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"You could've at least tried to hide how much you hated P'Thanu earlier, you know."

"He could've at least tried not to be an asshole and not fuck with my best friend's feelings, but here we are."

Kit sighs, leaning his head on Mark's shoulder. Mark wraps an arm around him, bringing him closer. Kit closes his eyes, listening to the rhythm of Mark's heartbeat beneath his ear.

"I feel so terrible for Yu, to have his heart broken twice in a year. It's not fair."

"I know, P'Kit. I've tried so hard to find someone for him. I don't know why it's so difficult. Yu's like, the most adorable person I know."

"Yes," Kit agrees, "he's very cute."

"Smart too," Mark adds.

"Kind."

"Polite."

"He's so caring," Kit continues, sitting up to face his boyfriend, "but also like, it would be an honor to be the one to take care of him."

Mark nods enthusiastically, "Exactly! And when he smiles at me, it's like none of my problems even matter."

"When he cries," Kit adds, "I feel like the whole world is crashing down on my feet."

"Whenever I see him and P'Thanu together, I imagine doing very violent things just to get P'Thanu away from him. Don't even get me started on what I would do if I saw P'Pha again."

Kit blinks, suddenly aware of what exactly he and Mark were talking about. He's never told Mark this, of course, but there was a reason he was so keen on helping Yu when they first met. And it's not because he's Pha's best friend.

The dynamic between him and Pha, and Mark and Yu, have always been very different. But Kit sees something else when he looks at his boyfriend now, a fire in his eyes Kit's come to love. He thinks back to everything he's witnessed Mark do for Yu, going above and beyond without hesitation for the science student every time. Something very obvious starts to click in Kit's head.

"Mark."

"P'Kit."

"Mark."

"Yes, jaaaa?"

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Are you thinking about how Yu hasn't texted me yet if he's home?"

"No, I was thinking- Wait, what? He isn't home yet?"

"No," Mark confirms, frowning at his phone, "I'm starting to get worried."

"Call him."

Mark does. Yu picks up on the second ring, the tears evident in his voice. Mark's hand clenches around the phone, and when Kit looks down, his own are similarly fisted in anger in his sheets.

"What happened?" Mark asks, voice dangerously calm.

"I'm okay, Mark. No need to worry."

"You're upset. What did Thanu do?"

Kit opens his mouth to berate Mark for dropping the honorific, but then he realizes he doesn't care.

"Nothing. He didn't do anything. He just said I might not see him for a while. It's fine, Mark. Don't worry about me. Enjoy your evening with P'Kit."

"How'd you know he's here?" Kit asks, before Mark could.

"I'm in Mark's room," Yu answers, laughing, "I kinda missed it when we toured the freshies earlier. Besides, you two aren't exactly subtle."

"Yu has a key to your room?" Kit whispers, feeling a strange sense of jealousy that Yu seeks comfort in his boyfriend's space. It's an empty room and Mark is with him, but what surprises Kit the most is the immensity of the desire building in his chest. He wants them both to be here, with him, in his space, whenever either of them seeks comfort. He wants it so bad he could burst with it.

Mark nods distractedly, his attention wholly on his best friend.

"Okay, stay there as long as you need. I have nori snacks and the vitamin jelly you like and also some food from Mae in the fridge."

"Thanks, Mark. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye, P'Kit."

Mark stares at his phone for a bit after Yu hangs up,  frowning, before he turns back to Kit.

"What were you saying?"

Kit stays silent, looking at Mark intensely, trying to gauge how welcome his idea would be.

"What is it, P'Kit? You're scaring me."

Kit looks down, taking both of Mark's hands in his. Mark shifts so he's facing Kit directly on the bed. Kit adjusts his hold, bringing Mark's knuckles to his mouth, pressing kisses slowly to each in imitation of what Mark did for him before. He hears Mark's breath hitch, feels his awed stare without looking up.

"You care for Yu, don't you, Mark?" Kit asks when he's done.

Mark, still dazed, nods slowly. "Of course, he's my best friend."

"You're in love with him," Kit says. It's not a question.

Mark's eyes widen and he flinches, trying to scoot back. Kit tightens his hands around his, not letting him retreat.

"Of course not!" Mark exclaims, despite his head moving up and down, "I only love you, P'Kit. He's my- Yu's my- just a best friend. Friend! I've known him since M1. I was there when he saw P'Pha- I'm not- I'm yours, P'Kit. You know that, right?"

Kit can't help the smile that blooms on his face, looking away and rolling his eyes to draw attention away from it.

Mark squeezes his hands, "You know that, right? Why are you saying that I'm in love with Yu? Because it's just you, P'Kit. Just you."

"I know. I know that, Mark. I was just thinking about earlier today and - You said it yourself. You don't like seeing Yu hurt."

Mark nods, watching him closely.

"I don't either. I don't like anyone being close to Yu the way the two of us are."

Kit lets his words hang in the air, waiting for understanding to light up Mark's face.

It doesn't.

"I don't get it," Mark admits, "I mean, I agree. But I think you mean something else. You need to explain it to me."

Kit pouts in frustration, blowing air out of his mouth.

"I'm thinking, maybe the reason you haven't found the right person for Yu is because you're looking in the wrong direction."

"And where should I be looking?" Mark asks, almost as a challenge.

Kit merely raises both their hands in response.

The light bulb goes off above Mark's head.

"Oh shit," he says.

"Oh shit," he repeats, waving their hands in the space between them, "Really? The both of us?"

"What do you think?" Kit asks, his confidence wavering now that he's got the suggestion out.

Mark sits back, and Kit's pleased to see that he's giving the idea some serious thought. He won't push him - Kit is perfectly happy where they are now, but he doesn't think he can forgive himself if he doesn't at least try.

He's known Yu since he and Pha started dating. He's not proud of it, but he knows he's always felt something for Yu. It's part of the reason why it took him so long to accept Mark's affections. He wanted to be sure that his heart belonged to Mark completely before committing to anything because he knows he's going to be here for the long haul.

And it does. Kit's never been so sure of anything than the fact that he loves Mark.

And yet.

"Wait," Mark says, "so you like Wayu too?"

