Chapter 1: Unquestionable
The sun rays outshone anyone who dared look at the bright blue sky above them. It had been a while since days were this clear and that could be confirmed by the amount of people on the streets despite the early hour. Thailand sure looked a lot more like itself during good weather.
The clear sound of the chirping birds was the perfect background noise for the busy streets on a Saturday morning, announcing that spring had indeed arrived. Zen, however, had no time to take in the beauty of it all, becoming more stressed at the sight of the busy streets. He was late for his job and he now understood why his boss seemed so impatient of his arrival, the busy streets meant a long queue of costumers waiting to be served. Oh, how right he was when he wished to be wrong.
As soon as he got close to his work place his worries were proven to be real. The long line of costumers made its way to the middle of the street and, judging from their faces, everyone was either eager or impatient to get in. He excused his way into the establishment, bumping into some people along the way. As soon as he neared the counter, he saw the look of relief on his boss’ face due to his arrival. He quickly exchanged clothes and got to work.
He might have been late, yes, there might have been many people on the streets, yes, but the length of the line of costumers was too big so something at the establishment wasn’t working accordingly. Zen noticed what it was once he got next to his boss behind the counter. There were only the two of them now so his boss had been taking care of such a queue all on her own. Feeling bad for sleeping in and getting late to work in such a time of need, he quickly got himself moving, forming a team with his boss, she received the orders and he fulfilled them. Time flew by and soon it was lunch time, meaning the coffee shop would have a lesser number of people getting in and out for the next hour or so. He heaved a sigh of relief after an exhausting morning, trading tired glances with his boss.
“I’m so sorry for being late P’Nee.” He said as he got closer to her, trying to convey his apology. She took a sip of her double expresso before a soft smile formed on her lips.
“I’m just glad you were here to help me. If I wasn’t short on employees, I would fire Pam right away. You were late but she didn’t show up for the third time in a month.” Asnee ranted, pinching the bridge of her nose with her right hand, a habit that was very typical of her when she was trying to calm down. “However, I hope this won’t happen again unless you have a good excuse Nong Zen.”
Zen nodded, smiling at his boss. Even though she was still young, Asnee had created the coffee shop as one would create a child, giving it her all. The work she had put into it had flourished and they had a good business, including a nice number of regular customers. It had only been a few months since Zen started working at the shop but he felt like he had been there since the beginning. P'Asnee was a senior he really respected and who was a dear friend too even despite the roles of boss and employee. She listened to him, his suggestions and his problems and she herself also confided in him; she did her best to understand everyone and she didn’t get mad at someone without knowing their reasons first.
“What are you laughing at?” Asnee asked Zen in an annoyed tone of voice, making him chuckle more than before. What his boss hadn’t noticed is that she had been cursing his co-worker, P'Pam, under her breath for the last few minutes. He just shrugged and watched as Asnee's eyebrow shot up and her look of annoyance intensified. Zen contained himself since it would be rude to burst out laughing and he did not want to grab the attention of the two costumers who were currently in the room.
“Nothing P'Nee.” He told the girl, trying hard not to grin. “I remembered something funny.”
“Hmm.” She hummed, sounding pretty much convinced. Zen turned on his heels so she couldn’t catch a glimpse of the smile that was plastered on his face, a smile originating from the annoyance he had instigated on her.
After an exhaustive day at work it was finally closing time. They cleaned all the machines, counters, tables, chairs, dishes, everything there was to clean. The place had to be left spotless.
“Oh N'Zen, we haven’t spoken much lately about our personal matters.” Asnee started, while replacing items for the following day. “How’s that boy?” She hummed for a small while, thinking of the name. “is his name Zon?”
A loud sound was heard as the mop Zen had been holding collided against the floor. His wide eyes showed how surprised and flustered he was by the sudden question. A soft pink colour contoured his face as he picked up the mop he had dropped from the floor, Asnee’s snickering the only sound in the room.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you", she managed to say in between low chuckles.
“He’s- “ Zen started but cut himself off to cough in an attempt to gain back his composer. It wasn’t after all, a topic that had never been discussed between them both, Asnee having total knowledge of his feelings for the other boy. “He’s okay. He's happy.” He ended up saying, returning to mopping the floor.
