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When pen pals meet

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A whole month had passed and he was still yet to make even a single friend, no matter how he tried it was like the other students had been instructed to ignore him. Tin felt there was a quiet irony to it since he was currently sitting in his sociology class, it was at that moment the teacher announced that they would be entering a pen pal program and everyone would be partnered at random with someone else around the world. After six months of exchanging letters or more accurately emails with their pen pals they would have to do a report on their culture. Rolling his eyes Tin opened up his current novel and continued to read it as the teacher walked around handing out their login details for the pen pal site and a short profile on their designated pen pal.
 
When the teacher reached him Tin sat his book down and looked at the person he was assigned "I thought the point of this was to learn about other cultures" Tin directed at his teacher before she could move on.
 
"Yes Mr Medthanan, that is the idea" Tin couldn't tell if her smile was forced because she was annoyed or because she was tired. 

"The profile says this guy is Thai" Tin picked up the paper and held it out towards his teacher expecting her to swap it over to someone else. 

Instead she blinked at him "do you not want to learn about other Asian cultures?" 

Tin couldn't believe the accusatory look on her face or the confidence she seemed to have in her word "I'm from Thailand" Tin expected her to click but there seemed to be some form of mental wall she wasn't getting over "which means I'm also Thai" 

"Yes Mr Medthanan but he is Thai from Taiwan" Tin didn't know if he should laugh or not. 

"That's not right" hearing someone in the class mumble to their desk mate that they had thought Tin was Korean he decided to let it go "fine, maybe he is from a different socioeconomic background. I'm sure that will still get the point of this lesson across" Tin dropped the page back onto the desk in front of him. 

The teacher watched Tin for a moment before moving on. 

 

Back in his dorm Tin logged on to the pen pal site using the login details the teacher had handed out. After resetting the password Tin set about filling out his profile. Looking at his assigned pan pal's printout again Tin rolled his eyes, under hobbies the guy had listed food and football. It didn't really give Tin much to connect to but he did like the look of the dog in the profile picture, though he assumed it was randomly selected from the internet. After the five minutes of effort he put in to his own profile Tin opened up the messenger page. 

Dear Pen pal
It is cold and shitty here. 
From I wish I was back home
  

Can had been excited when his teacher had announced that they would be entering a pen pal program, he deflated however when he found out it was to improve their English skills so they would have to communicate only in English. Creating a profile had been fun but frustrating, at least he got to use a picture of Gucci for his profile, it was that or his favorite football team. It took a little over a week for Can to find out that he had gotten a pen pal. In his excitement he had opened the message, it was short which Can was thankful for because his English still needed a lot of work. When he did work out what it said a confused frown filled his face. Going back he found out the the person he was matched with was also Thai but was studying in England. Apparently the person liked to read and didn't like where he was. 

Hi Friend, 
Why are you there if you hate it so much?
From Cantaloupe 

 

Tin blinked at his computer screen, the guy actually responded and unless it was a weird screen name he now knew the guys name. 

To Cantaloupe
It's not out of choice. My brother convinced my parents it would be good for me. All it was good for was sending me away. 
I like the dog in your profile picture, very cute.
Since we are friends you should probably know my name too.Tin

Tin hit send before he could change his mind. The moment it was gone Tin felt the weight on his heart lighten slightly making him grow impatient for his pen pal's response.

 

It took a few days of Tin continually logging in to check his account before he got a response. 

Hi Tin,
Sorry about the delay, my English isn't very good so it took a while to work out what you said and to respond. 
I don't get why your family would want to send you away but keep your head up. Put your energy into showing them up! 
And of course he is cute, he is my baby. 
Fighting! From Cantaloupe

 

Tin felt a smile split his face. For the first time in months something made him happy and he was determined to keep it. Tin took to writing his letters in both English and Thai, this was to both help his pen pal learn English and also to help with speedy replies. Over the following months their responses became longer, more often and if Tin were honest with himself intimate. Tin knew everything there was to know about Cantaloupe and in return he had told Cantaloupe everything about himself, even the things he hated to admit. His photo collection of Cantaloupe and his friends was slowly growing with his favorites being added to his phone. 

 

He had been in England for nearly a year when his life got turned upside down, he hadn't wanted to go to the party and when he saw that they were doing drugs he had tried to leave but had been held back by his friends. The same friends that were nowhere to be seen when the cops started taking people in and even less present when Tin's parents came to take him home. 

Cantaloupe,
I don't know what to do, I didn't do what the news papers are saying about me and now my parents have came to the school and the people I had thought were my friends wont even back me up. What's worse is that my drug test came back and it showed I am clean but my parents still don't believe me, they don't trust me. 
I'm coming back to Thailand, I don't know for how long but do you think we can meet up?
I could really use my friend.
Tin

Looking at the words he had put on the page Tin couldn't bring himself to press send. He felt like he would disappoint Cantaloupe like he had disappointed everyone else and truthfully he wouldn't be able to deal with it if Cantaloupe also didn't believe him. It was just that he cared about how Cantaloupe saw him, he just couldn't work out why. When he was finally home and in his own room laying on his bed staring up at his ceiling he got a message he hadn't expected. His old friend Pete was reaching out to him, he had done so when Tin was first sent away but Tin had been the one to let the connection die. Now that he was offered a second chance he was going to make sure not to mess it up again. 

Pete was a sweet as ever and while Tin had grown cold and cynical after what had happened in England Pete stuck by him, even when the rest of their social group kept whispering behind his back. Tin couldn't bring himself to tell Pete about it when he found out his own brother had been the puppet master behind the drug scandal and through it all he had left his pen pal account inactive. With every passing day he was more and more convinced that Cantaloupe would be disappointed, if not for the scandal it would be because Tin had turned his back on him. 

A few months passed and Pete and Tin were walking around their new campus getting welcomed by seniors in the International College Department. Growing tired of pretending like he wanted to be there meeting his new classmates Tin decided to check out some of the other faculties. Not that he expected to meet anyone in particular but he headed to the Sports Science building. There was quite a large ruckus growing louder as he got closer, coming to the front of the building Tin felt his jaw drop as he saw a figure he had only ever seen in pictures moving around yelling and dancing along with his seniors. Cantaloupe's movements weren't all that graceful but they were full of energy as his happiness rolled off him and infected those around him. Tin's eyes were so transfixed on Cantaloupe's bright smile that he missed the figure approach him, he still didn't notice them until he felt a tug on his sleeve. 

Pulling away Tin stared at the boy who now had his attention, there was something very familiar about his inquisitive look and knowing smirk. "Come join me Ai Good!" Tin heard Cantaloupe's voice for the first time as his brain clicked, the boy in front of him was Cantaloupe's best friend. He should have know, he was in most of the photos Cantaloupe had sent him "are you making a new friend?" Cantaloupe's voice was so close now and Tin wasn't sure if the heat he felt coming form Cantaloupe's body was from the exercise or if he was just acutely aware of his being there. 

Tin watched frozen as Good shook his head "Ai Can isn't this Ai Tin?" even though Good's voice had been soft and slow it had hit Tin like a freight train. 

"Ai Tin is in England" Can said though curiosity had him move next to Good so that he could take a look at the guy. "Wow you really look like a friend of mine" Can grabbed Tin cheeks pinching and pulling them like he expecting Tin's face to be a mask. 

"I am a friend of yours Ai Cantaloupe" Tin said quietly to Can while his cheeks were getting squished. 

Jumping back Can bumped into Good as his eyes widened in shock "when did you get back? Why didn't you tell me? Why have you been ignoring my messages?"

Tin started to panic when he saw the tears form in the corners of Cantaloupe's eyes. When others started looking their way Tin grabbed Cantaloupe's wrist pulling him away from the curious group to somewhere private. 

 

Standing under the football field bleachers Can could feel tears burning the backs of his eyes. Can couldn't tell if it was hurt or anger that was creating them but either way it was Tin's fault. Finally looking up at him Can felt it all wash away, Tin looked so sad and guilty that Can didn't have it in him to hold a grudge. "I'm so sorry Ai Cantaloupe, some things happen and I just didn't know how to tell you" 

"I already know Ai Tin, it made it into the news papers here" Can reached up cupping Tin's cheek with his free hand "tell me what really happened" 

Tin's eyes snapped up to Can's in surprise "what? You don't believe what was in the papers?"

"I know you Ai Tin, probably better then I know anyone else. Of course I don't believe what the papers said" the moment Can's words were out Tin pulled him into a hug pressing his nose in to the shorter boys hair. 

"Thank you Cantaloupe" Tin's arms squeeze a little tighter "I'm sorry I ran away" Tin felt his heart swell when Can returned Tin's embrace. 

"What's going on Nong?" Tin and Can jumped apart when a deep voice interrupt them. 

"P'Type" Can wanted to thump Type for the strange smile he had on his face that seemed to know far too much.    

"If you two are going to have this lovers thing maybe choose somewhere more private" 

"We're not lovers P'Type, Ai Tin and I are friend" Can tried to step towards Type but Tin stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm. 

"I have to go, I'll call you later" as Can watched Tin walk away he couldn't understand why he seemed so down when he had been happy and hugging him moments ago. 

 

As Tin walked away it felt like there was a hand holding his heart a little too tightly. Tin found Pete again thankful that the day was coming to an end the best friends walked their way to their cars. Curious about the strange air around his best friend Pete kept a watchful eye on Tin as he seemed distracted "is something going on Ai Tin?" 

Looking over at Pete Tin was met with concern "no, nothing. I'm just thinking about some stuff" Tin's eyes flicked towards the football field. 

Pete had given Tin a strange look and a tight lipped smile before they had parted ways, leaving Tin to think about everything he was keeping from Pete as he headed to his car. Once safely inside it, Tin pulled out his phone and called Can. He only had to wait a couple of rings before Can answered "can we finish talking?" 

"Have you left school yet?" Can's response hadn't really been an answer. 

"I'm about to, I'm in my car" Tin felt strangely hopeful. 

"Where are you parked?" Can sounded rushed and a bit odd to Tin's ear. 

"Behind the science building, but I can com-" 

"Wait right there" Tin's words had been cut off by Can's, he didn't get a chance to try again because the next thing he knew was that Can had hung up and he was left to wait. It didn't take long before the passenger door was flung open and a sweaty out of breath Can had dropped into the seat. "Is everything okay, you kind of took off earlier"

"I didn't want to create a misunderstanding between you and that senior" Tin knew it was a lie but he still didn't know why he had felt the need to leave at that time. But having Can beside him again made things feel right. 

"P'Type was just teasing us, after you left he felt bad for making you uncomfortable" Can fiddled with the strap of his bag as it sat on the floor at his feet. 

"It's okay, P'Type didn't make me feel uncomfortable" just has fidgety Tin played with the buttons on the steering wheel. 

Looking at him out of the corner of his eye Can had to hide his smile at finding Tin cute. Quickly covering himself Can cleared his throat "you wanted to talk"

"Yeah, did you want to go to a cafe or something?" Tin asked turning the engine on and buckling himself in. 

"I know a place we can go" Can smiled before pulling his own seat belt on. 

Tin followed Can's directions paying more attention to having the one person he had counted on the past year next to him then where he was being directed to. "If you pull up here on the right" Can said pointing to a light blue slatted gate. 

Climbing out of the car Tin looked around at the street confused as it looked to only contain houses. Seeing Cantaloupe disappearing through the gate Tin quickly followed his face splitting with a smile as a shaggy dog came bounding up to them. Dropping to his knees Tin reached out as the dog jumped into him "hey Gucci, it's great to finally meet you" Tin laughed as he rubbed at the excited dogs fur then looked at Can who was smiling down at him "you brought me to your house?" 

"Less chance of us getting interrupted and I thought you would like to meet Gucci, you have asked for enough of his photos" Can crouched down to join Tin in scuffing up his fur. Both boys paused when their hands collided and fingers slipped between each others. Gucci's loud bark brought them back into themselves resulting in the two boys pulling their hands apart as blushes coloured their cheeks. 

Tin and Can quickly stood putting some space between them "um, why don't we head inside" Can said scratching the back of his neck. 

 

Walking into Cantaloupe's lounge room Tin glanced around and had to stifle a surprised gasp at the photo of baby Cantaloupe showing his naked bum to the camera. Picking up the photo frame next to it Tin smiled at Can covered in mud smiling at the camera as he held up a trophy. Tin assumed it meant the Can had won the grand final of his high school football match and felt a pang of guilt for not already knowing. The letter informing him of the win was probably in his inbox still unopened "what are you looking at?" Tin jumped slightly at having been caught in his thoughts. 

"Congratulation on winning your grand final Ai Cantaloupe" Tin said tilting the photo towards Can.
 
"Your voice is completely different to how I thought it might sound, it's a bit deeper then I expected" Can said gently taking the photo frame from Tin's hand "I did send you a message letting you know" Can's sad voice made Tin drop into the couch next to him. 

"I'm sorry Ai Cantaloupe, I didn't know how to tell you, I didn't want you of all people to be disappointed in me" Tin said to the floor knowing that he would have to tell Cantaloupe everything if he wanted the boys forgiveness. 

"Ai Tin" Can said softly as he cupped Tin's cheek like he had done when they had met earlier forcing Tin to look at him "I don't think you could ever disappoint me"

Tin searched Can's eyes and found that there was nothing but the truth in them just like every letter he has ever sent. "What did the news paper report?" Tin asked wanting to see how much of the story Can had heard. 

"Just that you had been arrested for drug use at a party that was raided by the police" Can said softly as his thumb rubbed across Tin's cheek. 

Letting out a deep sad breath Tin felt tears sting the back of his eyes "that is true but I didn't take any drugs, I've never taken taken drugs. I hadn't even been at the party for five minutes when the police arrived and I was arrested. They tested me and it proved that I was clean but my parents don't believe me, they only care that I have tarnished the Medthanan name" this time when Can's thumb rubbed across Tin's cheek it collected a tear. 

"There is something you're not telling me" Can used his free hand to push Tin's hair out of his face "we don't keep things from each other Ai Tin"

Cantaloupe's encouraging tone completely captivated Tin making him feel safe and cared for which he hadn't felt for a long time "I found out after my parents brought me home that it was my brother Tul that had done it" 

Confused Can's brow scrunched as he tried to work through Tin's words "what do you mean Tul did it?" 

"He paid the kids to befriend me and take me to the party. He was the one that called the police and let the media here know what had happened. He did it all to make sure the family business would go to him" Tin finally let his devastation overtake him now that he was wrapped in Can's arms getting held by the only person who had been by his side for the past year. 

"I don't get it, you don't even want your families company. Why did he come after you, why does he have to hurt you like this?" Tin could feel Can's grip getting tighter as anger built in his voice "if I ever meet him I'm got to beat him up. I'm going to kick his ass so hard that he will be buried so deep in the ground he will struggle to climb out" 

Tin pulled out of Can's hold but kept a grip on the hem of his shirt like a life line "why are you so mad about this?" 

"Because he hurt you, he hurt my Tin" Can clenched and un-clenched his fist before pushing to his feet only not moving away because of Tin's hold on is shirt. 

"Cantaloupe....." Tin's words were cut off by the front door being thrown open by a whirlwind of a girl who dropped her bag breezing by them and into the kitchen as she talked. Tin knew it was Cantaloupe's little sister Lemon and just like seeing Good and Cantaloupe for the first time it felt so surreal. Quickly getting to his feet Tin let go of Can's shirt and cleaned the tears off his face before Lemon could see them.
 
"P'Can why is all the juice gone? Couldn't you have at least saved me some?" Lemon said slamming the fridge shut and turned to see Can standing next to a tall handsome boy she had never seen before. Almost tripping over herself Lemon run up to Can "who is this P'Can" Lemon asked pulling Can closer to her. 

"This is Ai Tin" Can said and to Tin's surprised seemed to straighten with pride. 

Lemon took a moment to study Tin making him feel conscious of her searching stare, he shifted in discomfort as he felt incompetent somehow "is he the one from the photos in your room?" 

Tin's eyes widened in shock as Lemon's words played over in his head. Cantaloupe has his photo in his room, it wasn't really strange Tin guessed seeing as how had photos of Cantaloupe on his phone. "N'Lay don't you have homework to do?" Can asked through clenched teeth annoyed that Lemon had let Tin know about the photos and worried that Lemon might spout more. 

"Yeah my English assignment" Lemon already sounded defeated by it "can't you help me P'Can, you got really good at English all of a sudden" Lemon whined pulling on Can's arm. 

Seeing Cantaloupe giving her an indulging smile Tin could tell that she thought she had won "I can help you by checking it over once you have done it and show you where you went wrong and how" Can's smile shifted into something cheeky. 
"P'CAN!!!" Lemon wailed before storming off upstairs leaving Tin and Can alone again. 