"See, you said too!" Kit points out, "so you do like him!"

"I don't- I'm not-"

"I'm not mad, Mark," Kit says, figuring the problem out, "It's okay. I know you love me. That's not what I'm asking."

"I love him," Mark whispers, staring down at their hands, still connected, the watches bumping gently against each other.

"I love Yu. I can't remember a time I didn't. But he's my best friend, and I want what's best for him. I thought that meant being with P'Pha, but clearly I was wrong."

Kit forces himself to put aside his turbulent feelings for his own best friend, like he's gotten used to this whole semester, and moves closer to Mark. He crawls between his legs, turning around and wrapping Mark's arms around him. Mark, like Kit knew he would, folds Kit into his embrace.

"So we both like Wayu. The next step seems logical, doesn't it?"

"Okay," Kit feels Mark nod into his hair, breathing deeply.

"But if we're going to do this, we're going to have to be completely honest with each other. So you're going to tell me exactly when and how and why you started liking Yu."

Kit freezes.

"What, like now?"

"Why not? I told you mine."

"That doesn't count," Kit insists.

"Well, it all started when we were in middle school, right? Yu grew up travelling because of his Dad's work, and they didn't settle in Bangkok until we were in M1. I was friends with everyone of course, but Wayu was different. He was a really tiny kid..."

"Why'd you stop?"

"Aow, I was waiting for you to interrupt me."

"No," Kit grins, "go on, I'm having fun thinking of you and Yu as children."

"Not fair. I asked you first!"

Kit's grin drops. Mark was right. He should tell him.

So he does.

"The first time I met Yu, he was waiting for Pha in front of the Medicine building. He was chatting with his faculty friends, but the moment we went down the steps, he zeroed in on Pha. It's like the whole world melted away and it was just the two of them. I wanted that."

Here, Kit pauses and looks meaningfully at Mark. And now I have that with you. Do you understand? It seems like he does, because Mark only hides his face in Kit's shoulder and mumbles at him to continue.

"The second time, I was in the library pouring over some lab sheets. I looked up and Yu was there, because apparently if you're Yu, librarians just let you in even if you're not from that faculty. So anyway, he must've seen how stressed I was because he just took it and fixed some of the calculations I overlooked like it was nothing."

"He does that, yeah," Mark mumbles in agreement.

"If I let myself think about it, it was a bunch of little moments..." Kit trails off, "But then I met you. And then Phawaree left. So I let it go. I felt responsible because sometimes I feel like he just sees Phawaree when he looks at me. Like I'm a reminder that Pha left."

"Of course not," Mark vehemently denies, "Baby, you're twice - no, thrice the man Pha could ever hope to be."

It's still so novel, Kit thinks, the way Mark just says these things. Without a care about just how full it makes Kit's heart feel.

So instead he just says, "Let's hope Wayu agrees."

"While I was... while we were getting to know each other, did you still like Yu?"

Oh. Kit's so stupid. Mark can be so easy to read sometimes. He needs to remind himself of that.

He turns sideways, gently taking Mark's face in his hands. His sweet, sweet Mark. His precious, precious boy.

"Mark, look at me."

Mark does.

"Ever since I knew him, Yu was with Pha. He was always an impossibility. He was like a pipe dream, a crush. I couldn't think about my feelings for him without betraying either of them so I didn't let myself. And then you were there, and you were beautiful and intriguing and really, really persistent. It was annoying how you were all up in my space. I was so upset at myself because even at the start, I knew I liked you being there."

Kit can see the beginnings of a smile curl at the corner of Mark's mouth. His thumbs move to trace them, stroking gently.

"And you were," Kit breathes out, "Everyday, you were there without fail. And everyday, I found myself falling for you little by little until one day I woke up and realized I loved you."

"Does that answer your question?"

Mark sniffs, surging forward again to hide his face in Kit's neck. Kit laughs, then forces himself to stop when Mark sniffs again. He wraps his arms around Mark, content to just hold him close.

"Whatever happens… Whether we push through with this or not, I'm not- I'm not gonna let you go, Mark. Ever. Do you understand?' 

"Yeah, okay," Mark mutters, "same here." 

They stay there for a while, just holding each other without looking. Kit can hear Mark thinking, but he's said his piece. If Mark doesn't want to do it, then okay. They'll stay as they are, and do their best to keep Yu company. If he does...

"Let's do it," Mark says finally, his voice back to its default loud, enthusiastic tone. 

"You're sure?" Kit asks, pulling back, "Just like that?"

Mark smiles, stealing a kiss against his cheek. "Why wouldn't I be? We're gonna court him together, right?"

"Yeah," Kit answers, suddenly, incredibly soft for the man he loves, "together."

"Okay! Let's go!"

"What? Where are we going?"

"To my apartment, duh."

"Why?"

"Because I thought of Yu all alone there when he can be with both of us," Mark whines, shaking Kit's arms.

"Think of it as a test drive," Mark coaxes, pouting, "na? Na na na?"

"Why don't we just ask him to come here?"

Mark looks at him incredulously. "The driver probably already left. You know Yu doesn't drive."

Oh, right.

When they get there, Yu is curled up asleep in the middle of Mark's bed, hands slack around his Cells at Work manga and a neatly tied plastic bag of empty Taokaenoi wrappers on the bedside table. 

Mark puts a finger up to his lips. Kit nods. Ever so gently, Mark takes the book out of Yu's hands. He stirs, and both Mark and Kit freeze. 

"Mark," Yu mumbles, eyes closed. 

"Hey," Mark whispers, "you fell asleep reading."

"P'Kit," Yu sighs, turning to his side, hands closing tightly over Mark's fingers. 

Mark turns to look at Kit, eyes wide. 

Kit moves to Yu's other side, brushing his hand over his shoulder. 

"Yu, is it okay if we sleep here tonight?" 

Yu blinks his eyes open slowly, making both Kit and Mark hold their breath, and smiles. 

He closes them again soon after, though.

"Mmkay," Yu says, before his breathing slows down again into sleep. 

Kit's and Mark's eyes meet over him for a long moment. Then, Mark shrugs. He turns to the closet, pulling out a pair of pajamas for Kit. 

