.

Up until now he could handle it, just took a few deep breaths and went on. And if anyone else saw they would think Team suffered from social anxiety while his condition was something way more simple. So simple that no one - not even his boyfriend whose curiosity was hard to keep at bay considered it. But that was okay. He was fine on his own.
It was just this feeling that bothered him, made his chest feel weird and his lips all damaged from his habit of nervously biting them every time he felt this feeling expand in his chest, constricting his other body parts. "Team...I told you to stop doing that, it could get a lot worse than this...It hurts, doesn't it?" Yet again Team desperately intended to say no but nodded slightly at the same time, his cheeks turning light red slowly at Win's thumb stroking over his bottom lip with the lightest pressure exitsting. A sigh escaped his mouth, his hair some sort of more messy than usual in his ponytail but still perfect, wearing a simple white shirt and a worried look.

"If you're nervous, just tell me. You can do that right? You're not scared of me, are you?" It wasn't that but... "You need to start talking to me. Make it step by step. I can't help you if you don't talk." His gentle hand reached out to run his fingers through Team's soft hair in a soothing manner. "Alright?" Team though, he was even more nervous now that there were hardly any centimeters keeping their faces apart so he just moved his head up and down slowly to reassure the other while apparently the simple gesture wasn't enough to prove his point.

He noticed it by the way Win's eyes contained a spark of hope, hope he might as well use his words in front of Win which has gotten less frequent.

Internally Team really felt like a comforting hug now, just letting his boyfriend's warmth recharge his batteries for the rest of the day but his lips decided to remain sealed. "Come here." The arms in front of him now invited him to come closer and melt against the other person who then rocked them gently from side to side, washing all of the nerviosity away like ocean waves on a calm day. Finally Team was able to just bury his face in Win's shirt, close his eyes and take in the familiar scent, feeling at peace for once, like he could be himself without being judged or looked at. "You could've just told me you needed a hug, you know? You're not the only one who likes cuddles." He didn't know why or how but by now the tears just burned in Team's eyes, spilling on the fabric of the white shirt because he didn't waste any energy on holding them inside. It would just hurt even more.

And so they stayed. Win speaking to the smaller one in a low, comforting tone almost as if he didn't want to scare him, trying to get any words out of him, hardly succeeding every once in a while but making Team feel loved anyway. And then after what felt like a eternity the question that has been bugging Team for the last few hours was finally put into the room. Floating above his head ready to crush down on a him any second. Did he really want to spend the night with friends?

"You want to...right?" "Team, I asked for your opinion not for mine. Just tell me how you feel about it." "It...It could be fun...I guess."

And with that being said after many forehead kisses, back rubs and a short discussion they actually ended up in Win's car on the way to Pharm's place at eight in the evening. Was ist weird to say that night air smelled way different from morning air? It smelled like fresh flowers, always kind of cold but comforting at the same time, telling you that whatever it was that happened throughout the day was just fine and it was time to shut down. Except that it wasn't.

He noticed when the traffic lights were almost hurting his eyes so he looked away slightly every time a car came their direction, Win just smiled at the sight. He also noticed when he began fidgeting around, pulling on the seatbelt, adjusting his seat, rubbing his hands together... "Nervous, huh?" He stopped. "A bit...yeah." Win nodded, eyes fixed on the dark street in front of him. What was that supposed to mean? "That's okay. Once we get there, you'll feel comfortable around your friends, trust me." How bad he wanted to trust his boyfriend and just be normal. Spending normal nights with their normal friends after a normal long day. Different. Team really wanted to be comfortable around his friends. He knew exactly that neither Dean nor Pharm would judge him in any way. Of course they wouldn't. But, God, he just craved being normal for once, to be able to enjoy this evening for once and not to disappoint Win.

"Wanna play a game?" "What?" "You heard me.", Win smiled and didn't even really wait for an answer but felt rather proud of himself for being creative even when driving a car, his hands beginning to loosen up around the drivers wheel. "Five things you can see." "I'm not having a panic attack." "Five things you can see, go!"

Team rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand carefully before letting his gaze wander around the car, not even having to move his read to decide on five things which caught his attention. What was Win's plan though? Calming him down? Would it work? His brain told him otherwise but well, it kind of always did. Another car. Another blinding light. "You, a car, the air conditioner, the seatbelt, my hands.", Team said blandly not really feeling any of the nerviosity leaving his tense body. Good or bad or good or... "Well done. How about...four things that are on your mind? Can you do that for me, precious?" Wait, this wasn't how the game worked. For a second or two Team couldn't help but pout as he felt his heart melting at the pet name and Win was more than just aware of that fact.

So he sighed, concentrated on the feeling of being next to his boyfriend, watched his hands moving on the wheel and opened his mouth ever so slightly. He still didn't want to process how or why Win was able to wait patiently for an answer that even wasn't as precise as he wanted it to be. Still... "I don't know what talk about to Dean and Pharm. I don't want to disappoint you. How my last exam went and you're driving a bit too fast, I think." He slowed down at the comment. 45 to 4O. Internally, Team prayed for Win not to comment on his answers and for the first time in forever the universe had decided not to embarrass him again.

"Three things that you regret. Tell me if you're uncomfortable with the game." "Getting up so early, Spending all of my freetime on my exams, not stocking up on lays before we left." "Two things you're embarassed about." That was when their flow came to an aprubt end. "Too much?"

Was it too much? Was this the point where he just had to tell Win about how he felt? What really bothered him? Would that be the scene in the movie where the whole plot that was scarmbled all over the place up until then began making sense? It had to, right? No matter how hard he thought about it there was just no option that offered him to stay silent until they arrived. Win wanted him to answer. And Team would play the game. "My social behavior, calling you 'my lord' in my dream and you heard it." "That was actually pretty cute now that you remind me of it. Wanna do it again?" Suddenly Team's cheeks were stained in a bright red shade and once again he couldn't help but to feel like disappearing, just melting into his seat, becoming invisible even.

Especially when he noticed the smirk on his boyfriend's lips who probably found those two words amusing and somewhat hot. Distract yourself, he had to distract himself. He had to think of Dean and Pharm around him, expecting him to say something when he just stood stilent. He had to think of taking part in fun games that would make him do embarassing things. He had to think of ruining the evening because of his behavior. "And one thing you want to tell me?"

The car arrived. He had to cry.

"Team?" He had to cry because God, it was just too much to take on one evening. So much to worry about, to trip about, to disappoint Win with. "Precious, hey..." And as Win got out of the car, brought Team to his feet, sobbing his heart out, cheeks red like fire and forehead almost dripping in sweat the pet name didn't show any effect anymore. They resumed the hug from before, Team just crying all of the frustration and embarassement out while his boyfriend did nothing but holding him tight. It was in moments like those that night air really seemed comforting in some way while his body shook with the force of his sobs. "You did well...You're doing great.", Win whispered, voice as silent as the night when he understood that Team didn't distance himself but just - as simple as it is, was embarassed in front of his friends. Something they had to work on. But for now they knew excatly what to do. "Thank you for telling me, I love you. I'm sorry for making you play that game but it was the only way I knew to start a conversation about what's bothering you. You can cry now, okay, love? You can let it all out now, I know it's embarassing, I know it's hard...Just let it out, it's okay...I won't make you do that again. Just cry...I won't let go." "Ca-Can we...go ho-me?" "Of course we can. And we can cuddle."

Yes, home sweet home.

Chapter Text

Neither of them expected him to say the same sentence, to speak the seamingly empty promise as he pulled the smaller one into a side alley, almost hugging him close, signalizing him to stay silent, pressing himself against a wall. 'Follow me'.

Out of breath, focused like he has never been before and keen on keeping them safe. From what? Kheng didn't have any clue at that point. But he was sure to find out. After they were safe from whatever danger the two of them were encountering, of course. Boang's back was pressed against an old almost mushy seeming wall in the matter of a second and made his muscles scream at the sudden contact. That didn't go as planned but at least they couldn't be seen or heard now, although he almost let a groan in pain escape his lips but managed to grit his teeth in the last second, just waiting for them to pass by, just waiting for them to give up.

Them.

Boang didn't really need to define those guys any further, they have been seeking danger, blood and revenge but wouldn't ever get any of those. Certainly not blood. His jaw relaxing the second they were gone, releasing a clensing breath but still holding the squirming body close to his own. Those scared eyes, those slightly red cheeks and this chest rising and falling way too fast. He was panicking. "We're safe." The taller one whispered under his breath and tilted his head in order to look around the corner but the good news was that they were gone. They were safe. They did it. This time. 'Safe?' Kheng's expression seemed to ask, so the other one gave him a short nod. That didn't show any effect at all.

"You wanted to check on me?"
A terrified nod before he interrupted to chest-to-chest connection with his hands ever so slowly. Yes, Kheng wanted to visit the other one after he had found him more than just hurt in an alleyway nearby yesterday. Wanted to check if he was still there. And if he was okay. After he saw his wounds. His swollen eye. His weak smile. His deep cuts. After that Kheng couldn't refuse his inner voice screaming at him. Screaming at him to look after the guy he just met. That was odd enough right? But the thing being even more odd than that was... "You're so quiet", Boang smiled as he was still somewhere between panting and taking deep breaths to cope with what just happened and suddenly the smaller one felt a lot more shy than he should.

"Hey..." His smile grew bigger but so did the confusion in his eyes. Has he never been around a shy person? But then again, there seemed to be absolutely no one around. No a single soul except for those dangerous people. "Are you still shocked? They're gone, you can trust me." Kheng's hands slowly loosened up from the cramped state they have been in for the last few minutes as he realized what he must look like right now. "How- uh... How are your wounds?" Kheng's index finger pointed at his own cheek to signalize the other one that it still looked pretty bad, the dired blood still sticking onto it, some pink parts, some rather dark parts...

"You came to check on my wounds? I...I'm used to them. I ran out of painkillers but..." He stopped as he saw the small hand holding up a small package of painkillers. Stretching his arm towards him without saying abother word. Just letting his kindness speak. His kindness to a complete stranger. Well, not a complete one but the one he had to carry to his home yesterday the one he thought must have gone theough something traumatic and noe relaizing that everytime he met this stranger he was in trouble.

"You should leave this place. It's not safe around here." He was grateful for the painkillers (it's been long since he last had 500 miligrams) but insisted on being left alone. It was rational to think those guys could come around the corner at any minute but it was irrational to think that Kheng would leave the other one alone in this state. Not to mention that one half about this place seemed to welcome him with a warm smile while the other half seemed to kick him out of those emtpy alleyways.

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.'

 

Well, technically he wasn't really in the woods. There weren't two paths in front of him. But then again Robert Frost didn't lie about making life choices. So he stayed. He stayed and gave thanks for having to read this poem in school. He stayed and cursed Robert Frost as the second they turned around they were indeed greeted with a warm smile by a guy in black. Great.

Those people really were like parasites. Everywhere. Hard to stop. Hard to stop as he casually grabbed the painkillers from his hand, looked down on them, pretending to analyze their packaging before ripping it open and letting them all fall on the wet and drity walkway. Cruel. And Kheng was the opposite of that as he even wanted to save some of them before two gentle hands grabbed his hips and pulled him back up. "It's okay, I can handle the pain." "You call that pain? You don't even know what pain is. But if you would like to know...I can help." Kheng's mind went blank, face went pale as he spotted the knife in his hand. "Leave him alone! Can't you see he's suffering? You already got your revenge for whatever he did to you so...ngh..." "I told you, it's okay. Don't worry about it."

The same hands now covering his mouth. Boang's eyes were pleading telling him to just stop trying to be a hero but he couldn't really help it either. Sure, one second ago he claimed the other one to be a stranger to him but right now when it came to what could be considered crime saving a stranger was more important than his own sense of comfort. The tall man's left hand played with the knife for a few second before the hands left his mouth and they just stood there, in complete silence. Of course that didn't hold on for more than a second. "Why don't you just go and play with your dumb plushies again? All filthy and dirty just like you. That's where you belong, not outside, so we won't have to see your disoriented face any longer."

Plushies? Kheng owned his own fair amount of plushies while they weren't anywhere near dirty but still did their job in comforting him whenever he needed them to do so. Did he use them for comforting purposes, too? That was kinda... "Just leave us alone now. You have everything you wanted." Kheng just watched in disbelief as he gave them a slight smile before disappearing into the dark surroundings, actually matching his clothes. That wasn't the last time he would play with that knife. That wasn't the last time the other one would be in danger. In trouble because of his past. Well, Kheng didn't know but at keast that was what he could tell from their conversations.

"I told you to leave! You're not safe here!"

His whole nody flinched and tears immediately stung in his eyes after he was screamed at by the guy who was saved by him just a second ago. Kind of saved...Still safe enough to be somewhat grateful for his current state. Boang wasn't boiling with anger but with concern. If the smaller one got hurt he wouldn't be able to forgive himself for the rest of his life. If anyone dared to slice a knife through his soft-looking and pale skin, if anyone dared to punch him, if anyone dared to make him cry. If anyone did make him cry though, it was Boang himself because by now the first tears left the corners of his eyes. They made Kheng feel vulnerable after feeling so strong a few seconds ago. Especially crying outside of his four walls was new to him but screams just...well, they showed their effect.
And as his hands reached up to wipe them away, he felt a rush of warmth running through his entire body and barely dared to open his eyes after realizing that he was just being hugged. He should have been able to control his tears and to stop annoying the taller one and despite all of the odds he actually managed to turn the tears into hiccups that didn't really make the situation any better.