“Why the sad puppy face?”
“P’Nee!” Zen exclaimed, the blush on his cheeks turning one shade darker. His boss' grin told him to keep talking and to explain the situation to her. He embarrassedly scratched his neck and cleared his voice before telling her the current situation. “He likes someone else.” He sighed “Zon has recently gotten himself a boyfriend.”
Asnee’s grin turned into a frown as she listened to her junior's words. “And that boyfriend is not you?” she rhetorically questioned, disappointment in her voice and a pout in her face. “But our Zen is such a wonderful guy!”.
Zen's lips curved into a smile at his boss' words and he quickly embraced her. The hug didn’t last long but it did bring a smile to Asnee’s lips as well. “I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who thinks that way.”
A pout made its way to the girl’s face once again and she amicably punched Zen’s arm. “If you don’t start valuing yourself, I’m going to fire you.”
An evil smirk made its way to Zen's face, a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. “We both know you won’t do that.” He determined, “You won’t easily find someone who will be willing to listen to your endless rants like I do.” He finished, the teasing tone in his voice vanishing the smile off of Asnee’s face. The later grabbed a cup and filled it with water before starting to run after Zen in the small establishment. The younger ran, trying to escape the wrath of his boss, all the while both laughing like maniacs. Despite everything, Zen was happy to be able to have moments like this.
The sound of yelling young adults could be heard meters away from the football field from how loud it was. The football team generated so much yelling and laughing at the same time that there was never a doubt of when there was practice taking place. The look on everyone’s faces was of both tiredness and happiness at the end of each practice which meant that they for sure had a good time.
The fulfilment that Champ felt every time a practice was finished was enough for a happy smile to on his face at all times, enough to keep going even when they didn’t obtain the best results. Their score at the championship was not the best but the fun they experienced made it all worth it.
The football team members were Champ’s family and friends and he didn’t think he needed any more than that. He was happy and although he was often teased for his words, he truly loved what he had.
“Ayo Champ!” Dew called him from the field, bringing him back to reality and away from his thoughts. “We’re all waiting for you.” The other added, gesturing with his arms to the team who was already positioned for the training match.
Champ made his way to the field as slowly as possible noticing the annoyance in his friend’s face and the tension in the junior’s faces. He got to his position in the middle of the field and let the ball hit the floor.
“THE WAR STARTS IN THREE” He practically yelled, letting all players know they should ready themselves. “TWO” His eyes dart across the field, planning his route after passing the ball to his teammate. “ONE.” At his last word he kicked the ball and passed it to Japan, who was on his right, and darted all the way to the other side of the field.
Their game was full of laughter and attempts at cheating, mostly from Junior who, at any given chance, tried to distract the others to get the ball. The game eventually came to an end, the final score unknown to them due to being too distracted to keep count.
The sweaty smiling boys were either sat or laid down on the field, chatting with each other happily after the tiring practice. Champ smiled as Japan made his way to him with his boyfriend tagging along. The two lovers sat down in front of him with smiles adorning their faces and returned their attention to their previous conversation, something about Tanthai’s group of friends. Champ didn’t want to meddle with their business so he didn’t let them know he was listening to what they were saying, certainly they were aware of it.
“It’s actually funny P’. It’s as if we all caught feelings for someone at around the same time and we all decided to pursue those feelings.” Tanthai said, a huge smile plastered on his face as he spoke to Japan about his group of friends and their relationships. “Well, everyone but Zen.” He added, his smile turning into a soft frown.
Japan squeezed his boyfriend’s hand, showing him a smile. “Not everyone has to date Tai, I wouldn’t have been dating either if it wasn’t for you”.
Champ rolled his eyes at his best friend’s attempt at flirting which did seem to work on Tanthai who blushed and nuzzled against the older and Champ had to highly contain himself not to facepalm.
“Who’s Zen?” He asked and only after seeing Japan’s questioning look did he realize that he was voicing out his thoughts. He had meant to not meddle into their conversation but the harm was already done so he decided to play it cool. “I don’t think I know him.”