When they settle back to the bed, the only space is, of course, on either side of Yu. 

"Test drive," Mark reminds Kit, taking the left side and snuggling into his best friend. Yu instinctively curls into him, tucking his face in beneath Mark's chin. 

Kit is more hesitant. 

"P'Kit, just lie down," Mark quietly urges. 

"Yeah, P'Kit," Yu agrees, still asleep. 

Mark smirks. 

Kit exhales, tugging the covers up and folding himself under, reaching across the bed and handing Mark the other end. 

"Good night," Kit whispers. 

"Yeah, g'night," Yu answers, shifting just enough that Mark can comfortably lay an arm over his stomach and still touch Kit. 

Mark does so. "Good night." 

Chapter Text

Wayu knows he dreamt, but the moment he wakes the dream slips from his memory like water through his fingers. Yet the feeling stays with him, warmth and comfort and everything he sought when he took the elevator up to Mark's room, crawling under the sheets and surrounding himself with the scent of Mark's shampoo on the pillows - the same scent that marked the easier days of high school. 

It's not the same, Wayu thought, his face buried in his manga, not without Mark there. But Mark's with his faen, and Mark deserves that - truly, Yu believes, Mark deserves everything good in this world - time to bask in the feeling of loving and being loved in return that Wayu once drowned in. P'Kit won't let Mark drown, Wayu reassures himself, P'Kit wasn't like P'Pha. Wayu knows this. The way that the two of them looked on that yacht, staring at each other as they danced, the stars bearing witness to their love confirms his belief.

But then he also thought P'Thanu wouldn't turn out like P'Pha, and look where that got him.

Wayu tries to curl deeper under Mark's covers, willing himself to remain in the mellow, fuzzy trance between sleep and waking, reluctant to get up just yet and face the feelings of hurt and betrayal that persist after his conversation with P'Thanu the night before.

The pillow beside him is warm and Wayu pulls it closer, nuzzling into what he expects to be Mark's 100% egyptian cotton pillowcase. His nose rubs against colder silk instead and Yu frowns.

He opens one eye blearily, screaming as he comes face to face with P'Kit's chest.

"WHAT? What is it, Yu?" Mark asks, running into the room, wearing the most ridiculous frilled apron Wayu has ever seen.

"Why are you both here?" Yu asks, thoroughly confused.

P'Kit doesn't seem bothered at all, barely affected by Yu's scream. He just frowns in his sleep and pulls Yu closer.

Yu squeaks. Mark smiles. Kit mumbles "five more minutes" and nuzzles into Yu's shoulder.

"So cute," Mark coos.

Yu puffs out his cheeks, his face dwarfed by the cocoon of Kit's surprisingly muscular arms. He glares at his best friend (as much as Yu can glare), eyes demanding an explanation.

"This is my room," Mark reminds him.

"So? You weren't here last night. And what are you wearing?"

"You like it?" Mark asks, grinning wildly and doing a little turn, "I borrowed it from Sab a while back. The cafe did a maid theme last year."

Yu figures he's still dreaming and closes his eyes tightly, shaking Kit's arms off and turning to his other side.

The loss of Yu's weight against him is what finally wakes Kit up, immediately alert like the future doctor that he is.

"What are you doing?" Kit asks Yu, as if he wasn't just cuddling with his boyfriend's best friend in his boyfriend's bed.

"I'm trying to wake up," Yu mutters, burying his face in the (actual) pillow.

"You're already awake," Mark points out unhelpfully, pulling his pillow out from under Yu.

"Hey," Yu protests weakly.

"Mark, what are you wearing?" Kit asks, taking in Mark's outfit. 

"I asked that already," Yu mutters.

P'Kit turns to him and smiles, small and shy.

Yu finds himself staring, wondering how Kit can look as fresh and put together as he does in the day when he just woke up. The heat from Kit's embrace lingers on his skin, not entirely unwelcome. Yu wraps his arms around himself unconsciously. If it's in an effort to retain the feeling or to stop himself from reaching out again, he doesn't know.

"It's a maid apron! Don't I look cute, P'Kit?"

Kit rolls his eyes as Mark does another twirl, and Yu stands up to make him stop with a hand on his shoulder.

"You're going to make yourself dizzy," he says disapprovingly, "I'm going to go, I'll see you at uni."

"What? Why?"

It's Kit asking now, standing up with Yu's manga in his hands. Shit, he forgot about that. Yu looks at him, belatedly noticing that he's wearing Mark's pajamas, the pants pooling at his feet since it's too long for him.

He shouldn't be here. The thought hits him like a freight train. He's intruding in Mark's space, and Mark has P'Kit now. It was selfish of him to barge unannounced into his room like he used to when they were younger. Back when it was just Mark and Yu, before P'Pha and P'Kit. Back when Mark can easily fix everything that made Yu upset. He can't anymore. He tries, but it's not the same.

"I-I'm sorry for last night, Mark. I should've asked before going here. I'm gonna go now."

Mark frowns at him, disappointment in his eyes. "But I cooked us breakfast."

Yu forces the words to come out of his mouth in a semblance of playfulness, "Go feed your doctor boyfriend then. Make him fall in love with you. Can't be that hard if it's you."

He ducks around Mark to grab his phone and keys, walking to the door and carefully closing it behind him before sprinting to the elevators.

If he heard both Mark and Kit call out his name, he can always pretend he didn't.

*

If Yu was being honest with himself, he probably was just using P'Thanu to forget about P'Pha. Or not forget, really. It was more like, to replace him. He can admit to himself now, that the time he spent with P'Thanu was used to collect the ways in which him and P'Pha were the same and the ways they weren't.

At first, it was just that they looked alike. Tall, dark-haired, handsome. And they acted alike, all gentlemanly and caring and attentive. But that's where it ended.

Thanu is shrouded in mystery. Always so distracted, and quiet. But it was okay, Yu thought it was good - that they can have those silences together. Thought it meant that they were comfortable enough with one another to just be. Yu knew fuck all about him aside from the fact that he was Kit and Pha's senior and P'Padbok hated him. And Yu still defended him so fiercely, so blindly loyal in a way he didn't deserve.

