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The First Time I Saw You

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For the amount of time they had spent together, it was a wild thought that Tanthai had never stepped foot in Junior’s house before. None of them had, Junior always insisted they spent time at Zon’s or Tanthai’s instead. It had been such a mystery that Tanthai was starting to wonder if Junior had something he was hiding. Though Junior really didn’t seem like the one to hold any secrets, he’d blurt out most of his thoughts throughout the day, so if he was hiding something like dead bodies in a closet he definitely would have told somebody about it by now.

The only reason they were finally now seeing Junior’s house was because Junior wanted his seventeenth birthday to be a slumber party between his closest friends - the definition of Junior’s slumber party being ‘drinking alcohol bought by his brother’s friend and playing shooter games until their eyes were square’. Junior’s brother was someone who the boys had yet to see, was supposedly some university student on the football team - Junior claimed it was why he was so adamant to get into the sport, to compete with his brother. Apparently, this same brother who they had never met, had a friend who was willing to buy the group alcohol, and Junior hadn’t stopped bringing that up the week leading up to his birthday.

Now as they walked up to Junior’s house, the boys were all in awe, how had someone like Junior been raised in a place as beautiful as this. One thing was for sure, after this they’d be making Junior pay for more meals since he had clearly been lying about not having enough money.

Junior led them into the house, pointing for them all to take their shoes off at one side of the hallway. Zon’s shoes were off immediately and he had wandered over to a portrait of the family, “wow Junior,” he spoke, getting the attention from all the group as they put their shoes aside, “your family are all so good looking.”

“Thank you,” Junior cupped his cheek and fluttered his eyelashes at the boy.

“So what happened to you?” Zon continued, the deadpan delivery of his punchline caused Natee to screech with laughter whilst Tanthai and Zen only gave quiet chuckles.

“When he was five he ran into a lamppost,” a deep voice spoke, spooking the group slightly. Tanthai’s attention immediately went to the owner of the voice. Coming down the steps, only wearing a pair of sweatpants, the muscular contours of his torso exposed was the boy who must have been Junior’s older brother. Tanthai’s first sight was the abs, slowly raising up to his pecs and then when he finally saw the boy’s face, the hot body was nothing to compare it to. Tanthai’s mouth fell open, he only realised when he felt Zen’s hand beneath his chin. The taller boy pushed his mouth closed for him. Tanthai looked around to Zen quickly, seeing that Zen sensed exactly what Tanthai was feeling.

“Ah, P’Japan, do you mind?! You’re practically naked in front of all my friends!”

Japan. Tanthai liked that name, it was better than Junior.

“I’m just shirtless, Junior,” Japan rolled his eyes as he got to the bottom of the steps, “besides, I don’t think your friends mind.”

Tanthai eagerly shook his head, perhaps more than the other’s had since Japan’s gaze fell on him, it was as if he was chosen to speak and so he let words slip out, “I like it.”

“Tanthai!” Junior glared at his friend, “eyes off my brother, ah disgusting. You could do much better than P’Japan,” with that comment, Junior walked through the hallway, beckoning for his friends to follow him. Tanthai stayed still for a moment, his eyes meeting the older boy’s eyes briefly before Japan’s gaze dropped and he hid his face.

“You should probably go with your friends before you lose them,” Japan spoke, not looking at Tanthai as he spoke.

“Lose them? I could hear Junior from a mile away, I’m definitely not going to lose him.”

“P!” Junior’s scream made the pair flinch, “P’Dew didn’t have to buy this much!”

“It’s not all yours!” Japan responded as he made his way through to the kitchen, Tanthai followed as though he was a lost puppy. Japan grabbed one of the crates of alcohol, “yours is that lot,” he pointed to a selection of drinks that were much weaker than the ones in his own hands, “these are for me and Champ, if I have to look after you lot then I’m making sure I have fun whilst I’m doing it.”

“P’Champ?” Junior whined, “but he’s boring, he wouldn’t let me take a cool photo last time he was here.”

“He stopped you from setting fire to the living room.”

The group could only watch the brothers bicker between them, a verbal tennis match, “it was one piece of paper,” Junior rolled his eyes.

“Junior,” Japan gave a warning glare, “Champ is coming over and you’re not going to set fire to the place, okay?”

“Fine.”

Japan walked away with the crate of beer in his hands, Tanthai began to turn as if to follow him but Zen grabbed his arm and pulled him back, “Thai,” Zen’s voice was quiet as though it was just between the two of them, “you need to take your eyes off of Junior’s brother for a bit,” he followed his words with a chuckle, “I think you might be scaring P’Japan.”

“You’re right,” Tanthai sighed, “I guess I’ll wait until we’ve both started drinking, maybe he’ll loosen up again.”

“Ah, Tanthai,” Junior leaned across the island counter, glaring at Tanthai, “my brother is a prude, he has never had a relationship before, I’m pretty sure he’s still a virgin,” Junior acted as if it was the most shocking news anybody would ever hear.