“He’s one of Tai’s best friends.” Japan told him, not taking his eyes away from the youngest who had a smile growing on his face at the mention of his friend.
“Zen’s my best friend.” He stated, smiling widely at Champ. “I’m pretty sure P’ must have seen him around but I don’t think you two have officially met. He’s the tallest of our group and is for sure the smartest.”
Champ hummed at the younger’s explanation, searching his mind for any visual match of the description that had been made, search that ended up with no results.
“He’s a sweet kid.” Japan ended up saying, “I’ve spoken to him a few times due to Tai.”
“He’s the best.” Tai added, the adoration for his friend obvious in his tone. “He’s calmer than I am and he’s not usually one for confusion but he is so much fun to be around! He keeps to himself most of the time and is not a very social person but he is a great guy.” Tanthai ranted, talking about his best friend was not something that he often did but Zen was a really good person in his eyes and he wanted to share that now that his name had come up.
Champ smiled softly at the excited boy, exchanging a glance with Japan. “You must really like him.” he commented.
“So much that he forcefully wants him to find a lover.” Japan replied, a teasing grin on his lips as he watched his boyfriend pout at his words.
“I know he likes someone but I don’t know who it is, we don’t really talk about that stuff.” the youngest sighed and laid down on the artificial grass that covered the field.
He didn’t know why he payed so much attention to their current conversation or why he kept all of it in his memory as they spoke. He usually didn’t get curious about anyone else’s lives and did not even know the person they were talking about so why was he so attentive?
“Then if he likes someone already why are you still concerned about his love life?” Japan questioned, voicing out a question Champ didn’t know he add until the other had spoken.
Tanthai sat up once again, keeping his eyes down and fidgeting with his hands. “I have a feeling that he wasn’t as lucky as I was.” he replied, looking at his boyfriend, a slight frown adorning his face. “I think he likes someone but that someone doesn’t like him back.”
Without even acknowledging it himself, Champ got up from the floor and told the team to go shower whenever they felt like it. He made his way into the locker room, grabbing his towel and quickly getting into the shower.
The hot water running against his back gave his thoughts company as he kept repeating the conversation in his mind, all the while wondering why the heck was he so curious about a stranger.
Chapter 2: Who?
"The thoughts inside his head were swirling, making it difficult for Zen to get a grip and escape his mind. In the midst of his thoughts, his eyes shared a glance with Tanthai’s, who immediately noticed that something was wrong with his friend."
"Natee would have surely called the previous scene a ‘moment’."
Zen finally speaks out about Zon. And a few more things.
(I'm sorry, I'm horrible at summaries but I don't want to spoil it at the beginning of the chapter TT)
First of all, I really wish to thank everyone who has supported this work. Thank you guys so much! I was so happy to have such feedback that I literally cried out of happiness. I used to write on wattpad but stopped because I thought my writing wasn't good. I created a new account to start from scratch, practiced my writing but didn't have much inspiration to actually write. I wanna thank AO3 and some writers that write about Why R U The Series, about Champ and Zen, I really really want to thank you; you were a crucial part of me deciding to finally try and write something ^^ Also, a huge thanks to Why R U, to Champ and Zen, for giving me motivation to write again. I don't write that good yet but I have fun doing it once again!
I apologize for my cheesiness xD Now, without further ado, let's head onto the chapter.
“Why the sad face dear Junior?” Natee asked as he and Zen sat down on their usual seats at lunch time, motivated by the somber expression on his friend’s face.
Junior made sure his pout was more than evident to his friends before grumbling and whining something they couldn’t understand. Natee looked over at Zen with a raised eyebrow, to which the later replied with a shrug. They should be used to their friend's tantrums already.
“Let me guess, P’Soda?” the tallest of the three ended up making his guess, rolling his eyes at the dramatic boy in front of him as he only put on a bigger show, seeming like a child whose candy was stolen.
“Combine that with being unable to play and you have yourself a whiny childish Junior.”
The words that Tanthai professed as he joined his friends on the table made the subject of the conversation narrow his eyes at him, mimicking his friend's words in order to mock him.