Yu from months ago would be glad, that P'Pha was still looking out for him in his own way. But Yu likes to think he knows better now. Mark always told him he trusted too easily. Maybe he did. He never had a reason not to. Now he has two.

"Yu? You okay, babe?"

"Pim! Yeah, sorry. I was spacing out. Where do you want this?"

"Okay, a little bit to the left, please. Higher, higher... there! Stop! That's perfect, thank you."

The Science booth was almost done. Yu's glad he came here instead of overthinking whatever happened that morning.

"Baaabe, last one. We just need to come up with a list of songs we'll put in a hat and have the freshies sing. Come, come."

Yu drops to the floor with a sigh, crossing his legs and leaning on Pim as their classmates sit together in a loose circle.

"Thank you so much everyone for coming to help," their senior says, smiling at the people around, "I'm so proud of what we've accomplished these past few days and I can't wait until all the freshies are here to enjoy it. And of course, to our previous college Beau and Belle, N'Wayu and N'Pim, the work is just starting for the both of you."

Yu just smiles as Pim laughingly drops into a deep waii, waving in all directions.

They finish the preparations quickly after, and Yu almost forgets about that morning until Pim brings Mark up.

"Hey, babe. Let's get lunch? Or is Mark and his faen picking you up?"

Yu freezes in the middle of packing up, dropping his bag on the floor.

"Hey, you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Yu quickly answers, picking up his bag, "and they're not, so we can go. I'm starving."

"Great! Where's your army? They're not gonna kill me for eating out with you, right?"

"What? What army?"

"Your army of admirers? The Comm. Arts-Engg alliance that's been keeping P'Tall-Dark-and-Handsome away from you? I would've been blind not to notice, Yu."

Yu rolls his eyes, pinching Pim's side and giggling when she yelps.

"Stop exaggerating, babe. Mark's just being protective like always."

"Possessive's more like it. Him and P'Mhor'Kit both."

"What's the difference?" Yu asks, his heart suddenly beating faster in his chest.

"Protective is you hovering beneath me on that ladder earlier even though it was barely three feet," Pim explains, "Possessive is Mark deliberately setting you up with men he knows aren't your type."

"As if you were any different when it was me up there. And I don't get your metaphor."

"Give it some time, babe. You'll figure it out."

Yu sticks his tongue out.

His phone dies in the middle of late lunch. He doesn’t notice, because he and Pim head straight to the theater afterwards to watch the new blockbuster sci-fi movie. They speak and laugh over each other as they pinpoint the plot holes and almost get thrown out for the noise. After that, they must've spent at least two hours window shopping for skincare and makeup, Yu dutifully holding out his wrist whenever Pim wants to swatch something.

"Oh, babe," Pim sighs when they reach the mall exit, "If you weren't so gay, I'd date you already."

Yu just shakes his head. "Babe, if I wasn't genuinely afraid your girlfriend would ruin my life, I'd do the same."

Pim grins, her phone already to her ear. "She's at the parking already. Thanks for today, Yu. I'll see you in class tomorrow."

Yu hails a cab once Pim leaves, leaning forward to politely ask the driver if he can charge his phone. Without Pim, Yu is left alone to his thoughts.

Was she right? Was Mark...what? Possessive of him? That wouldn't make sense, right? Mark wanted more than anyone to find Yu a new boyfriend. He wouldn't have gone through all that trouble if he didn't want it to work.

Yu leans back, strapping the seat belt across his chest. Doing so suddenly reminds him of that morning, Kit's arms warm and safe and sure around him. His cheeks heat up at the memory. P'Kit always had a reassuring presence. Mark used to complain about how cold he was to him, right before he gushes about how it just makes the moments where he lets his guard down extra sweet. But Kit has never been cold or snobbish. Not to Yu.

Even P'Pha had prefaced their first meeting with how Kit can be a man of few words, that it would take some time before Kit would allow himself to open up to Yu, too focused on his goals to befriend everyone he meets. It turned out to be unnecessary. P'Kit and him had hit it off the moment they met.

It was why he was so eager for him and Mark to get together. He knows his best friend can be a bit much for some, but Mark's an angel. His heart swings wildly on his sleeve, but it's always filled with everyone's best interests. No one else could bring out the Kit Yu knows more than Mark can. And Kit is so disciplined and no-nonsense about his studies, exactly the kind of grounding presence Mark needed that Yu couldn't always bring.

His phone starts to light up, chiming steadily. The sound goes on loudly for so long Yu winces.

23 missed calls from Mark
5 missed calls from N'Sab
12 LINE messages from Mark
9 LINE messages from N'Sab
8 LINE messages from P'Kit

Even their icons next to each other look cute. Kit and Mark are perfect together. Yu's delighted they found each other. He's been rooting for them from the start.

So why does he feel so much dread at the thought of talking to either of them?

He swipes for a while, oddly comforted by the act of clearing his notifications until there's nothing left.

He calls Sab first.

"Nong, what happened? Is Por and Mae okay?"

"Phi, finally! Yes, they're fine. But P'Mark has been looking for you all day. Please call him back because he's been bugging me instead."

Yu feels like such a terrible friend.

"Why? I was with my classmates. Then I went out with Pim."

"Tell P'Mark that," Sab whines.

"Okay?"

"Okay, bye-bye."

Sab hangs up. Yu stares at Mark's number for a little too long, the contact picture one out of the million selfies they have on his phone. Mark cups Yu's jaw with one hand, his thumb and index finger squeezing Yu's cheeks as Yu pouts into the camera, Mark grinning so wildly behind him his eyes disappear.

Those smiles belong to someone else now. 

Wayu chides himself for the thought. Mark isn't like that. Mark has proven time and again that being with P'Kit doesn't mean he'll abandon Wayu. Right?

"Nong, we're here. That'll be X baht."

Yu takes out the appropriate amount of cash, bidding the cab driver good night before stepping out into his building lobby.

And straight into Mark and Kit.

"What are you both doing here?" Yu asks, deja vu creeping in.

"You didn't eat what I cooked," Mark pouts, "and you weren't answering your phone. We've been waiting here forever."

