Third looks at the ceiling, his eyes wide open. It's late already, and he can hear all the noises of the city in the darkness of the night. He can't sleep. Oh, it's not he isn't sleepy. He is bone tired after an exhausting week and an evening spent trying to canalize Khai. He dozed off in the taxi, curled against his best friend's warmth in a whim of self-indulgence, for which later Third will totally blame his couple of drinks of the night. Khai is comfortable, you know, and here, with all his weight on his shoulder, Third could for an instant live his fantasy, where the spot he has on Khai's side is not only as a friend. For an instant, the cab looked like a safe place to let himself dream: it's an unknown and unrelated location to both of them, and they will leave their seats quickly enough to that to be harmless. The back of the car is not as intimate than Khai's bed, so Third could let it go, even snore a bit if he wanted to (he did), and still be an appropriate best friend. It's not as if Khai was better, sprawled as he was on his friend, taking advantage of his height to use the top of Third's head as a pillow for most of the ride. Of course, there was no hidden agenda behind Khai's action: he was just really drunk, and is still now. Third can hear that at the way of his words are slurred, or see it at the general slopiness of his friend.
No, it's different, because he is in Khai's bed, his shit-faced best friend snoring beside him.
Khai is rarely intoxicated this way. Most of the time he handles his liquor pretty well, steady on his feet, even more assured than ever. Maybe a bit too cheerful, a little more of a flirt (it's arguable, since Khai made of cheesy seduction a form of art, so could he really tops that? Third doubts of it, but he wouldn't tell that to Khai. His imbecile of best friend will take that for a challenge, and Third is too tired to deal with the consequences). But most of the time too, Khai doesn't go home alone (see the part about him being a flirt). He will leave with his arm around a girl's waist, ready to kiss her smoothly against his door as soon as he pushes it close, the tips of his fingers letting little indent on her hips, before guiding her to his bedroom, or the couch if both of them are really eager (Third wishes it's only his own jealousy making him creates these precise scenes in his mind. Sadly, it's not. Like many things going wrong in Third life, it's Khai's fault. More exactly, it's his tendency to overshare his adventures, with all the excruciating details, that lets Third painfully aware of all, and he means all, happened between these sheets). Well, it's arguable Khai doesn't go home alone this time too, since Third is with him, sleeping in his bed, like but not like all his girlfriends. But everyone knows that usually it's not Khai's friend who keeps him company, at least not so late in a week-end night.
This exact kind of sleepovers with Khai is indeed pretty rare. In fact it's the first time where Third sleeps consciously in his bed. When they work too late on a project, or when they have their usual movie night at Khai's, he is used to stay the guest room (except for this time where he woke up sprawled on his three best friends, his head onto Two's middle, his feet on Bone's face, and Khai's arms curled around him. It was a kinda awkward morning, specially because Two said Third had his head on his bladder, and because detangling all these limbs with a hangover was the most impromptu and unwanted for Twister game Third has ever taken part of) not in his friend's bed. And the few times where his friend spent the night at his condo, Third pushed himself on the edge of the mattress and Khai kept his arms for himself. It put enough distance between them for the other side of his futon to look safe, even with Khai snoring loudly on one of Third's pillows.
Third usually switches pillow with the one used by his best friend the following days, postponing his laundry until even the faintest trace of his citrus after-shave is vanished. It makes him feel guilty, as if he tricks Khai's trust in some twisted way by acting like that. But, after knowing Khai for three years, Third has learnt to be content with crumbs, even if to get them he has to act in a very unconventional way (like a pervert, screams his mind while he doesn't clean his sheets for a day more). Third doesn't hurt anyone as he falls asleep with his nose pressed against the pillowcase, searching for something of his best friend, even if this something is a weak perfume leftover. And if sometimes Third muffles his moans in his pillow, if sometimes he builds himself a fantasy where the hands touching him is not his but Khai's, where Third can rest with head on the crook of his best friend's neck while Khai encourages him to come by whispering praises in his ear, well, it's Third's secret to keep. But okay, maybe he has a weakness for Khai's scent. And voice. And hands. Maybe he has, in fact, a weakness for Khai as a whole.