“See what I mean?” Tanthai rhetorically asked, replying to the other’s actions.
The tallest of the group once again rolled his eyes at his friends, muting their words as their once stable conversation turned into a tornado of mocking and bickering, Natee managing to make himself a target to Junior’s curses as well.
Zen didn’t wait and started eating his food, him being hungry and the others being too busy going at each other’s throats to care too much. He glanced at the other student filled tables, suddenly becoming fixed on a certain pair of people. He did his best to look away but there was something in him that wouldn’t let him. And here he thought he was getting over him. Time seemed to slow down, much like the typical cliché scene in a movie, allowing the scene to pull at Zen’s heartstrings, torturing him in ways he couldn’t explain even if threatened. His dark dishevelled hair, his short cute height, his shiny eyes, the smile on his face as he looked at the person holding him, a person who was most definitely not Zen. He hated himself for what he was feeling, he had already decided to get over Zon, he had already accepted Zon and Saifah as a couple. So why was it so difficult to simply watch them walking over to their table together, half hugging? It seemed to hurt even more now than before, making Zen hate himself for it. Zon was one of his best friends and the tallest had always supported the other, no matter his choices, no matter what it may concern. So why couldn’t he fully support him now? Why couldn’t he when he had decided to get over Zon as soon as he saw his friend catching feelings for Saifah?
The thoughts inside his head were swirling, making it difficult for Zen to get a grip and escape his mind. In the midst of his thoughts, his eyes shared a glance with Tanthai’s, who immediately noticed that something was wrong with his friend.
“Zoooon, pity me pleaseeeee.” Junior whined as the couple finally reached their table. Both boys exchanged glances and sat next to the pouty boy, making the mistake of asking him what happened, showing real concern. Oh, how naive were they to get caught in Junior’s trap.
The group became loud and dramatic once again but this time Tanthai didn’t participate, being too busy looking at his best friend, the other’s expression raising a certain concern on him.
“Hum, guys, me and Zen have some things to do so we will be going first.”
To say Zen was startled to be called out like that by his friend as soon as he finished his meal was an understatement, he was utterly frightened. He slowly raised his eyes to meet Tanthai’s and made a much obvious questioning look to which the other responded with a stern face, a very rare expression for the boy.
“Oh, but you haven’t finished your food yet.” Zon pointed out, staring at Tanthai’s half full dish.
“I’m not hungry, you guys can finish it.” He replied and, before anyone could say anything else, grabbed Zen’s hand, pulling him away from their group.
The tallest was surprised by his friend’s attitude, making him wonder since when was Tanthai so fierce.
“Hummm..Tai?” he called out, still being dragged by his friend. “You can let me go now, I can walk. Also, where are we going?”
At his best friend’s soft voice, the shorter turned around to face him, smiling gently as he let go of his hand. “Sorry, we’re going to a quieter place to talk.”
“Quieter place?” Zen questioned, widening his eyes as he finally understood where Tai was taking him, there was only one place at this side of the university. “Is the football field quiet?” he asked in a surprised tone, questioning his friend’s choices of place, to which the other only replied with a “hummm.”
The football field didn’t seem like a very adequate place to speak privately but if there was where Tai was taking him, he must be sure that it was indeed a quiet spot.
They soon arrived, making their way to field in itself. Zen mimicked his friend as the later laid down on the field, looking up at the bright sky above them, a strange heavy silence falling down on them which the tallest ended up breaking, to both boys’ surprise.
“Thank you; for taking me away from there.” He said, his voice barely audible but loud enough for the other to hear.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Tanthai asked, turning his body so he was facing his friend. “I think I have an idea of what’s going on.” he added, to which the other softly nodded his head.
“It’s a long story.” Zen replied, turning his body to face his friend as well. “And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you anything.”
“It’s your business Zen, I didn’t exactly keep you up-to-date about things with Japan either.”
The tallest smiled, shaking his head at his friend. “I was so surprised at your sudden involvement!” he exclaimed and chuckled, making the other chuckle along with him. “Do you really want to know?” he questioned, more serious this time.
Tanthai nodded, showing his friend a supportive smile.