Was it weird to say that he forgot what being hold felt like? Just being able to lean against another person? Just being able to rest all of your problems on that person's chest. No, it wasn't. Because after all he enjoyed the warmth and strength surrounding him. "I didn't mean to scream at you. You didn't make any mistake...Stop crying, there's no need to cry now, is there? Hm? Please stop crying..."

Not only the warmth spread but guilt did the same within Boang's body as he held the fragile-seeming man closer to himself. How could someone so fragile be so strong when it came to defending others? How could someone so precious let him hear heart-breaking hiccups? How could someone so nice be at such a place? He didn't have any friends at all and that seemed to show in how terrible he was at comforting others. How terribly long it took for the hiccups to disappear. But as they did, the breath returned, the warmth spread Kheng was grateful he stayed. Grateful to take the path less travelled by because that one made him feel like home again. In the arms of an almost-stranger.

And that made all of the difference.

Truly.

Chapter Text

- Prison gates won't open up for me
On these hands and knees I'm crawlin'
Oh, I reach for you, well I'm terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can't hold my soul in
All I need is you, come please, I'm callin'
And, oh, I scream for you
Hurry, I'm falling, I'm falling -

You could probably call it ridiculous, irony or a hyperbole but Tang Yi's heart was beating so heavy he was scared it would just rip open his whole chest at any second. Maybe at the exact second Shao Fei stepped inside. Or maybe at the exact second he spotted Zhao Zi behind his boyfriend and imagined how hard it would be for Jack to cope with the sudden company after...Well, what even happened? A panic attack - of some sort. Triggered by...violence? Then again, why wasn't it triggered by Jack playing with his knife?

And all of the shadows of the furniture seemed to crash down on him as he still kneeled on the floor, still held Jack's hand, gave him an encouraging nod before getting up slowly despite of all the odds, of course. All Tang Yi wanted to to was to collapse on the ground, shut off the backroom, and forget about what just happened. He just wanted to hold Shao Fei close. He wanted to do better but while not collapsing at the floor he felt it wasn't worth working on himself. It wasn't worth trying to get better. To save him from whatever was underneath him or lying ahead. He finally stood upright, self-encouragement taking over his body once again as he arranged his tie and tried to look at his boyfriend through innocent eyes. All he saw was the sun setting before the front door was closed and... "Oh? You're not eating yet? It's past 6 where are you getting all of your energy from? Can I make dinner for us?" All of the sudden Zhao Zi held up what seemed like a dozen of plastic bags a few peppers and some salad shining through as Tang Yi tried his best to let his lips form a gentle smile in contrast to the police officers big smile while slowly dropping the bags and putting his shoes off. A short nod and an "Of course." let Tang Yi's mouth before he led them to the kitchen. Everything was normal. Everything was just fine. They would eat dinner. Talk about some of Shao Fei's paperwork or his latest case. Smile, laugh. Everything was normal.

Despite the fact that he wasn't used to someone else's cooking although he knew Jack was pretty good at it.

Normal. Just fine.

He had a hard time even letting him in but after all, he was Jack's boyfriend and his trust issues had their boundaries where he had to show kindness. Even if it was just for the sake of letting Zhao Zi figure out what exactly has just happened. "Please...Be careful." And he left. Wanted to crawl back to Shao Fei with the last strength left in his exhausted body. He had agreed to the fact and idea of wanting to escape his own trap - and failed. Couldn't escape his own prison because God those iron bars just wouldn't move an inch. But his heart still wanted to escape and Tang Yi understood. All he needed was...He could use...Why was this so hard. God, Tang Yi needed- "A hug?"

- Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
Say it for me, say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me -

"Tang Yi?" He agreed. And held on to his boyfriends jacket for dear life. Up until now ne was trying hard to escape any of his questions but it seemed like he couldn't escape anything in his life. So he just breathed and waited until the first question would tear him to pieces but to prevent that from happening he tensed his whole body up and tried to escape his reality. Impossible. "You're wearing your favorite suit. Hugging me like crazy. Any special occasion?" Yes, of course. Of course there was a special occasion because he had just beaten someone up, the exact guy that was still in the backroom, mouth now covered but still dangerous to keep around Shao Fei. The first question and he was still standing. The only thing missing was the answer. He wasn't worth it. Not worth it. Not worth being saved. Tang Yi could never change. And there it was - the answer or better said a groan coming from the door.

Great. Awesome.

The arms around him loosened their grip. No, no, no, no he couldn't lose him. He couldn't let Shao Fei go. His only grounding right now. But Tang Yi accepted it as he was pushed back in the matter of a second nearly being shocked by Jack not being there anymore before figuring he might as well be in the kitchen for their dinner which would never be the same again. Not when Shao Fei was now ripping the door open nearly giving Tang Yi the feeling he would rip the doorhandle off and gasped. A break before...

"Tang Yi?"
His voice so small and scared. Confused. Disappointed. Slowly looking at his boyfriend. Tang Yi's fingernails buried themselves in the fleshy part between his index finger and thumb as he looked down again, feeling like he was in a court. "Tang Yi?" One, two, three...Guilty. "Tang Yi I- Tang Yi..."

Shocked. The shock obviously deep in his bones as he turned to Tang Yi, walked past him, hand reaching for the doorhandle, wanting to leave. Leave. Leave. Leave. He couldn't let Shao Fei leave. Not now. Not here. Never. Never again. Not after four years of obsessed chasing. Not after stopping his bleeing with his favorite tie. Not after almost losing him. Two times. Not after he was welcome. "Wait! Shao Fei...The law can't..." "You're not the law Tang Yi! So don't pretend you are! This isn't right, don't you get it? Tang Yi, this isn't what revenge looks like! You're showing him how weak you can be! That you can't control your temper! That's not revenge, Tang Yi! And you know it..." " Just show me how to change! Show me and I promise I will." Tears in both of their eyes. Tang Yi messed up. He knew he did.

- Heaven's gates won't open up for me
With these broken wings I'm fallin' and all I see is you
These city walls ain't got no love for me
I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story
And, oh, I scream for you come please,
I'm callin' and all I need from you, hurry, I'm fallin', I'm fallin' -

But Shao Fei only shed the first tear before it could be caught by his thumb gently resting at the edge of his eye. It was useless. He was a hopeless case. "So I assume you're handing him to the police now? You will explain all of those wounds? All of the blood? God damn it, Tang Yi don't you get it? I don't want to arrest you! I can't see you disappearing on me again! I just can't!" And his voice gave in, as soon as it cracked Tang Yi pulled him back into the hug from ealier and planted a soft kiss on the side of his neck. He could feel Shao Fei's body shaking slightly against his own and questioned why he has decided to betray him like this. To betray the love of his life. But no matter how long he tried, no matter how tight he held him, no matter how many kisses he pressed on to his neck - the answer was nowhere to be found.

"Meng Shao Fei, I won't ever leave you." The last time he talked to his boyfriend in this weak and pleading tone was...when he recorded the third voice message for him after not finding Shao Fei for a whole day. "I can do it, Shao Fei. If you're here, I can just...show me how. Is it even worth trying?"

- Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
Say it for me, say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me -

By now Shao's Fei's hands have found their way on to Tang Yi's lower back. "Of course it is." Sobbing. He just made his boyfriend cry but at the exact second he threw his first punch he knew what he had caused. A cascade of bad events was sure to be coming, only waiting for Tang Yi to give it a little boost and- It all came down on them.Starting with Jack who looked so pale, so hyteric and dissolved so scared and vulnerable. In a state he has never seen him before, barely breathing and relying on Tang Yi's guidance. It showed him how much responsibilty he carried around with him as a boss and a friend every day, every minute, every second. And going on with Shao Fei wanting to leave him, showing him how much responsibility he carried around with him as a boyfriend. Every day, every... "You're worth it Tang Yi...Of course you are. But you'll have to explain. You have to take responsibility. And we have to bring him to the police. Now, Tang Yi." Responsibility. He had to explain. But he only let his fingers sink deeper into Shao Fei's jacket imagining what kind of argument Jack and Zhao Zi had going on in the kitchen. "Don't leave me again, Tang Yi."

- Hurry, I'm fallin'
And all I need is you
Come please, I'm callin'
And, oh, I scream for you
Hurry, I'm fallin', I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me, say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me, hurry, I'm fallin'

Say it for me, say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me -

Chapter Text

The moment the front door opened and he first saw Zhao Zi it felt like lightning flashing through his whole body almost making him flinch at the sudden warm but bewildering sensation in contrast to the little warmth Tang Yi's hand could give, given the fact that cold sweat worked it's way onto it as soon as his gaze met Shao Fei. At first he questioned how many of his emotions he showed on the outside right now and how many of them his boyfriend was able to detect and he only managed to somewhat collect himself when Tang Yi gave him an encouraging nod and got up so he could work on closing the safety button of his glove again.

He was pretty sure that Zhao Zi was the only one who touched his bare hands in the last couple of...months. He was uncomfortable with them. Didn't like them. If he didn't wear the gloves his hands would have marks of playing with guns and knifes for too long - marks he wouldn't be proud of. But this way the gloves just caught them for him. He was grateful and scared at the same time at how happy and easy-going both Shao Fei and Zhao Zi seemed, knowing their mood would change drastically. The moment he knew it for sure though was when he decided not to interrupt Tang Yi's and Shao Fei's hug and therefore went to join his boyfriend in the kitchen catching him cutting some orange pepper.
His favorite.

Now that he was with him, he felt more secure, put his gloved off and caught his attention with the sound of the safety buttons popping open. Jack knew it was a mistake, he kept cutting the vegetable as their gazes met, Zhao Zi showing off his most precious and welcoming smile which turned into a shocked expression, lips pressed together letting another surpised sound escape them as he cut his finger.
After whining about how careful he has been and how thus he didn't understand how it happened Zhao Zi actually let his boyfriend take his hand and have a look at the vertical, rather long cut on the tip of his index finger. Forgetting about everything around him for a second or two (or even more) as he couldn't help but chuckle quietly at how clumsy Zhao Zi seemed.

"Let me see...Doesn't look like you'll need stitches." And of course he also knew that Zhao Zi would just pout at that comment. Was he predicting the future? And there it was the first drip of blood as he pressed the wound together slightly to stop the bleeding first.
Thinking of blood...He wondered how much blood the victim had lost. How much dried blood his boss had to scrub off his knuckles afterwards. How painful it must have been. What he looked like now. Any broken bones? "Jack?" Any serious injuries? Would he be handed to the police? Would Tang Yi be arrestet again? Did Shao Fei have to arrest him? No, he couldn't handle...Blood. There was blood for sure. And screams and whimpers and cries and whines and...

"Jack?" "Huh?" "The wound..." "Oh, I'm sorry...Does it hurt?" "You should clean it..." "Right, I'm sorry."

He shook his head slightly before turning the tap on, carefully cleaning the cut which was almost invisible by now and although he was looking directly at the water his thoughts were back in the living room. He must have scared Tang Yi with his odd behavior. He had scared himself because usually playing around with his knife would be enough of a distraction for him. The tap was turned off by Zhao Zi. "Are you alright? You seem distracted...Were you and Tang Yi having a talk? Did we interrupt you? I'm sorry if I..." "Easy, Zhao Zi. You didn't interrupt us and we didn't have a talk either. We just..." His boyfriends eyes innocently waited for an answer. As patient as always and as silent as always when it came to letting the other one talk. By now the corners of his mouth were hanging rather low and his eyes were glistening in concern which was more than just unusual for the cheery man. "Look, Zhao Zi...Did you ever just...Feel like you can't breathe? Like...Like somethings constricting your throat and you just think that you're...dying?" "Yes!" "I...wait, what?"

Now it was a gentle and warm smile that made his whole face look more round and cute again. His boyfriend had experienced ut before? And he didn't know about it? "It was actually at work. Back then when we were cooperating with Interpol you know...We had some trouble with them and someone screamed at me. That's when I felt like that...I just don't like loud sounds. They make me all nervous and sweaty." Silence. Zhao Zi's eyebrows and his forehead seemed more relaxed now that he had it off his chest. Should Jack feel relaxed, too? Maybe it was okay if he let his shoulders hang loose for a couple of breaths.

"So...You felt like that, too and...Tang Yi comforted you, right?" Jack couldn't help but smile at how he was almost shouting his answer like he was in a quiz-show, holding his index finger up like he would win a prize. Ding, ding, ding! Right answer! "Yeah he...he did.", Jack whispered and wasn't even sure if all of this actually happened. His boss. Tang Yi. Comforting him? Shao Fei really did make a change in him. A short acknowledging nod from Zhao Zi. He was okay with it...What else did Jack expect? What else did he expect as Zhao Zi got back to cutting the pepper and Jack let his shoulderblades relax down his back body. He was okay. The air around him seemed to loosen, too and it became easier to smile, to feel relief. "It happens sometimes, you know? When it's just too much and you need to let the stress go. It's not pleasant...but it'll be fine, eventually. It can get better.", he smiled it all off like it was the most casual topics of them all to have a random chat about. "We can talk if you like. Cutting veggies is more fun while talking, anyway."
And Jack just stood there in awe of how perfect he managed to cut the little pieces while talking about such feelings. His quiet giggles filled the kitchen once in a while as some pieces just slipped out of his fingers or off the cutting board and if he knew that his boyfriend was this adorable during cooking he would have made him cook more often. Should he just start?