"Why is everyone calling you Can?" Tin asked the moment he heard Lemon slam a door somewhere upstairs. 

Scruffing up the back of his hair Can shifted from foot to foot "because that's the name I started using when people started teasing me for being named Cantaloupe" 

"But I like your name" Tin said before he could stop himself but seeing Can quickly shift his eyes to him Tin tried to cover for his slip of the tongue "should I call you Can? I don't want to cause any problems for you so I will call you Can. It might take some time for me to get use to it because I have only ever known you as Cantaloupe so I'm sorry if I slip and call you the wrong name" 

While Tin was babbling Can had moved back in front of him. Can grabbed a hold on Tin's hand to stop him from continuing "it's fine, I like that you call me Cantaloupe" Can's words had sounded so sweet and Tin could feel the warmth from their joined hands spreading up his arm and through his body. 

Tin shifted, leaning through the space between them as his eyes locked on Cantaloupe's lips, a hesitance had him pausing until Cantaloupe tilted his head and lent in himself. Tin's breath ghosted on Can's lips as the sound of the door opening again had the boys jumping apart, this time with bright red faces. 

 

After an awkward meeting with Cantaloupe's mother Tin had politely excused himself before heading home. Safely inside of his own room with his bedroom door securely locked Tin began to pace the length of his room 'what the hell was that you idiot, did you seriously try to kiss him? Why? You aren't into guys, you have never had a crush on a guy before' Tin thought to himself as his steps picked up speed 'but Cantaloupe isn't like anyone else, he is friendly and kind and loyal. He didn't get mad that you ignored him the last couple of months and he has been waiting for you to tell him what really happened instead of believing the news papers like everyone else did. He got mad when he found out what Tul did' Tin paused as he rewound his thoughts then quicker then he had ever moved before Tin crossed the room and all but threw himself into his desk chair and opened his laptop. Without missing a beat Tin was logged into his pen pal profile and begun reading his letters from Cantaloupe. 

The first one had been just before he had gone to the party, it was a quick catch up on how school and his friends were going and just checking in on how Tin was and how he was going with his new friends. The next one was dated a couple of days later it was full of concern as the news had come out about Tin's arrest. The bulk of the letter was just Cantaloupe asking if he was okay and letting Tin know that he didn't believe anything the papers had published. The next letter had been a couple of weeks later Cantaloupe was trying to check in and see how Tin was coping and offering a friendly shoulder while almost pleading with Tin to let him know that he was okay. The next one was almost a month later, Cantaloupe told Tin about winning the grand final and there attached to the email was the photo Tin had been holding at Cantaloupe's house earlier in the evening. The letter finished with Cantaloupe asking again if Tin was okay and asking for the boy to just let him know that he was fine. The last letter was almost a full two months after the previous one and nearly broke Tin, if he hadn't already felt guilty before he definitely would now. 

Dear Tin, 
I think this will be my last letter to you, I will try to make it my last letter but I can't bring myself to promise to leave it here. 

I want you to know that I still don't believe what was in the papers, that it NOT the Tin I know. That is not my Tin. You are a much better and stronger person than to do any of the things they have written about you. I know we have never met in person but I know you Tin and until you yourself tell me differently I am going to continue to believe that you are a great person, a great man. One that has shown me how truly kind and wonderful you are. 

I didn't think I would go to University but thanks to your help and support I got into LBC University. Where I will be thankful everyday that I am becoming a better person for having had you in my life to help get me there. You will always hold a special place in my heart and I hope that I will one day hear from you if for no other reason then to find out that you are safe and healthy. 
With all my heart, 
Your Cantaloupe

 

Chapter Text

Tin sat staring at the way Cantaloupe had signed off on his last letter 'With all my heart, your Cantaloupe' Tin couldn't move past the fact that Can had given him his heart with almost a guarantee for not getting anything in return. Tin wanted to kick himself, his pride and cowardice had clouded his judgment since everything went down in England. He had let go of the one life line that would have helped him keep his feet on the ground and would have pulled him through, kicking and screaming if need be, to get to a better place. But here he was angry at the world and everyone in it for turning their back on him when he had turned away Can.

Reading through the last email again Tin felt his stomach flip and his heart clench as a thought rolled through his mind. Did he like Cantaloupe as more than a friend? If they hadn’t been interrupted would he had kissed Cantaloupe? His letter made it clear that Tin meant more to him than simple friendship so if Tin didn’t feel the same it wouldn’t be fair on such an amazing person to start something and pull away if it wasn’t what Tin wanted. He could expect Cantaloupe to remain friends after something like that.

Tin picked up his pacing again as he tried to sort through his racing thoughts and confusing emotions. It wasn't until two in the morning that Tin's brain gave up and let he finally pass out.

 

Can was still trying to work out how the hell fate worked out the complicated events it seemed to want to inflict on his life. He had assumed he had gone too far with his feelings towards Tin in his letters and that was why Tin had pulled away. It had hurt like hell but he had come to terms with the fact that it was likely he wasn’t going to get his friend back. That was until a stranger with Tin’s face appeared before him, looking more gorgeous than his photos but with a sadness around him that made Can anxious.

Can had almost cheered his relief when he realised that it wasn’t his letter that had made Tin pull away. And in a strange way Can almost felt happy for Tin’s concern about how he would see him being the reason for Tin’s withdrawal from their friendship.

Lying on his bed Can tossed and turned as his emotions rolled over him and crashed into each other. In the chaos of his mind there was a handful of things that Can was sure about and they were that he wasn’t going to let Tin run away from his again, that if they hadn’t been interrupted he would know how Tin’s kiss felt and that if he ever met Tul it wasn’t going to end well. Can continued to toss and turn until the early hours of the morning before he finally passed out knowing there was no way in hell he was going to get enough sleep to face the coming day.

-----------------------

Tin found himself in class the next day with little to no understanding of how he had possibly made it in one piece with how tired and distracted he felt. But there he was sitting next to Pete pretending to be listening to the teachers introduction to the course as his mind was still working through his connection with Cantaloupe. A buzzing in his pocket pulled him from his thoughts for half a second until he saw that the message was from Can ‘Hey Tin, I have football tryouts today after school. Wish me luck’ Tin smiled at the fact that even though it was no longer needed Can still messaged him in English.

Thinking of all the times Cantaloupe had sent him encouragement over the last year Tin typed out ‘Fighting!!!’ in as many languages as he could before leaning towards Pete “Ai Pete, I have a favour to ask”

Pete had looked at Tin skeptically when he had asked him to go with him to watch the football tryouts, even as they walked to the football field and right up until they were taking a seat in the stand Pete had been waiting for a punchline to the strange joke. Pete had been ready to confront Tin as to why they were really there when he found his best friend’s eyes were locked on the group of guys trying to get themselves a spot on the team. Shifting between looking at Tin and the team hopefuls Pete opened his mouth to ask Tin why they were here when his tongue stilled as he eyes caught a figure on the field.

Compared to the other players he seemed short but he had a stocky kind of build with broad shoulders and dark skin. Based on the way the senior students talked to him he had already made the team “not that I am complaining Ai Tin, but why are we here?” Pete finally asked after seeing the short guy give what seemed to be a smile.

Watching Can run circles around the other players for a moment longer Tin turned his attention to Pete who to Tin’s surprise watching the field as intently as he had been. “Do you remember I told you about my pen pal?” at Tin’s question Pete turned to him with a mix of confusion and curiosity “well it turns out he goes to this school”

“Oh my god!” Pete cried out, his voice louder and more excited then Tin had heard it before as he looked between the group on the field and Tin “which one is he?”

“I never thought I would say this to you of all people but, keep your voice down” Tin tried to look mad but Pete’s excited happiness was infectious. Looking down at the group Tin saw that Cantaloupe's face was full of concentration as he tried with everything he had to show that he belonged on the team. "The one with the outdated haircut and ridiculous smile"

Pete paused at the soft tone Tin's voice had taken on and blinked surprised that someone could make Tin blush. Looking down at the group Pete smiled as he searched through the players with a touch of relief that the short guy wasn’t the one. When he did locate the one he thought it was Pete watched him for a minute, “he has a lot of energy doesn’t he” Tin nodded before his brain processed the suggestive way in which Pete had said it. Pete ignored the unimpressed look on Tin’s face as he continued to measure up the guy finding that he liked the friendly look of the guy. Even as he seemed to get in trouble from the one that Pete had taken a liking to. "Ai Tin what exactly is the relationship between you two?"

Tin pulled his eyes away from Can sure that Pete had busted him concentrating on the way that Can’s body moved as he ran through the other players to take a shot at the goals. Turning to look at Pete with a touch of concern on his face and in his voice, "what do you mean? We are just friends" even Tin could hear the uncertainty in his statement.

“Whatever you are to each other is fine Ai Tin” Pete said with an encouraging tone that made Tin feel less apprehensive “I only asked because you seem different with him”

Picking at the pucker of his pants around his knee Tin fought the want to watch Can “what do you mean different?”

“Well since you have gotten back you have seemed disinterested or dismissive of most things. You have only been doing things because I’m the one dragging you around but today you seem genuinely interested to know if he makes it on to the team” Pete said with a soft smile.

Tin thought about what Pete said as he watched Cantaloupe get hugged by some of the others irritating something in him "Ai Pete?" Tin heard Pete's hum to continue "how did you know you are gay?"

Tin jumped in shock at Pete’s sudden burst of excitement and then had to stifle a laugh as he watched Pete struggle to push the excitement back down. Clearing his throat to pretend the outburst had been just a tickle in his throat Pete covered his smile with his hand “I guess I kind of always knew, but when we got to high school and the other guys started taking more interest in girls I was just naturally taking more interest in guys. But it’s different for everyone Ai Tin, gay and straight aren't the only sexuality out there” Pete watched Tin as he took in everything Pete was saying.

“Do you think I could possibly have feelings for another guy even after I have had so many girlfriends?” Tin asked seeming genuinely confused by what he was feeling.

“People change Ai Tin. You might just be opening up to the possibilities of who you are because you have met someone worth being open to. Do you think you have feelings for this guy?” Pete asked sure that he did but thought if Tin said it out loud to someone it might help him face it.

The pause after Pete's question dragged out until Tin pulled in a deep breath, "I don't know, but I’m pretty sure I almost kissed him yesterday and I don't know what to do or even how I feel about it" Tin could see that Pete was about to burst with the excitement of getting to give someone such advice. Not wanting to pull anymore attention to them Tin grabbed Pete's wrist and pulled him away from the field.

 

Having noticed them when one of them had cried out earlier Ae had been keeping half an eye on them curious to what they were doing. Seeing them leaving Ae took half a step after them to help the guy getting pulled away but when he saw him covering his smiling face with his free hand he figured everything was okay. “Who the hell were they?" Ae asked out loud to the group as they watched the server looking guy dragging a soft looking guy away.

There was a murmur of uncertainty as none of them seemed to know who the two had been until a soft voice spoke up "Ai Can wasn't that Ai Tin? But who was the guy next to him?" Good surprised everyone with his question as they had all assumed that the guys had wandered into the stands without knowing about football tryouts.

"I can’t be sure but if Ai Tin seemed to get along with him it was probably Ai Pete" Can watched them as they walked out of sight, something weighing heavy on his heart as the look on Pete’s flushed face as Tin dragged him away stuck in his mind.

"Alright you lot, who gave you permission to take a break" they all looked at Captain Techno, not one of them bothered by his yelling, that was until they saw Type standing behind the team captain looking unimpressed and annoyed.

 

 

Tin shook his head as he smiled fondly at Pete who, once they had found themselves in a relatively private place, had let his excitement burst out “Oh My God Ai Tin, how did this even happen? I thought you had said that you had lost contact with him……. Wait do I get to know his name now?”

Rolling his eyes Tin felt like he had made a mistake letting Pete know now that he had a strangely energetic Pete on his hands. Letting out a large huff of air Tin lent against the building they had found themselves next to “I had stopped talking to him but yesterday I couldn’t help but be curious if he had made it in. I had kind of helped him study to get in”

“Ai Tin” Pete waited till Tin looked at him “did you come to this school because of him?” Tin said nothing as he stared at Pete with a smile that grew with each passing second. “You could have gone to almost any university Ai Tin, why this one?”

“Because it made me feel closer to him, even if he hadn’t made it in, at least it was still something we shared before my life got fuck up” Tin snipped crossing his arms in annoyance as his own words registered in his mind. “I guess that’s why I went looking for him yesterday, I wanted to believe it had all been coincidence but I want to the Sports Science building looking for him”

"Please tell me that the moment you saw him you swept him up in your arms" Tin watched Pete make a strange half movement that looked to Tin like Pete had stopped himself from twirling on the spot.

“Not really” Tin shrugged not wanting to tell Pete about just standing there while he let Can squish his face.

“Damn, then tell me about the kiss” Pete said happily and curious.

“We didn’t kiss” Tin quickly said and to Pete amusement seemed to fall into a sulk “his mum came home as we were sort of leaning into it. We might not have kissed anyway”

“Oh you would have kissed him Ai Tin and I think that frightens you. Because you don’t know how you feel about him but I think I could take a pretty accurate guess"

“How could you know how I feel about him when I don’t even know if I truly like him” Tin scoffed knowing it wasn’t a convincing argument but Pete seemed to sober at Tin’s question.

Stepping in front of Tin Pete showed a seriousness and forwardness that Tin had never seen in him before “do you trust me?”

Tin grew suspicious of the grin that started to build on Pete’s face as the distance between them slowly shrank “not at this very moment I don’t”

“Come on Ai Tin” Pete placed a hand on the wall either side of Tin “I could help you find your answer”

Tin paused a moment thinking through what Pete was suggesting, with a stiff nod Tin agreed considering the fact that the worst that would happen was that he would have a funny story about the time he kissed his best friend. Pete moved in close enough that Tin could feel him without them even touching. Letting his eyes fall shut it was like a bolt of lightning passed through him and just as their lips hovered apart Tin stopped Pete smiling to himself as he had gotten his answer.

Just about to push Pete a step back a smarmy slimy voice that had made Tin’s skin crawl from the day Pete had introduced them reached Tin’s ears “I didn’t like you when we first met N’Tin but I guess I should thank you” as Pete stepped aside Tin saw the greasy smile that put his teeth on edge “for doing the dirty work for me”. Seeing the way Trump was walking up to them Tin quickly pushed off the wall and placed himself between Pete and, Tin hated to admit it, Pete’s boyfriend "honestly the thought of even kissing another guy makes me sick to my stomach". Furrowing his brow Tin looked over his shoulder at Pete confused by the disconnection between Trump’s words and his past actions.

Turning back to the older guy Tin could feel his hand begin to shake as his anger built “then why the fuck are you dating Ai Pete?” Tin said through clenched teeth as he tried not to punch Trump’s smug face.

Letting out a small laugh Trump licked his bottom lip “M-O-N-E-Y money you idiot. I thought I was only going to get one payout with Ai Pete but thanks to you I now have two” Trump held up his phone with a triumphant grin showing them photos he had taken of Pete approaching Tin and the two leaning into each other. From the angle the photos were taken it truly looked like the two were kissing. Pete moved up to Tin’s side getting a better look at the photos “so if the two of you don’t want me to send these pictures to both of your parents you are going to have to give me what I want” Trump was thrilled when the friends seemed to look at each other lost on what to do.

Trump’s smile dropped when the friends broke out into laughter, Tin holding his stomach as Pete wiped a tear from his eye “go ahead” Pete said giving Trump a thumbs up as his laughter tapered off and he was able to breathe properly again.

Trump’s eyes darted between the two smiling students as he felt the ground he had thought he had gained slip away from him.

Seeing panic colour his features Tin decided to explain their lack of concern “Ai Pete is already out, he came out before school started and my parents know what my relationship with Ai Pete is like” Tin’s demeanor very quickly changed, the smile and laughter gone and a stony cold eyed face replaced it "however, we are going to have to address the fact that you seem to think you could get away with blackmailing us" Trump's face lost all the smarmy attitude as his panic shifted into understandable fear.

Unable to perceive another way out of the situation he had gotten himself into Trump stepped forward taking a swing at Tin but before his fist could land something hard hit him in the side sending him toppling over. Lashing out Trump tried to hit at the unexpected form that had him pinned to the ground, but their fists came at him hard and fast not even giving him a chance to protect himself "who the fuck do you think you are trying to hurt Ai Tin, I'm going to make you regret getting up this morning"

Tin and Pete blinked at each other in shock before another figure made himself known "Ai Can stop before you kill that guy" the stranger walked over pulling Can off Trump with an ease none of them had expected. Jumping up now that he was free Trump saw the person that had been beating him was being held back and despite how hard he was thrashing around the shorter guy holding him had him well and truly contained. Taking the opportunity of the confusion of the situation Trump ran not looking back.