It's a problem right now, you know, because the bed smells like Khai. Pillows, comforter, the mattress even, everything in Third's vicinity smells like Khai. Specially, and unsurprisingly, Khai himself. Even after Third shoved him under the shower, a bit of the night's smells still lingers on his skin, and it mixes with something unapologetically Khai's to punch Third's directly in the nose. Third feels he could be drunk on that, drunker that with any alcohols ever. He is light-headed already, and it's the fault of his two beers of the evening. Maybe Third himself will smell like him tomorrow morning, like one of his lovers. Maybe he will carry on him something of Khai. The very idea makes Third giddy in a way he doesn't want to interrogate.
There is worst, because Khai is always too much in a way or an other, so of course there is worst. So, the worst: Khai is a clingy drunk, probably because he is used to have people in his bed with which he is... affectionate. Third can understand, but he didn't know Khai was this much into cuddle sessions. Now he almost wishes to still be clueless on that. Khai doesn't only cradle him: he is literally wrapped around Third, as if they are some sort of human burrito. Khai sighs happily on his ear, and Third tries to keep his composure, even if he is freaking out. Every spot where their bodies touch is like the start of a fire on Third's skin, and there are so much of them that he burns already. It's both a dream comes true and his worst nightmare.
The dream is Khai asking him to stay, pouting his way to convince him until Third gives up the idea to go home and sleep on his own bed. It's forcing the toothbrush on his mouth to make him brush his teeth while Khai sulks. It's helping him to remove his shirt and his jeans and pushing him under the shower. It's coming back from his own shower, in borrowed sleeping clothes that hangs too big on him, to find Khai sprawled on his back on the bed, beaming to Third with the biggest smile known to humanity, blindingly handsome even with his head upside-down. It's Khai opening his arms for him, putting his chin against his shoulder, and whispering a thank you in his ear.
The nightmare is Khai doing that only as a friend. His best friend. Forever.
Third doesn't cry. He reserves that for the solitude of his room, where he can hide his tears under the pretense of taking a shower, where his muffled screams in the dark have to do with him and him only. Third doesn't cry, so he keeps his eyes shut until he feels like he will not start weeping at any moment.
Khai snores loudly, foreign to all the turmoils in his friend's heart. He is too close and it's too dark for Third to see him correctly, but he can make a part of the profile of his face and the curve of an ear. He can see the way of his lashes fall on his cheekbones while he sleeps soundly, more innocent than ever. Third can't help feeling fond watching him. It's the problem, you know? Because even if Khai is a huge pain in the ass, specially Third's ass, he is also very lovable, and he worms his way in your heart until you have to surrender. And you want to know the worst? It's not even on purpose. Third is not sure he wants to forgive his best friend to makes him fall in love by accident (but maybe there is nothing to forgive, because, even if he loves putting the blame on Khai, what Third does with his feelings is not his friend's fault. Third knows that, but the temptation is huge to accuse him).
"You think too loud", Khai mumbles.
His voice is hushed, half because he is just awake and still partly drunk, half because his mouth is almost buried in the crook of Third's neck. He blows on the little hairs of his nape when he speaks, and Third tenses up to avoid shivering. Khai whines.
"Be a good pillow and sleep", he says, and Third rolls his eyes.
"I'm not a pillow," he answers between his teeth, even if he knows that disputing it right now is pretty pointless.
The fact is he is, right now, Khai's pillow. The fact is as well that he loves that a little too much. So he even if he grumbles, he does as asked. He lets his body relaxes, basking in Khai's perfume, safe between his best friend's arms. He is both peaceful and incredibly happy, and for a selfish instant, he lets himself be. He can feel a smile on his lips when he starts to doze of, his eyes closes and his breathing soft. Khai's heart beats under his fingers, steady and calm, and with the light snores at his ear, it's the lullaby that finally puts him to sleep.