“Well, it’s been a while since I had developed feelings for someone, feelings that I couldn’t even name at first. As time passed those feelings gained shape and I could tell with no doubts that I really liked that person.” Zen started, looking for support in Tai’s eyes, support that the other made sure to give. “And I... I thought I should ignore those feelings for as long as I could because I was sure that the person that I liked wasn’t going to like me back. I tried to fight those feelings for long but they only grew so I decided to stay by their side and support them in everything. But then...” Tears were threatening to fall from his eyes and he hated to feel this weak.
“Why were you so sure that Zon wouldn’t like you back?” Tai blurted out before he could stop himself, making Zen’s eyes widen, a tear or two managing to escape the walls he tried to build up. “Before you ask, no, no one else from our group noticed, much less the oblivious Zon. I had my doubts but was only sure a few moment ago.” Tanthai added, smiling as a sigh of relief escaped from his friend's lips.
“I though Zon would never like guys. But then he and Saifah got close and ended up liking each other. And I realized that I had spent so much time supressing my feelings for an idea that I had created. At the time I realized it, it didn’t matter anymore, Zon was falling for Saifah and there was nothing I could do but support him.”
Tanthai smiled, reaching Zen’s cheek with his hand, gently whipping his tears. “Does it hurt a lot?”
Zen heaved out a sob he didn’t know he was holding. “It was worse when I was trying hard to supress my feelings. It’s getting better, now there’s mostly regret but I can be there for Zon. I don’t know why it had such an effect on me today.”
“You’re a good friend.” Tai stated, smiling back at him before sitting instead of laying. “I mean, you’re my best friend so I guess that is a given, no?”
Zen snorted at his friend’s comment, laughing at his antics. Tanthai’s serious mode went away as quickly as it had come.
“So, I think I have a task to fulfil.” he spoke as the tallest sat up as well, the later raising his eyebrow in the form of a question.
Tanthai put on his most serious face, leaning in closer to his friend, whispering as if to not be heard. “I’ll find someone to heal you heart.”
His words earned him a smack on the arm as Zen’s cheeks gained colour, embarrassment kicking in.
“I hate you.” he told his best friend, earning a loud chuckle from the other and an “I love you too.”
Tanthai decided to get up from the field completely, offering his hand to his friend who was still sitting down. Zen wasted no time in pulling at his hand, making him fall onto the field as a revenge for the previous teasing.
Laughter could be heard across the field as both boys chuckled to their hearts content, only being interrupted by the two figures that they had failed to notice had been walking towards them.
“I see you’re having fun.” One of them spoke, bringing a very vivid red colour to Tanthai’s cheeks. “P’J!” he exclaimed, getting up from the floor to hug his boyfriend.
Zen took a while to register the arrival of the two so he took a few moments to greet them.
“Oh, Zen, nice to see you.” Japan greeted back, smiling as Tai nuzzled against him.
Zen? Champ thought as he looked at the boy in front of him.
After making both single boys cringe at the couple’s sweetness, Tanthai seemed to remember that his captain and his best friend had never met.
“P’Champ, this is Zen, my friend that we were talking about the other day.” He introduced, making the tallest blush and wonder why his name had come up in a conversation between the two. “Zen, this is the football team’s captain, P’Champ.”
“Nice to meet you P’.” He greeted, smiling down at his senior, a smile that the other reciprocated.
“Nice to meet you too.”
The two of them shared a long stare, a strange feeling growing inside them both at the moment.
Zen had never officially met the elder, only having watched him from the distance at the football games that Tai had forced him to come watch. They hadn’t exactly had a reason to meet so there was no surprise that they were nothing more than mere strangers to each other.
Suddenly Zen’s phone ringed and he couldn’t help but smile as he saw the caller ID. Natee would have surely called the previous scene a ‘moment’.
“Yes Natee?” he said as he picked up the phone, looking at the ground as he noticed the three boys next to him strongly staring at him. As the other spoke Zen’s eyes widened and he looked at Tanthai with hurry written all over his face, quickly hanging up the call and smacking his friend’s arm.
“Hey, what was that for?” Tai pouted, feigning hurt.