"God damn it Ai Ae you let him get away" Can whined as he went to chase after the retreating form but Ae's hold was still too strong and the sound of something breaking under his foot caught his attention. Lifting his leg he found a phone with a broken screen laying on the ground, checking to see if it was still alright Can noticed that it wasn't locked and immediately wished he hadn't opened it.

Even through the cracks in the screen he could see the pictures of Tin and Pete kissing. His shoulders dropped as he pressed the lock button and turned to Tin. Finding it hard to lift his eyes to meet Tin Can held out the phone towards him “I didn’t realise that you and Ai Pete were-” Can searched for a different word because even thinking the word ‘dating’ had hurt “that close”. As he finished his sentence Can felt the phone get snatched from his hand, looking at Tin he just saw anger and felt himself recoil.

Tin stepped up to Can grabbing the hand that had held Trump’s phone “trust me Ai Cantaloupe, it’s not like that” Tin looked from the phone in his other hand to the sad boy in front of him. “Take care of this” Tin reached over handing the phone to Pete without breaking his hold of Can’s hand. With his free hand Tin pushed the bottom of Can’s chin up so that he could look him in the eye “come with me” Tin’s words were soft but sort Can’s approval before he lead him away.

Finding himself alone with Tin inside Tin's car Can found himself playing with the strap on his bag, just like the previous afternoon. Tin studied Can’s sad profile trying to find the words to explain "I know what it looks like but I didn't kiss Pete. I asked him for some advice about how I feel about you and we.... god this sounds so stupid" Tin let his head fell forward hitting the steering wheel.

"How do you feel about me?" Can asked tentatively leaning towards Tin.

Keeping his forehead pressed to the wheel Tin swallowed down his nerves "like you are the only one I want to get that close to" Tin rolled his head so that he could look at Can "I told Ai Pete about how I almost kissed you yesterday and about how because of that I have been confused about how I feel about you. Ai Pete got close to me so that I could see if it felt the same as having you close to me”

Can could see that Tin was tentative with his words, like he was almost scared that he would leave if Tin said the wrong thing “was it the same?” Can asked quietly, not sure if he wanted to know the answer.

“Right away it was different, everything about it was different. With Ai Pete it felt wrong and rigid but with you it is effortless and warm, with you it feels almost natural. Given the chance again I won’t hesitate like I did yesterday” Tin’s knuckles were white as his grip on the steering wheel tightened so that he didn’t just grab Can and pull him towards him.

With his forehead still pressed to the top of the wheel and his eyes now staring down at his legs Tin grew tense as Can didn’t say anything. Panic started to settle in on Tin as he thought he may have said too much when a warm hand gripped his shoulder pulling him back so that he was forced to sit upright. Letting go of the wheel Tin’s arms dropped to his sides but before he could say anything Can was sitting in his lap with a devious smile “so if I get really close” Can pressed his chest into Tin's, his words causing the lightest brush of their lips "what wouldn’t you hesitate to do?"

Tin's senses went haywire as he felt his Cantaloupe pressed to him as his heat and words seeped into him and the moment Can's question was out there Tin's arms wrapped around the shorter boys form and crushed their lips together. Can responded eagerly giving just as much into the kiss as Tin was. Growing more confident Can opened his mouth and ran his tongue along Tin’s lip and was rewarded by Tin's own questing tongue. Wanting to feel more of Cantaloupe Tin lent forward causing the boy in his lap to lean back, the loud honk of Tin's car horn made them jump and fall apart. When they realised what had happened they looked at each other with blush coloured smiles.

Can lifted himself off Tin and dropped back into his seat panting as he tried to calm is breathing and heart rate. Adjusting his clothes Can continued to smile as Tin seemed to fall into a daze "are you alright there?" Tin's eyes quickly snapped to Can and searched over him but kept coming back to his lips.

Tin tried to form some words but he was having trouble getting his brain and his mouth to connect. Nodding Tin watched as Can calmly pulled his bag off the floor and sat it in his lap. Smiling to himself Tin reached over grabbing Can’s hand off his bag and laced their fingers together enjoying the feeling of Can’s touch “let me take you home” Tin said squeezing his Cantaloupe’s hand.

Chapter Text

Pulling up out the front of his house Can wished that he lived further away, he didn’t want to let go of Tin’s hand or let Tin leave for that matter. Tightening his hold Can watched as Tin turned the engine off but didn’t make a move to leave the car or look at Can. Seeing that there was something greater going on in Tin’s mind Can lent in to try and catch his eye “do I need to put a computer screen in front of you to get you to tell me what’s going on?”

Huffing out a quiet laugh Tin shook his head “it was a bit easier when I was talking to my friend Cantaloupe and not this Cantaloupe” Tin said lifting their joined hands and kissing the back to Can’s.

Can swallowed down the nerves that had jumped into his throat as his heart began to beat faster “no matter what we are to each other, you can still talk to me. I’m still on your side”

As Can’s words washed over him and seeped into him Tin let out a heavy sigh "with my brother showing no concern about doing what he did to me in England it’s frightening to think what he might do if he finds out about you” Tin instantly felt cold as Can pulled his hand away from Tin’s, but as Tin began to shrink in on himself feeling stupid of showing some vulnerability he felt a tug on his tie. Before he knew what was happening he was being pulled towards Can and into another bone melting kiss that Tin knew he would never grow sick of.

When they broke apart Tin could still feel a tingle in his lips as they both worked on catching their breath, “I’m not scared of him” Can’s tone carried his confidence and a touch of defiance, sending a thrill through Tin as he felt his own will grow stronger.

Smiling Tin grabbed the back of Can’s neck pulling him into another kiss, this one soft and sweet before he pressed their foreheads together “scared or not Cantaloupe, being with me could make you his target” Tin let go of Can letting him sit back in his seat and think about what could come of being with Tin. Picking up his bag and pressing it into Can’s hands Tin gave him a forced smile “I really like you Cantaloupe, that is finally clear to me but I can’t ask you to become a lamb for the slaughter. I will give my everything to protect you from him but I won't pull you into his path so I leave it up to you. If you come to me I won’t turn you away. But the moment you do I won't let you leave either” Tin leaned across Can and opened the passenger side door “I will wait for your answer”

Can’s mind ran through everything Tin had said as he climbed out of Tin’s car. He knew everything that Tul had done and knew what kind of heartless monster he was. The fact that he could reach those around Tin as far away as England showed the kind of power he had. Can waived Tin goodbye before heading up to his room and flopping on to his bed. Over the past year Tin had gone from Pen pal to Friend to Sexual Awakening and Crush to now be given the chance for them to become more. Can hated that he had even hesitated but Tin was right, he needed to be sure that he was willing to risk everything before he started anything. Rolling onto his back Can stared up at the ceiling as he ran his hands down his face as he cried out in annoyance.

____________________________

Can hadn’t expected that when Tin had said he would wait for Can’s answer that he meant he wouldn’t see Can until he had. But it had been nearly a week and Tin had yet to come find him or respond to his messages. Knowing that he couldn’t approach Tin himself with having his answer Can knew what he had to do.

Sitting around the dinner table Can watched as his family happily chatted while they eat their dinner. Lemon had been glowing with happiness as their mum put food on her plate while praising her for her efforts on the english essay she had been struggling with. Can felt his hands begin to tremble as guilt started to tie knots in his stomach and blocked his throat. He hated that he was going to ruin such a happy moment but he needed to see Tin and he couldn’t without doing this first “is everything alright son?” Can dropped his fork and spoon at the concern in his father’s voice.

Shaking his head Can lifted his head, his distress evident on his face “I have to tell you guys something”

The pain in her son’s voice had Apple out of her chair and around to his side of the table, pulling him into her arms “honey whatever it is you can tell us”

Leaning into her embrace a tear rolled down his cheek when her warm comforting hand started patting his head “I’m gay” Can’s heart gave a painful squeeze as the soothing hand on his head froze and his mother’s arms around him became stiff.

Slowly Apple removed her arms and dropped into a crouch at Can’s side pulling his hands into hers. Looking up into her son’s sad eye she kept her voice soft “honey are you sure?”

Can pulled his bottom lip into his mouth sinking his teeth into it as he nodded trying to hold back tears. Reaching up Apple wiped the tears from Can’s cheeks as a soft smile pressed on her face and a pair of arms wrapped around Can from behind as Lemon squeezed Can, her chin resting on his shoulder. “So do you have a boyfriend?” At Oak’s question everyone turned to look at him, “what? He’s a good looking boy” Can smiled at the proud tone in his dad’s voice.

“There is someone I’m hoping will be my boyfriend” Can said feeling lighter and lighter as each second ticked by.

“Please tell me it isn’t P’Good” Lemon said letting go of Can and returning to her seat.

“No” Can said laughing at the look on Lemon’s face “it’s Ai Tin”

Apple and Lemon looked at each other with twin shock “the boy I met last week?” Apple asked wanting to confirm that she was thinking of the right person.

________________________

Tin was starting to regret his words. It had been nearly a week and Can still hadn’t given him an answer. He expected something like this would take time but it was killing him not seeing Can. It had been his choice to not respond to Can’s texts because he knew that if he did he would crumble in an instant, answer or not. As Tin walked from his car to the International College building his every thought was about Can when he felt a tight grip on his wrist. In his surprise he let himself be dragged around to the back of the building where few students passed.

Can’s smile was everything Tin had been missing and just like he thought his resolve crumbled. Not waiting to hear what Can had to say Tin pushed him against the wall next to them and devoured Can’s lips. That melting feeling he had been craving crashed over him as he felt Can tremble at his touch. When he finally pulled back they were both out of breath and smiling like crazy “you didn’t even hear my answer”

“I know” Tin said softly pushing Can’s hair away from his eyes “that’s why I have been keeping my distance, I wanted you to make up your mind on your own and there was no way I wouldn’t touch you if you had been within reach”

Can’s hands found their way to Tin’s tie and with a little pressure he had pulled Tin down so that he could whisper in his ear “be my boyfriend Tin”

Wrapping his arms around Can’s waist Tin pulled him in so that their bodies pressed together “you’re prepared for what that could mean?”

“I already came out to my parents, what more can he do to me?”

Tin abruptly pulled away from Can looking the smiling boy up and down “you did what?”

“I told them so that he couldn’t use us as a weapon against us” Can’s brow began to farrow as Tin looked at him with a strange expression he couldn’t decipher.

It was then that Tin’s face split into a smile that just as quickly turned into a laugh “you are something else entirely, I will never love anyone the way I love you” Tin’s smile quickly dropped as he realised what he had said.

“You… you… you love me?” Can stammered out as shock coloured his features.

Knowing he had already dug himself into a hole Tin decided that truth would just be easier “yes Cantaloupe” Tin took Can’s hand threading their fingers together “I love you”

A strange relief washed over Can soothing a tension he hadn’t realised he had been holding. Squeezing Tin’s hand Can returned his smile “I love you too”

Pete watched at Tin tried to sneak into class late but the dead silence the class was in as they read through an academic paper provided no cover for the sound of him tip toeing to his desk. To make the situation even stranger Tin had a smile on his face that even being lectured for his tardiness couldn’t shift. Everyone was taken aback when Tin offered a sincere apology and calmly took his seat. Tin had just reached his seat when Pete’s oddly tight grip yanked him down into his seat “what is going on with you? You have been strangely moody for the past week and now you’re all smiles, spill!”

Seeing Pete’s soft face pulled into a farrow didn’t sit quite right, pushing Pete’s hand away Tin shrugged “it’s nothing Ai Pete”

Pete opened his mouth to protest but was cut off by the teachers stern warning about chatting in class. Pete missed every other opportunity that day to talk to Tin because no matter how fast he was Tin was two steps ahead, disappearing at lunch and leaving at the end of the day before Pete could stop him.

 

Driving Can home again after the week apart had Tin’s nerves on edge as all he wanted to do was pull over and kiss Can. The urge had only worsened when halfway there Can had slipped his hand on to Tin’s thigh, giving it a slight squeeze before leaving it to rest there. So by the time they had pulled up in front of Can’s house Tin’s focus was more on Can’s hand then it had been on the road. Tin barely had time to put the barking break on when his seat belt was unbuckled for him and his lap was filled with his boyfriend’s weight.

Tin could see that Can’s beautiful dark eyes locked on his lips and widened slightly when Tin pushed his tongue out and ran it across his bottom lip. The moment Tin’s tongue disappeared Can dived forward pulling Tin’s bottom lip in to bite it before running his own tongue across it to soothe the sting. Sitting back Can smiled at Tin “maybe we should head inside, I don’t want to sit on the horn again”

Can felt Tin’s amused laugh bubble in his chest even though no sound made it out “okay” Tin’s voice was soft as he reached up and ran his thumb across Can’s bottom lip, thrilling at the way Can’s tongue came out the meet it.

Can began lifting himself out of Tin’s lap when he froze as a knocking sound echoed through the car. Ducking his head slightly Can turned his head, eyes closed, towards the sound. Opening one eye to peek out Can saw his mum looking somewhere between amused and unimpressed. Letting out a heavy sigh Can opened the driver’s side door and climbed out to land in front of Apple who waited silently as Tin sheepishly followed his boyfriend.

Standing side by side both boys eyes were locked on the ground waiting for whatever was coming “N’Tin is staying for dinner” Apple’s voice was stern but as she turned to head into the house Can found his voice.

“But what if-”

“I wasn’t asking Cantaloupe” Apple said from halfway across the yard with no intention to stop and discuss the matter.

 

When Lemon had gotten home the tension in the air was thick as she found her dad, Can and Tin sitting at the dining table in silence. Seeing her mum bringing the dinner to the table she went over to offer a hand and to find out what was happening “did P’Can ask P’Tin to be his boyfriend?”

Shooting Lemon an amused smile Apple kept her voice low “I think so” both girls shared a smile before they forced them off their faces and headed into the tense atmosphere of the dining room.

When everyone was seated Oak cleared his throat “so N’Tin” Oak carried on the pause just long enough to make sure Tin’s nerves would be at the height of tension “what are your intentions with my son?” Apple had to give it to her husband, if she had asked the question she wouldn’t have been able to keep the straight face or the stern voice like he had. She had barely maintained it when she found the boy in the car.

Tin could feel his hand tremble, the only saving grace was that it was held firmly by Can’s hand “intentions Sir?”

Leveling a stare at Tin Oak rolled his shoulders “are you serious about our son or is your plan just throw him aside after you have had your fun?”

“DAD!” Can yelled as Oak’s question, his cheeks bright red with embarrassment.

“Sir, I love your son and will do everything I can to make him happy. If for any reason we are no longer together it won’t be because of my choosing”

Seeing the conviction of his words clearly in his face Oak didn’t have it in him to carry on with his act of the stern father. Letting the smile he had been holding back fill his face Oak put a hand on Tin’s shoulder giving it a squeeze “good to know, we look forward to seeing more of you N’Tin”

The boys looked at each other confused before turning their confused eyes on to the other three in the room “I’m confused” Can said as a farrow pulled at his brow.

“Oh, I thought you had worked out you are gay” Oak said with a cheesy grin.

“Did you just try to make a dad joke about my sexuality?”

“Damn, I knew I should have gone with the old faithful Hi Confused, I’m Dad?” Oak said as he chuckled making Lemon slide under the table to hide from her embarrassment of being related to him.

The surprising thing had been Tin’s genuine laugh that began to fill the room “sorry, I’ve just never actually heard a dad use that joke before”

“You’re lucky” Lemon said as she climbed out from under the table to take her set again.

“Is your father not the joking kind” Apple asked with such a gentle tone that Tin’s usual guard completely crumble.

“My father isn’t really the parenting kind” Tin said down at his plate.

Seeing that there was more to the story but not wanting to pry Apple did what she could. She grabbed a large serve of food and placed it on Tin’s plate “I’m sorry N’Tin”

Looking up Tin could see the concern on her face and feeling himself desperately wanting to lean into it Tin pushed out of his chair and to his feet, “I’m sorry to have spoiled the evening, if you will excuse me” Tin hated how programed he felt. But just like Can and Lemon had grown up used to Oak being embarrassing he had grown up to follow social etiquette no matter how much he was hurting inside.

His hand had just reached the door handle when he felt Can’s warmth press into his back “don’t go, mum and dad didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable”

Shifting Can so that he could turn around Tin looked into Can’s eyes “they didn’t, it’s the opposite really. This place frightens me because of its warmth, what happens when the day comes where I can’t bring myself to leave this place Cantaloupe?”

“When that day comes you can just stay here with me” Can lent forward pressing a soft kiss to Tin’s lips.