"Sab didn't know where you were," Kit adds quietly.

"I was with Pim," Yu answers, his voice small.

"Well, you should've told us that!" Mark bursts out - not angrily, just...worried. Yu doesn't know why Mark would be. He should've just enjoyed his Sunday with P'Kit. It's what Yu would've done if P'Kit was his boyfriend.

Wait, no. It's what Yu would've done if he had a boyfriend. Not necessarily P'Kit. Or Mark. Or- shit.

Kit puts a hand on Mark's arm to calm him down. Mark does so immediately, looking to P'Kit who stares him down. They have a silent conversation, all eyes and facial gestures. It's so sweet, Yu thinks, that their relationship has matured so fast that they can do couple-y things like that now.

It's sweet, Yu tells himself, so don't think about how that used to be yours and Mark's thing - talking without speaking. Or how you know exactly how calming it feels to have P'Kit touch you and talk you down. 

Just be happy for them. Because he isn't, suddenly. He isn't happy for them, he realizes, feeling terrible. He isn't happy. He isn't anything. He's just tired. Just- he wants to be somewhere far away from anything that can remind him of Mark and P'Kit and P'Thanu and P'Pha.

"My phone died," Yu explains listlessly, pushing past the two of them on his way to the elevators.

"Yu, where are you going?" Mark.

Yu presses the buttons for his floor.

"We brought you dinner." P'Kit.

They're both so concerned. It's too much. They shouldn't be here, the way he shouldn't have been at Mark's last night and this morning.

They worry about him too much when they should be all wrapped up in each other. It makes Yu sick. 

The elevator dings, parting its doors to reveal passengers who take way too long to leave.

"Yu," Mark calls. He sounds sad, and Yu hates himself a little. Yu turns back to look at him.

"Are we okay?" 

He nods, stepping inside. He stares at the dark space separating the elevator from the lobby floor, a long dark line between him and MarkKit.

He presses the close button. Kit jams the one outside, preventing it from closing. 

"Go on a date with us," Kit says. 

"Maybe some other time, phi," Wayu sighs, "I'll even bring my film camera so I can take nicer pictures of the two of you." 

Mark frowns, dragging Kit into the elevator with him, pressing the close button repeatedly and glaring at the resident who tries to enter. Yu finds himself walking backwards until his back hits the wall. 

"No, Yu. He meant date us. All three of us, together. We want to be your boyfriends." 

Chapter Text

By the time he enters secondary school, Mark is undeniably sure of two things. One, he wants to be an engineer. Two, he's perfectly happy being an only child.

It went like this. When Mark was five years old, his Mae took him to make merit. One of her friends built the temple they went to, and she told baby Mark about what it was like to work as an engineer. He looked at the high, curved ceilings and the sturdy pillars holding the temple up, and decided then and there that he's going to be an engineer when he grows up. He hasn't looked back since.

Then he's eight, asking his Mae if he could have a little brother or sister like some of the kids at school do. His Por, who's also an only child, laughed and asked him to wait a little bit. That weekend, they finally took him to visit his nine-month-old baby cousin. N'Ploy is adorable, all chubby cheeks and gurgling laughter and Mark had the time of his life playing with her. But then she got hungry and started crying, hitting Mark with her tiny fists. Mark spent the day in his uncle's house in growing horror, listening to her wails and pinching his nose against the smell when she inevitably poops after lunch.

When they got home that day, Por asked him if he still wants a sibling.

"Nongs are okay when I don't have to take them home," he confidently told his parents, who burst into twin peals of laughter and hugged him tight.

On the first day of M1, Mark got called to the office. He said hi and chatted with everyone he passed on the hall, so it took him a while to get there. A tiny boy with round glasses looked up when he came in, gifting him with the most beautiful smile Mark has ever seen.

Mark felt his breath catch in his throat, almost missing the teacher introducing the boy as Wayu Panitchyasakul.

"My name is Wayu, khrab. Please take care of me." Wayu put his hands together, bowing deeply.

Mark did the same, staring at the shine on Wayu’s shoes and winking conspiratorially as they both started to look up. Wayu smiled his beautiful smile again, delighted, and Mark felt his chest fill with pride at being the cause of it.

"You're such a people person, Mark," the teacher gushed, "I'm sure you can help Wayu here adjust. He's new to Bangkok."

She said "people person" in English, so Mark just nodded, wondering if it was a good thing.

"What does it mean?" he asked Wayu as they walked back to the classroom.

"It means you're friendly and considerate and that makes everyone like you," Wayu explained earnestly, eager to help.

"That's nice," Mark answered, pleased. He would proceed to spend the next six years of Mathayom living up to the name.

Wayu took the desk next to him, eyes shining when Mark told him he's going to call him Yu from now on. "Because everyone deserves a nickname!"

When the day ended, Mark added two things to the list. One, he's going to be the friendliest people person there ever was. Two, Wayu is going to be his best friend forever.

*

Despite everything (or perhaps because of it), Mark wakes up well-rested that morning.

He props himself up on one arm, carefully letting go of Kit's hand where it laid over Yu's stomach. He stares at Kit's and Wayu’s sleeping faces, both so beautiful in their own ways, and pats himself on the back for last night's quick thinking that led him here.

P'Kit shifts in his sleep, frowning as the hand that held Mark's closes over nothing. He moves it further, and Yu sighs as P'Kit's hand curls around his waist.

Yes, Mark thinks, that looks about right. This is a sight he would love to wake up to every morning.

He reaches out to brush back Yu's hair, grinning as it flops back against his forehead. Mark gets up quietly, going around the bed to drop a kiss on Kit's forehead, and walks to the kitchen to make breakfast.

There, he spots the box of nori snacks in his pantry that he stocked there specifically for when Wayu comes over.

You're in love with him, P'Kit had said. Mark has refused to put a name to what he felt for Yu for seven long years. But P'Kit made it sound so easy.

His boyfriend saying it out loud felt like permission, as if P'Kit saw the door behind which Mark kept the beyond-friendship feelings that he always had for Yu but refused to acknowledge, and pushed it open.

