The first time Team stays in Win’s room after a fuck is a complete accident. It had been a long, tiring day and Team just so happened to be horny and Win just so happened to be in the same mood and they just so happened to live in the same building, one floor apart.
Sex with Win is always great and always pleasurable for Team. When it’s over, Win will let Team shower first and it’s as Win’s heading for the bathroom that Team will take his leave and let fitful sleep take him. The one time Win offered to let him stay, Team had refused the offer saying that it was easier to sleep in his own bed.
The simple truth was that he didn’t want Win to find out about his nightmares.
But this night, muscles aching in the best way and fatigue tugging on their eyelids, Team falls asleep to the warmth of Win’s naked body beside him, legs tangled together and bodies still slick with cum and sweat.
And then a nightmare shakes him awake and Team jerks upright, mouth choking back a scream. Next to him, Win stays fast asleep, exhaustion keeping him deep in dreamland even as Team trembles with the force of stifling his sobs.
The urge to burrow again under Win’s arm and return to those few blissful hours of rest is strong. But Team doesn’t think that that’s what their relationship is. He and Win are simply swim team members, a senior and his junior, using each other for fantastic sex. Nothing more.
That’s the thought that buoys Team off the bed carefully, rooting for his clothes and sandals in the dark and then easing the door quietly shut behind him so that he can make his way back to his own room for the night.
In the darkness, Win opens his eyes as he rolls onto his back and sighs up at the ceiling. It would seem they still have a long way to go.
English is his most difficult subject because English is the most difficult language. Win can try and reason with him but Team knows that there should be no good reason for some idiot centuries ago to have looked at words and decided that ‘ph’ had to make a ‘fff’ sound and not a ‘puhuh’ sound.
So yeah...fuck that guy.
And fuck the guy who agreed with fucker #1.
Still, Team’s very valid concerns about why English is a stupid language do not really fly with his professor and he’s told in no uncertain terms that his 1000 word essay on verb conjugations will still be due the next morning.
Swearing under his breath, Team makes his way to the library to seek out the one person who’d be able to help him. He knows Win is there, working away on his own term papers and he was both smart and nice enough to lend some of his superior brain cells to Team.
Except that when Team peeks out from behind the ordered shelves, there are three juniors all vying for Win’s attention. The blonde looks as fresh as a daisy, his own notebook and highlighters pushed aside in favor of explaining math concepts to freshmen.
Team watches for a few seconds, bouncing back and forth on his heels in hesitation before turning away. He pulls out his phone and shoots Pharm a message filled with pleas, praises and full on begging.
Pharm is a heaven sent angel which is why he invites Team back to his apartment so that they can work on the essay together and Team leaves with a happy hum, shouldering his backpack.
He fails to notice Win’s eyes watching him walk away despondently.
There’s a new action movie that Win has been waiting to see and Team is hiding two tickets to the evening show in his backpack.
It’ll be the first time Team suggests a sort of date-night for them and he’s nervous. And also excited. Win’s been the best type of boyfriend for the last few months, planning really nice dates that both he and Team enjoy as well as becoming a very sturdy support system that Team is learning to lean on.
For all the sweet gestures that Win has bestowed on him, Team figures that he should proffer one of his own which is why he’s planned tonight well. They’re both done classes early today and there’s no swim practice so they can catch the 7:30 performance, have dinner at one of Team’s favorite road-side stalls he’s been dying to take Win to and then end the night up on the rooftop of their dorm building where Team has set up a mattress, sheets and a portable stove to keep them warm.
It pays to say hi and be nice to the security guard.
Team sees Win then, engaged in a lively conversation with P’Pruk, P’Dean and a few others from the swim team. He returns a couple of hellos thrown his way, easing into the seat Win readily opens for him.
Win doesn’t give him a verbal hello but under the table, Team can feel warm fingers curling around his knee and a thumb stroking the fabric. It produces a pleased smile from Team, one that he hides by rooting around in his backpack for the tickets and then covering with his hands.
He waits for a lull in the conversation or at least for a moment where Win’s attention isn’t being commanded. It takes a while but when it does happen, Team reaches under to tap at Win’s hand, fingers still lazily brushing his knee.
“Hia?” He says softly.
Win turns to him, head cocked in readiness for Team’s question.
Team opens his mouth, hoping to Buddha above that his cheeks are not red.
Mew falls into Win at that very second, loud and annoying as he brandishes two VIP tickets, “Yo, P’Win! I got those tickets for that movie; we're still good for tonight yeah??”
“Yeah Mew sure, now get the fuck off me!” Win says with a laugh, shoving Mew off of him and towards P’Pruk. “What were you gonna say, Team?” He asks, looking back at Team who’s trying to shove his own stupid, regular seat tickets back into his bag.
“Nothing; I need the bathroom.”
Team’s gone before Win can find holes in his excuse, hoping against hope that his utter disappointment wasn’t visible on his face.
Unfortunately for Team...it was.
Team’s finger hovers over the call button, tears splashing over his hand as he bites down on his bottom lip. His eyes flicker between the time on his phone (2:45 am) and the red blinking numbers on his desk which has long since been set to London time (8:45pm).