“Did you forget we have class?” The tallest replied, pulling his best friend by the arm.
“You forgot as well!”
“Doesn’t matter. See you around P’Japan.” He greeted before pausing, his attention diverting to the other person present.“Goodbye P’Champ.”
The two juniors left in a hurry, bickering with each other all the way to their class.
“So that’s the boy you were talking about 2 days ago?” Champ questioned, watching as the two boys left. Japan simply replied to him with a nod, probably upset that he didn’t get to spend much time with his boyfriend. “He seems interesting.”
Champ sighed as he recalled the earlier meeting with Tanthai and his friend, Zen. He had been right; he hadn’t met the other boy yet. Very tall, brown hair, fair skin, slender body. The football team’s captain had to stop his own thoughts of the younger, wondering yet again why had he developed such interest in a stranger. A cute stranger. He groaned as the image of Zen’s smiling face appeared in his mind, the braces he wore only making it more adorable. The look they shared in between them also came as a reminder and Champ did his best to shrug it off, to consider it part of his imagination.
It’s not like he had never noticed Zen. It might have been the first time he connected the name to the face but he had heard numerous times the name being professed by Tanthai for one reason or the other and he always payed it some kind of attention that he himself couldn’t explain. He had never been verbal about it until the other day when he finally asked who Zen was. If he knew it would lead them to meet a short 2 days after he might have asked sooner. Why the interest? Champ couldn’t explain. There was no reason for him to want to know more about Zen, their paths didn’t cross, their interests were far from equal, their school lives were almost opposites. And yet here was Champ, thinking about the boy yet another time, now associating a face to the name.
He got up from the bed in which he had been laying since he got home and went towards the bathroom to take a shower, finally letting his thoughts run free, handing them no restrain. He thought about the younger’s smile, the way he spoke, how soft was his voice, how stunning he looked with the sun hitting his face, how embarrassed he had been when they arrived. How he smiled when talking to his friend only for his expression to change when aware of the time, how he acted towards Tanthai upon leaving the field. How his eyes shined, how Champ’s heartbeat had rose when they locked eyes.
“That’s it Champ, you have officially freaked out.” He told himself, leaning on the sink to watch his face in the mirror, almost as if reprimanding himself. He smiled, however, as he thought about how well the name and face combined, how the boy was more perfect than Champ could have imagined on his own. “So that’s who he is. Nice to meet you Nong Zen.”
Chapter 3: NOT A CHAPTER BUT A MESSAGE
A message that should have been published a while back.
First of all, I'd like to apologize. Apologize to everyone who is following this story and to everyone who has given it and me their support. I'm really sorry for leaving it inactive for a whole month.
I had my reasons but I'd still like to genuinely apologize. School became way busier than before, exams started getting nearer, my dancing group finally got to work again and it all caught up into leaving me with no time to even breathe. Those are a few of the many reasons why I haven't updated.
When I did have the time I used it to breathe and to simply relax for a while. Even when I did try to write and opened my word document I immediately erased my words after typing them. It made me frustrated an so I decided to first let the busier times pass.
My plan was to always have back-up chapters so that I was always ahead but when I did publish chapter 2 I did it on a whim and too early due to wanting to thank everyone for the support. I did have chapter 3 almost finished but the way it was then is the same as it is now. It's missing two or three paragraphs to it.
My most scary exam is tomorrow and since I have decided to spend the remaining time of tomorrow after the exam just relaxing, I will try to finish the chapter.
The thing is, I probably won't publish it soon (unless you really want to) so I can write the remaining back-up chapters to have some margin to work with.
When I have the time I will rewatch Why R U the series as well as I miss it and want to experience it again.
Also, I know this message is late. It should have been published way back to expose how busy I was instead of leaving this story for a whole month and more with no updates.
Overall, my main intent with this is to tell everyone that no, I didn't go anywhere and I am still pretty invested in this story. I won't drop it or leave it and I know it is selfish to ask the same of you amazing readers because I myself had gone missing.
Once again, thank you so much for everything. Your support, your patience, your kindness, your interest. All of it.
See you soon everyone! I'll make sure to slay these exams ^^