And now everything he held back feeling for Yu came rushing in, incredible and enormous and overwhelming in its immensity. But that's okay. That's the best part, actually, because now he has P'Kit.

P'Kit, who's holding his hand, inviting him in so they can walk through their mutual feelings for Yu together.

He couldn't wait.

*

Mark must have missed something. One minute he's looking at his beautiful, wonderful, P'Kit- and Yu-filled future, and the next he’s running away from them.

"What just happened?" he demands, torn between going after Yu and not burning down his own kitchen.

"Mark, it's okay. Let him go."

Mark sits down heavily on the bed, turning to P'Kit who frowns as he bounces up at the motion.

"I don't think this test drive is going well," he pouts, fiddling with his apron, "We lost the car."

"No," Kit insists, reaching behind him to untie the apron, "This is just a pit stop. We're on the first stretch, we just have to recalibrate.

Mark obediently ducks as Kit pulls the straps over his head and pulls it off completely.

"You're getting really into this metaphor," Mark grins.

P'Kit opens his mouth, before closing it again.

"You're the one who came up with it," he mutters, looking away.

So cute, Mark thinks giddily. It's a recurring thought every time he's around P'Kit, which is more or less all the time now. It's fucking amazing.

He pokes P'Kit's shoulder. "Let's eat breakfast na. Then we can come up with a plan on how to get Yu to fall for us."

*

'This isn't the plan,' Mark furiously texts P'Kit later that evening, as the two of them stand in the elevator in excruciatingly awkward silence while Yu crouches in the corner.

Mark, fueled by desperate confidence, dragged Kit into the elevator with him, watching with satisfaction as it closed the doors behind them.

And suddenly made an ominous creaking sound, the lights flickering like a badly made horror movie.

That's when it went up three floors, dropped two, and halted into a rough stop in between, the floor indicator flashing a huge red 00.

P'Kit had immediately pressed the emergency button, the operator on the other side apologizing profusely and telling them that the on-call technician was between shifts, but should arrive in around 30 minutes.

In the meantime, all they could do was wait.

"Yu? Did you hear what we said?" P'Kit asks hesitantly.

"Yeah, give me a minute," Yu answers, not looking up at them from where he's crouched on the floor, arms over his head like they're in a fire drill and not stuck in an elevator.

"You're not claustrophobic, are you?"

"No, he's not," Mark answers, frowning down at his best friend and kicking lightly at his knees until Yu stretches his legs out and looks up to glare at him.

"What?"

"What? You're not."

"No, I'm not," Yu relents. Mark takes it as permission to sit down next to him, their legs parallel to each other. His shoes knock repeatedly against Yu's in a familiar rhythm.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I love you," Mark sings softly under his breath, nudging Yu with his shoulder as well.

Yu looks at him, and Mark watches him struggle not to smile.

"6, 7, 8, 9, I love you," Mark continues, booping Yu's nose to the beat.

Yu wrinkles his nose, batting Mark's hand away. But he finally lets the smile free on his face, and Mark allows himself a moment to be mesmerized. He hasn't since the first time, always stopping himself from fully appreciating it all these years lest he acknowledge what being struck dumb by your best friend's smile means.

"Every day and night, I love you," Yu hums in response, almost absent-mindedly.

"Oh my darling," Mark sings the last line quietly, slowly, letting his eyes linger on Yu's mouth now that he can, "oh my darling, you."

Yu watches Mark watching him, his cheeks slowly flushing red. It's so beautiful (everything about Yu always is) Mark can't believe he was going to give Yu away.

"Calm down, boy," P'Kit sighs from behind him, settling a hand on his shoulder.

Mark turns, almost forgetting that he was there. Almost.

"P'Kit," he whines, "Part 1 of the plan was to play that song on my guitar. Why didn't you stop me?"

"It was working," P'Kit answers simply, looking over at Yu who flushes an even darker red.

Yu clears his throat, standing up suddenly and making to move out of his corner. P'Kit, amazing as always, lays a hand on his arm to stop him.

"We meant what we said, Yu," P'Kit says seriously, "we hope you think it through."

"Or say yes, if that's what you're already thinking," Mark pipes up, "if you're leaning towards yes, there's no need to think it through."

"Stop," Yu bursts out, standing up fully, "can we all just. Stop first, please."

P'Kit holds out a hand and Mark takes it, pulling himself up and dusting off his pants.

"You don't have to do this," Yu continues, his voice small, "You don't have to keep taking care of me, both of you. I'm not your responsibility. It's okay to be happy with each other. You should be, you should-"

"Is that what you think?" Mark asks, just as quiet.

"Mark," Kit says warningly.

"No," Mark continues, brushing P'Kit off, "You think, what? That I see you as a burden? That I feel like I have to take care of you? You don't get to tell me how I feel because even I didn't know what I felt for you until P'Kit told me. You're my best friend and I love you, Yu. I take care of you because I want to. But I'm in love with you too. So tell me what I'm supposed to do."

Yu doesn't tell him. He just stands and stares, and Mark takes the three seconds Yu doesn't do anything to fumble for Kit behind him. 

He can't believe he just said that. The nerves don't catch up with him until all the words are out of his mouth, and now Mark can't help but wonder if it was too early- if maybe Yu wasn't ready to hear it yet- if he just threw seven years of friendship and one of the two most important relationships in his life down the drain.

His hand catches on Kit's arm the exact moment Yu surges forward and kisses him on the mouth.

It's barely a kiss, just the press of soft lips on his before Yu pulls back, leaving him tingling. Mark trails after him, longing for a deeper taste. But Yu looks panicked, eyes unfocused as he steps back and whispers, “I’m sorry…” 

Mark can’t tell if he’s talking to him or P'Kit.

"Why are you sorry?" Mark thinks, bringing his hand unconsciously up to his mouth, unaware that he's talking so out loud, "Don’t be. You can always do it again."

"Omygod," P'Kit mumbles, "you're going to crash the car."

Mark looks behind him and finds his boyfriend with his face in his hands. Ugh, he's still so cute even when Mark can't see his face. He loves him so much.

Mark suddenly remembers what he was saying. He whips back around to poke his best friend in the chest.