It’s Wednesday which means Win is in his Statistics Theory lecture which is Win’s least favorite class which means he’s going to use every trick in the book to not fall asleep or be distracted.
And Team calling all of a sudden to tell his boyfriend that he hasn’t been able to sleep for the past week because of nightmares is bound to be distracting...isn’t it?
With a wet shuddery inhale, Team switches off his phone, turns on his side and prepares to watch the sunrise for the third time that week.
And the one time…
Team’s lack of sleep catches up with him in the worst of ways, his legs crumpling under him as exhaustion and stress hit him with the full force of a brick.
He’s at Pharm’s apartment, both of them trying to work away on an assignment and Dean has dropped by on a surprise visit. He’s the one who catches the swimmer before Team’s face can kiss marble and he also makes the decision to call Win.
When he does finally wake, Team is faced with two looks of disappointment and one of concern. The concern comes from Pharm who tugs Dean out of the apartment as Team sits upright with the laptop, Win’s face staring back at him.
“Why didn't you tell me you weren’t sleeping?” Win starts softly and the misery in his voice is enough to make Team’s eyes burn. “You told me everything was okay and that you were doing fine. Why lie to me?”
“I...I didn’t lie to you...not on purpose anyway, hia. It’s just-”
“Just what, Team? What reason could you possibly have had to not tell me you’ve gotten a grand total of ten hours of sleep in the last week? Do you understand what it feels like, two years into a relationship with you and to find out from Dean from all people that you apparently have been lying to me and don’t sleep?”
Team looks just as miserable as he feels, his knees drawing up to his chest as he tries not to cry, “I didn’t want to be a distraction to you.”
The bitterness in his voice makes Win pause and he stares at Team in confusion. “What? What distraction?”
The first few tears slope down Team’s cheek, streaking two lines of wetness that Team hurries to wipe away. He’s not quick enough because Win sees it and his voice immediately softens. “Hey Team- baby, it’s okay. Just talk to me. You can always talk to me, you know this. What do you mean you didn’t want to be a distraction?”
Team doesn’t speak right away, small sniffles breaking the silence and Win doesn’t push him further, always willing to wait.
Then the smallest, most distressed voice whispers out, “You’re in class and I didn’t want to disturb you. I just wanted to try fixing it by myself instead of making you worry about me. You’re always so busy with class and stuff and I just- I just didn’t think you had enough time to help me too.”
It takes Win a few seconds to find his voice and Buddha above if he doesn’t want to reach through the screen and pull this vulnerable boy, blankets up to his chin and sleep mussed hair into his lap and rock him to sleep. Fuck him and fuck his brain for deciding to move all the way to fucking London for his graduate studies.
Running a hand through his own messy hair, Win sighs out, part amused and part relieved. “Team, baby, look at me. Come on, look at me.” He coaxes and smiles softly as red-rimmed eyes peek out at him.
“Listen to me very carefully, okay? I know I’m busy and I know classes are annoying. But I will never not have time for you. I can make time; somewhere, somehow, I will. I promise you that. But you have to promise me that you won’t ever lie to me again. About anything. This long-distance thing can only work if we’re both honest with each other about whatever problems we’re going through. Got it?”
The tears make a grander appearance this time, a sob catching in Team’s throat as he stares at Win, “I really miss you, hia. I miss you by my side.”
Win can feel his heart break and he reaches out his fingers, pressing it against the screen, “I miss you too baby, all the time. It sucks sleeping without you. But we can take a nap now, yeah? Together. Come on, close your eyes, I’m right here.”
By the time Dean and Pharm return from their impromptu grocery trip, both Team and Win are fast asleep in their respective beds, an ocean away from each other. It takes almost no thought for Pharm to leave a second set of keys by the table for Team to lock up and then leave for Dean’s apartment that night.
In the days that follow, Team finds himself falling asleep a little easier but the first night that he wakes up from a nightmare, cold tendrils of fear still clutching at his heart, he doesn’t even hesitate to press Win’s name in his phone.
It rings twice and then Win’s voice fills his ear, low and hushed, “You okay, baby?”
“Nightmare.” Team chokes out, breathing still heavy.
“Okay, it’s okay. What do you need? You need me to talk to you? I can call you on video right now.” Team can hear soft voices in the background; Win’s in class he realizes and must have left the classroom.
“No- no hia...can you just...just do whatever you were doing before I called. I just- need to know you’re there.” Team offers instead. Win’s voice, so smooth and so full of love have brought his labored breaths back to normal and right now, all Team really needs is absolute knowledge that Win is close to him.
Win agrees without hesitation, “I’m going back into the classroom but I’ll have my headphones in, okay? One sec.”
Team lays back down, drawing his covers under the chin and keeping his phone near him on speaker. He can hear Win apologizing softly as he settles back in his seat, a soft crackle as headphones slide in and then Win’s voice is back, “Good?”
“Yeah. Thanks, hia.” Team mumbles back out, tension leaving his shoulders.
“Anytime. Love you baby.” Win’s whisper is just as soft, just as warm and affectionate as if he were here in person and it brings the smallest of smiles to Team’s face as Win’s breath and heartbeat lull him to sleep.