 

 

Walking into his house later that evening Tin didn’t feel so trapped, the walls didn’t feel like they were closing in on him and for the first time in a long time, he didn’t feel helpless. Knowing all too well the reason for the change in his perspective Tin couldn’t help the smile on his face. A smile that he now regretted not keeping to himself as Tul’s voice cut through the warmth in his chest. “I had heard you were unusually happy today, care to share why little brother” Tin could feel his insides snap freeze as Tul’s words settled in. Tul ‘had heard’ meaning that someone had told him that Tin was happy.

“It’s nothing that concerns you” Tin snipped as he tried to get away from Tul but as he passed the older man he was stopped by a heavy hand on his shoulder.

“That’s where you are wrong little brother. You see it concerns me very much, we wouldn’t want whatever is making you happy to be crushed under a boot now would we” Tul’s grip on Tin’s shoulder was painful but Tin was determined not to show it, just like he was determined not showing the panic he felt at Tul’s words.

Grabbing Tul’s wrist Tin forced his hand off his shoulder “the only thing that would bring me happiness right now would be your death” Tin put a couple of steps between them “in fact you just caught me thinking about amusing way to see you die” Tin threw over his shoulder before heading off to his room, making sure to lock the door once he was securely inside.

 

________________________

Tin had had a restless night with Tul’s words rolling through his mind on repeat. In the absolute silence of the night Tin couldn’t help but think how it was his fault, he should have known better than to try and find happiness, more so for trying to keep it. Seeing the sun begin to rise Tin pushed himself into the shower to try and wash the grit of Tul’s words off his skin before pulling his uniform on and quietly leaving the house.

 

Leaning against his car Tin knew it was too early to be at Can’s house but just being closer made him feel better and he knew that once he could talk to Can they would work it out. Once again lost in his thoughts Tin hadn’t heard the gate squeak open but he felt the solid heavy form of an excited Gucci jumping up on him “what are you doing here so early?” Can asked surprised but still took the opportunity to get a kiss.

“When I got home yesterday Tul was waiting for me” Tin took a deep breath as his nerves started to fray now that he was with Can “he threatened to destroy you Cantaloupe and I don’t doubt he would do it”

“Tin, you already warned me this could happen and I still choose you and I would again” Can said pressing a kiss to Tin’s cheek “how did he even find out who I am, the only people that know about us are my family”

“He doesn’t know it’s you, he just knows I’m happy and is going after the course of it” Tin said ducking his head a little feeling shy for the first time in his life.

Can couldn’t help the smile that filled his face at seeing Tin’s blush. He had no clue how it had taken him a week to decide on the guy in front of him, “let’s use his desire to hurt you against him” Can said with a devious smile.

 

Tin knew Can was right, that for them to be able to out smart Tul they would need to hide their relationship. Just because Can was right about the need to hide didn’t mean that Tin had to like it, and he didn’t. But the need for it was highlighted when they were explaining the whole situation to Can’s family. It only got worse when Tin realised that he would have to keep it from Pete as well, it would just be safer for them and Pete as it seemed the snitch was in their faculty.

 

 

Pete had been sure that whatever was happening with Tin and his pen pal it had sorted itself out yesterday but now Tin was back to his old cranky self. Looking at his phone Pete could see that Tin had read the messages Pete had sent him last night but not responded. Pete decided that he was going to try a head on approach. The moment they were excused for lunch Pete grabbed Tin’s wrist and dragged him out of the building and to a nearby cafe.

Having ordered some food Pete turned his attention to Tin and tried to level him with a stare….it failed miserably with Tin reaching over and poking at Pete’s cheeks “what are you trying to accomplish with all this” Tin waved his other hand absently at the cafe “why did you drag me here?”

“You have been ignoring my texts and I just want to know what is going on” Pete pouted as he knocking Tin’s hand away “what happened with Ai Can?”

Tin sat back looking at Pete with some suspicion, he knew Pete wouldn’t be in league with Tul but the timing and the question was a bit on the nose “nothing and how do you know his name is Can?”

“Ai Ae told me after you two left that day” Pete paused contemplating if he should ask the next question but he needed to know, it made his stomach uncomfortable thinking that he may have caused some issues for Tin “did he reject you?”

The idea of Cantaloupe rejecting him had been like a punch in the gut “no” Tin quickly snipped and straight away wished he hadn’t “it’s complicated” Tin cringed at his choice of words because it was getting more and more complicated and all he wanted to do was hold Cantaloupe’s hand, to have him beside him.

"What does that mean?" Pete pushed despite seeing that Tin was getting apprehensive.

"Can you just drop it?" Tin asked searching Pete's eyes and feeling his stomach drop when Pete didn't look to be backing down.

"If it's my fault Ai Tin I need a chance to fix it" worry knitted Pete's brow and laced his voice.

Tin huffed out a resided breath "if it had been you do you honestly think I would still be talking to you?"

"Then what is it? You seemed so into him and now it's like he doesn't exist" Pete's voice leveled back out as he searched Tin's face for the answer.

Keeping emotion from his face and voice Tin stared at Pete "Ai Pete, just let it go!"

Seeing Pete was far from letting it go Tin stood ready to leave when Pete's hand on his wrist stopped him "sit back down, please"

Tin looked at Pete's hand on his wrist contemplating what he was going to do but the need to see his boyfriend was itching under his skin and had been since Pete had started questioning their relationship. Had he been to obvious in the beginning, was it already too late to keep it for Tul's notice? Pulling his arm free Tin mumbled down to Pete "I need some air"

Pete watched helplessly as Tin left the cafe regretting having pushed him so far as guilt continued to eat at him, sure that it had been his teasing Tin that day that caused the misunderstanding between the two.

Chapter Text

Looking back over his shoulder into the cafe at Pete Tin felt his body tense as he prepared to run. Something in the way Pete had watched and questioned him had put Tin on edge and there was only one way he was going to be able to settle.

 

Ae needed to talk to the team captain about the next training session, he hadn't realised when he agreed to go shopping with Pete that it fell at the same time training did. But when Pete talked to him with his sweet voice something in Ae shut everything else out and all that existed in those moments was Pete and his soft smiles. Thinking about the IC student Ae hadn't realised he had taken a wrong turn landing himself in a mostly unused corridor of the Sports Science building. About to turn around and head back a voice caught his attention "are you sure you're okay?"

"I am now, I just needed to see you" walking towards the slightly open door Ae peeked inside to see Can's back as he stood in front of someone sitting against a desk.

"Oh and you see with your hands now do you?" Can's voice sounded teasing as a pair of hands slipped under the back of his shirt, pushing it up as the hands quested over Can’s back.

"And my lips" Ae felt a blush colour his cheeks as Can was pulled into a kiss that had both figures moaning their pleasure at the added situation on the person in front of Can moving forward pulling their bodies closer.

Stepping away from the door Ae leaned against the first solid wall he found as his mind replayed the scene but with himself and Pete instead of Can and whoever the guy with him had been. Looking down Ae's eyes widened with shock as the thought of Pete's lips on his as their bodies pressed together made him hard. Ae's shock frozen mind snapped back when Can's breathy voice carried out of the slightly open door "if you keep doing that I'm going to cum"

"Good" the lust deepened reply had been coupled with a chuckle and had Ae running for fresh air.

 

Calmly leaving the Sports Science building Tin shook his head at how stupid the risk of going to Can at school was. Tul would be keeping an eye on him at the moment but since talking to his brother he felt like everything was slipping away and Pete’s unease had settled in on him. Though he had been more than rewarded for his risk when Can had climbed onto his lap trembling as Tin worked him to completion. The memory of his name moaned so sweetly would get him through the next few days since they would only be able to see each other if Tin could sneak to Can’s house.

Walking across campus towards the library Tin still couldn't wipe the smile from his face. When he had slipped his hand under Can’s shirt he had expected Can to stop him, but his boyfriend had just teased him and pressed in closer. Feeling emboldened by Can’s reaction Tin had quested further keen to see how far Can would let him take things. As had turned out there wasn’t much Can didn’t seem willing to let him do. Reaching the library doors Tin had to stop and take a deep breath to help wipe the smile from his lips.

Walking through the quiet building Tin tried to see if he could notice anyone paying closer attention to him then what they should. This proved to be a mistake as nerves started to put him on edge, what if people could tell something had happened, that he had done something with someone he loves. Being hyper aware of Tul keeping tabs on him everyone seemed like they were watching him. Reaching Pete was like a wave of relief washed over him, his overactive imagination switched off at Pete’s familiar smile.

Sitting down opposite his friend Tin started pulling out his laptop “sorry that I took off, it just kind of-”

“I get it Ai Tin” Pete cut in surprising Tin who had been mentally fumbling around for an excuse “he meant something to you and it didn’t work out. I shouldn’t have pressed it” Tin gave Pete a soft smile but felt guilt roll in his stomach about not telling Pete the truth.

 

Throwing himself into their assignment in a bid to distract himself from the situation he found himself in he hadn’t noticed the change in students around him until he felt Pete stiffen. Looking over at him Tin saw his eyes were completely focused on something towards the entrance. Following Pete’s line of sight Tin saw a group of happily chatting people and at the heart of them was the short gruff boy that had been picking at pieces of Pete’s heart, slowly taking it for his own. Quietly Tin shuffled his chair closer to Pete’s pressing into his side and laying an arm around his shoulders “so how big is the crush you have on the Thai Program guy”

Tin saw the instant blush in Pete's cheeks "I don't......it's not like......"

"So you have been thinking about him while you touch yourself" Tin had meant it only as a joke but the way Pete jumped up and away from him with wide eyed Tin knew he had hit the nail on the head "really?"

"Ai Tin stop!" Pete said around his hands as he was using them to cover his face.

"I bet if I was Ai Ae you wouldn't be saying that" Tin said as he packed his stuff into his bag getting the last of his pens in as Ae approached their table "Hi Ai Ae, I’m done playing with Ai Pete so you can have my seat" Tin felt his lip quiver as laughter tried to escape him.

Pete wanted nothing more than to kill Tin in that very moment for every word he had used and was said in a suggestive manner but something about Ae's demeanor, even as he gripped Tin’s chair giving Tin a tight nod something seemed off. The shorter boy almost looked like he was going to launch himself at Tin filling Pete with curiosity as to what Tin had done to anger Ae.

 

Leaving the library Tin felt his phone buzz as a message from Pete came through ‘I have a boyfriend’ Tin just shook his head fondly, happy for Pete when his guilt rolled over him again. He actually wanted to tell Pete about his happiness just like Pete told him about his. Can is the first person he cared enough about to want others to know he was taken, that he is loved and in love.

‘Congratulations Ai Pete and tell Ai Ae I’m keeping an eye on him’ Tin sent back imaining the smile on Pete’s face.

Tin had almost reached his car when Pete reply came through ‘he said he is looking forward to it’

‘He told me to fuck off didn’t he?’

Tin sat in his car waiting for Pete’s reply and when it did arrive Tin could see in his mind the way Pete would have said it with a shy blush ‘yes’

Amused Tin put his phone away and left campus to start working on messing with Tul.

Sitting in a dusty office Tin was sure that the man sitting opposite him behind a large but shabby wooden desk craved to be one of those old school noir detectives. Tin almost laughed when he spotted the coat rack with a fedora hanging off it. He had already loved the guy for the job when he had rang to make an appointment and he had pretended to be his own secretary. “So you want me to find and get information your older brother?” the way he had asked made it seem like he didn’t believe Tin that the person he wanted followed was his brother.

“Yes, my brother stole something very important to me. I need to know what his movements are so that I can take it back” Tin put on a show, placing a hand over his heart as he looking down at the floor sadly.

The detective leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms as a self satisfied smirk filled his face “it’s a dame isn’t it. Your brother stole your girl and your seeking revenge”

Tin over emphasised his shock at getting found out “how did you…. I have obviously come to the right place” Tin shuffled to the edge of his seat “you will help me right?”

“My services aren’t cheap, you sure you can pay?”

Tin had to stop himself from rolling his eyes “I’m sure I can find a way, you will get your money”

Tin almost let a laugh escape him when the useless detective had given him his fee structure. Tin pretended to agonise over the kind of service he wanted before they agreed on around the clock surveillance, Tin liked the idea of this guy tailing Tul. Because at best he would do a good job of finding some dirt on Tul, at worst he would annoy Tul. Both were good results as far as Tin was concerned.

Leaving the detectives office Tin silently hoped Wadee would forgive him for his deception. He had never had a problem with Tul’s wife, in fact her and PhuPha were the only ones he had ever considered family. And while PhuPha was a celebrated member of the family to the Medthanan’s Wadee was just as much a captive as he was. Not welcomed but not welcomed to leave. That didn’t mean Tin should have pulled her into his fight with Tul.

Leaving the detectives office Tin had to fight the urge to drive to Can’s but he had already risked enough for one day. And besides he had to make it to his meeting with the detective agency he knew and trusted, now that he had put a distraction in place he had to get the real detective to do what he needed done.

_______________________________

Pete had almost become insufferable with his happiness. Tin would never tell him to stop, it was obvious that Pete was very much in love with Ae but the fact that he could outwardly show it to the world was why Tin found it so insufferable. To make it worse, Pete had seemed to take it upon himself to fix the ‘problem’ between him and Can which meant having lunch with the happy couple and Can, everyday. After the fifth painstaking day of having to watch his best friend flirt and be happy while he had to pretend to not even be friends with his own boyfriend he was about ready to snap.

Seeing the annoyance in his boyfriend Can quickly pulled out his phone sending a message to Tin ‘did you want to come over today?’

Tin had just shuffled himself a little closer to Can, if not getting to touch him he at least wanted to feel his warmth, when he felt his phone buzz. Pulling it out Tin’s grip tightened on his phone “yes” he growled out low and deep gaining curious looks from Ae and Pete as he got up and walked off.

 


Reaching Can’s house Tin couldn’t help the relief that came with the sight of it. Once inside they wouldn’t have to hold back, he could love Cantaloupe to his heart’s content and everyone inside accepted it. With a smile Tin climbed out of his car and walked across the yard, raising his fist he was surprised when he tried to knock his fist sailed through the air. On the other side of the open door was Can, all smiles and in one of Tin’s shirts. “How did you get one of my t-shirts?” Tin asked quietly looking at the way it hung long on Cantaloupe making it seem like he could be wearing nothing underneath.

Feeling a touch self conscious under Tin’s intense gaze Can pulled down on the hem "I may have borrowed it from your car"

“Borrowed?” Tin asked amused and fascinated by the bare thighs that Can kept shifting in his nervousness. Tin couldn’t stand it anymore, diving forward he captured Can’s lips with his own as he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend pulling them together.

Feeling himself warm up Can began walking backwards into the house pulling Tin with him as he went not breaking the kiss. Hearing the click of the door shutting Can pushed Tin back against it and himself against Tin finally letting the kiss stop "stay the night?" Tin nodded unable to form words as he let himself be dragged up stairs by his alluring boyfriend.

The moment Can's bedroom door shut Can was working on getting Tin's shirt off "your shirt has too many buttons" Can growled out when he pulled away from their kiss to work on them.

"Did you want some help?" Tin asked with a light happy voice as he felt Can pull at his shirt in impatience.

Giving him a devious smile Can shook his head before ripping the last few buttons open sending some to the floor "I'll make it up to you" Can winked at Tin then attacked his neck with his tongue and teeth as he pushed the shirt off Tin and onto the floor.

Tin let out a deep moan at Can's attack on his exposed neck "I'm not going to be able to hold back if you continue"

"Good" Can breathed against Tin's skin thrilling him with the way the heat ghosted over his skin.

"Cantaloupe" Tin grabbed his boyfriend's shoulders pushing him back so that his wicked tongue wasn't on him anymore "are you sure you are ready for this?"

"Trust me Tin I'm more than ready" Can said knocking Tin's hands away from his shoulders and diving on to Tin's lips capturing them with his own. Tin got lost in the sensation of Can's kiss that he didn't notice Can pushing him towards the bed until it hit the back of his knees sending him tumbling backwards. Looking down at his panting boyfriend Can liked the way the half naked boy looked in his bed, hard and straining against his pants.

From his spot on the bed Tin watched with hooded eyes as Can grabbed the hem of his shirt and lifted it off. Tin swallowed down his nerves at seeing Can with his hard cock tenting his underwear, a wet patch built at the head of his cover cock. Tin's own cock twitched as Can's eager hands began working on unbuckling his belt. Growing impatient with Can's fumbling movements Tin pushed his hands away making quick work of getting his buckle and pants undone. Rolling Can off Tin got to his feet stripped his pants and underwear off leaving him naked for Can's eyes.

Seeing the rise and fall of Can's chest trilled Tin and as his eyes ventured down his boyfriend's body Tin dropped to his knees. Grabbing Can's hips Tin pulled him to the edge of the bed pressing a bite into the inside of Can's thigh. The moment his teeth sank in Can's fingers threaded through his hair and a moan escaped his lips "sensitive?" Tin asked in a teasing tone before lickng at the bite mark he had just inflicted.