"It happened pretty fast, actually. I was just hearing the noises as, you know...Boss did his work and...I thought about the blood and...couldn't calm down."
Eventually, Zhao Zi just nodded and hummed in agreement to whatever Jack had to say, whatever pain he wanted to escape from. Eventually, Jack felt more at ease as the minutes passed, asking questions about their problems with Interpol when they were invastigating Tang Yi's case back then, wondering how many employees at Interpol still kept their job. Up until... "What about your knife? That's violent, too, right? Or that day when we first met...you were pointing a gun at someone. That doesn't make it hard to breathe?"

But he never intended to...and never told Zhao Zi about it. They never talked about why he kept the knife or knew how to handle guns very well. They never talked about why any meeting felt more secure with him around even though...He never intended to use them. Whenever he met someone dangerous or knew something could go horribly wrong, playing with his knife or pointing a gun at someone has become a habit. Scaring other people. Making them unable to move. Never wanting to cause any blood loss or screams. Other than Shao Fei who was definetely having a hard time as his screams could be heard through two closed doors and made Jack swallow hard, his hands searching for stability on the countertop. Wait...screams? Screams.

"Are you alright?" But Zhao Zi just kept on smiling, stating that as long as he wasn't in the middle of the fight, he'd be just fine. And so would Jack be. They were fine as Shao Fei told them about the case, as they ate the suruprisingly good dinner and...Talked about the noise. And Jack was just fine as Zhao Zi intertwined their fingers underneath the table, no screams and no nerviosity.

Just a mistake, people who wanted to better themselves and people who offered comfort. 'Cause they were only human, right?

Chapter Text

How to hide? That was the question Tine had been asking himself during the last few days...or has it been weeks already? Given the fact, he still didn't come up with any solution he didn't even wanna know because all he knew was that this evening, he would be screwed. In the last few days he was able to somehow lie. To somehow tell his boyfriend that he wasn't feeling too well, didn't want him to get sick and who therefore slept on the sofa. Everything was kind of fine - up until now.

And it all came crashing down on him as Tine lifted his plain white shirt, began analyzing himself in the mirror only to be greeted by his white back brace underneath only adding on to his massive insecurities. And if Sarawat knew...If Sarawat knew why he didn't want him to touch his back or why he was so keen on always wearing a shirt at night. If Sarawat knew why he looked so stiff when walking around. If Sarawat knew why he was getting back pains more often recently. If only he knew, he'd be disgusted - or at least this was exactly what Tine has been telling himself all the time. He would leave.
"Tine? Are you still in there?" In the mirror he could see his cheeks turning light pink slowly only thinking about stepping out of the bathroom and walking around while looking stiff and like he was slouching. He sighed, slowly let go of his shirt and turned around a few times to make sure none of the bumps on his back brace could be seen.

They wanted to play the guitar together before going to bed but today he wasn't nearly as excited as he used to be to play some tunes with his boyfriend especially when, after not wearing it for a way too long time, he just had to wear his back brace now, no matter what. Not even putting it off it that 'matter' was Sarawat's curiosity. His hands feeling all sticky, his lips all dry and his armpits and shoulders all numb from the brace pressing into them, well technically that one didn't really fit in the row, did it?

"Tine! Open the door!" "Hm?"
And as he stepped out, looking into his boyfriend's confused face, eyebrows scrunched together, trying to look as casual as possible he actually got nervous as the eyes in front of him scanned the younger one. What if he noticed? What if he unexpectedly touched his torso? "Do you wanna go to bed early? We can skip the-" "No! No, I'm okay, I really wanna play the guitar with you." Although they both had a rather lazy day, his hair was perfectly styled, his shirt matching the look on his face as it had a rather weird balck and white print on it - confusing, just like Tine's behavior. After what felt like passing a test Sarawat stepped aside and went to grab both of their guitars, Tine hating his body even more for having to sit upright like a candle in bed, which was supposed to be comfirtable for him. Right now it was offering him nothing but hatred and frustration. On top of that...

"What was that noise?" While placing his guitar on his right thigh he accidentally hit the back of it against his back brace, earning an even more confused look coming from his left. "Uh, I don't know...Sounded like it was coming from outside, let's start playing." "It sounded like it was coming from your guitar. Are you wearing a belt or something?" That sounded like a good excuse but the bed underneath him turned out to be a way better one. Tine yawned and had to admit that he has never been good at lying. "Actually, I'm pretty tired. Mind if I go to bed?" But Sarawat only shook his head ever so slowly as Tine scooted under the covers on a hot summer day.

"Tine, it's way too hot for this, you'll overheat." And with that being said, Tine was screwed. For real."Tine...You'll get too hot, I mean it. Also, I would like to sleep on one bed with my boyfriend again. If you need anything to hold except from your blanket, I'm still here, too." He was definetely hurt as he pulled Tine's blanket aside only to let his aching body sink into the mattress right next to Tine. And although Sarawat didn't ask any specific questions yet he knew for sure that something was off, something wasn't right, he just didn't know how to approach the man laying next to him now so he just turned his head to the left and practically stared at him, fearing his feelings for him might have changed. So he just sighed as he felt the support from underneath, welcoming it to relieve some of the aching muscles and just waiting for the next moment to come. Was it something about a girl? Something about Sarawat's past? Something about his own behavior? But what did he do wrong? Was that his shirt that his boyfriend was wearing? So loose and wide. "You can keep it, if you like." "Huh?" "The shirt, I mean. I like it on you."

Something he couldn't know was that Tine only chose this shirt because it seemed to be the most loose one existing to cover up his secret. Desperately wanting to hold a certain someone close but didn't want to risk him touching the hard plastic Tine just grabbed a tiny pillow and hugged it close, almost close to tears as he couldn't even feel the soft fabric on his torso. In this moment he just wanted to scream, to just throw his back brace away and cuddle Sarawat, actually feeling him close, to just cry and cry and... "Tine?" His forehead must have been sweating because of all of the frustration and the heat building up underneath the back brace that made him all itchy but itches in a back brace was another thing to scream about, his shoulders still somewhat numb.

"Can I give you a hug? I miss you..."

By now the tears finally stung in his eyes. His boyfriend missed him. Although he was right next to him. Since the last week, he had been saying no to all sorts of cuddles or hugs, he had been saying no to sleeping in one bed, he had been saying no to changing in the same room and now he would reject him again...Right? Because he'd be disgusted, right?

Moreover, all of the anger just turned into heat in this very moment. Tine was boiling hot underneath the plastic, he was itchy, he was numb, his ribs hurt from the pressure, he was sweaty, he was in need of attention and cuddles. Everything just seemed to crash down on him while, as angry as he has never been, tears running down his cheeks from frustration, sat upright, feeling like a robot, pulled his shirt up in one movement, ripped the stripes of his back brace open (and nearly off), threw it on the floor no matter how ugly and loud the sound was, began sobbing, just curling himself into a ball. An itchy, numb and frustrated ball that was in pain and bruised.

Until he felt someone. He could actually feel someone's arms around his torso, God how heavenly it felt to just...feel. "Let me take care of you, Tine."

So he let his boyfriend pull his shirt off, sobbed at the cold air against his bruises and just cried as Sarawat's fingers traced all the the blue marks and red bruises on his back. It burned like fire. "Hurts? Or is it numb?", Sarawat asked in his low, concerned voice and nodded at the barely audible 'hurts' while Tine wanted to add a 'like hell' but didn't find the strength to keep talking. "Let's go to the bathroom, okay? Let me carry you." Once in the bathroom, Tine sighed heavily at a cold cloth being moved up and down the length of his back and slowly gained the control over his tears back. "This is gonna hurt a little, okay? Wanna hold my hand?" Gratefully squeezing his hand, Tine still whimpered at the sensations of something being applied to his bruises that should make them hurt less and soon, an "I'm sorry...", was the only thing that could be heard after every whimper.

"D-Do you hate me n-now?" "Tine...I love you. And you don't have to tell me today but from what I saw...Do you have scoliosis?"A silent nod that felt like immense relief. "Okay, right...You can tell me whenever you're ready. Tonight or in a week or two...I don't mind, hm? Just, please tell me about the pain, okay?" Another sniffle from Tine, wiping his last remaining tears away and cringing at the thought of putting his back brace back on tomorrow morning. Right now, all he wanted to feel were arms around his back, supporting him, loving him, giving him strength and taking the pain away, whereas the last one would be the hardest of them all.

The pain would disappear in a few days but it would come right back with the second he closed the strips - and he hated it. Still, he felt less insecure, less broken in his boyfriends arms who was rubbing his back ever so gently when they were in bed, finally catching up on all of the cuddles they have missed. Eventually Tine told him about his Cobb angle, the pain and the bracing while being somewhere between half-awake and half-asleep, Sarawat only hummed along, traced his spine with his fingers before coaxing him to sleep.

"-ove you..." "I love you, too, Tine...Sweet dreams..." "y'too...", Tine whispered seeming like he was already asleep and let his boyfriend blanket him in love. Unconditional love.

Chapter Text

I'm an exception."

That was exactly what Ming has answered when Kit tried hard to convince him that most of the people would be more relaxed when cuddling before going to sleep and got into a more relaxed state of mind. 'There has been research done on it', he claimed. 'Want me to stay?' But not even a minute after Ming stared into the emtpy space where his car has parked, making the endless night seem a little less scary and dark. Only his own unsteady breaths were visible by now, it was like his hands had just disappeared in front of him, devoured by the big world surrounding his small body. So dark as he looked up into the nightsky and asked himself how many people fell asleep cuddling a loved one this night and how many people had to sleep on their own. He held his breath.

Not even the stars dared to shine on such a lonely night. And released it. How bad he wished the smaller one would follow him inside with a tired smile on his lips, although it was usually Ming himself who insisted on spending more time together simply because...It made him feel more secure. Yes, that had to be the reason for his urge to chase his car through the empty streets. But he couldn't. He would go through another night alone.

Cold, empty steps back to his room. Dark corridors, dark windows, dark thoughts without him. Dark room and a dark bed without him. He also wondered how many people fell asleep, then woke up whimpering in the middle of the night, clutching their comforter, trying to calm their breathing. Only him? And how many people didn't even know why they were stressed out. Only him? Fingertips clasping the edge of his blanket, curling themselves into the soft fabric, legs tugged into his warm chest, eyes searching for a focal point near him in distress. He was a mess. At exactly 4:18 am in the morning. Doubtless, his hair was shwoing in all compass directions existing, just like his eyes scanning the whole room, forgetting about the focal point, it didn't calm his nerviosity and therefore it proved itself to be useless.

"Can you name me five thing you can see?", he imagined Kit to ask. Five things you can see, Mingkwan, five things you can see. "You can do it, I'm right here." And he failed. Stayed up all night.

"I can do it on my own."

That was exactly what Ming had answered when Kit told him that cuddling has been demonstrated to help people manage their social fears. A simple hug before he went to buy food in lunch break for him and his friends but he felt like he wasn't ready yet. Instead of sitting at the table waiting and escaping all of Kit's questions he got up to buy food which - under normal circumstances - would have been the last thing Ming was willing to do all alone because...He would get nervous. How loud did he have to speak? Would his voice be heard? Would he be able to carry all of the food? What other students saw him carrying it in an odd way? What was he supposed to do with his hands?

Sweaty, he was sweaty, cold and anxious. And craving for a hug. A body close to his. So he could hide and calm down. And he failled to have it. Standing in the line, nervous and close to tears.

Or...

"Sure you can stay, P'Kit-Kat."

He tried to be as cheery as he could, he tried to smile as warm-hearted as he could when Kit got out of his car, looking like he just won some kind of price and walking towards the entry door. Both of their hands were relaxed, fingers just hanging loose, just like their shoulders, a lazy smile and their lips, big and excited steps towards their room seemed to turn the night into day. And Ming was naive enough to think that he would feel more safe in bed as he turned away from Kit, back facing him and scooted over to the edge. Just fall asleep, he just had to fall asleep...He did.

At 5:12 am though he felt like he didn't get any sleep at all. Like it was stolen from him as he couldn't hold back his helpless whimpers, nervous because...Why? As soon as he opened his eyes he figured, he was still facing the wall, he felt his whole body go cold, fearing he might pass out any second only waiting for everything to go black. Instead, when he was already panting like he had run a marathon - and won - a high-pitched whimper escaped his lips as he felt arms curling themselves around his waist. P'Kit. Only P'Kit. He was okay. He wouldn't pass out.

He was fine. Fine. Just fine. But God, why didn't his brain believe him? Why was every cell of his body denying the fact that he was safe in his bed?

"Ming? What is it?"
Ming himself frowned slightly at the heavy and deep voice behind him, way too close to his ear and looked down at the hand on his chest. But before the other one could sneek a look, he did his best to rub the tears out of his sleepy eyes with the back of his hand and pulled his blanket closer. Why did he feel so vulnerable at night anyway? And why did the touch make him feel better? "Ming? Can you take some deep breaths for me? Let me hear them, okay?" By this time Ming just wanted to become invincible and hide under the comforters, way too shy to take audible breaths because they were unsteady and shaky he just continued breathing unsteady and began somehow forcing his body to fall asleep again. "Don't be shy, you're gonna feel better if you breathe deep."

And then he could fall asleep? Just like that was a deal he felt his chest expanding at his first attempt to take a breath that would actually fill his lungs with some useful oxygen and closed his eyes, feeling like he has been caught doing something wrong. And he still didn't feel better as he felt the warm air on his neck, a feeling he wasn't familiar with or simply the new feeling of sharing a bed. "Can you tell me what upset you like this? Does anything hurt?" Was it still worth it trying to look strong right now? Or should he finally allow the older one to take a step closer? With the second he let another whimper go he pressed his eyelids together, cringing at how sluggish and weak the noise sounded.