“You’ll be a virgin when you’re his age too,” Natee pat his hand on Junior’s back, giving him an oddly reassuring smile. Whilst the pair began to bicker, Zon and Zen began to look through the variety of drinks, but Tanthai’s mind was focused on Japan. Nobody else had affected Tanthai like this before, something was different this time.

☆☆☆☆☆

By the time it was dark, the group of friends had definitely had more than enough to drink - it got to the point where Champ had to hide some of the remaining alcohol from the group. Junior and Natee were screaming songs at the top of their lungs out in the garden, Japan constantly called for them to be quiet so they didn’t disturb the neighbours. Zon had fallen asleep, despite the noise, he was curled up on the second sofa and Zen was sat by his side - Champ had made some comment about the pair, asking Zen if they were boyfriends but Zen’s response was a panicked ‘no, not yet’. Tanthai was sitting on the same sofa as Japan, just the two of them alone in the room when Champ helped Zen to carry Zon to the guest room.

“P’Japan,” Tanthai spoke in a lazy whisper, “you’re very pretty,” he nudged his senior with his foot and chuckled slightly, “very, very pretty.”

Japan let out a small laugh as he took the almost empty bottle from Tanthai’s hand, “I think you’ve had enough for tonight Tanthai.”

“No,” Tanthai pouted, “not enough!”

As Japan placed the empty bottle on the coffee table, Tanthai lunged towards the older boy, making Japan gasp as he pinned him down to the sofa. Tanthai’s smile was mischievous and it almost made Japan smile but the older boy managed to hold his stern expression.

“Tanthai,” he whispered, “I don’t want you to do something stupid.”

“I’m sure you’re not stupid,” Tanthai blurted out, grinning at his own joke.

When Japan realised Tanthai’s implications he quickly pushed the boy back and let out an awkward laugh, “uh, you should probably go to sleep.”

Tanthai pouted, “P’Japan, can I sleep in your bed? Please? I don’t want to sleep near Junior, he snores really loud!”

Japan couldn’t argue with that, he was more than aware of the volume of Junior’s snores, and as Tanthai leaned against the back of the sofa, his eyelids slowly dropping, Japan gave in, “alright, come on then.”

Japan helped Tanthai out of the room and up the stairs, as they passed the guest room they could hear the mayhem of Champ, Zen, and Zon - it sounded like Zon had woken up, begging to go back to the ‘party’ which had already died down by now. Champ was insisting the party had stopped but Zon continued to whine through slurs.

Japan shook his head as he took Tanthai to his bedroom, it didn’t feel right but as they approached the door Tanthai began to pull Japan along. Tanthai opened the door, and slipped out of Japan’s grip - rushing over to the bed and leaping onto it, starfishing above the sheets.

“It’s comfy here! Will you stay here with me, P’Japan?”

Japan sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed, “I need to keep an eye on Junior and Natee, but I’ll be back in here at some point… I promise.”

“Good,” Tanthai mumbled as he cuddled up to the pillows, “I want to cuddle you.”

☆☆☆☆☆

Finally, Natee and Junior were asleep on the sofas in the living room. Through a yawn, Champ had mentioned that Zen and Zon were asleep in the guest room - before opting to sleep in Junior’s room. Once Champ had closed the door, Japan turned and looked at his door from across the hallway.

As soon as Japan had set eyes on Tanthai that afternoon, it was different. The boy looked beautiful, Japan would even go as far as to say perfect. The thing was, Japan had never been romantically interested in anybody before, but his eyes met Tanthai’s and his heart had never felt so full. His stomach had done flips and he could feel every part of his body burning up at the sight - Tanthai was just that beautiful.

Opening the door to his room, the boy was curled up above the covers, seemingly fast asleep. Japan quietly entered, not wanting to wake the boy up. He stayed quiet as he changed into his pajamas, and once he was ready he turned off the light and crawled into bed next to Tanthai, slipping behind the boy with ease.

The shifting weight of on the bed caused Tanthai to stir, he turned over and let out a tired squeak as he laid eyes on Japan, “P’Japan!” He shuffled forward and slipped his arm around Japan’s waist. He seemed so comfortable already, as if he’d known Japan for years. Japan just stiffened to the touch, he wanted to enjoy it more but it felt so sudden, he wasn’t sure how to react. The boy nuzzled his nose against his chest, pressing up close and falling into sleep for the night. Japan finally gave in when Tanthai began to softly snore, his arm slowly came down, enveloping Tanthai in his own hold. He hoped he’d wake up before the younger boy so he wouldn’t know he had given in to the cuddling.

He was still figuring himself out, and now he had a new person in his life that wouldn’t be leaving his mind anytime soon. He knew it would take time for him to get used to… But he didn’t know how long it would take.

It was bound to be a long journey for both of them.