"I don't know" at Can's soft quiver Tin looked up to find Can looking more disheveled than he had seen him before.

"Is this your first time doing anything like this?" Tin asked as he felt Can's body shake as his fingers hockey into the top of the quivering boy’s underwear. Can nodded covering his face so that Tin wouldn't see the blush. But that didn't last long as he felt his underwear disappear and a hot wet heat wrap his leaking cock. Can's hands gripped and pulled at the sheets beneath him as he felt Tin's throat squeeze him. Pulling off Tin let out a slight huff laugh at the way Can's hips involuntarily thrust up seeking the sensation that had just left "do you have lubricant and condoms?"

Can moved back up the bed, as he reached into his bedside table. Tin crawled over him so that when Can rolled back onto his back he was looking up into the lust blown eyes of his boyfriend. Captured by Tin's eyes Can surged up locking his lips with Tin's pulling him back down onto the mattress with him. Can rolled his hips up making them both moan as their cocks rubbed together creating a friction that they hadn't been prepared for. "Cantaloupe are you sure you're ready for this?" Tin asked even as he rolled his hips down against his boyfriend.

"Yes" Can bit out getting frustrated with his need to touch and be touched.

"Then tell me have you ever touched yourself here?" Tin's deviously asked question was punctuated by a slicked finger pressing at Can's hole.

"Yes" Can moaned as his back arched off the bed, Tin's finger pressing in stretching him open.

A question flashed into Tin's mind as a smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. Pulling his finger out and trusting it back in Tin licked a hot stripe up Can's neck. Repeating the motions Tin held the question until he was sure Can was ready for another finger. Working the two in Tin whispered "have you thought of me when you have done this?"

Can moaned at the added pressure "yes" Can's breathy reply had Tin biting his lip as he continued to keep working Can open. When he was able to use three fingers to make Can moan Tin pulled his fingers out and got himself ready. Already on edge from Can's moans and quivering Tin had to calm himself down, this was a first for Tin, never before had he desired someone so much that he had pushed back his own needs.

Lifting Can's legs over his shoulders Tin pressed forward slowly sinking into Can's soft heat, enjoying far to much the feeling of Can gripping his arm when he stopped completely inside him "you feel so good"

Can shivered when Tin let his legs drop either side of him and lent in to kiss him softly "Tin" Can said softly pushing him back slightly so that he could look in Tin's eyes "I love you"

"You are everything to me Cantaloupe, I love you too" Tin laced his hand with Can's.

Needing to feel Tin move Can rolled his hips getting a thrill out of Tin's moan. He hadn't anticipated the growl that would follow or the thrusting of Tin's hips as he snapped forward pushing into Can hitting the bundle of nerves that had Can's back arching off the bed. Feeling a pulse move through his own body Tin knew he wouldn't last much longer, reaching between them Tin wrapped his hand around Can's cock. The added sensation ripped a moan from Can's throat as he came, his orgasm riding out as Tin kept thrusting until he reached his own completion.

After Tin had cleaned them up he wrapped himself around Can and pulled a blanket over them.

 

 

Laying his head in Ae’s lap Pete enjoyed the way his boyfriend’s fingers ran through his hair while they watched TV. On the verge of falling asleep Pete’s attention was pulled to Ae when his hand stilled and his voice softly asked him a question “Ai Pete, why do you keep getting Tin and Can to join us for lunch?”

Rolling to look up at Ae Pete felt a little torn about what he was going to say “um, okay, you can’t tell anyone. Not even Tin or Can that I told you” Pete waited for Ae to nod in agreement “So you know that Tin lived in England for a year” Ae nodded having heard about it from Pete including the scandal that sent him home. Pete decided to sit up feeling like it would be easier to have the conversation that way “well while he was there he was forced into a pen pal program, I don’t know how but he ended up being randomly matched with Can. Over the year they bonded growing really close and when the year started Tin ran into Can on campus. I don’t fully know why but it seems like they had a falling out. I can see its hurting Tin so I want to give them a chance to if nothing else fix their friendship”

Ae shifted uncomfortably as he rubbed the back of his neck “I don’t think it’s going to be something that will fix”

Pete looked at Ae with confusion creasing his features “why Ae?”

“Because I think I know the reason they fought and it’s not going to easily fix if their relationship was as close as you say” Ae took a deep breath getting ready to explain when he saw the concern on Pete’s face. “Not that long ago I want to the Sports Science building to find Captain Techno and got a bit turned around. I came across Can in an unused classroom, he wasn’t alone and judging by the sounds they were making they were doing more than just talking”

“Oh my god, did you see who he was with?” Pete asked shocked but far to curious.

“No. I thought I might hear something about it at training but Can hasn’t mentioned anything”

 

_____________________________________

When Can woke the next day he felt sore but happy, especially because Tin was wrapped around him still puffing hot sleep breaths against the back of his neck. Can smiled at Tin’s hand that was pressed to his chest holding him against the slightly taller boy like he was afraid Can would escape. The previous night had been amazing and strange for Can. The amazing part had been when he and Tin had the house to themselves and they experienced their first time together and now Can was looking forward to repeat performances. The strange came in when his family came home. He thought for sure there would be trouble but as always they were welcoming to Tin and Can had thought that no one had noticed what had happened between them, that was until his dad pulled him aside and asked if they had been safe. Can had turned such a violent shade of red as he started hitting his father’s arm that it made everyone else suspicious.

Can’s morning happiness was short lived when Tin’s phone started to buzz pulling him from his sleep and at the sametime Can’s side. Grumpily rolling over Can pouted as Tin answered the phone “it’s still morning Ai Pete, why are you calling me so early?” Tin said into his phone as he rolled back to look at Can. Seeing the pout Tin smiled and snuggled in closer wrapping Can in a one armed hug as he leaned in to nip at Can’s neck pausing on the second bite when something Pete said caught his ear “say that again”

The smile Can had gotten from the tickle of Tin nipping his neck was quickly replaced with concern. Pulling the phone away from his ear Tin hit speaker so that Can could hear “I’m sorry Ai Tin, it looks like Ai Can is seeing someone. I know how found you are of him” Can had to slap a hand over his mouth to stop from laughing at the last part but Tin kept a straight face.

“What makes you think he is seeing someone else? Have you asked him?” Tin pushed some fulse anger into his voice knowing that was what Pete would expect to hear.

“No I haven’t but someone told me that they saw Ai Can with someone”

Tin and Can shared a look of shock and fear “where, when? Did they see who it was?”

“It was not that long ago, in the Sports Science building. They didn’t see who it was” Tin felt bad because Pete seemed genuinely sad for him but he also felt relieved that they hadn’t been found out. Not yet anyway.

“Thanks for the update Ai Pete, I’ll see you in class” Tin cut the call before Pete could say anymore.

Climbing on top of his boyfriend Can’s weight pushed Tin into the mattress “so how fond of me are you?”

“So fond that if you don’t get off me we will have a repeat of last night” Tin’s growl had Can’s cock swell with interest but the throb in his ass made it clear that he wasn’t ready for another round just yet. Jumping off Tin Can could see understanding on Tin’s face.

Chapter Text

The whole drive to school Tin was planning on getting Can back for the times he had jumped on him in the very car they were in now. So when they had arrived, the carpark blissfully empty, Tin had his seat belt off, Can’s chair reclined and was on top of Can before the usually hyperactive boy knew what was happening. Enjoying the moan that issued from Can when he licked at his neck Tin doubled his efforts quietly thrilled that Can wouldn’t notice the mark until it was too late. Stopping before they went to far both boys breathed through their desire to rip each others clothes off before they got out of the car and headed off to their classes.

Tin had gotten to his class early, even with the rather heated makeout session, checking his emails while he waited for the class to arrive Tin had received an update from his actual detective. Apparently Tul had been successful on more than one occasion of giving the dummy detective the slip and on this particular occasion he had met up with a mistress. Judging by the photos the mistress was quite fit with a very flexible body and was unmistakably a man. Stifling a laugh Tin quickly moved the pictures into an encrypted file as he wondered how his father would take the news that he had two gay sons.

Tin looked up as Pete sheepishly shuffled to his desk trying not to look directly at him. The moment Pete got to his seat Tin leaned across “I’m not mad at you Ai Pete, you’re just trying to be a good friend. I wish I could do the same”

Pete’s whole body seemed to relax at Tin’s words but the last part caught in Pete’s mind. Sure Tin’s wasn’t overly open but he had been getting better and Pete knew that he could count on Tin for anything, so Pete couldn’t help but wonder if there was something Tin was hiding. Looking at his best friend Pete saw Tin’s sad eyes staring blankly at the laptop in front of him. Before Pete could probe into the mystery Tin’s attention was completely lost to his phone and if Pete wasn’t mistaken his friend was hiding a smile at whatever was going on.

 

Can had slowly walked to class not looking forward to having to think about anything other than Tin and how he made him feel. When he did eventually reach his classroom he was fighting to keep a smile off his face as he slipped into the empty chair next to Good. The sensation of Tin climbing on top of him and the way he had kissed him buzzed through his boys and flashed through his mind. Can only snapped out of his thoughts when Good nudging his shoulder "Ai Can you have a hickey" Can quickly pulled his slightly unbuttoned shirt closed cursing Tin in his head as he pulled out his phone.

Typing a quick message Can hit send and as he did he could almost imagine the laugh that would ring out of Tin when he read it 'what the hell asshole, a hickey, what are you twelve? Real fucking easy to keep it a secret with this!!!!!!'

It didn't take long for Can's phone to buzz with Tin's reply 'if I recall you were enjoying it when I was putting it on you. Besides, I like to think of it more as a mark to let people know you are taken' Good watched as Can grew mad at his phone and huffing out his anger as his thumbs moved to write a reply but stopped half way through when his phone buzzed again. Whatever had been on his phone made Can's eyes widen in shock as his phone slipped out of his hand and hit his desk with a loud thump. Curious Good picked it up *It will have to do until I can find the perfect ring*

Good turned to Can confused as the message was written in english, the whole conversation string as far as Good could tell was. Meaning it could only be from one person “what happened Ai Can, what did Ai Tin say?” Good had known about the whole relationship from the start, it had been Good who had pointed out to Can that it seemed like he was in love with Tin. It was also Good who had been running distractions to help the two meet without others finding out.

Even after calmly rationalising it with Good Can still sat on edge for the rest of class, his leg bouncing with his need to get out of the suffocating building and find Tin. Unfortunately when they had been dismissed Tin wasn't answering his phone and when Can ran to his car it was absent from it's usual spot. Pacing up and down Tin's parking space Can kept trying to call Tin but kept getting sent to voicemail. Growing angry Can decided he would blow off some steam by running a few laps of the football field.

By the time he was done he was covered in sweat but his anger had not subsided. Trying Tin again he was still just sent to voicemail "is this how you treat your fiance?" Can yelled into his phone before hanging up and turning it off before trudging his way to find some food before heading back to class.

 

Leaving the dummy detectives office Tin knew he was in trouble when he checked his phone. Twelve missed calls, five text messages (all of which were angry) and a voicemail that while Tin knew was Cantaloupe being mad at him he couldn't help but find it cute. Tin tried to call back but like he thought would happen it didn’t make it through. Shaking his head at Can’s effort at sulking Tin dialed Lemon instead “hey N’Lemon, Cantaloupe is mad at me and won’t answer my calls so can you let me know when he gets home?”

“You haven’t hurt him have you P’Tin? Because I really like you but I will mess you up if you hurt my brother” Tin paused mid step caught between shock and happiness.

“N’Lemon, I love your brother and I will do everything to make sure he doesn’t get hurt” Tin could almost hear Lemon weighing up the situation in her head before he heard a hard puff of air through the phone.

“Okay I will let you know, BUT, consider yourself warned”

“Thanks Nong” Tin said with a fond smile before he hung up. Now he just needed to organise an apology.

 

From the moment Can had gotten home he had been grumpy and refused to tell Lemon what was going on. The stranger thing was that he had left his phone on the coffee table switched off as he mindlessly flicked through channels on the TV. Lemon sat quietly at the end of the couch watching the clock as it ticked towards the hour Tin had texted her that his apology should arrive. Biting on the tip of her thumb Lemon felt her stomach tie in a knot as the clock ticked past the hour, picking up her phone to message Tin the doorbell rang. Putting her phone back down Lemon watched as Can stormed to the front door and pulled it open. “Is there a Cantaloupe here?” Lemon saw a giant stuffed bear ask.

Slapping a hand over his face Can grumbled “that would be me”. Taking a clipboard Can signed for the bear as he glared at it.

Lemon ventured over deciding she needed to get a closer look as Can shut the door on the delivery guy “one guess who it’s from” Lemon tried to joke but Can was looking at the stuffed animal that was almost as big as him with confusion.

Grabbing his phone back off the coffee table Can turned it back on. Waiting for it to turn on Can grabbed the ribbon that was around its neck and lightly punched it in the face working out the last of his annoyance until his phone had finished loading.

“Hello Cantaloupe” it annoyed Can how sweet Tin sounded.

“What the hell is with the fucking bear?” Can snipped at Tin pretending his annoyance was greater than it was.

“It’s so you have something to cuddle when I’m not there” Can could hear the smile in Tin’s voice “have you looked in his backpack?”

Walking around to the back of the dear there it was a backpack, unzipping it a few candy rings fell out “care to explain?”

“I figured one of them would have to be the perfect ring” at the silence that greeted him Tin pressed on “this is how I treat my fiance Cantaloupe, let me know when you find the perfect one” Tin said before hanging up.

Shaking his head at his boyfriends ridiculousness Can put his phone in his pocket and emptied the bag out on the floor. As Tin said it was full of rings but they all seemed to be made of different kinds of candy from what Can could see as they spread across the floor still in their wrappers. Lemon came over curious about the rustling sound when a hard small box shook free of the bag and hit the floor. Eyes widening Lemon and Can stood frozen looking down at the white jewellery box sitting amongst the hard boiled and gummy rings on the floor “is that?”

“I don’t know” Can said as he nudged it with his foot like it was going to attack him.

“P’Can, pick it up!” Lemon said shoving Can in the arm.

“You pick it up” Can snapped back not taking his eyes off the box.

“It’s your ring” Lemon said giving Can a nudge towards it.

“You don’t know that there is a ring in there”

“Look about P’Can” Lemon gestured to the candy ones on the ground “it’s going to be a ring”

Can turned to glare at Lemon as the sound of the front door opening caught their attention. Quickly Can dived on the pile scooping it back into the bag making sure the box also made it in. Standing back up Can threw the bag onto his back as his mum and dad walked through the door “oh! What’s with the bear?” Apple asked spotting the giant stuffed toy over her kids shoulder.

“P’Tin sent it as an apology” Lemon was quick to share to Can’s annoyance.

“I’ll put it in my room” Can said with a grumpy tone.

____________________________

When Tin arrived at school he hadn’t expected Can to be waiting for him at his carpark nor had he expected Can to drag him off to the locker room. But once inside with the door firmly locked Can shoved the white box into Tin’s chest. Catching it before it fell to the floor Tin looked between it and Can as his heart clenched in the rejection of it “is it not perfect?” Tin asked with sad eyes that were locked on Can’s chin unable to raise them any higher.

“I don’t know, I didn’t look at it” at Can’s words Tin’s eyes jumped to his and locked in place.

“Why? Why didn’t you look Cantaloupe?”

Taking a deep breath Can rolled his shoulders “because when the day comes that you actually want to give me something like that you have to do it yourself”

The words had barely made it all the way out before Tin had the box open showing Can the contents. Inside the box were two beautiful plain gold bands each on a silver chair “it’s not an engagement ring Cantaloupe” Tin took one out of the box and began undoing the clasp “It’s was so that you and I would have something that said we belonged together, that you belong to someone. Since I can’t stop people from getting close to you I can at least give you something that will put my mind at ease when I can’t be by your side”

Smiling Can stepped up to let Tin hook the chain around his neck “and the other one?” Can asked looking at the box now in Tin’s pocket.

“It’s also yours” Tin said taking the box from his pocket and handing it to Can “you can use it however you chose”

“And if I want you to wear it?” Can asked opening the box and removing the matching ring and chain.

Smiling Tin lent in pressing a soft kiss to Can’s lips “I was hoping you would”

Seeing the ring laying against Tin’s skin the smile on Can’s face dissolved as his cheeks flared red. Burying his head in his hands Can let out a groan “this is what you meant by the perfect ring and I was going on about fiances, why didn’t you say anything, you even joked about it”

“Because I liked it” Tin said trying to pull Can’s hands away from the sports nut’s face. “If I wasn’t already asking an unreasonable amount by getting you to hide our relationship I would ask you to marry me in a heartbeat”

"We have only been dating a few weeks" Can protested as if it were a proposal.