"You need to talk to me, Ming. Or else I can't make you feel better again...Keep breathing for me, okay?" His heart skipped a beat at that statement. Kit wanted to make him feel better? What did he mean by that? Keep breathing for him...Stay strong for him. "N-not -urt..." "Did you have a bad dream?" Could he consider it cute Kit called it a bad dream instead of a nightmare? Most likely yes but this certainly wasn't the right time to find Kit cute, was it? But Ming only kept whimpering, a new set of tears streaming over his face as he thought about Kit turning around the next second, finding it too exhausting and dumb to try and get any words out of him.

"Okay, well...Then let's just cuddle...if that's okay? That will make you feel better." He let him come closer. "Shh...I can hear you, I know you're scared. It's okay, it's okay..." As soon as his whimpers lessened with the seconds passing both of them felt more at ease as Kit continued to whisper sweet nothings in Ming's ear until eventually he allowed himself to close his eyes, too, not questioning what exactly happened but just wanting to make it better. Because whatever upset Ming at this hour was going to be just fine.

And...

He engaged in the hug without saying a single word and wondered if the cuddles would actually work their wonder.

If he could actually feel their benefits as he stepped away and into the rest of his day or simply a step further to their table. "I'm gonna get us lunch today." Ming almost wanted to protest at Yo's statement but he was already around the corner while he was now sitting in front of Kit, fidgeting around with his hands, unsure of what to say or do so he just payed attention to his surroundings instead.

It was rather crowded and loud today, every table and every seat already taken, the line seemingly endless, so many people chatting way too loud, almost having to shout to talk to someone on the table nearby. And for the first time since he woke up and carried himself out of bed he felt relief expanding in his chest. He wasn't alone, he didn't have to stand in the line or carry the food, he didn't have to wait for someone.

"You don't like it here, do you?"
Their eyes met and Ming felt more insecure about his social fears than ever when Kit practically scanned his whole upper body, taking a sip of the water he bought. Soon enough though, the casual question turned into a more worried and serious one as the older one noticed how uneasy the student seemed, the way his cheeks blushed, the way he looked around, nervous and anxious.
"Give me your hands." Neither an answer nor any reaction. "Ming? Trust me." Ming himself was just in awe of how Kit didn't lose it when Ming couldn't being himself to talk in front of him, instead he just stayed completely calm and gentle towards him. When finally his hands were surrounded by the warmth of Kit's hands and the younger one began squirming in his seat the only thing missing were the words to fill the silence.

"Ming? You're doing great, do you hear me? You're doing awesome." What was he trying to do? But either way Ming couldn't resist his encouraging smile and his dimples that appeared along with it. "Just try and focus on me. No one can harm us here, no one will drag you away from me and no one will make you do something you don't wanna do. Focus on me.", he repeated. "Only look at me...You're doing so great. I'll keep you safe." From anything that could harm him? From anything that he feared in this very moment? The noise, the crowd, the sticky air? "Alright?"

Alright. It just had to be. "That's it, don't look away." So he actually wanted to stop his thoughts of the crowd becoming louder and closer to him and... "Deep breaths, Ming. Nice and slow...There you go, you're doing great." He was doing great. He was doing better.

And everyone could use some cuddles once in a while, right?

Chapter Text

"Everyone, repeat. Now."

And everyone started talking synchronized, almost shouting as a protection from being punished, like a shield made from nothing but pure fear. Would it protect them? Or would it cause them even more trouble? In this very moment, Arthit felt like a freshman again, being told, no, ordered to repeat almost anything their seniors said otherwise...He softly shook his head to make the thoughts stop (only in his imagination of course, otherwise he would be the first one to be punished by P'Deer).

The scenery was the same, the tiny almost black-seeming room, students in wine red uniforms standing in a perfect circle the oldest one in the middle of it, analyzing everyone's behavior, only waiting for an odd one to stand out not matter how tiny the mistake. Annoyed faces all over, some distracted and some focused, some overly-motivated and some even scared. And Arthit understood all of them. Though he was...different.

Their surroundings scared him - he has never been a huge fan of darkness, the wind blowing through he halfway opened windows made him want to look away, he was distracted, at the same time he couldn't help but to stand up as tall as possible because he was scared to be the one standing out. His hands turning sticky with cold sweat running down his palm, fingers interlaced behind his lower back, trying to rememver all of the questions they were supposed to ask the freshmen if they didn't listen.

Suddenly though, Arthit really began questioning P'Deer's mental health condition. Has he been bullied by his senior back then? Did that leave open wounds?
But when starting the 16th round of shouting the questions through the entire room the head hazer has certainly had enough. He felt stupid for obeying, sorry for the freshmen, weak for being scared.

"Everyone, stop." Odd one out. "Why didn't you repeat the questions?" If someone older talked to him in this tone of voice (meaning, low, dark and speaking extra slow to make him seem more intmidating) and made this kind of face (meaning, scrunching his nose, looking down on him from above probably because that person lifted his heels off the ground and looked like he was about to scream any second) Arthit would usually turn into solid stone, not being able move, talk or even swallow. But not today. Not when he had to save his reputation in front of others. "You wouldn't be able to answer those questions yourself, would you?"

A simple 'no' should have been the answer, both of them knew. Still, everything he earned were terrified looks from his left and right, signalizing him to stop messing around, even his best friends pulled an imaginary zipper over their mouths - well, technically Bright was the only one who did that and no one would have been able to take that gesture serious. "If you won't repeat them yourself, I'm gonna make you do so." "Try it."

Maybe, he should really learn to just shut up sometimes instead of letting his huge ego speak. Today though, he didn't regret. At least not yet. He definetley would have done so if he knew that his boyfriend has been watching them right in front of the door for a reason he would soon get to know. And he would have done so if he knew that it ended with blood. Not too much but enough to make him give in because his friends practically begged him to do so.

"Are you challenging me? Do you really think I won't?" Well, yes but in this very second Arthit might have changed his mind. He changed it when the first punch hit his nose and made it feel like it has just been broken. Blood. Iron smell, thick texture, terrified students. Yes, it had to be blood dripping from his nose to his lips. And maybe if he didn't fall backwards he wouldn't have hurt his back so badly. "Repeat it!" A scream through the silent surroundings while he could internally feel the other one's struggles. Should they help? Call for others to help? Stop him? Pull him away? Stay silent? What to do? "I said repeat it!"

By now he even tasted the thick fluid, standing on his feet again,his back screaming for help just like his nose and blood flow as he let their eyes meet. Scared, he really was scared but he knew for sure that no one but his friends saw the fear in his eyes and the pure anger in the ones of P'Deer. "The first question, now!" For a second Arthit's head felt to full to think, to overflooded with sensations, feelings, other people's expectations. Why couldn't he remember the question? Wasn't that his goal? So he would never have to ask anyone for the answer? Heat everywhere. Fear everywhere. Anger and agony. Another one that hit his nose and by now it felt stuffed by all of the blood, ice cold and then hot like fire. Was he going to be okay? Would he pass out? Actively holding himself back from touching the blood he spit some of it out of his mouth where it was already dripping down his chin before looking in those empty eyes above him once more. "If you keep going he'll pass out and we will all be in trouble." Pass out? No, no, no... Don't pass out, repeat the question! God, what was it? Lightheaded.

"Ho-How many...stu-dents..." He felt lightheaded. "are in yo-our fa-culty..." "If you stop stuttering then maybe someone could actually understand you. Again!" "P'Deer, that's enough, Arthit needs to get out of here before something bad happens. Let him be, he already did as you said." Bright. "Then get out before you ruin all of us!" How many students are in your faculty, how many students are in your faculty, how many...

"P'Arthit?" "Kong...Kongpob? I-I told you not to..." His hand finally trying to stop the bleeding as he stumbled towards the entry door, only to find his alarmed boyfriend pulling him out and almost making him trip over his own feet. "Think I-...pass out..." "You'll be okay, take deep breaths in and out, I'll get us out of here." "The...The meeting...trouble..." "If anything I'll be in trouble, don't worry now, just breathe." From far distance Kongpob felt all of the concerned looks of Arthit's friends resting on him up until the door was shut with a loud sound that almost made the man in his arms jump.

But he was too focused on trying to find the right words as he was almost carried to the next bathroom and if it wasn't for him to protest before, Kongpob would have lifted him up in his arms without a single doubt, the senior's sense of comfort being in the way though. "How many times have I told you not to interfere with...", his voice getting more quiet and unsteady by the second as they sat on the bathroom floor, finally stopping the bleeding and Kongpob's hand started to play with his hair ever so gently. The feshman in front of him looked carried away, focused on anything but his eyes, the corners of his mouth hanging low while Arthit's face showed a rather confused and shy look.

"What are you doing?"
A loud sigh from his opponent who now tried to organize his boyfriend's messy hair. In all honesty, both of them were way past this point. Way past patting the other one's hair so that 'what are you doing' wasn't a normal reaction between them. A reason more to make Kongpob's worries grow, adding on to Arthit's heavy eyes that seemed even more innocent and scared than what he was used to and his rather pale face didn't make him look any stronger. "I'm taking care of my boyfriend." Now it was Arthit who broke their eyecontact, wishing that he would have never disobeyed the order.

"Am I making you shy?" "Of course not! I just feel lightheaded." Liar. And by the way his cheeks changed colors slowly Kongpob could tell in the matter of a second, stroking over them with his thumbs gently and thereby getting Arthit's attention back or better said a shy puppy-look from below. The nerviosity slowly ebbing away from his body with the touch and the smile in front of him it was like his body relaxed and uncurled on its own. He did the right thing. Speaking up was right, especially now.

And he understood when their foreheads met, their noses touched and their eyes closed that he would always do the same.

Chapter Text

They say that the morning was the most important time of the day. They say that it would impact the whole day ahead and when Seojoon remembered that fact he really feared for his mental health on the day ahead at exactly nine in the morning. Although he didn't have any nightmares or troubles sleeping (instead he rather slept like a log) his body felt surprisingly worn out and beyond drained but what he couldn't know was that those feelings were able to increase to more than their double.

It wasn't really the best feeling to eat breakfast and scroll through social media without his boyfriend who was currently at work but well, some things really couldn't be changed and if at least he was able to sneak some of the leftover or unwanted food out of the reataurant for him to eat he was a tiny bit more fine with the fact of being alone at home for most of the day. To look at it from a positive angle though, he would have someone to hold in the night, to receive warmth from and at that thought a little content smile worked it's was on his lips which was stopped by his thumb scrolling over an...interesting post.

The corners of his mouth dropped, his thumb hovered slightly over the way too bright screen and he swallowed the last bit of food that remained in his mouth. This was it. He would lose important roles. Or even his job. He would lose his reputation. He would lose interview appointments. He would receive cancellation after cancellation.

But he only cleared his throat, somehow managed to swallow down the last chunk of bread left on the plate, released a cleansing breath and decided to dedicate the rest of his morning to kitchen chores and any cleaning activities around the house to get his mind of the news. Everyone knew that Seojoon has quite literally always hated the news and clingy reporters but then again some things just couldn't be changed. Soon enough he noticed that even though he tried his best to remain calm everything around him seemed way too overwhelming, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant. Their four walls felt too big without Jiwoo next to him and internally he felt the fear of reporters showing up crawling up his throat.

But against all of the odds he tried to focus on emptying the dishwasher with his sweaty hands and it was no surprise that it only took about five minutes for the first glass to slip out of his hands and the first tears to burn in his eyes. Why was it so hot in the kitchen? He was okay. No one could harm him. He was safe here. No, Seojoon wouldn't cry at a broken glass now. Not now and not ever. It was just a glass, it could be replaced, it was just an ordinary glass, there was no reason to cry. Seojoon nodded briefly at that self-encouraging thought before trying to collect the fragments of broken glass but at this point his shaking hands couldn't seem to function properly. Trying to pick up the biggest pieces he suddenly noticed blood dripping from his palm.

Cleansing breaths before he bit the tip of his tongue to stop any cries from escaping his mouth. What in the world was wrong with him? He was a mess. Only because of one single post on social media? Only because he could lose a role or two? But what about Jiwoo? Would he like the idea of the relationship being public?

Clean the cut, he should clean it with some water and disinfect it...

His heavy feet somehow managed to get through what looked like an obstacle course of broken glass without actually stepping on it and actually reached the sink to clean his cut only to knock over the bowl of scrambled eggs his boyfriend had prepared for him to eat for lunch before he went to work. God, he was a mess. The kitchen was a mess. He wasn't good enough for Jiwoo, couldn't even keep the kitchen nice and clean. Not even that. And it was so simple yet so difficult.

Soon enough he noticed his bottom lip trembling. He had wasted Jiwoo's precious time, time he could have used sleeping but instead invested it in preparing lunch. Wasted and thrown on the ground. Stamped on. Finally his body gave in, he was sitting in the middle of broken glass, scrambled eggs and was bleeding, not only from his hand but also from his heart. Seojoon just gave up and rather focused on crying it all out now. The streams of tears running down his rosy cheeks, the warm blood dripping from his hand, his ugly cries filling the whole kitchen. Promptly, he even questioned if it was a good idea to let it all out because soon he felt the lack of oxygen making his head hurt. It hurt, everything just hurt, he wanted it to stop.