"Yu! You distracted me! I was trying to tell you I have feelings for you!" 

Yu still looks shocked about what he did, telling Mark's finger resting on his chest, "I just kissed you."

Mark finds that he's unable to listen to rational thought. "It's not much of a kiss, really. You might have to do it again, just to be sure."

P'Kit moves forward, gently taking Mark’s hand and moving it down to his side.

"Yu, look at me," he asks. Yu does.

"You understand, right? We're not doing this out of obligation. Mark and I talked about this seriously and we just- we like you. So much. Both of us. And we want to be with you, that's all."  

"I’m not as good as Mark is at courting," P'Kit adds, glancing at Mark thankfully when he squeezes his hand in silent support, “but we hope you’ll give us a chance to convince you.” 

Yu looks overwhelmed, but nods all the same.

"How does this work? If we- what? All three of us date? You're already boyfriends. I'll just be a third wheel, won't I?"

So that's what he was thinking about. 

"Yu," Mark starts, taking Yu's hand in his, "I'm already pretty enough for all three of us. You and P'Kit need to be the smart ones."

Yu rolls his eyes. "I'm genuinely asking, asshole." 

"You won't be a third wheel. It'll be just like this except we're all boyfriends," P'Kit insists, "If anything, I might be the one who feels left out between you two best friends." 

Mark and Yu make twin noises of disagreement, hands still joined as they rush to reassure P'Kit.

P'Kit only smirks. "See?" 

"Ohhh, that was tricky," Mark comments, impressed.

"It's not like it's going to be all three of us all the time, too," P'Kit adds, taking Yu's other hand, "Mark and I would take turns. We're not always free at the same time." 

Yu seems preoccupied, staring down at his hands, each of which are held by Mark and Kit. Mark follows his gaze and takes P'Kit's free hand, completing the circle. He looks up again to find a small but gentle smile on Yu's face.

There's a similar one on P'Kit's face. His dimples are out, a tender look in his eyes that Mark's only seen directed at him. It doesn't make him jealous, not like he thought it might. But he knows that's because it's Yu. Because he knows he looks at Yu the same way. 

Mark hesitates to break the silence. Yu's face is doing that thing that means he's thinking very deeply, and Mark doesn't want to disturb him. Mark can see how beautiful and happy they can be, how well they all can take care of each other, and can only hope that Wayu sees the same thing. 

They stand and stare quietly, still holding hands, for longer than Mark is comfortable with. But if it's to hear Yu say yes, he can wait for as long as Yu needs.

P'Kit must sense it too, only occasionally squeezing Mark's hand, but also keeping silent. Mark knows they're hoping for the same thing. 

"Okay," Yu finally says. Whispers. He says it so softly Mark wouldn't have heard it if he wasn't holding his breath in anticipation. 

"Okay?" he repeats.

"Okay," Yu confirms, louder, finally looking up at them. 

"Okay?" P'Kit repeats this time, crushing Mark's hand with his grip. 

Yu nods, smiling beautifully. He bites down on his lower lip shyly. It would’ve looked ridiculous if it's anyone else, but Mark's best friend has always been the exception to a lot of things. 

It's Kit's turn to surprise them when he pulls them both into a bear hug, wrapping his arms around Mark and Yu. 

Mark squeaks in surprise but holds on just as tightly. This is his world now, he realizes, the thought hitting him unexpectedly. Just being blinded by the beauty of Yu's smile every time he's not melting from how amazing literally anything P'Kit does is. He thinks he can live with that. 

"We're going to be the best suitors ever, Yu. Just wait. I've learned so much about what not to do from Mark's stupid Facebook lives."

"Hey!" Mark exclaims, more out of surprise than offense. Did P’Kit just joke?

"Nah, man. P'Kit is right. They were awful." 

"So ungrateful," Mark mutters, pouting. 

The fact that his face is still squished against Yu's shoulder kind of ruins the effect though. They’re already ganging up on him. Mark loves it. 

P'Kit clears his throat, stepping back.  

“Well,” he says, arms dropping listlessly back to his sides. Mark feels cold immediately. But he cheers up soon after, his brain reminding him of last night’s favorite revelation: Two boyfriends mean twice the kisses. And Yu just kissed him, so life is already looking up. Now to get Yu and Kit to kiss each other...

"Ohmygod, Yu," Mark exclaims, shaking his best-friend-slash-future-boyfriend as another wonderful thought occurs to him, "Once we're boyfriends, both N'Phai and N'Sab officially get to be my brothers in law."

"Officially? You'd still be on probation, Mark."

"Aow, I'm on probation again?"

"What do you mean again? You're still on probation," Kit reminds him. 

"I'm on double probation?!"

"Wait, Yu. Am I also on probation?" 

"I'm taking it back if the both of you don't stop saying the word probation."

"Deal!" Mark and Kit say at the same time. 

P’Kit looks like he still wants to say something else - maybe to ask for his kiss? - but the speaker crackles back to life, the operator’s voice floating in and announcing that the technician has arrived and estimates thirty minutes until the elevator is back in working order. 

Mark whines, sliding dramatically down the wall. 

“The floor’s dirty,” Kit reprimands.

Mark freezes in an awkward squat, narrowing his eyes at P’Kit. His boyfriend only stares back. Without breaking eye contact, Mark whips out his engineering jacket out of his bag (so maybe he was hoping to sleep over at Yu’s tonight and go to uni directly the next morning, sue him) and lays it down flat on the floor. 

“What are you doing?” Yu asks, an eyebrow raised. 

“Making a seat for you two,” Mark replies, presenting his jacket with a flourish, “because I am the perfect gentleman.”

“You expect us both to fit there?” 

Yu doesn’t seem to have a problem, smoothing down his shorts and perching daintily on the left side of the jacket. 

“Are you coming, P’Kit?” he asks, looking up innocently. 

This is way too fun, Mark thinks to himself. Watching P’Kit try to hide how flustered he is is just as entertaining when Wayu’s the cause instead of him. There’s little to no space left, but P’Kit seems unable to resist Yu’s eyes and sits down anyway.

Yu promptly throws his legs over P’Kit’s lap. 

Well.