Khai has a weight on his left arm. He smiles before opening his eyes, even if his head hurts like a fanfare took residence behind his forehead. There is too much light in his room (they didn't close the blinds before going to bed, and it was clearly a regretable mistake), but even if he has to squint his eyes to see, he can make Third's form on his side.
It's funny to say, but he tends to forget how small Third is. He doesn't know why or how, since when they are side by side, so literally all the time, he is really taller than his friend. Maybe it's just because he is used to it, or maybe it's because when he is awake, Third is the more savage of all their gang put together. He takes no nonsenses, and has a way with words that makes them like a knife, cutting deeply anyone who wronged him. He is harsh, like a feral cat, and it's both scary and very endearing. When he is awake, Third doesn't look short, even if it's funny to put his elbow on the top of his head (the funnier part is the way he removes his head and the stinky eyes he gives. If a glance could kill, Khai will be dead thousand of times).
But here, curled in the bend of his elbow, his real height is apparent. It's a bit weird, because Khai knows that lying down makes size not as important (at least this size). It's maybe the softness of his face that makes Third looks so small all of the sudden, or the way how he looks delicate under the comforter.
Under his black hair (a bit ruffled by the night, Khai notes with an irresistible fondness) his brows are frowned, as if his dreams dared to misbehave (Khai knows his frown like the back of his hand). He is a bit pouty too, his lips out in a way that Khai will found attractive on anyone who is not his best friend (it's the kind of pout that calls for playful kisses, little smacks to tease before sinking in). Third gives this face to his essays when they don't go as planned (and Khai never lets his sight wanders on Third's lips when he looks like that, never traces with his eyes the form of his mouth, never wonders how Third's lips would taste or feel under his own, never catches a breath when his friend wets his lips with his tongue, never plans the campaign that would be to kiss Third instead of working on his own paper - he will start lightly, just at the corner of Third's mouth - the left - before taking his bottom lip between his own, going up slowly to feel Third melt against him, kissing him chaste before kissing him deep - he never thinks about all these things he will never do).
Third moves slightly, and Khai suddenly realizes two things: one, Third's left leg is stuck between his own (shit, he hopes he doesn't put all his weight on it - Third will be horrible if his leg is numb when he wakes up) and his motion makes it rubs against Khai's thighs (and Khai is ready to pray any gods lending an ear for Third to not go higher - or to go?), two, Third's calves are oddly muscular. Like really, with muscles definition and all, and it's unfair, because Khai spends his days with him, and he never saw Third doing any other kind of exercise than playing tennis table with them. But boy is jacked, so what does he do? Did Third transform his dorm in a gym while Khai didn't watch, and now does he spend his night pushing weights and doing pushups? Or it's the backpack, isn't it? If it's Third's secret, Khai will start to carry around a backpack half his size too, because, damn, these legs are fine.
His friend shifts a bit more on the bed, and Khai is suddenly remembered his first problem. He tries to push Third as smoothly as possible, but he is not the most delicate person ever.
Third blinks at him, his black eyes adorably owlish while he tries to focus on Khai. He looks a bit lost, just out of sleep like that, and Khai wants to pat his head and cradles him against his chest and tell him to go back to bed. Instead, he almost jumps out of the bed, suddenly scared by something he can't even define. Maybe it's the soft intimacy he can read on Third's face, bare of all masks he could put during the day. Maybe it's the fondness he sees in these eyes, a fondness for him, Khai Khunpol Krichphirom, certified fuckboy of the faculty of Communication Arts, someone not worthy of these type of nice feelings, specially from Third. Maybe it's the way his own heart beats in his chest, so fast, too fast, that it misses a beat, and an other, and an other, ...
"Are you okay?" Third mumbles in the comforter.
He looks worried and... squishy, buried under the sheets as he is. Khai blushes (him, blushing! He must be sick or something. A fever maybe? He doesn't always thoroughly dry his hair before going to bed, and both his mother and Third always nag him about it. Maybe they were right and he finally caught the cold they had warned him about) and nods.