"-joon? Seojoon? I'm home early, we-... Oh God, Seojoon? Hey, hey, hey...What happened?" He was home early? He was here? In front of him? "No one's here, no one can hurt you." It wasn't about that. He destroyed half of the kitchen or at least, this was what this absolute mess looked like right now. His whole body jerked up for a second as he felt warm hands cupping his face and making him look up. "It's just me, only me..."
And as he looked into those perfectly-formed eyes, tracked the sympathetic look, felt those gentle fingertips caressing his cheeks he noticed how miserable he himself looked right now. So he tried to catch his breath to look better for his boyfriend tried to press his lips together to stop his sobs but nothing seemed to work. "It's alright, take your time. I'm right here and whatever happened, I'm not mad at you."

"I-I..the pos...I...gla-ass an-..." Even though he was very aware of the fact, the words coming out of his mouth didn't make any sense at all and it felt like he was rambling absoulte nonsense Jiwoo nodded slowly and tried to understand the secret message while carefully wiping his tears away with his thumbs. "Okay, so...The glass, right? That's fine, I still have like a ton of them. Then...your lunch, I can make you a new one in no time, you know I love cooking for you, hm? And your hand, I'll go and get the first aid kit in a second. Just a bad morning, huh? Everyone has those, don't worry. I'll make it better, hm?" A broken laugh escaped his lips as his cheeks were squished for a way too short second along with a big smile from his boyfriend who almost wanted to disappear in the bathroom. He still had to learn about the post. Not later but right now. He wasn't good at keeping secrets from him. So he held onto his wrist. Made him turn around. Looked him in the eyes as he squatted back down. "Anything else?"

He ended up sitting in front of him in a cross-legged seat, patiently waiting for a response and until he got one, Jiwoo didn't procrastinate to gently hold his pale hands, not wasting a single thought on the blood dripping on his own skin now. But how to tell him? How to tell him such a thing that would probably worsen his mood in the matter of a second? "There's...There's a post on social media...they kind of...they found out..." "I already saw that one, there are quite a lot of them. A customer actually showed me, I found it quite cute. Now we don't have to worry about how to tell people anymore.About your roles...I'm sure you'll get some interesting ones now.", he teased but received a little punch on his shoulder along with a hum. "Let's just make it one day at a time." One day at a time...What about one moment at a time? In this moment all he wanted to do was to stay hooked to those magical eyes in front of his, hooked to those perfect hands holding his. In the next moment though, his hand was finally patched up before the next moment brought them to their sofa, enjoying the rest of the morning together.

Seojoon's head was carefully tucked under Jiwoo's chin and their hands supported each other's backs, legs somewhat intertwined, not wanting to miss out on a single bit of the other one's warmth. By now, their breath and the gentle rain dropping down on the leaves were the only audible things around them. No shattering glass, no knocked over bowl. Just...this moment. "You're in your thoughts again, aren't you? Can you come back to me for a minute or two?" Seojoon smiled slightly at that comment, feeling busted but satisfied and safe as well as understood as his hand now played around with the cook's hair. "Make it one day at a time...Step by step. And we'll be just fine."

He inhaled lots of love in and exhaled lots of love out. One day at a time.

For sure.

Chapter Text

Heat. Hot, sticky almost pulsating air around them while they felt like they consumed all of the oxygen still left around. Their breath, hot to the exhale, long and smooth, gently crossing the other one's face every once in a while. Their eyes locked to each other, not daring to move with each second passing, fingers of the older one tracing his opponent's defined jawline, noticing his breath deepening with every touch, with every time his fingertips explored the pale skin. Eyes glowing and sparkling like a tiny firework, waiting for the next moment to come, the next touch to follow shortly after. And it did. Fingertips moving to his temples in an attempt to remove the sweaty strands of hair from his face, lips apart, letting the air flush in like a river. In and out, in and out. Breathe out and exhale. Index finger and thumb now holding the smaller one's chin up slightly, trying to get a better view of his eyes, trying to create even brighter and more beautiful colors. Trying to find the right angle at which they would sparkle even a little brighter at his touch. Impossible. His lips curled up to a slight smile at how much his boyfriend melted into each touch, how unpatienly he waited for more. Just...warmth.

His chest moving up and down wildly as the large and warm hand moved to his collarbones, exposed by his big shirt, placed right above his heart, heartbeat rythmically proving his love to the older one. "Breathe..." Each fingerprint pressed down evenly onto his chest, analyzing the other man's reactions at the little reminder, who then closed his eyes and felt his blood rush to his face again as the cold oxygen worked it's way into his lungs. His breath was literally taken away for a brief moment at the sensations. Breathe out and exhale. But he wanted more. His body screamed for even more warmth, more of this unknown feeling expanding in his stomach, more of the gentle caressing, just more heat. Even more. Fingertips moving from his chest to cup his right cheek, letting his thumb explore the soft skin, moving from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his eye, just wanting to get to know the smaller one more. His looks practically following each and every movement made. More warmth, more heat spreading. "Just breathe." And he breathed, let it happen, let each second carry him to more ease, to the next moment, to the next touch gladly accepted by his pulsating body. When the last bit of air between them disappeared, a thin layer of sweat formed on both of their foreheads, fingers intertwined in a hurry, just like their legs, skin somewhat hot to the touch, they knew that all they had to do was to breathe and let the next moment happen. Let the breath inspire each and every movement. Each muscle relaxing.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Beyond the boundaries.

Chapter Text

One step further - and another two back. That process seemed to describe his whole life since the past few weeks just perfect. He knew for sure that it shouldn't have been but it was mostly his friends who tried to take a step further to him, better said the wall around him. Tried to climb it, see through it, push a few stones down or pull a few out just like a Jenga game, except that all of this just didn't really seem like a game anymore. At least, it wasn't fun to him.

Furthermore, it was mostly him who had to take a few step back again, not trying to let anyone know - not yet. Not trying to let anyone know about the messages spaming his phone since it happened. About how nervous and vulnerable he felt without his friends to protect him. About how he couldn't even protect himself from people whose intention wasn't a good one for sure. Not talking about his first boyfriend but...

"I hate this IC guy!" "I thought you two already came closer?"
Even though those conversations have already become some sort of a daily routine that Pete could almost write on his to-do list for the day, as the days passed just became more confused than he already has been. He called another boy cute, called him nicknames, treated him meals, hugged him for comfort and yet one part of him wanted to come closer to another guy. Was ist reasonable? Right? Understandable? Probably none of the above. And that was the exact reason for his fingers nervously fidgeting around, barely taking in his surroundings but not wanting to make Can notice anything suspicious either.

While Can was busy pouting, his gaze slowly worked it's way up from where it was focused on his hands only for his whole body to tighten at the sight of shoes right in front of him. His hands in fists, thighs pressed together firmly, lower ribs hugging in, swallowing hard not daring to let his gaze wander up before... "Aren't you complaining about him every day? You should start seeing the good in other people." "He's the pure evil!"

A little chuckle and a sigh filled the area around them. He was safe. He was okay. He could let his hands relax now, just like his legs and face as he was more than a hundred percent sure that it couldn't be Tin standing in front of them but rather someone who always had a useful piece of advice to share. Type. As soon as his head was lifted - not necessarily proud but well - he noticed Type still smiling at Can. Hands lazily resting in the pockets of his tight, black jeans, shoulders hanging lose like there wasn't even a tiny bit of tension in them, chest and head proud and lifted like he didn't ever need to be embarrassed about anything in his life. How bad Pete admired him in this moment. "What about you? Tried to lift up his mood as well?" His lips still curled up to a soft smile along with curious eyes as he turned towards Pete who found it appropriate to just nod and smile at the question.

"Are you sure you hate him, though? Don't just feel what you want to feel." But what was it that Pete wanted to feel? What he knew he had to do? "Ugh, don't confuse me! You're always talking such nonsense, if I hate this IC guy then I hate this IC guy..." Or it was as simple as that. By now Can's bottom lip pushed itself further out as his hands were fidgeting around with his hair. So if he felt like pushing Tin away he could just consider doing so? We feel what we feel and those feelings are real...Who even said that? That didn't really matter in that moment though as it was enough to make Pete feel a little more encouraged again. Those feelings are real, those feelings are real...He swallowed hard. Realized what should be done. Wanted to tell his boyfriend as soon as he had the opportunity to do so. Failed because a certain someone was faster than him. Again.

Slowly but surely his throat began to burn like fire, burning down all that he wanted to say, everything Pete wanted to defend himself with but the match was already lit by the one standing in front of him and Pete watched all of his plans burn down in heat. The air around them got even more sticky as the two rough hands were resting on the lockers next to his head, making an escape seem even more impossible than the last times. And for some kind of reason Pete felt like he would go further.

Originally, he just wanted to watch his boyfriend's cheering practice but was being dragged to the changing rooms and since then not a single words has been spoken. It was the silence that scared Pete even more than those empty eyes in front of him. Those eyes that already adored someone else but were too blind to see. A hand on his tie, fingers curled around the knot pulling him closer, making the muscles of his neck scream in pain. "Who told you to stop breathing?" And God, how he hated having to breathe heavy after that statement, how he hated the slow tilt of Tin's head and his analyzing look. How much he hated all of this. "If this is too exhausting for you then just agree and we could make this a lot more quick...Or else..."

In the matter of a second his dark gaze moved from his eyes down to his lips, back to his eyes. Pulling his tie harder until they could feel each other's warm breath on their skin. "Or else what?" The confident and loud voice, so strong and solid, came from behind Tin and made him suck in a deep breath as his tie now hung rather loose around his neck. Eyes searching for the person who would make him feel more grounded when near, more safe, yes definetely safe. But then why did he feel sorry as he looked into his face covered in pearls of sweat, forehead in creases, eyebrows scrunched as if they were trying to pinch the bridge of his nose, breathing deep through his mouth, probably exhausted from practice? When not receiving an answer his eyes showed him a more broken and hurt look and when Pete was really concentrating he could actually see the movement of his shoulders rising with every inhalation and falling with every exhalation. "Or else I'll just take what shouldn't have ever been yours. And it'll never be." "He already is mine. And I don't want to see you touching him like that again. Or else.", he practically barked at the taller man, licked his dry lips for a second, eyes almost shut in anger, hands on his waistline and did Pete ever mention that his morning runs actually made him look even thinner?

And if he didn't just imagine it Pete was sure to see tears shining through his almost shut eyes, ready to fall across his cheeks. "Or else you're gonna cry? Are you crying because you're scared he won't give you any more money or a better status?" "Not everyone's goal in life is to make money and use others just like you're using Can. He was right about you all along." This tone of voice...Ae rarely used it. It sounded hurt and weak but brave and solid at the same time. Yes, his voice was shaky from trying desperately to hold his tears back but at this moment Pete couldn't feel any other thing than adoration for him.

Adoration as he finally took a few steps to Ae. Adoration as Tin's gaze seemed like it became more thoughtful, soft even for a special reason Pete already thought of. Adoation even as he got pulled away, making the muscles of his arm stretchamd his feet hurt but if it meant being safe it was worth the pain. As soon as they came to stillness he detected warmth on his cheeks, warmth that was radiated by gentle hands cupping his face, fingertips trembling and afraid to apply to much pressure. Next, he felt his heart melting at the sight in front of him. Bottom lip trembling, streams of fresh, salty tears running down his cheeks, the swrat from practice dried on his forehead, trying to swallow his sobs before he noticed the face crumbling as he was pulled in a tight hug.

There were no sobs to be heard but the knowledge of tears being present made him feel less at ease. Pete could practically feel his arms moving by themselves, hugging the smaller one just ad tight and lovingly, wanting to reflect all of the love he received like a mirror. He was surprised, shocked even, but safe. "Ae...I'm okay, he didn't hurt me.", Pete stated and felt the reaction, a fast nod at the crook of his neck, like his boyfriend wanted to convince himself. "Next time I...I won't leave you alone next time, do you hear me? I won't leave you alone again."

Pete listened with his heart and believed although he knew for sure that there wouldn't be a next time.

And Can had to believe, too.

Chapter Text

Something was off. Something was wrong. Not the way it should be. Should have been all along. And Tine couldn't really process what it was. His comforters just didn't do a great job at keeping him warm, although he felt their gentle weight on top of his body, the little warmth they gave couldn't stop his fragile body from shaking though, no matter how many times he tossed and turned, no matter how many of them he stacked on top of him, no matter, no matter...It all didn't matter anymore. Not now. Not anywhere from now on. The soft fabric seemed to turn into dry autumn leaves that were all cracky and fragile, old and useless, seemingly beautiful but simply useless. He felt them shifting under each and every movement he made, felt new creases appearing underneath him and old ones fading away under the gentle movement of his breath. In and out, in and out like waves of the ocean. Nevertheless he felt a hundred times heavier than usual, his lower ribs hugging in when he tried to relax the weight of his body down. His legs twitching from tension when all he wanted to do was to let his muscles rest. His head spinning when all he wanted to do was to think straight. Think clear. Use all of his senses to function properly. Seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling and...hearing. A shattered exhale crawled it's way up his constricted throat. Constricted from all of the tears he tried to swallow. How much he would give for hearing a simple melody again. Simple chords or a whole song. A talented symphony or a humble one. God, how humble their melody has been and Tine had loved it. Loved to just let the music pour down on him like sweet, thick honey nurturing him from the inside out, making him forget about everything else even if it was just for this one song. This one melody. This one moment which felt like an eternity. Now all he could sense was the feeling coming back to his once numb and bruised fingertips, the loneliness eating him up from the inside. Even moving his eyes around wasted too mich precious energy but he gathered it all to have a glance at the guitar standing next to his bed that he just couldn't leave where it has been and as the tears just ran down his cheeks carelessly his throat felt lighter, his limbs heavier, his eyes burning like fire. How much he would give for hearing their humble melody once again. Feeling it. Letting his heartbeat adjust to it. How much he would give for those gentle fingers to take him to sleep again, to make him relax again, to make him fall in love again. How much he would give to be a part of this melody again.