"Cantaloupe we spent a year pouring our hearts and souls out to each other and falling for each other. We know each other’s strengths and faults, your room is full of pictures I sent you and my phones memory is almost full of yours. If I had any doubt that we wouldn't be together for the rest of our lives I wouldn't be fighting Tul so hard to protect us" Tin pulled Can back into his arms looking forward to the feeling of the smaller boy in his arms for years to come.

"Fine, but we’re not inviting Tul to the wedding" Can's voice carried his pout as he hit Tin's chest lightly with a closed fist.

"Wait, I haven't proposed" Tin pulled back a little to look into Can's face.

"Do you think you are going to do better than that?" Can teased "nothing about our relationship has been normal, it seems a shame not to have a strange proposal"

"Did we just get engaged?" Tin asked feeling strangely hopeful.

Pushing up to kiss Tin Can’s hands gripped Tin’s tie "yep" Can said happily as he pressed against Tin.

 

When Pete got to class he had expected to find Tin already there but as was becoming more and more common lately it looked like Tin was going to be late. To Tin’s credit he had made it just by a hair, dropping into his seat Pete could see a large crease in Tin’s tie. His normally well ironed, perfectly neat and straight tie was pulled slightly to one side and had an undeniable kink to it. Smiling Pete dropped his voice “I see you have gotten over your crush on Ai Can” when Tin turned to look at him Pete could see that the Tie wasn’t the only piece of clothing not to its usual standard.

“What! No I haven’t” Tin’s voice was loud in his shock earning them more than one curious stare. Dropping his voice Tin looked Pete in the eye “what would make you think I am over Ai Can?”

Pete blinked at Tin stunned by the turn of events, something wasn’t sitting right between the shock and anger behind Tin’s words and his current state of his clothes “I just thought maybe the reason your tie and clothes” Pete gestured at the worst parts “was because someone may have, unless….. Did you find out who Ai Can is seeing? Oh my god did you get into a fight with him over Ai Can? That is so romantic”

Tin leaned away from Pete getting dizzy at the leaps Pete was making “Ai Pete, come back to reality” Tin said snapping his fingers in front of Pete’s dazed eyes “I was just running late, I’m just having a strange morning is all” Tin said as he pressed a hand over the ring now hanging from a chain around his neck. The solid metal was a greater relief then he thought it would be. A solid reminder that he and Can were real, that their love was real, helped Tin fight the ever growing guilt he felt with every lie he told Pete.

When class ended Tin quickly stopped Pete from running off “Ai Ae has a game tomorrow doesn’t her?” Tin asked full well knowing his did as his own boyfriend was also playing in the match.

Pete looked at Tin with suspicion “why are you asking Tin krab?”

“I was going to offer to join you in watching the game. You know show that I’m supporting your relationship with Ai Ae while you support your boyfriend playing football” Tin gave Pete a wink as Pete’s jaw dropped in shock though Tin’s real motivation was to watch Can play.

“Really? You want to come with me to watch the match?” Pete quickly shifted back to suspicious but this time it seemed to be edged with hope and happiness.

“You’ve been a really good friend to me since I came back, hell you were a really good friend before I left. I just want to be a good friend to you as well” Tin hated how true his words were but hated more that he wasn’t being 100% honest with Pete. He needed to talk to Can about letting Pete know, he trusted Pete with their secret he had just wanted to protect him from Tul. If he thought Pete knew something, Tin didn’t put it past Tul to do something to him.

“Great!” Pete’s happiness shined in his face “meet me tomorrow in front of the cafe near the football field and we can walk over from there”

 

 

At the end of the school day Tin was exhausted and like everyday he didn’t really get to see Can much or at all he was craving his boyfriend’s touch. But today he had gotten a text from his mother summoning him home for a family (Tin always laughed then they used that word) dinner. Walking into his house he found himself comparing it to the Kirakorn home. It was sorely lacking, in warmth, in comfort and most importantly in love. All things he had been afforded at every visit to Can’s home and like he feared it was becoming a place he wouldn’t be able to leave.

Even his own bedroom was less of a safe haven so much as an overly large space that was devoid of Can. He missed Can’s bed that wasn’t really big enough for the two but was comfortable because of it. After a quick shower Tin slipped into some clean clothes then stood there with his closest doors open looking at the items. It didn’t take long for Tin to pick out all everything he liked best and shove it all to the end nearest his bedroom door. Stepping back to take a look Tin realised what he was doing, he was getting ready to leave. He didn’t have a plan to leave, nothing was in place for him to go but somewhere in his mind he was ready.

Trudging down to the dining room Tin wasn’t surprised to see Tul looking like a smug asshole, maybe that was just his face. But he was surprised to see Tul’s wife Wadee, giving her a respectful greeting Tin looked around expecting to see his nephew “is PhuPha here as well?”

“He is at a sleepover” Wadee said with a soft smile, it didn’t escape Tin’s notice that she moved her chair slightly away from Tul as he dropped into the seat next to hers.

“What, no greeting for me little brother? You should probably think about showing me a little more respect unless you want me to tell father about what you have been up to lately” Tul still looked smug but now there was a knowing glint in his eye.

Not wanting to give anything away Tin rolled his eyes and dropped into the chair opposite Wadee “what are you going to tell him, that I am enjoying my time at college?” Tin picked up his fork pretending to inspect it as he pushed as much sarcasm into his voice as possible “Oh no alert the press, a Methanan having fun without causing others pain and misery” placing the fork down Tin locked eyes with Tul but kept all emotion out of his features “you got me Tul, what shall my punishment be?”

“You think you’re funny little brother but I know about you and that friend of yours” Tin felt panic course through him and had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop himself from showing it. Tul looked triumphant leaning back in his chair as he fiddled with his phone “you didn’t bring enough shame on this family with the crap you pulled in England, now this” Tin was about ready to scream the truth about all of the England stuff when he registered what Tul thought he had. It was the picture of him and Pete, the one that Trump had taken and tried to blackmail him with. Figures that worm had backed the images up straight away.

The relief had washed away the anger that had almost bubbled over and the next thing Tin knew he was laughing “what’s so funny?”

Tin and Tul turned to see their parents walking into the room with matching curious expressions on their faces “just how pathetic the private eye Tul has tailing me is” Tin said still holding Tul’s phone “the dirt he has given Tul on me is my apparent relationship with Ai Pete” Tin said showing his parents the picture of him pinned to a wall by Pete. Turning back to Tul Tin didn’t hide his satisfied smile “just to update you, Ai Pete and I are just friends. I can introduce you to his boyfriend if you are so interested in Ai Pete private life”

Tul’s jaw dropped at how uncaring Tin was about the situation “at least you didn’t spot my private eye, yours was so incompitant that I easily gave him the slip”

“What private eye?” Tin asked doing a damn fine job of looking genuinely confused by Tul’s statement.

“That bumbling oaf that you had followed me around looking like some film noir idiot” Tul snapped.

Tin felt a little insulted on behalf of the guy, he had taken a liking to him even though he wasn’t the best at his job. He was sincere and honestly tried to do his best for Tin. Thinking of how he was going to play Tul’s accusation Tin was blindsided when Wadee spoke up “N’Tin had nothing to do with it, he is my private eye” everyone turned shocked eyes on her, “I asked him to make it obvious because I wanted you to know he was there” Tul looked genuinely shocked and if Tin was reading him right betrayed.

“Why?” Tul’s voice was edged with his growing anger “what would possess you to do such a thing?”

“I thought that would be obvious dear Husband, because I know you and I know what you have done and what you are capable of” Tin watched the way Wadee handled herself, she obviously hadn’t buried her head in the sand like he had thought she did. And with her choice of words she wasn’t giving away the extent of her knowledge, really she could know nothing but with the poker face she had Tin would bet money on her winning no matter the extent of her knowledge. Though the moment she had taken the heat for the P.I Tin was ready to back her, if she needed proof he would give her what he had.

Everyone went silent when a two maids came in to set down their food. The tension in the air was thick and building, the charge in it made Tin want to laugh and the way Tul shifted in his discomfort thrilled Tin. It seemed like the table’s occupants had all kept a close eye on the maids footsteps because once the door closed voices rose. “Are you accusing our son of having an affair?” Mrs Medthanan snipped slamming her hand on the table as Wadee seemed more interested in the food now in front of her.

“Is it still considered an accusation when it is a known fact?” Wadee briefly lifted her eyes from the plate in front of her. Tin had never before wanted to high five someone but in that moment he wanted to high five her. At the same time he felt his admiration for her grow, she was keeping poised and unemotional about the whole situation, not even flinching when his mother’s anger boiled over.

“N’Wadee are you trying to get a devorce?” Tin’s eyes jumped between the two women anxious to see what was going to happen.

“Of course not, but marriage is a partnership and to have a strong partnership there needs to be a balance of power. I have just done what was needed to restore that balance” Tin watched Wadee curious about what she did know because if her words were to be believed she would need to have a lot of dirt on Tul to even hope to bring him down to size.

It was only after dinner when Tin was walking with Wadee through the house as she was leaving for the night that they were alone, “why did you take the fall of me?”

Wadee reached into her bag, pulling out a usb she pressed it into Tin’s hand “because I found out what he did to you N’Tin. Take a look at the information on the usb, I’m guessing it is what your detective was looking for. Maybe get a better one in the future”

Tin felt his body move on its own, Wadee was in his arms returning his hug “you might want to ask Tul who Sean is” Tin whispered.

Pulling back Wadee gave him a knowing smile “N’Tin I know who Sean is, I think I spend more time with him then Tul does. We have strangely become good friends”

Chapter Text

Pete watched from his spot on the bed as Ae walked out of the bathroom towel slung low on his hips as he pulled the draw open he had let Pete give him “so are you sure you can make it to my match today?”

“I will be there Ae, Ai Tin is coming to keep me company so you don’t have to worry about me” Pete’s voice was softer than it usually was as his eyes traced the muscles in Ae’s arms and torso as he turned back to talk to Pete.

“I do have to worry” Ae’s skin grew warm as he felt Pete’s gaze travel all over him “you keep getting more and more gorgeous with each passing day” Ae dropped his towel showing Pete just what he was doing to him.

“Ae you have a game today” Pete blushed shuffling back towards the bed head. The moment Ae’s tight grip closed on his ankle Pete felt a heavy hit of lust rush through him, making his already stiff cock twitch as precum bubbled at the head.

Using his hold on Pete’s ankle Ae gave a hard but controlled tug pulling Pete back down the bed before he covered him with his body “I have enough stamina for both”

Pete grabbed at the bed sheet when he felt Ae’s hand slip past the elastic waistband of his boxershorts, a small squeak quickly turned into a moan that was cut off when Ae’s tongue invaded his open mouth. Pete thrust up into Ae’s hand enjoying the growl that vibrated in Ae’s chest at his action. Ae’s touch quickly turned from soft and confident to demanding as his grip tightened on Pete’s shaft. Pete’s moan filled the air around them enjoying the feel of Ae getting rough as his hand slipped past Pete’s balls and with a dry finger rubbed at his asshole.

Pete’s sharp intake slowed Ae down, withdrawing his hand from Pete’s boxers Ae climbed off him to get lubricant and condoms. Turning back to look at Pete in their bed he found Pete had stripped off his clothes and was waiting for his return with a blush colouring his cheeks and chest “you can’t act all innocent after you laid yourself out for me”

Pete felt his cock twitch at Ae’s lust filled words, he hadn’t even noticed that Ae had applied lubricant to his fingers until he felt the slightly cold liquid rubbing and opening him up “Ae” Pete’s breathy tone carried the name sparking a wave of lust in the beast currently controlling Ae’s body. Ae’s teeth sunk into Pete’s neck as two fingers pressed in forcing him open with a pleasant burn that was overshadowed by Ae’s teeth.

It hadn’t taken much coxing after that to get Ae to quickly finish stretching him open and sink in completely burying himself inside Pete. Pete had only regretted it slightly when the burn had edged on too much but the way Ae had licked, sucked and nibbled on his neck and shoulder had Pete’s mind going blank and the burn quickly morphed into pleasure as each of Ae’s thrusts come hard and sure bring Pete closer and closer to orgasam with each hit at the bundle of nerves inside him.

“Ae” Pete breathed clutching at the blanket beneath him “Ae krab, Ae”
Ae thrust in hard and stilled looking down at Pete “you and I both know you aren’t that delicate” Ae punctuated with a hard thrust “if that is what you are after you know how to get it” Ae picked up his thrusting again only this time he was pulling out and pushing in painfully slow causing Pete to whine as he tried to roll his hips to add sensation to Ae’s movements. Ae grabbed Pete’s hips with a grip they both knew would bruise “if you want this” Ae moved his hips hard and fast a few times before stilling “then beg me for it in that sweet voice you like to use on me”

Ae’s lust dripped voice only added to the fire in Pete and now that his hips were held in a grip he knew he couldn’t fight Pete gave a slight nod “Ae” Pete lent up grabbing Ae’s bottom lip and gave it a sharp bite before letting it go “fuck me hard and fast until I cum all over you”

Ae spared a moment to lick the blood off his lip before he filled Pete’s request making sure he hit hard and deep with each quick thrust. Feeling his own orgasam building on him Ae bent down pulling Pete’s nipple into his mouth sucking on and rolling it with his tongue. The added sensation was all it took for the deep moan to issue from Pete’s throat making his muscles tighten as he painted his and Ae’s stomachs with his cum. The moment Pete tightened around him Ae spilled in the condom and collapsed onto Pete’s panting form “I’m going to need another shower” Pete puffed out a laugh at Ae’s words as he worked on catching his breath

 

When Tin had arrived at the cafe like they had agreed on Pete was already there looking so happy it practically shined out of his face. Tin was silently thankful that Pete had gotten there as early as he had because he was going to tell Pete about him and Can.

*****
After Wadee had left the night before Tin had locked himself in his room and looked through the usb that she had given him. Somehow she had gotten everything he would need to prove that Tul had orchestrated the whole England incident, including audio files of Tul calling the police in England to report the party and contacting the press to let them know of Tin’s arrest. How she had come to possess the files or how they were recorded Tin didn’t dare to ask, what was important was that he now had them.

Tin wasted no time making sure he made secure backups before he copied the files to a second usb. He would need to get everything verified, if even one bit of the information turned out to be false it could cast suspicion on the rest. But Tin was hopeful, so hopeful that he had called Can and told him that he may have something that they could use. Something big enough that they wouldn’t need to hide anymore. Can had tried to play off how happy he was but Tin knew that if he had been with Can it would be a whole different story. “It may take a few days to confirm the information but in the meantime is it okay if I tell Ai Pete about us? I promise he won't breathe a word to anyone else”

“I never had a problem with you telling Ai Pete” Can said with a happy tone.

“Thank you Cantaloupe, I promise I will show you that I deserve to be your boyfriend” Tin said as he looked at a photo Lemon had sent him of the two napping on the lounge room couch in each others arms.

“I think you mean fiance” Can teased as a large yawn escaped him.

Softly smiling Tin felt his heart melt “go to bed, I want to see my fiance playing in top form when he is on the field tomorrow”

“Are you coming to my match?” Can’s tired voice still carried a bit of excitement.

“I wouldn’t miss it” Tin’s voice was softer then he had expected it to be but he knew that was the effect Can had on his heart “now go to bed, I’ll see you tomorrow”

“Sweet dreams Tin”
*****

Approaching Pete he was greeted with his best friend’s warm smile and the ever present pang of guilt hit Tin. Taking a deep breath Tin was anxious for the relief of this conversation being over. He might not care how most people saw him but when it came to Pete and Can their opinions were everything. "Hey Ai Pete, can we talk about something before we head over to the match?"

Pete paused a little of axis at Tin's sudden question and the unease that passed across Tin’s face "sure Tin krab, what did you want to talk about?"

Giving a tentative smile Tin led Pete into the cafe ordering them iced lattes before taking a seat in the far corner “I have to tell you something, but I want you to listen to everything before you get mad. Though you could just not get mad at all that would be even better”

Confusion clouded Pete’s face as he looked at Tin “what is this about?”

“Promise you won’t get mad first” Tin barely lifted his eyes from the table even as the server placed their drinks on the table.

“Ai Tin, how often do I get mad at yo-”

“Just promise me you won’t get mad” Tin lifted his voice over Pete’s cutting the curious boy off.