If that doesn't look nice. 

Yu's legs are so white they almost glow against the long lines of P'Kit's dark jeans. P’Kit freezes in place, but Yu only stretches to reach for P’Kit’s bag and the takeout container sitting on top of it, peering inside without a care for Kit’s ongoing gay panic. 

“Oh, it's not warm anymore,” Yu announces, disappointed. 

"We brought some snacks too," P'Kit offers, finally finding his voice as he takes them out. He shifts to make Yu more comfortable, letting him settle between his legs and hooking his chin over Yu's shoulder as he sips on vitamin jelly.

Mark thinks back to what Yu said, about how him and Kit weren’t obliged to take care of him. He meant it when he said that he did it because he wanted to. Like P’Kit said, they didn’t see it as an obligation. Mark knew more than anyone else that Yu can take care of himself. Mark, P’Pha, P’Kit and P’Thanu were only able to do so because Yu let them. It was a privilege that had to be earned. And if Mark had to prove himself over and over again, then he’s willing to do whatever it takes. He knows P’Kit feels the same way. 

When Mark learned that P’Pha left, Yu's weak voice over the phone breaking his heart, Mark felt the kind of pure, ugly rage thrumming in his veins he's never felt before. He didn't like it, not one bit. He doesn't like being angry, because it was exhausting and there's 3848281 more things Mark would rather spend energy on. But there's a first time for everything. That night, watching helplessly as the man he loved most in the world sob in the rain and fall apart in his arms, Mark truly believed he would never hate anyone as much as he hated Pharawee Kongthakorn. 

It didn't make sense to him, because Pha and Yu were the perfect fairytale couple. Yu had so much love to give, and Pha gave it back in equal measure. Mark thought P'Pha understood, thought he knew how lucky he was to be loved by Yu. But maybe Mark was wrong. Because who could have Yu and let him go? Who could have Yu's love then look him in the eye and tell him he doesn't want him anymore? 

Not Mark. Even if this doesn't work out, he could never.

He is determined to make it work, though. Yu trusted them. And Mark would rather cut off his own arm than betray Yu’s trust. No one would hurt Wayu ever again, not if Mark has anything to say about it. It may have been P’Kit who opened the idea of getting the three of them together, but Mark doesn’t agree to things he’s not ready to 100% commit to. Like being an Engineer, or an only child. Like taking care of Yu back in M1, and being the Engineering and Campus Moon. Like courting P’Kit and saying sorry to Yuki on behalf of his seniors. Mark Daichapanhat does not go back on his word nor does he do things half-heartedly. 

P'Kit carefully tears open a packet of seaweed, blushing ever so slightly as Yu enthusiastically closes his mouth over the snack, just shy of P'Kit's hand.

And that includes falling in love. 

Mark crouches down, sneaking a quick kiss on P'Kit's cheek because he can. He ignores the way P'Kit whips around to look at him, smiling slightly to himself as he gets a snack of his own.

"What's this?" Mark asks, rolling down Yu's sleeve and revealing a patchwork of faded lipstick and blush swatches on his arm. 

P'Kit looks alarmed. "Why is your skin so discolored? Did you get hit? Did you take an allergy test? It doesn't look like in the textbook..."

"It's makeup, mhor," Yu explains as Mark's fingers dance lightly over Yu's wrist. It looks so delicate...

Mark's seen and held it a thousand times before, knows how soft and warm it usually is, has memorized the reassuring weight of it in his hand, and yet.

It feels different now, knowing that he likes Yu like that. He turns it over, tracing the lines of Yu's palm with the tip of his finger. He can hear Yu's sharp intake of breath at the action, and Mark quietly files the information away for future reference. Interesting. 

P'Kit brings out a pack of wipes from his bag and gently works to erase the colors from Yu's arm. 

Mark switches to Yu's other hand, playing idly with his palm. The weight of his watch sits comfortably against his own wrist, but Yu's is bare. They need to fix that. In the meantime, he wraps his thumb and forefinger over Yu's wrist, rubbing his thumb gently up and down the pulse point.

P’Kit takes out a travel-sized bottle of alcohol, rubbing some over Yu’s wrist. Mark watches Yu’s eyes flutter closed, red creeping up his cheeks. Very interesting.

Yu shifts, pulling his oversized sweater over his knees and making himself smaller. P’Kit frowns, his hand closing over Yu’s wrist, his other arm snaking loosely around his waist, pulling him closer. 

“Are you cold?” he asks.

Yu shakes his head frantically, blinking his eyes open. 

“I think you are,” Mark interrupts, grinning. He cups Yu’s hand between both of his own, blowing warmly into the space between his own fingers, accidentally letting his bottom lip drag against the side of Yu's palm. He meets Yu’s eyes, watching his lids drop into half-mast as his breathing grows labored. Ohhhh. Nice. 

Yu whimpers, tearing his gaze away and hiding his face in his knees. P'Kit worriedly leans forward, letting his wrist go and running a gentle hand down his back.  

"Are you okay?" 

"'am fine," Yu mumbles, talking to his knees.

P'Kit tsks, smoothing a hand up Yu's back and over one shoulder, gently pulling him back up flush against P’Kit's chest. 

“We’ll be out of here soon baby, don’t worry."

Mark lets go of Yu's hand, holding on to P'Kit's shoulder as he pushes himself back up to a standing position. 

"Baby. I like that," he muses. 

P'Kit freezes. "Did I say that? I'm- I didn't mean to, Yu, I'm sorry-" 

Yu finally looks up. "It's okay. I kind of like it, too." 

P'Kit's answering smile could rival the sun.

Later, once the elevator gets fixed and the three of them have finished eating a proper dinner at Yu's kitchen table, Mark wracks his brain for an excuse to stay. P’Kit, unhelpful boyfriend that he is, is too busy doing boring shit like organizing Yu’s study desk and alphabetizing the manga on his shelf. 

"You know," Yu starts hesitantly, storing away the dishes Mark washed. P’Kit stops instantly, giving Yu his entire attention. "It's getting late. And, um. My bed is much bigger than Mark's."

Mark grins when the bookends in P’Kit’s hands crash to the floor.