And Sarawat just hummed a silent melody on his way. Feeling the excessively white walls crashing down on him, each and every one. Feeling all of the confused looks on him and his guitar but feeling so much more than just that. This connection. Strong and steady. Leading the way. Every footstep creating a sound as solid as their bound. As solid as their melody. And he hummed, stepped in, greeted the nurse, sat down, smiled at the man sleeping peacefully on his hospital bed but didn't miss out on wiping the dried tears on his cheeks away carefully. Knowing that Tine couldn't hear his melody anymore. But he could sure feel it. And started playing.

Chapter Text

And as his feet made contact with the cold, solid ground for the first time in forever he felt himself nearly sinking into it. His lower body pulling him down, down and even further down, making him feel a little more grounded, eventually but still too tired to try and lift his upper body up more. The cold air hitting his face in one strike, travelling down into his belly to try and calm his body down. It failed. The moon contest had been exciting - yes. He was happy for his friend. Happy for his love. He had to be. The warmed-up air left his body and left him a little more empty and cold than he had already been just a second ago just...worse.

Forth found himself lost. Not necessarily lost in the woods but lost in his own head, in his heart and lost in everything that had been going on inside of him since he figured that...Pha might be the right one for him. They had won. And Forth had... "Lost?"

As he looked around startled the student soon enough found the source of his recent confusion standing right in front of him and to his surprise - he didn't look confusing at all but rather...cute. But Beam was right...where did he plan to go now? How desperately he wanted to run back. Find his way to Yo or into the seemingly endless night to think about what to do next. How to make it right. Everything. But all he really did was to stare at the student appearing in front of him without his friends, watching his slight smile and his hair being moved gently by the wind. "Just needed some fresh air." And that wasn't even a full-blown lie. Just...a bit of a lie. Not the whole truth. Originally, Forth wanted to go and find somewhere he could be alone to think and figure some things out on his own, he didn't plan on having to interact with anyone now, having go explain himself to someone now - and certainly not to Beam. They haven't really talked or acknowledged each other before. They haven't exchanged meaningful words before and they didn't know much about one another but...something was still drawing him to the other man. Like an invisible band just pulling him closer and closer and...

"We haven't really talked before, have we? You always seemed like someone who enjoyed to be alone. Should I leave?" He didn't really have any other possibility than to cope with being alone, did he? Yes, Forth enjoyed the comforting sounds of a ruver nearby, just listening to nature and finding his way through it until he met...someone who could have needed him. His advice. His love. Now, he felt his fingers curling up from the relaxing effect of actually having someone to talk to in nature. His breath flowing in and out naturally while his eyes practically scanned the other man's perfectly fitting uniform. Even when the light wasn't the best at night the sight in front lf him was...stunning. And he did his very best to play it cool. He had to be the guy who liked being alone. Be the guy who had nothing to do with love. Be the guy who was hopeless. He should tell him to leave. It would fit him. "No, it's okay...I could use some company."

Tonight was different because his heart had been fractured. Shattered. Hurt. Ripped apart right in front of his eyes. Roses and love songs and God, he was sick of love but desperately craved for someone to hold him tight and understand him. Forth didn't want to be the guy who enjoyed being alone anymore. He hated being alone as it gave him room to think. Too much. "Did you enjoy it? The contest, I mean. You were there, right?" Did he enjoy the love songs? The roses? The cheering crowd? Seeing people winning? Falling in love? The thing he did enjoy was feeling the hard earth underneath his hands where they were resting on the floor he sat on by now and the warmth that was radiated from the person that had joined him. After all, he just nodded slightly, unsure of how many of his thoughts were written on his face right now and could be read like a book.

To say the least, Forth felt vulnerable like an open book, paged ready to be ripped out, cover ready to be destroyed and scribbled on when all he wanted was to be accepted, read and understood like everyone else because it almost felt like everyone around him had been lucky in love. Whereas his heart had been playing tricks on him and played a beat that was louder than his breaths or any other students leaving he contest right now. "Are you sure? Is everything okay?" An open book. And no, it wasn't okay. Forth just left the contest, looked around and found himself lost in the night, his only landmark gone, everything seemed out of place. But if they had never really talked before why did he suddenly care? He smile it all off, his hands now resting on his thighs, eyes resting on his shoes. "Just in thoughts...You can leave, if you like. You know...following your friends instead of a stranger."

Only now that he looked up he noticed the concerned face and the hand dangerously close to his own body. Hair as black as the night and surely as beautiful as the night, smile comforting and gentle. "So you honestly think I'd just leave you alone out here? Should I bring you somewhere?" "No, I'm good. Just enjoying the night air. I'll leave if it gets too cold, eventually." Beam nodded, leaned back slightly to let his gaze wander around the stars, aksing himself why he was so drawn to the myterious seeming man next to him, trying to get any words out of him that were more revealing but decided to let gim enjoy the silence, although Beam couldn't shake the feeling he looked rather uneasy. He had to help, right? This was why he was here. To check on the other one. He was a good person. He had to take the lead. He had to listen to hsi heart instead of just tip-toeing around him. So he took a deep breath in...a deep breath out and... "Do you...feel like a hug?" And of course Forth's stomach had to feel warmer at that question because his body just screamed for any physical closeness to another person after he had failed so miserably. Then why did he keep quiet? Why did his lips remain sealed? Why did he just let his stiff body be pulled onto someone else's sidebody, the body of a stranger and why did it feel right? He heard a deep sigh, smelled a hint of comforting perfume and felt a hesistant hand on his shoulder, rubbing it ever so gently. His cheeks glowing against the cold air and hands covered in cold sweat. Forth was a mess that had agreed to be hugged by someone he had never talked to but felt drawn to for whatever reason. And he was okay with it.

"You looked like you could use some warmth.", Beam tried to explain, his hand becoming more confident in the movement, his next heavy breath feeling like he had let go of some weight, visible in front of his eyes, slowly letting his head rest on Forth's head that had just found it's way on his shoulder. And there they were. Gladly accepeting the warmth of the one who felt like someone special to them, taking in the scent of the night, watching poeple come and go. "I thought you could use someone to hold you when I saw you standing there all by yourself again.", he explained to tell the truth and asked himself since when he has become so good at reading people. Asking himself if the student next to him had even more rather uncommon things he enjoyed, if there was even more to learn about him, even more warmth to share.

By now, the stars looked like a map, thousands o them appearing, leading the way to...well, who knew. A treasure? A person? A heart? Was this what it felt like to let go of a person? To overcome an old love? A stolen love? The stitches in his heart hurt to where he could actually physically react to the pain but instead kust leaned further against his only source of comfort in the middle of an everlasting sea of loneliness hat hadn't really bothered him until people around him had started falling in love. He sighed, closed his eyes. "It just felt like something wanted me to come outside."

And Beam listened, stepped into the cold night, didn't know what it was saying but he could hear it somewhere deep in his head. He listened. "Thank you..."

And held the other man tight.
Didn't know why it felt right.

Chapter Text

It hasn't been the first time. If that could be considered a good or a bad thing was certainly another question to discuss about.

Everything Dean knew in this very moment was that the air in the waiting room wasn't as sticky as it used to be, not as hot and surpressing but rather cool, lively and refreshing. Something new. Something he wasn't really used to. But could this place even be considered a waiting room? Sure, he was in a hospital for a routine check-up, the walls around him were mostly white and people were coming and going but it was mostly just a rather big bench in the middle of the entry area in front of many rooms so every person arriving and leaving could be noticed and even managed to make him a little less nervous. Still, his legs weren't resting but bouncing up and down ever so slightly, fingertips fidgeting around nervously like he was waiting for something bigger, like something somewhere deep in the back of his head was calling him in a language he couldn't quite understand. But it made him restless.

The red leather underneath him squeeked slightly with every movement made, with every time new people sat down or old ones left, with every time Dean's tense body shifted positions, telling the voice to stop shouting at him when everything he wanted was a little peace. A little rest from that endless search, this journey of chasing something...when he didn't even know what exactly it was. And it was exhausting.

Another time the bench squeeked, but this time it wasn't his body moving abruptly but another one sitting down a few inches away from him but close enough to be seen. And his heartrate increased as his head moved up slightly to follow the noise only for his heart to make a jump that made him question if he should actually be here for a heart condition. The smaller man seemed just as tense as himself, biting his bottom lip every now and then, fingertips playing with whatever he had brought to the hospital with him. To Dean it looked like a white, second torso made from plastic but he couldn't quite figure out any details from distance. It rather looked like a corset but just more...medical. The other small hand held onto what looked like an x-ray or two and no matter how desperately Dean wanted to figure out what exactly it showed, all he could see was what looked like a slightly curved bone and...why did he pay so much attention to him? Why did he pay so much attention to that fluffy-looking brown hair, to the fragile looking body, to his twitching hands and moving knees? Why did his heart make him feel like he just finished a marathon no one told him about? Why did his fingers suddenly relax and his gaze didn't move?

Another loud sound...and he was in one of the rooms. But his heart just didn't show any signs of calming down. The sweat on his forehead didn't show any signs of stopping and his thoughts didn't show any signs of staying still. Not now. Every opened door felt like a spark of hope to see him again, to feed his curiosity about his condition, to find stillness. Stillness from this constant drive to search, to move, to find, to reach for...something. Most of the time Dean found himself looking for something - anything but didn't even know what. Now, in this very second all he could think about was the nervous, shy man next to him in a hospital and he prayed and prayed that he had to wait even longer for his appointment so he wouldn't miss the opportunity to...well. What did he want to do?
Dean's body had agreed on not staying still. Not now. Not until he saw him again. And when he did it felt like his heart was squeezed tight by an iron hand. A hand a hundred times stronger than his own, constricting many other body parts because God, he couldn't move an inch, didn't know what to think as he saw the man stumbling out of the room right in front of him and it didn't take much time and effort for Dean to see that something was off. Was it the tears in his eyes that made them shine even brighter? Was it his small hand holding three x-rays by now and with squinted eyes Dean figured the bone he saw looked severely curved by now. Was it the blush that stained his cheeks or just the fact that his humble walk out of the room looked like his legs would give out on him any second? What did the doctors tell him? What exactly happened? Why did it hurt so much seeing him sad?

"Pharm? Oh God, hey, what happened? What did they say?" His gaze wandered to a girl with long brown hair and a tiny bit too much make-up, somewhat hoping he didn't just encounter boyfriend and girlfriend. "Pharm...", he heard himself whispering and the name rolling of his tongue felt like he had heard the name a thousand times already. The fear the girl might be his girlfriend evaporated when he removed her hand from his shoulder though. The iron hand squeezed a little less tight. What in the world was happening? "It's just...I-It got a lot worse." "But...But you wore your back brace all the time! And all of the physical therapy! That can't be true, do you think they measured it right?" "Manaow, it's true...Let's...let's go."

Go...He couldn't leave yet. Did he feel pity? Or something stronger? Whatever it was, it just seemed to pull him twords the man who was struggling to hold onto all of the papers in his hands. Dean's eyes focused on the single tear crossing his face, on the small fingertips that just weren't long enough to hold onto the x-rays properly and before he knew it all three of them gently fell down on the floor right in front of his feet, exposing a severely curved spine to him, suffering and pain as his legs straightened by themselves to collect all of them, carefully folding them again before making his way to the man that has been catching his attention since he arrived. Their eyes met. And it was only now that Dean realized how much smaller Pharm was, how many tears had already ran down his soft-looking cheeks and how much his bottom lip trembled. It broke his heart in the matter of a second. A tingly sensation spreading throughout his whole body that made his fingertips rise up slowly to wipe away some of the tears, one by one as gentle as he could, trying not to scare him away. The big eyes resting on him didn't show a single bit of fear though but rather a feeling of...home.

"You look like a strong person...Can you promise me to keep trying?" Those eyes that looked like he had seen them a whole lifetime ago already, this unsteady, small nod that made his heart break free from the iron hand again, the corner of his own lips curling up to a gentle smile. "It'll be fine, eventually.", he whispered as he let go of his cheeks and found himself lost once again.

Lost in those bright, dazzling eyes.
Lost and found.

Chapter Text

"You've been here once and it didn't kill you, why would I have to?"

Well, Man didn't quite expect that kind of answer, still he could somehow understand the person he just came a lot closer to. After all, he was all the way grown, rather outgoing and therefore shouldn't be scared of a simple gathering that was called a party but, well, looking at it, none of it had actually felt lke a party, the first time and it certainly wouldn't either this time. So, why be scared of it? And in some kind of way Type was right. Very right. Still, as he slowly got out of the car, not feeling especialy supported by the earth underneath his feet today he couldn't really help but to look around the whole place a few times, feeling it expanding in front of him, feeling himself shrinking and melting into a puddle of concern. An oddly self-conscious puddle that wanted to feel safe, that wanted to turn back time and be that beautiful, slightly annoying raindrop again, one in a million. But the ugly puddle, well...it just stuck out like nothing else between all of the fancy decorated tables, the fancy food and fancy drinks, fancy men in fancy suits. Odd one out, that's exactly how he felt the moment they sat down at the table to at least eat something.

Man was more than just hungry, stomach screaming for some sort of food since hours but truth to be told...he couldn't bring himself to eat those expensive foods that clearly just weren't made for people like him to eat.