Pete studied Tin for a minute, he had never seen Tin looking stressed or worried, he was usually cool and collected, almost alarmingly emotionless. But now Tin looked like a child that was about to confess to breaking something. Pete reached across the table placing a reassuring hand on top of Tin’s “I promise whatever it is I won’t get mad”

Feeling Pete’s light squeeze on his hand Tin looked up into Pete’s face “I lied to you, I have been lying to you. I’m sorry Ai Pete, I promise I only did it to protect you”

Pete’s hand involuntarily pulled away from Tin’s like it had been burnt “what did you lie about?” Pete’s brain began to run trying to think of all the possibilities that Tin could have lied about. An irrational part of him held on to the thought of Ae, that maybe Tin had done something to Ae to get Ae to accept him.

“Ai Can and I are together” Tin said then panicked when he misread the panic and confusion on Pete’s face as anger “you have to understand Ai Pete, we had to keep it a secret. It was to risky, if Tul found out how much I love Cantaloupe he would have done everything he could to destroy us. He already threatened him and we weren’t even together then”. Pete sat in silence trying to work through everything Tin was saying but before he could say anything Tin continued “I didn’t want to risk Tul coming after you so I decided to keep you in the dark, the less you knew the better”

Tin stopped, stopped talking, stopped thinking, he just about stopped breathing waiting for Pete to say something “let me get this straight” Pete’s finally uttered words seemed to give Tin permission to breathe again. “You and Ai Can are dating but you are keeping it secret because your brother threatened him” Pete replayed Tin’s words in his head “and you didn’t tell me because you were worried P’Tul would come after me?”

“Yes” Tin said softly, more to the table top then to Pete.

“I know you don’t get along with your brother but don’t you think it might just be talk to frighten yo-”

“The England scandal was him” Tin said through gritted teeth, not having expected that his best friend would try to speak out for the asshole that destroyed his life “the guys that befriended me and took me to that party were paid to by Tul” Pete’s jaw dropped “he was the one who called the cops and reported it to the papers. He did it all so that I would be cast aside and he could take the family business”

“Shit!” Pete had breathed the word making Tin do a double take to make sure he had heard him correctly. “You could have told me Tin karb, I would have understood”

“I didn’t want understanding Ai Pete, I just wanted to forget it ever happened. I wanted to move on and be happy” Tin’s shoulders dropped as he felt tears burn his eyes.

“I’m sorry Ai Tin I didn’t mean to push it” Pete’s mind quickly flashed to the last time they had been in a cafe “we have to stop meeting at cafes”. Pete felt a bit of relief when he saw Tin’s shoulders shake with a chuckle “now I feel bad for thinking so poorly of Ai Can” Pete sulked sticking the straw from his drink into his mouth.

Tin looked up surprised at Pete’s change in attitude, a smile pulled at the corner of his mouth knowing that while Pete may have more questions for him he had at least forgiven him for his lies “why were you thinking so poorly of Can?”

“Because I couldn’t very well think kindly of the person who had broken my best friends heart now could I?” Pete said sitting up straight and crossing his arms.

Letting out a deep laugh Tin finally let himself relax “no, I guess you couldn’t” Tin said quietly before starting his own drink.

 

The team was working on stretching out the last of the kinks in their mussels when Can’s eyes found the figure he had been looking out for. Making his way over to Ae he gave him a nudge and pointed Ae’s attention to the two tall handsome guys taking their seats. Thinking back to what he had done to Pete earlier that morning a light blush coloured Ae’s cheeks. Raising his hand to return the wave his boyfriend and his boyfriend’s best friend was giving him movement caught in his peripheral vision. Turning he found Can giving his own excited wave as a smile split his face “do you think that is really fair of you Ai Can?”

Confusion coloured his features as his hand fell to his side “you could have waved just as much if you wanted to” Can said thinking that Ae’s issue was that he had out done him in greeting the two in the stands.

“That’s not want I meant” Ae paused wondering if he should give away how much he knew, but then thinking about how bothered Pete had been because of the way Can had treated his best friends Ae decided he didn’t care. “You have already rejected Ai Tin, you shouldn’t give him hope since you are already seeing someone”

The smile on Can’s face dropped as Ae’s words sunk in. Was that what people thought had happened, that he had rejected Tin and straight away started dating someone else. Can tried to form something to say in return but he found he didn’t need to because Good spoke up for him instead “Ai Can didn’t reject Ai Tin”

Ae flinched in shock not having expected Good to be right next to them, though Can had known Good was there and had even joined them in waving at the IC boys. Before Ae could ask Good for clarification the team was called to attention.

 

Pete had been more interested in watching Tin watch Can now that he knew the truth about them but he made sure to keep half an eye on Ae so that he could focus his attention back on the game when Ae was in control of the ball.

Tin had only been half paying attention to Pete when he spoke to him more interested in watching Can even when all he was doing was stretching his arms above his head and twisting his torso while he waited for the ball to come back down his end of the field. So when Pete asked “because it’s the first official match of the season win or lose the team is going to go for drinks later tonight, are you coming?” all Tin heard was something about going for drinks. Pete smiled an amused smile as Tin answered without ever lifting his eyes off Can.

“Sure” Tin mumbled watching as Can took control of the ball as the last minutes of the clock ticked down. All eyes were on the ball as it sailed through the air towards the goal, all eyes but Tin’s. That was how he witnessed the other team’s player give an illegal slide tackle. Can's legs went out from under him and he hit the ground hard. Pete felt Tin spring out of his chair and had just glimpsed Can on the ground when the crowd was on its feet cheering their victory.

Grabbing Tin's wrist Pete stopped him from running to the field and to Can's side "you know where his house is" Pete phrased it as a question but they both knew it wasn't. Tin's only response was a tight nod "go there I will take him straight to you"

The moment Pete let go of Tin's wrist Tin ran. Pete remained calm but used a quick pace to get him to the field. With some help from Ae Pete had reached Can who had sat up and tried to look around but there had been a rock on the ground where Can fell cutting his cheek. Accepting the handkerchief Pete offered Can pressed it to the cut as he looked at Pete a little lost "where is Ai T-"

"Come on Ai Can, I'll take you home" Pete said a little loud cutting Can off.

"But I want to see -"

"It’s time to go home" Pete said with a little force as he pulled on Can's arm trying to get him up.

Can tried to protest but Pete gave him a firm frown as he shook his head. Letting himself get pulled along by Pete (and followed by a confused Ae) Can found himself sitting in the back of Pete’s car and taken home “thanks for the lift Ai Pete but where is Ai Tin?”

Ae turned in his seat to look at Can, a flash of concern crossed his face when he saw how much blood had soaked into the handkerchief. “He is at your house” Pete’s words were a touch of relief to Can.

“But why didn’t he come get me?” Can sounded sad and hurt, Pete wanted to pull over and give Can a hug but knew if he delayed getting the boy to Tin he wouldn’t hear the end of it.

“If Ai Tin had come got you two things would have happened. One being that he would have straight up murdered the guy that hurt you and two he would have made it obvious what your relationship is” Pete explained as they made the turn on to Can’s street.

Having been confused since before the game started Ae snapped “what is going on between you and Ai Tin?”

“We’re engaged” Can said casually causing Pete to jump on the break. Looking out the window Can could see Gucci jumping around behind the gate.

“You’re fucking what now?” Pete said pulling the parking brake on and turning to look at Can

“Oh, I thought Ai Tin told you about us” Can said with a slight wince when his smile caused a sting in his cheek as he unbuckled his belt and grabbed his sports bag.

“He didn’t say anything about an engagement” Pete followed Can out of the car needing to know if it was true.

“You can ask AI Tin yourself” Ae said seeing Tin came racing out to the car as Ae was getting out as well.

Tin stopped short seeing Can hold a bloody handkerchief to his cheek “what the hell happened?” Tin almost growled as he cupped Can’s face with one hand and took the handkerchief with the other. Tin calmed a little when he could see that the wound had stopped bleeding “come on inside Cantaloupe, we will get you all cleaned up”

With a dopy dreamy look on his face at having Tin take care of him Can let himself be led to the house by Tin’s soft hold on his waist. “Wait a minute Tin karb” Pete paused when Tin shot him a murderous look for stopping him from taking care of Can “Ai Can said you two are engaged”

Tin’s face immediately softened “not officially, I still haven’t asked his parents”

“What about the guy I saw Ai Can with in the sports science building” Ae asked still confused about the whole turn of events.

“Wait Ai Ae, it was you who saw us” Can said sounding almost relieved “so that means the only people that know about it are us four”

“What makes you say only the four of us know?” Tin asked looking between his smiling Cantaloupe and Pete who looked like he had been busted.

“Because Ai Ae wouldn’t go around telling anyone” Can said slipping his arms around Tin’s waist.

“He told Ai Pete” Tin argued with a half hearted gesture at Pete.

“That’s because Ai Pete was trying so hard to get you two together I didn’t want to see him get hurt when you two didn’t because Ai Can was already with someone” Ae words slowed “else but it turns out…” Ae stopped to think through the situation. Shaking his head to clear the thoughts out Ae straightened up “this is all too much drama for me. We will see you two at the pub tonight” Ae said pulling the car door open and dropping back into the passenger seat.

 

They had barely walked into the pub when Tin had gotten a call that had him racing off leaving Can with nothing but a kiss on his uninjured cheek and a promise to return. Can walked in to the pub understanding but not happy with the situation. His pout was soon fixed by the drinks the team kept buying him for scoring the game winning goal. Losing track of time and the amount of drinks he had consumed Can felt the shift in the gravity of the room as his arms and legs began to feel lighter. Getting up to go to the toilet Can regretted it instantly as the world began to spin faster and became difficult to traverse.

Making it back to his seat Can was thankful for the assistance back onto his stool but then the hands didn’t leave his hips. Shifting to get a look at the owner of the hands he felt an uncomfortably warm body press against his. “You did so well in the game today” Can could feel the words vibrate in the chest of the person pressed to him as their alcohol soaked breath puffed over him.

“Thanks” Can almost sneered the word as he tried to politely push the person away.

“You seem a bit tipsy little Nong, how about I take you home” the hands on his hips dug in as he tried to pull Can off his stool.

“It’s okay, I already have someone coming to get me” Can tried to fight but he was clumsy with the alcohol in his system and his movements only seemed to encourage the stranger to tighten his grip.

The strange laugh that escaped the figure made Can’s blood turn to ice in his veins as fear gripped him “who do you think is coming to save you Nong? Most of your friends are gone and everyone left is either drunk or passed out”

A frantic look around told Can the strangers words were correct, the place was far emptier than it had been a couple of hours ago. Struggling in the fierce grip of his assailant Can’s mind began to clear and getting a good look at his face he found something familiar about him. “My fiance” Can huffed out as he finally found some leverage and broke the guys hold on him and pushed him away “will fucking destroy you if you lay another hand on me”

The strong laugh that came out of the guy had Can scrambling to get to his feet to better defend himself, but the alcohol made it hard despite the adrenaline pumping through him. “Got yourselves engaged, anything for a bit of affection I suppose” the words dripped from his crooked smile as he slowly moved back towards Can.

“Stay the fuck away from me” Can yelled picking up a empty bottle with a trembling hand.

“Or what Nong? You can barely hold the thing with how much you are shaking with fear. But don’t worry I’m only going to make sure every inch of you hurts before a crush you” the anger soaked words had Can’s hand stilling long enough for him to swing the bottle breaking it against the side of his head giving Can a window to get past him and make it out the exit.

Chapter Text

.

 

 

 

When Tin reached Wadee she was sitting on the front steps to her house, the family doctor already kneeling in front of her treating the split in her lip and the bruise blooming around her eye “holy fuck P’Wadee, what did that asshole do to you?” pausing a few steps away from her Tin spun around searching the area “where is N’PhuPha?”

“Not here” Wadee winced as the doctor pressed to hard at the area around her eye “Tul made sure he wasn’t here”

“Because he wouldn’t want your son seeing Daddy bet the crap out of Mummy” Tin spat the statement like it was poison on his tongue.

“Now now young man, these injuries are from a fall”

At the doctors words Tin turned all his anger on the man in front of his sister-in-law “what did she fall on his fucking fist?” the man stood up turning on Tin but before he could utter a word Tin tore into him “how the fuck does your conscience let you sleep at night? Wait, let me guess, on a pile of money the Medthanan’s bribe you with. Do you tell rape victims that if they had worn more appropriate clothes they wouldn’t have been raped? I bet you think cancer patients are just faking it”

The doctors mouth gaped moving like a fish out of water when a loud laugh issued from Wadee pulling their attention to her “I called you here N’Tin so that I would have someone with a level head”

Pausing to process her word Tin dropped down in front of her and checked over her wounds “we need to get your lip disinfected and a cold compress on your eye to help keep the swelling down” gently grabbing her wrists Tin look at her forearms finding bruising and a few scrapes there as well “we will also need to get some soothing cream” Tin half turned back to the doctor now watching them “on these defensive wounds” the low pitch in Tin’s voice had the doctor taking a step back.

Looking up from Tin studying her Wadee locked eyes with the doctor “you can go now” Wadee’s voice was free from emotion as she stared at the man.

“I still need to examine you” the doctor’s voice had come out unsure talking a tentative step towards them as they moved to go back into the house.

“You misdiagnose my injuries as a fall, I have zero faith in your abilities to carry out a competent medical examination” Wadee snapped as Tin stapped back holding the door open for her.

 

Once Tin had found the first aid kit and had sat the both of them down in the kitchen he began using the skills he had acquired being the boyfriend of an accident prone hyperactive mess. With the wound on her lip disinfected Tin worked on making a cold compress and a hot compress for her eye “you seem to know what your doing N’Tin” Wadee enquired holding the cold one over the bruise while watching Tin test the heat in the other one on his forearm.

“I have a friend that injures himself often enough” Tin said almost absentmindedly as a soft smile pulled at his face.

“And rewards you in kind” Wadee let out a light laugh as she pressed at a hickey Can had given him as thanks for patching the cut on his cheek.

“Sometimes” Tin said with a devious smile as he changed over the compresses.

Once all the patching of wounds had been done and both compresses had grown warm Tin help Wadee pack. Going through PhuPha’s room Tin found all his favourite toys, his school supplies and picked out as much clothing as he could fit. On his way out Tin doubled back collecting the boys pillow and blanket knowing that he would need some comfort though this and his own bedding would go along way, it was what Tin had missed most during the cold English nights.

Walking into Wadee’s room Tin found her with her bags packed sitting on the edge of her bed with her eyes locked on the carpet “did you want to tell me what happened?”

Taking a deep breath Wadee lifted her eyes from the floor to Tin’s concerned face “when I got home he was drunk, I could smell it on his clothes and his breath. He took one look at me and it was like a switch had been flipped and I knew something was wrong so I ran to PhuPha’s room. He followed me laughing like a lunatic as he knocked pictures off the walls and smashed statues and vases as he went” Wadee’s whole body began to shake pulling Tin across the room. The moment Tin’s arms wrapped around her Wadee felt herself relax into his warmth “when I reached PhuPha’s room I remembered he wanted to stay another night at his friends, that was when Tul started screaming at me about Ai Sean disappearing and how I had to know where he was and if I didn’t tell him he would make me regret it”

Tin could feel Wadee starting to shake again “it’s alright, we will make sure he can’t come near you again” Wadee turned pressing her face into his chest as her tears broke free. With a gentle rock Tin waited for her to calm down before he continued “where is Tul now?”

Wadee sat back looking at Tin with are tear puffed eyes “I don’t know, after he had called the doctor to come look at me he jumped into my car and left”

Silence stretched around them as Tin gave Wadee time to pull herself together as best she could “did you want me to take you somewhere?” Tin asked cutting through the quiet.

“Thanks N’Tin but my parents should be here soon, I called them before I called you” Wadee gave Tin a weak smile as she moved further onto the bed and pulled herself into a ball. As another stretch of silence fell around them Tin found his mind wandering to his Cantaloupe. Wanting to leave and find him Tin found his nerves growing agitated but he couldn’t bring himself to leave Wadee, not until someone else got there to take his place. Watching Tin pull out his phone Wadee sat straight up “GPS!” Tin filiched at the sudden noise “Tul made me set my car GPS to our phones” Wadee pulled her phone out and tapped away at it “he said it was because PhuPha was in the car but it was so he could keep track of me”. Wadee’s phone chimed as it found the location of her car “strange, I don’t recognise the place” turning the phone to face Tin he lent forward to see the tiny writing.

The address looked familiar, when it clicked Tin’s eyes widened in shock “Cantaloupe” Tin breathed the word before pushing to his feet and bolting out of the house.

************

Can pushed open the exit door, slipping through the small opening he had made he threw his weight against the door pinning it shut as something hard hit at it from the other side. The outside air started to clear the fog from Can’s mind but with each jolt of the door behind him panic set in.

 

Tin had been driving so fast that he had almost over shot the pub, the screeching of his tires echoed around the area as he swerved into the carpark and skidded to a stop. Scrambling out of the car Tin had barely taken two steps when Can came running towards him looking frightened but relieved “Tin there is some fuc-” Can’s sentence was cut short as the door to the pub was thrown open the bang ringing in their ears.