"'kay", Third says, and he grabs Khai's pillow.
Uh, Khai thinks, and he can almost feel his brain going blank. Third his curled in the middle of his bed, all small and dishevelled by his night (their night, adds Khai's mind, and ugh, it doesn't help at all) and he hugs Khai's pillow like a fucking teddy bear, his arms around the center and his face literally smashed in it. It's so sweet Khai can't compute.
"I need to go to the bathroom!", he screams, storming out of his bedroom as if he runs for his life.
He tries to catch his breath, his back against the bathroom's door, but all his mind can conjure his the weight of Third against him, his little eyes in the morning, the way his body fits against Khai's, the apparent softness of his lips, the muscles in his limbs, the strength of his hands grabbing Khai's sheets.
When finally Khai goes out of the bathroom, relieved but also secretly shameful in a way he doesn't think was possible for him, he follows the noise coming from the kitchen. Third is back to the door, still wearing the t-shirt he borrowed from him yesterday. It's too big on him, running low on his clavicules, almost showing a shoulder, and Khai can't help himself and watches the little surface of skin with a kind of hunger he knows too well. The kind he surely doesn't feel for his best friend.
Third looks at him and Khai has a hard time trying to not lower his eyes. He is almost sure Third knows what he has done in the bathroom, and strangely enough, he feels awkward about it. And for what? Khai is a healthy young man, who wakes up with a slight hangover and a warm body pressed against him. It's not weird that he had a morning wood, okay? Not weird at all.
And if he thought a bit about Third while jerking off, it's only because his friend was in his bed, in his condo, it's what Khai means, his friend was in his condo and he didn't want him to hear. It's all, okay? Just that, nothing more. He wanted to be a considerate host, okay.
"It will be noon soon, so I used your leftover rice to make Khao Tom, it's okay?" Third asks slowly, his eyes still on Khai (and they're so intense that Khai is a bit afraid they end burning a hole in his poor little skull).
"Yeah", Khai says, "no problem. Thanks for the breakfast. Lunch."
The porridge is exactly like Khai likes it, with chicken and one egg still a bit runny. It's soft enough for his delicate stomach, but tasty enough to not be bland. Third sits accross the table, and for a split second Khai sees the intimacy in all of that. There is a domesticity somewhere between waking up with his best friend in his arms and sharing a meal in a comfortable silence that makes him dizzy. It's like having something he doesn't even know he was craving for.
Third is important, that Khai knows. He is also wonderful, smart and pretty and caring and strong. He is single too, and Khai never questioned why he didn't date one of the girls who asks him out. They are all adorable and competent, with silky hair and soft eyes, but Third always say no. He says no to the boys too, the handsome ones as well as the cute ones, and Khai still doesn't ask the reason. Khai doesn't know why, like he doesn't know why he is so relieved that Third is still single (or maybe he knows, the realization stuffed somewhere in a corner of his mind, in the special drawer where he hides the things he doesn't want to study too closely), but he realizes that maybe the best place for Third is right here, taking his breakfast at the same table than Khai a Saturday morning. It's scary, the kind of fear you feel at the top of a roller coaster, just before the big fall. It's exhilarating too, and Khai feels, knows, that he is only a step forward of a big adventure. Maybe he only needs a little more time to be brave. For now, his heart beats fast like wings of a hummingbird when Third smiles, Khai's pillow marks still on his cheek.
When Third leaves, Khai closes the door, and, his back against it, whispers slowly:
"What the fuck."
Third looks at the closed door of Khai's condo.
"What the hell?" he asks to the void, still not sure of what happened.
He puts his wrist to his nose. He smells a little like Khai. It's like his arms hugging his waist, like his chin in the crook of Third's neck. It feels like a mark proving that Third belongs here, in Khai's condo, in his bed, in his side.
He smells great, the same as hope.