Instead he watched as the table got more full by the second, hands trembling on his lap, not even daring to touch the spoon to try and eat. He couldn't. His brain didn't let him. All he wanted to do was to ride home on his motorcycle to feel his whole body being moved and controlled by the wind surrounding him and the weather playing with him. He wanted to snuggle under a blanket on his beloved sofa and...cuddle someone. Not to earn a smile. Not to make someone laugh again but just to...feel safe. To feel as if it was enough to just be. To feel as if it was okay to give himself permission to do absolutely nothing which didn't even really work when he tried meditating for the first time. Man just wanted to feel someone's body warmth, he was craving some sort of closeness, some sort of touch, some sort of comfort. A body next to his own, a shoulder to rest his head on. Should he just try meditating again?

"-hungry? Could you at least try and eat something?" Concerned but with a slight demanding undertone. The exact mixture he couldn't really stand because it made him feel even more vulnerable which...didn't really improve his condition. He had to eat something. Just grab a spoon. Grab a bowl of soup - just a small one. And eat. But as he looked up he saw all of them chatting, laughing, their expensive-looking suits moving with their breaths whereas Man's plain white shirt moved up and down in a rather quick tempo. All of the lights on the table were starting to hurt his eyes and the air around him just got even more hot. "-to promise it? I'm gonna stay with you, Man, I promise. Now eat this, you're scaring me...Have you always been so pale?" Probably not, no. Within the next second a bowl of soup was placed right in front of him and although he most likely couldn't even name half of the ingredients that were swimming around in it, it smelled rather good to say the least and even if it was odd to think of, the lights of the candles reflecting in the surface of the hot soup looked like stars were dancing inside of his bowl. It looked...calming. Not anywhere near as calming as touch would be right now but...at least Type would be staying close to him. Even if it took about 15 minutes for him to realize that Man just couldn't make it through this alone. Better later than never, right? Right.

But Man was very sure of the fact that he would be left alone again after they left if he survived another hour of this...gathering. "Thank you..." The words leaving his mouth sounded like he just got out of bed, like he had been screaming to much when all he really did was being in his thoughts but Type only nodded in front of him before continuing to eat with such ease and grace that Man almost thought he had become one of them when it happened. Was it an accident or on purpose? Man couldn't tell anything but that after he was hit by the ellbow next to him he accidentally spilled the first spoonful of hot soup he wanted to treat his stomach with all over the space on the table in front of him. It was stained. Stained with his stupidity. "E-Excuse me...I'm so sorry...God, I'm so sorry.", he mumbled to himself as he tried to dry it off and before he knew it the ellbow on his right even managed to make his bowl fall. Spill the soup. Make him swallow hard with tears burning in his eyes as he was the spotlight of their laughter by now. It got louder and louder and he couldn't breathe and...

"-Man? You're not breathing. C'mon."

A few pats on his shoulder and the cold night air entered his overworking lungs again and... "I'm sorry, I-I'm so sorry, I shouldn't be here, I just don't belong here." "Man, he's gone, look around...Our table is empty." He let his gaze wander around at that comment, saw other full tables but not one single person sitting with them. Instinctively, he hid his face in his hands, took a deep breath and prepared for Type to leave too but he couldn't stand seeing him do so. He just couldn't. "No, they didn't leave because of you. They left because of me." Still, the table looked like a mess. Half-full plates with food left untouched, half of the table stained with the ugly puddle of his soup, candles blown out and spoons left behind. It was a mess that he, himself had created. A mess that represented him. But...they left because of Type? Why didn't he notice everyone leaving? Their gazes met.

"Did you eat too loud?" "Man! No I...I just confronted them to...I just helped you out, alright? You were just too hung op on your own little world and didn't even pay attention to the one time I helped you." "I missed the show?" And it wasn't even his attention to go on Type's nerves after everything he has already done for him but he more likely just wanted to distract himself, serve himself for once, learn coping himself because he would be left alone any second. So he just sat there in silence, looking down at his lap, trying to think of what to do next except from just playing around mindlessly with the sleeves of his jacket, except from just staring into the night, except from just acting like the left alone freak that he was. A freak who couldn't even afford to pay the bill for his soup as his stomach was still growling, protesting against the emptiness seemed to eat him up from the inside out - quite literally. Then he felt it. Some sort of touch on his shoulder, some person sitting fown next to him, exhaling audibly. "You're acting weird today."

And it took a whole amount of 25 minutes for Type to realize that he just couldn't pretend like he belonged here. Type had never been the kind of person who liked guessing games a lot but rather prefered bringing it straight to the point. Figuring it all out and then. "Can we go home and cuddle?" "Excuse me?" "I could really use a hug."

Should he just try meditating instead? Was it too much to ask for a simple hug? He swallowed an imaginary lump down his dried out throat before just biting fown on his bottom lip and deciding to stay silent. Has he ever felt more childish before? Has he ever felt more like he just wanted to disappear? Has he ever...

"You can get all of your cuddles if you finally eat something to bring some color to your face again. I'm gonna stay until you're finished. Don't try and leave a single drop in there. Now, eat." Another bowl. Another opportunity that life has given him (or Type has handed him - that didn't really matter, though). Another time he brought the spoon to his mouth and finally swallowed, a warm sensation in his stomach following just like the smile on his lips.

Type only stuck to his old habit of pretending to be rather annoyed but this time, Man didn't just overlook this slight sparkle in his eyes, like the lights of the candles in his soup earlier.

Calming and...beautiful to watch.

Chapter Text

But then why didn't his eyes stop shimmering so seductively as if they were trying to form a thousand words themselves? Then why didn't the corners of his mouth drop as their foreheads touched, their eyes actively observing one another, so excited and full of hope and light. So full of life. This wasn't meant to be a good-bye, was it? Because there were no tears to be seen, there were no hands that stopped each other from leaving, maybe because deep inside they felt in their hearts, they'd never have to be apart. Soft, graceful fingertips tracing the younger one's lips, in awe of his soft, loving smile, of the calming engery radiated around him, in awe of how his breath was still flowing in and out naturally, not constricted but fluent. As if it were his spirit. And Korn tried to recreate it, step by step, this pleasant and kind smile, this calm and steady breath, those curious eyes of his. Their eyes finally closing just taking in the scent around them, just feeling the other one close as if it were the only thing they ever did. An act of encouragement and trust as their hands met, seemed to explore the other one, the smooth skin, and the pulse indicating they were still alive. Still loved when their pinkies were intertwined, the movement slowed down to maximize the magic of the moment, the time spent together, the time they promised to one another.

Everything still captured as his heavy eyes opened ever so slowly, breath spiked up from yet another dream that felt so close as if he could just reach out and touch it, trace it with his fingertips, admire it just like the steady heartbeat that echoed through his ears like the blood rushing through it providing him with life. The smaller man took a deep breath in to ground into graditude for this moment, for the warmth surrounding him and making him feel secure in those two strong arms holding him tight, drowsy movements of his boyfriend's fingertips slowly turning into a conscious, gentle play with his hair along with a gentle shushing sound just like he knew about the dream, as if he had experienced it himself. Index finger and thumb almost massaging the skin of his head, chest rising and falling heavier and more consciously than just a second ago as if he sensed the calming effect the steady movement had on Pharm. The night around him was captured by their blanket which turned it into nothing but love and warmth, nothing but appreciation and safety, nothing but life. And if he dared to move his head up from where it was resting so effortlessly on Dean's chest he knew that their lips would meet, he knew that their story would go on, he knew for sure that he would be held. Grounded and secure by the hands on his back and the images in his mind. The memories of love. In the past and the present. He just felt it in his heart and trusted that everything was as it should be. Because as the dreams became reality it was. They knew for sure in their hearts.

Chapter Text

He was changing.
The person who understood him the most over all of the years and the person who dared to make his heart jump a bit higher at each word, each touch, each smile that Gord was gifted with. Each time they were close they were oddly distant. Each time they looked at each other it was like he only saw a reflection of himself that laughed at him when all he really wanted to do was to have it all. Be free and try to compromise. Likes for...No, their fire had been long gone. Blown out by the wind instead of being fueled by it. Fueled by the massive amounts of oxygen that should have made his lungs expand widely if it wasn't for him to walk all hunched over, shoulders rounding forward, head hanging low, upper back almost rounding, too, making it hard to take nice, full, deep breaths. Walking to what felt like his home, expecting to be greeted by a blank expression of Morn, this cold or even slightly hurt look in his eyes and deep inside he expected to be lead to the door again. Just leave because what he did to all of them wouldn't be forgotten. By now his back began hurting horrbily under the weight of his backpack and the weight of his head hanging over, additionaly the three heavy books he carried from school didn't really help either.

'Was this what it feels like to be old?', he thought to himself but didn't try to fix his posture when slowly pushing the door open, eyes hurting from all of the light greeting him with arms wide open.

"Morn, you're friend is here to visit you!" After he greeted Mork's dad his body twitched slightly but visibly at the scream and for a second he had to remind himself that no one screamed at him for other purposes. Mork's dad has always been the loud and outgoing type. Then why was he paralyzed for a second after the scream? Occasional stings running up and down his shoulder blades, the scream still haunting his head, the emptiness inside of him...Which of the above made him cry in the middle of the barber shop?

"Dad...you scared him! How could you? Here, let me take this off for you." It was Mork of them all who finally eased some of the pain in his body by letting the strips of his backpack slide of his tight and sore shoulders. 'Yes', he thought to himself 'Old and sore'. His body slowly adjusting to the loss of approximately five kilograms as his eyes spotted a body in front of him, his nerves sending signals to his brain making him jump at the hands on his shoulders which pushed them down and back gently. To say the least it sounded like Morn just popped his shoulders back into place which made a whimper escape his lips at the sensation he has never felt before. "Go and take your friend upstairs. Mork, help him carry his bag. This is my last customer for today, then you'll have some silence."

He looked up and felt...Cold. Eyes not as empty as he remembered, it was as if half of the emptiness had been exchanged with a good amount of concern written all over his face. And although Morn's fingers on his shoulders burned like fire this wasn't meant metaphorically but the pain just made any touch really painful to him. Way to many signals to his brain that were interrupted for a brief second as he heard a groan coming from the stairs. "How did you carry this thing all the way here?" "Don't complain and make yourself useful!" "Can't you take care of yourself properly? Why do you walk all the way here all hunched over? Doesn't your back hurt?" Which question should he focus on first? Because they all made him feel more vulnerable and naive than he knew he already was. The room appeared way bigger around his small body, the scent just as comforting as he remembered it, the plushies radiating a calming and welcoming energy that made his body feel warm again. Warm just like the slight smile in front of him. A smile. It has never been too much to ask for but nevertheless, this has been the first smile he received in days.

"Sorry to make you worry that much..." A whisper almost as inaudible as his feelings that were taking over his heart since...since he saw him smile. Morn's eyes carefully scanning the fragile body for any abnormalities before mentally approving, he wasn't hurt and resuming the shoulder pat from before. This time he didn't flinch but felt his body melting into the touch. Each fingertip pressing down evenly into his shoulder. "Next time just tell me when they are too many books for you to carry...I'll help." Silence and Gord could swear that the last customer of today left the barber shop hopefully as satisfied as him. How couldn't Gord be satisfied right now? Being touched this gently and soon enough pulled into a hug, being held and just...being. Ever so slowly his hands reached around to interlace behind the other one's back and his head found a place to rest on Morn's shoulder.

"Next time just...Tell me if it hurts." And it did. It hurt since he changed so much that Gord couldn't recognize his actions anymore. It hurt since the smiles had stopped and the talking became less. And it hurt as he was hugged tight. It hurt even worse as he began crying again, dealing with the fact of ruining a good shirt and the fact that the people around him had to take care of him like a child. A child that was horrible at expressing it's feelibgs but did it's very best. "It...It hurts right here...", he practically sobbed out and placed his hand right over his heart, feeling it's sad and low beat for...him, Heard a sigh, felt arms supporting him as he felt like he could just fall over right now, dumping all of his weight on the person holding him tight.

"I know it does.", he breathed. "I know." Kissed his forehead as light as the touch of a feather and swirled up so many emotions, so much dust that it became hard to see. His whole body was contracting like a constant exhalation but after that...

Well, what came after the contraction? Hee took a deep breath in and felt like his question was answered, as if the world was going to be okay again. Expansion.

Chapter Text

Heart beating. So steady and calm. One beat, two, three... As if his brain and heart somehow weren't connected at all. As if his brain refused to let the rest of his body know what exactly happened in front of his eyes. The red thread was about to be broken. Impossible.

Four, five...

The cold oxygen filling his lungs, making them ache with every expansion, ache with every contraction. His nerves just wouldn't send any signals at all to his limbs because all he could really do was to hold his hands up slightly as if he wanted to signalize his innocense and let his lips move, words sounding like he was listening to them underwater. "It's okay now..." Every part of him wanted to cringe at the words. It wasn't gonna be okay. Wasn't the term 'it's gonna be okay' a reassurance for the worst times of them all? When people were crying and hurting? When others didn't know what else to speak? 'Put the gun down', he wanted to say, 'don't repeat past mistakes, this life is ours to live. No one can hurt us now'. 'Except from ourselves', his heart wanted to add.

Six, seven...

But the shaking figure in front of him seemed absent. Not here. Gone. His wet hair dripping with regret and concern. With fear. His heavy eyes screaming for relief. The salty tears on his cheeks craving or physical closeness. His tight shoulders longing for touch, weak knees begging for support. Chin lifted. Gun pointed.

Eight, nine...