Tin reached out to Can pushing him behind his body so that he stood in-between Can and a raging Tul. Seeing his little brother Tul stopped short “I see you turned up to save your filthy peasant” Can felt Tin tense. About to warn him that the guy wasn’t quite right in the head Can stopped when he felt Tin press something into his hand. Looking at it hidden from the drunk guys view by Tin’s body Can saw Tin’s phone open on the camera, already recording.

“Please P’Tul” Tin’s voice had taken on a tentative quality that Can had never heard before “you have just had a bit too much to drink, I’m sure you didn’t mean to raise your hand against your wife” Can’s head shot up from Tin’s phone just in time to catch Tin’s side profile and the slight head nod off to the side. Understanding Tin’s hint Can quietly slipped off to the side to hide and film the event.

“So that bitch called you huh, what did she tell you?” Tul spat at Tin “did she tell you that she betrayed me, that her and that whore worked together” that part lost Tin as Wadee hadn’t mentioned anything about getting help from anyone when it struck Tin. Wadee hadn’t been surprised about Tul’s mistress and had even stated they were friends.

“P’Tul, P’Wadee is pretty beat up”

“That bitch deserved it” Tin could see the way Tul swayed as he drew closer and the stumble he had in each step “you know she has what you are looking for N’Tin, she has the evidence of my crimes against you” Tul punctuated the word ‘you’ with the back of his hand smashing across Tin’s face.

Tin made sure to take the hit “what are you talking about?” Tin asked cradling his abused cheek in his hand.

“I know your not dumb N’Tin or did falling for that idiot football player effect your IQ?” Tul mocked shoving Tin backward a few steps and watched as Tin fell against his own car and onto the ground. Walking over Tul stood over Tin looking down on his little brother with all the hate he had for him, “I would have thought you had worked it out, I was the one that set you up to be busted for drugs and I was the one that told the media. You’re such a pathetic fool little brother”

The distant echo of sirens had been what he was waiting for, Tin smirked up at Tul but kept his voice low so that it wouldn’t be picked up by Can’s recording “you had already informed me of your crimes in another drunken stooper, like that tragically hopeless bitch you are”

Tul snapped raising a leg behind him Tul swang it forward kicking Tin in the ribs, on the second kick Tin fell to the side, the pain being more than he had been prepared for. When the third kick made contact Tin grabbed on as two police cars pulled into the carpark their sirens blaring “they are here for you big brother” Tul looked down at Tin’s face with the angry red mark blooming across it “and about the evidence P’Wadee doesn’t have it, I do”

Tul’s rage flared, yanking his foot free of Tin’s hold he was ready to stomp it down on him when he was pulled away from Tin’s batted form. The fight finally left Tul when he heard the officers informing him of his arrest.

Tin pulled himself off the ground making it look far harder than it was as a police officer raced over to help him. Once Tul was cuffed and in the police car Can stopped filming and raced to Tin’s side, a mix of anger and worry on his face as he slipped in under Tin’s waiting arm not daring to interrupt as Tin gave his statement to the police officers.

 

Can had thought the night would finally be done when he took Tin’s car keys off him and was driving them home. However half way there Tin’s phone rang with a call from his mother, with his phone connected to the car when Tin answered it came over the speakers “Tin, your brother has been arrested”

Can felt a growl build in his chest. “I know, I was there” Tin said with a slightly pained voice as he reclined his seat to ease some of the pressure on his ribs.

“If you were there why didn’t you help him?” Tin smirked seeing Can’s knuckles turning white with his grip on the steering wheel.

“I was a bit preoccupied with Tul kicking my ribs in to stop the policemen from dragging him off me” even as Tin’s voice came out without emotion he reached up tugging on Can’s arm until Can took that hand off the wheel and linked it with his.

Can raised a brow at the extended silence as they waited for a response from the woman. When she finally spoke both boys were floored “you’re not going to press charges, I’m sure you can understand that he isn’t quite himself at the moment”

“Are you fucking kidding me!” Tin glanced over at Can’s explosion “that fucking lunatic beat the shit out of his own wife, assulted me and then kicked the shit out of his own brother and your messed up fucking excuse is ‘he isn’t quite himself’. You people are fucking sick in the head, I’m so glad I am taking Tin away from you insane assholes”

Tin’s smile made his cheeks hurt with how wide it was but it had glued itself on his face even as his mother asked “who that hell is that Tin”

“Can….. my fiance, mother” Tin’s voice issued with pride that melted a bit of Can’s fuming anger.

“Now is not the time for one of your jokes!”

“Cantaloupe is not a joke mother and you are mistaken if you think I’m going to help Tul in any way” Tin could hear his mother floundering on the other end “if you will excuse me, I have just gotten home and with the state I’m in I am sure I am going to have to deal with a very worried family” Tin enjoyed hanging up on the woman and setting his phone to do not disturb. He didn’t enjoy having to sit up and get out of the car, his ribs were really starting to hurt and all he wanted to do was pull Can into a tight hug.

Tin had been right, not even a full three steps into the house and Apple was buzzing around him “oh my Sweetheart, what happened to you?”

Tin couldn’t help the happiness he felt bubble inside him at having this woman care about him and worry over him. Tin had never felt a mother’s love before but was sure that this is what it felt like “my older brother finally played his hand”

Apple and Oak looked at each other shocked, the way it had been explained they had expected Tin’s brother to use underhanded methods. To bring the boys down by affecting their futures. They hadn’t expected a physical attack “what else did he do?” Apple’s voice shook with panic and anger as she lifted up his shirt seeing the way he was holding himself.

Lemon had come down just in time to see the bruises blooming on Tin’s torso and Can swing into a rage “what kind of asshole does that to his own brother? If that fucker gets out of jail I’m going to make him regret laying a hand on my fiance” Can yelled as he yanked the freezer door open to get cold packs out. Turning around Can was met by three pairs of dumbfounded looks and a sheepish Tin “what?”

“Honey” Apple said even as she was replaying his words in her head “I think you misspoke”

Can’s head tilted as he thought about what he had just said “asshole…….fucker...make him regret it” Can mumbled to himself, “no, I don’t think I did” Can said to his mum as he lightly pressed the wrapped cold pack to Tin’s ribs.

Tin winced as any pressure on his bruises was too much “you said fiance not boyfriend” Tin whispered as he grabbed the hem of Can’s shirt.

“It’s the truth isn’t it” Can shot back not letting Tin back down from the fact in the face of his family.

Tugging at the material in his hand Can steeped closer letting Tin rest his head against his shoulder “I love you Cantaloupe” Tin didn’t try to hide his words and was rewarded with Can’s hand gently rubbing at the nape of his neck.

Looking over his shoulder at his family Can gave them a soft smile “mum can you take a look to make sure Ai Tin doesn’t have a broken rib”

It took some coaxing to get Apple to move again, but after getting Tin up to Can’s room and lying on his bed Apple was able to take a look “just severe bruising” Apple informed them after a tense concerned filled moment. Moving away from the bedside Can quickly moved into her vacated spot “if you think we aren’t going to talk about that fiance comment you have another thing coming”. Looking at the pair she could see that no matter what they said they wouldn’t be able to talk the boys out of it “but get some rest, it can wait” Apple closed the door on them not waiting for a reply.

 

After a few painkillers and despite the pain, a very enjoyable sponge bath Tin was ready to go to sleep. With a bit of shifting they found a comfortable position that let Tin hold Can in their sleep without pressing on his ribs.

The boys were finally woken by Lemon when the clock had hit past midday and they hadn’t rose on their own. Tin let out a pained groan as he struggled his way out of bed. Can fussed over him all the way down to the kitchen and Tin didn’t have it in him to stop his adorable Cantaloupe. It made him feel far to warm and amazingly loved, he wasn’t going to do anything to stop that feeling.

Sitting down at the dining table Tin half hoped that Can would fuss over him enough that he would insist on feeding him. But with the family watching their every move Tin was a little glad he didn’t. “Should we discuss the matter at hand” Oak said as he sat down opposite the boys to watch them eat.

Placing his utensils back down Tin looked at Apple and Oak “I’m sorry I didn’t seek your approval first but we didn’t really plan for it to happen. But it is what is right for us and no matter what you say we aren’t going to change our minds” Tin kept his voice calm, desperate to prove that they were adult enough for this kind of life decision.

“We know Sweetheart” Apple said softly as she smiled at the two “we aren’t going to try to talk you out of it, we just ask that you wait till you finish school before you make anymore massive choices”

Tin and Can were quick to nod their agreements “however” Oak cut in making them weary of their happiness “what we do need to discuss is N’Tin’s living situation”. Tin and Can looked at each other before turning to Apple and Oak “it might be a little cramped but until we can work out the next step how about you move in here”

Tin’s tongue froze unable to believe they were willing to offer him refuge, a home. Tin tried to take a deep breath but the sharp pain in his ribs prevented it. “Is that really okay?”

“Sweetheart of course it is, you will always be welcome here” Apple watched as Can shuffled closer to Tin and Tin instinctively made space for him.

Oak nodded as he leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest “eat up and get dressed, I have some boys from the station coming over soon to escort you to collect your things”

“Station?” Tin asked sure he knew what Oak meant but didn’t want to just assume.

“Dad is a police officer” Lemon chimed in having watched with excitement from the couch.

 

It had turned out that as the boys had slept the story of Tul’s arrest was leaked to the press. Along with a video of him attacking Tin, it was from a different post then where Can had been standing and the audio quality was poor so it didn’t catch any of Tul’s confession. If Tin had to bet he would put his money on his noir detective, taking his phone off do not disturb a stream of notification poured in. Ignoring them all Tin called the guy half wondering if he would have to talk to the fake receptionist first. When the detective answered Tin’s call he seemed a bit apprehensive but Tin soon learned that is was because he had been right. He had been the one to give the press the shoddy video. Tin had just laughed, informed him that he wouldn’t need his services anymore and that his fee plus a bonus had been transferred into his account.

Tin could see from the back of the police car the swarm of press that were surrounding the gates of the Medthanan house. Tin tried to sit comfortably while the camera flashes went off all around the car and the press shouted out questions as they waited for the gate to open. Tin was thankful that Oak was right next to him and that the man had helped him in convincing Can that he should stay home, he didn’t want Can to be connected to this mess if they could avoid it.

Tin’s parents hadn’t been impressed when Tin had finally shown up after ignoring their calls with a police escort. To Tin’s amusement the officers kept his parents a safe distance from him as he walked to his room to collect his things. It had gone surprisingly quick as Tin had been setting things up for the possibility of having to leave. Oak had been watching with interest, helping Tin carry things because of his still tender ribs while Tin’s parents stood by talking at him. On more than one occasion Tin had seen Oak stop himself from stepping up to the two when they had said something nasty about Tin. The one time Oak almost lost his cool was when the matter of Can was brought up. Tin’s own father had remained quiet through out Tin’s mother ranting at Tin. It wasn’t until Tin was almost done that he finally spoke up.

“Where do you plan on living?” Tin didn’t have to reply to his father’s question as Oak stepped in.

“He has been provided lodgings until more permanent living arrangements can be made” Tin bit down on his smile at Oak’s choice of words.

Shooting a glare at Oak that achieved nothing Tin’s father turned back to Tin “I will arrange for an apartment to be set up for you”

Tin looked his father dead in the eye “that will be gifted to me, I don’t want to be struck with the Tax on it and that is solely in my name. I won’t risk having someone take it from me or use it to control me”

The laugh that issued from his father had been a surprise “you have a keen business mind, I look forward to seeing how you use it after you complete your education” for the first time in his life his father extended his hand for Tin to shake. He was getting treated like an equal and not a stain on the family name.

 

The news about Tul’s arrest had only stayed on the front page for about a week then a government official was caught using government funds to pay for prostitutes. The family had pressured and paid off the right people to get Tul a speedy trial. It hadn’t helped as the prosecution had somehow gotten their hands on a video confession starting with audio of Tul calling Can a filthy peasant and ended when Tul was cuffed and in the back of a police car. Tin sat in the witness box unfazed by the glare in Tul’s eyes knowing that the video had been his doing. His eyes only dropped from Tin’s when photos of Tin’s bruises where shown to the court.

Shortly after Tul’s sentencing Tin moved into his new apartment. Apple and Oak had put their foot down not letting Can move in with him but weren’t stupid enough to belive that they would be able to stop Can staying there most nights. And once the reporters realised the Medthanan story was dead the matching rings moved from the chains around their necks to their rightful place on their ring fingers.

The two started hanging out with each other in the open earning a few curious looks at first but that quickly went away when people grew used to seeing them together. One afternoon when Tin want to pick Can up from class and walk him to his training session Can complained about being tired as he sulked and flopped against Tin. Rolling his eyes Tin shucked him off before crouching down in front of him to let him climb on. Smiling Can laid himself over Tin enjoying being carried.

Arriving at the field Champ, Techno and Type all watched as Tin approached with a smiling Can on his back “does he have embarrassing photos of you?” Type asked Tin as they drew near curious how Can got the icy guy to do it.

Can looked pensive for a moment as Tin came to a stop in front of them “I have some of him in his underwear but they aren’t embarrassing so much as hot” Can’s face morphed into a dopey grin as he remembered the photos.

“Why do you ask?” Tin enquired as he let Can’s legs go so that he could go get changed.

“Well there has to be a reason you are carrying him around” Type said with a light shrugg.

“It’s called love P’Type, you should try it some time” Can called before disappearing through the doors that lead to the changeroom.

The three seniors turned back to look at Tin who was just smiling at the door that Can had disappeared through “is that true N’Tin? Are you and N’Can and item?” Techno asked so tentatively that Tin thought the senior might be afraid of him.

Looking at the three guys Tin nodded with a sweet smile “yeah”

Just then the team started streaming out of the change room Champ and Type quickly calling for everyone’s attention. When the whole team was standing in a group giving the three seniors their attention Champ pulled Can to the front. “It has just come to our attention that we all need to congratulate N’Can here on securing himself one of the schools top bachelors as a boyfriend” Type called out over the group as Champ pulled Tin to the front of the group shoving him next to Can.

“We’re not boyfriends P’Type” Can said even as he took Tin’s hand in his.

“I remember you saying something like that at the start of the year” Type teased.

“But we’re not P’Type, Tin and I are engaged” the stunned silence dragged on and as it seemed that the seniors and the rest of the team weren’t going to get over the shock anytime soon Can gave himself an early mark, happily letting Tin drag him away.

***One Month Later***

“No that’s got to be rubbish, there is no way ice cold Tin is dating someone”

“It’s what I heard”

“Well get your ears checked because I’m telling you that’s impossible. Even if he wanted to date someone who is going to put up with his attitude?”

“No it’s true, I heard that they are really cute and super friendly”

Pete smirked as he listened to the gossip passing between the three friends at the desk in front of his. If Tin hadn’t come in late because of his ‘cute, super friendly’ partner then the gossip wouldn’t have started up or kept passing around class like it had been even after Tin had arrived with a very prominent hickey on his neck and jaw. Looking over at his friend Pete could tell that Tin had heard what they were saying, the twitch as he tried to hide his smile made that obvious. Tin continued to listen in to those around them even as he took his usual fastidious notes.

 

“Tin, Tin, Tin, Tin, Tin” Pete had to muffle his laugh at the smile blooming across Tin’s face when Can burst into the room at the beginning of the lunch break “Tin, you need to feed me”

Rolling his eyes Tin looked over at the hyperactive boy “why do I need to feed you?” Tin pushed out his chair to approach his loud boy.

“Because I’m going to sleep at your place tonight so I’m going to need a lot of energy, “ Can said pushing himself against Tin and up into a kiss that had a collective gasp echoed around the room. Pulling back Can realised just how full the classroom still was, eyes landing on Pete Can tried to hide his embarrassment by calling out to him “hey Ai Pete are you coming to lunch too? Tin’s paying”

“Who said I’m paying?” Tin tried to use his icy stare on Can only to have Can give him a kiss on the tip of his nose that made Tin blush and Pete had to try to hide another laugh.

“Of course you are paying, Ai Pete is your best friend and I am your ……………” Can paused not sure how he should refer to himself in front of others that didn’t know.

“Is fiance that hard for you to say or hard for you to omit?” Tin teased as Pete moved through their stunned classmates.

Pouting Can crossed his arms “give me a break, I’m still getting used to it. I’ve never been someone’s boyfriend let alone fiance”

“I’ve been a boyfriend, I wasn’t very good at it” Tin smiled as he pulled Can’s crossed arms apart and wrapped them around himself “but the fiance thing is a first and it’s working out great, I look forward to being a husband”