And Dean watched, mumbled words and phrases he didn't ever think of. "I'm your Dean..." 'And you're mine, so don't hurt me.', his heart wanted to scream.
His breath spiking up as if he prepeared to hold it somewhen, his eyes squinted slightly, making up details he didn't ever want to see. Such watery eyes, such cramped hands around the gun. Every vein that hid well throughout the day visible to him. He took a deep breath in. Held it for one, two, three, four...Exhaled. Listened to the sound he thought, he would only hear in his worst nightmares. Froze. Didn't dare to take a breath again. Didn't want to take a breath again as he saw the body sinking in front of him, shoulders getting their relief, knees their support.

Ten...

'The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.'

Finally his head and heart were connected, finally his heart acted up and wanted to break free, chest moving up and down wildly, and up and down and...hands covering his face, gasping for air, oxygen, anything that aimed to keep his body alive. Alive, stay alive. Don't repeat past mistakes. His hands carried the smell of blood although he couldn't explain it, it felt like he had killed someone. His hands were covered in guilt. Hiding his face from the judges. Gasping and gasping, not being able to see what his brain knew was there. 'Breathe...' Like a whisper in the back of his mind. 'You have to breathe.' He took another breath in, exhaled as slow as he could. Like a reminder. But wasn't breathing something that was supposed to happen naturally? Like an instinct? Like do or die?

His hands felt wet. Wet with blood and tears. The otherwise strong leader all broken and crumbled, trying to keep himself alive, trying to keep his hands to himself instead of the worst solution. 'Just breathe, Dean.' And he did. Hid himself as well as he could, the first sob breaking through as the realization hit him like a wave. He just wanted to disappear. To become one with his surroundings and just fade away like the memories from a whole life time ago. But they stuck with him, not daring to let go as he gasped for air, cried ever so silently, the sobs echoing in his hands, thin strings of salvia connected to his palms as he didn't even try to hold any of this back.

'Let it out, Dean. But don't stop breathing.' The memory of a lifetime ago. Korn.

'There you go.'

It wasn't gonna be okay. But he kept listening.

Chapter Text

It felt like he had done it a thousand times already but it just seemed to happen automatically. Like a heartbeat that filled his body with heat with every pump. Like a breath that calmed him down with every step made. And he was perfectly fine with that.

Sarawat was perfectly fine with letting his boyfriend know how much he adored it when he wore Sarawat's football shirts or...any of his clothes. They made him look even more vulnerable and fragile than ever, even more small and cute, even more lovable. While they did define his body quite well it was the bigger size that made the guitarist's heart flutter everytime he wore them.

So he let it happen and smiled at the sight, letting out a content little hum which soon enough turned into a little melody being hummed that happened as natural as a heartbeat. His fingertips mindlessly tapping on his own thighs, sitting on the bed, ready to go to sleep any second but still waiting for Tine to make his way through the door, finally home after the probably stressful day he had to bear at university. As far as he knew, Tine didn't have any exams coming up, no important studying, no important appointments or meetings just...time.
And the melody went on. Humming and smiling to himself, tapping on moving his feet in the rhythm of their story.
Bringing to life what he felt all along, not noticing the the stairs creaking ever so slowly, as if Tine didn't want to wake him up and carefully looking inside, eyes scanning the room before they were stuck on him for a second, continuing his way into the room a little louder. The younger one was here. Finally safe in his own four walls. A feeling he didn't want to lose in the near future but his overworking brain told Tine otherwise.

It told him not to spend too much time getting settled because it meant being lazy. It told him not to spend any time chatting or being on his phone because it meant losing time that could have been used more wisely for studying. His feet only took hesistant steps into their bedroom, like they were telling him to take it easy, to relax and let the cozy atmosphere slowly take over his body. Dimmed lights and the smell of freshly washed bedsheets actually showed their effects on his mood as he took a deep breath in that made his shoulders drop down immediately. He was safe.

"Feeling comfy in my shirt?" "Working on a new song?"
For a brief second both of them were silent, just acknowledging the other one's question, not knowing how to answer it or what to respond as both were sitting upright in their bed by now. And for the first time in forever Tine felt the silence being intimidating to him whereas it used to feel cozy and comfortable, not having to say anything to fill it in with useless smalltalk. Neither his own bed nor the fact that he was wearing his boyfriend's shirt could make the silence disappear and it felt...scary. Like a black hole swallowing him in the matter of a second. He wanted to disappear with it.

"-tell me." Head turning over to his left automatically, eyebrows lifted in curiosity at the other man who placed a hand on his knee, moving his thumb up and down in a comforting speed. His hair showing in all different directions but still...it was just perfect and adding on to the lazy smile on his lips but it was so..."Why do you keep wearing my shirts in class?" Confusing. "I thought we shared our shirts by now..." He cringed at the sound of his own voice. So unsteady and raspy, sounding like he just got out of bed in the morning. His thumb moving up and down, up and down, creating warmth all along. "Of course we do, nuisance. But you never took the opportunity until like...a week ago. What exactly changed? Huh?" Yes, the silence had permission to just swallow him whole at this point.

"You look cute in them, though...So thin and small."In the exact second his hand wanted to wander from his knee to his left cheek to give it a gentle squeeze Tine caught it, put it back on his leg and scoffed. He felt vulnerable and...exposed?

Internally he had thought that Sarawat would never find out about his shirt being like a protective, soft surface every time his back had been slammed against a locker or two. Thought he'd never find out about his shirt being like an anchor he could hold onto, bury his fingers in whenever harsh words were thrown directly at him, probably even followed by laughter. Thought he'd never know about all of the comfort it was able to give when dealing with all the- "Is it stress? Do my shirts comfort you?" "U-Uh...no, not exactly stress, I just...it's just...I-I think I should take a shower."
In one single movement, the guitarist grabbed his waist gently but firm enough to keep him from jumping off the bed any second (why would he want to leave his comfy bed for a shower anyway?) but didn't exactly expect him to flinch away from the touch. "Yeah, you're not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on with you. You never react to me touching you like that."

In fact, his boyfriend's firm grip sent a jolt through his body as his palm was placed directly over a blue mark near his back that was causing him discomfort since...a week. Since the bullying happened. Or better said...started. Instead of removing them though, his hands moved up and down his waistline with gentle pressure, his eyes scanning every single muscle moving, knowing exactly what he was doing, like he was waiting for it to happen any second, for Tine to show signs of pain any moment, but when he got dangerously close to his back...

"Stop...P-Please st-stop..." "Come here, nuisance..." He easily let the weight of his body go against Sarawat's side body, easily let the tears spill out and let his shirt be lifted the next second. Still crying, still re-living the horrifying memories, the pain, as his bruises were exposed, the colors showing variety like the ones of a rainbow. The guitarist just looked at them in awe, concentrated on making him feel safe in his arms, carefully giving his shoulders some support, kissing his forehead and just...holding him. And he should have known better than to just find him cute in those big shirts. Didn't regret it, though, just regret not leaving even more of his shirts in his wardrobe, ready for his boyfriend to wear. Neatly folded and carrying the smell of comfort itself.

Then again, both of them knew that tomorrow would be different. At least...the reason for Tine to wear his shirts would change. And they were just fine with that.

Chapter Text

Tears had turned into sobs and sobs had turned into a sound between a whine and a silent scream quite a while ago. His palms the only place that offered him any sort of comfort, just void, no other thoughts or voices except from the one voice he wanted to break free from.

The red thread had been broken. Then why was the voice still there? Why didn't his ugly cries make him run off? Or the sound created when the breaths he sucked in got caught by the lump in the middle of his throat? What about the continuous raspy scream that escaped from his lungs? "Listen, Dean-" 'Go away.', was what he originally wanted to say, the words already forming in his brain when all he could really do was to let out a deep, shaky grunt. Some sound of...discomfort. A sound of agony and pain. Then suddenly, his knees gave in, longing for someone to hold him now, hands sinking down, feeling oddly light, mouth just open, not putting any effort in blocking his agony, even if his lungs hurt, his eyes were burning and his lips were all wet. Hands hovering over the body before closing them into fists, gritting his teeth.

Everything hurt.
His brain wasn't really keen on registering anything else instead of pain signals running through his whole body, from head to toe, every part of him hurt. Yes, Dean wasn't really known for letting anyone know about his real feeling, his real thoughts and assumptions. Yes, he could mostly be found in his own little world, stuck in there but loving it but no, he didn't know what else to do instead of just sitting there, probably sweating through his whole shirt and drooling on his whole lap. 'You're not just my echo, Dean, so whatever you do, do not follow him.' Another wail just ebbing out of his mouth, not knowing what to do next, where to go or how to feel. He had never really thought about it but...What were you supposed to do when someone dies? Just...grieve?

"Dean...Pharm."
This time a louder sob crawled it's hard way up his throat and almost made him choke on it at the sounds of other people entering the room. His feet starting to hurt from the odd position they were in, just like his hips, his jaw feeling tight from all of the cries, hands cramping from the time they have spent all clenched up around nothing but air. Empty, useless space filled in by the voice in his head that told him to do the next right thing. 'Take a deep breath, your body needs you to take care of it right now. Get up slowly, take your time.' So he took his time to actually dry his lips with the sleeve of his shirt, making it appear wine red. He took his time to plant his palms on the floor before pressing up from his hurting feet.

'Try not to scream anymore, Dean, trust me, it'll make it easier for both of you.' Instead he let out a sound that signalized he would burst out in tears again, almost making himself nauseous, his whole face quivering, surpressing another scream because truth to be told, he had really scared himself even more when screaming earlier. Dean heard his spine crack a few times when he finally managed to stand up straight (except his shoulders rounding forward), even heard his ankle cracking silently and pressed his eyelids together, trying to control his shaky breaths. The next right thing. Take one step at a time. His feet actually began moving forward, rolling through his foot from his heel to his toes before taking another step towards the door, the people who probably knew what was going on already.

Take a step...step again. It was really all he could do.
The next right thing.

Chapter Text

There hasn't really been any situation similar to this one on neither of their lives. Never. None of them have ever felt this way, it scared them to a certain point, then again they had gone too far, had felt too much of it to turn back now.

Stepping out of his thinking mind and bowing to his feelings, all of the strange sensations crashing down on his heavy body, his hand, touch as light as a feather reached out to let it rest on the smaller one's shoulder. Slowly, as slow as he could possibly go, he painted the pale shoulder with his hand all the way over to his chest, not having to take a single second to feel his heart hammering against it.
He could feel himself melting under the look of those wide, curious eyes uderneath him while he was curious himself - curious about this feeling, this heat, this urge, the body underneah his own.

Curious about it all and ready to explore. Still, the older one looked up slightly only to find those pale blue eyes again, just as hungry and curious as his own. It didn't take long for the first jolt of electricity to run through both of their bodies as he planted the first, soft kisd on his boyfriend's wildly moving chest, his arms beginning to warm up slowly but surely from supporting his own body weight all along.

There was nothing he wanted more than...

Another kiss, this time though, he left his lips remaining on the warm skin, aprreciating it's softness and the heat it was radiating, hoping to add on to it even if it was just a little bit, hoping to let everything happen by itself, just flowing naturally.

No pushing, no forcing, just feeling.

While still exploring the skin of his chest with his lips, his hands, slightly larger and warmer than the ones underneath him, moved to his boyfriend's hips ever so slowly, eyes locked to the well-sculpted body, fingertips caressing his hips. As soon as the drowsy movement turned into an active massage there was a long sigh of relief and tension at the same time filling the room, so he looked up for a brief second wearing a questioning look but received a small nod. Kept going even more passionately than just a second ago.

Tingly fingertips applying only slight pressure to the tense muscles, letting them move in conforting patterns, not stopping to pay attention to the younger one's body language, the way his wrists twitched from time to time and the way in lips shook with tension, figuring out whether or not to try and form any words.

Then finally, after aa few more seconds of lovingly exploring his collarbones and hips, those soft-spoken, three words filled their bedroom, revealing how shaky and raspy his voice had turned, how deep it sounded, filled with nothing but emotion and honesty along with a sparkle in his shy eyes.

"I love you..."

Those words created stillness even though they weren't new. Stillness in movement as hands and lips seemed to stop working but just their eyes remained active, looking for even more words unspoken between them, although there was nothing to be found but rather to be felt.
Still feeling the smooth skin underneath his thumbs which continued small mirco-movements up and down, up and down like the rise and fall of a breath.

"I love you, too."
Still connected by both mind and body. "So, so much." What happened next just seemed to happen on it's own, completely unexpected but still...perfect. As they engaged in a hug in a rather awkward position, the older one's warm hands underneath his boyfriend's slim upper back, supporting him from the ground up, holding him steady against his own body.
Some things never changed.

"Come here...", he heard himself whispering, almost begging as their legs intertwined, radiating even more of this beautiful warmth neither of them could really get enough of during the cold night. The desire of touch, the desire to feel and to respond was still lingering in their bodies, growing with the moment skin to skin contact could be felt.
With the moment their chests toiched ever so slowly, a small gasp escaping those beautifully curved lips underneath him at the cold feet being pressed against his calves.
And if it wasn't the silence, then maybe the physical closeness helped each and every one of their muscles to relax, their mouths to turn dry or their eyes to close. It was...warm.

Soft fingertips worked their way down the smaller one's back with awareness, to his lower back and below his hips when their eyes met. Those eyes underneath him to crystal clear yet so foggy with uncertainty that faded away with every inch disappearing between them. They softened and seemed to be more open towards the new experience, partly because almost every part of their bodies seemed to touch by now.

It felt...

"Just relax now...I've got you."