title: i don't deserve you
setting: college au
pairing: manuel x tomas
"Hey. Do you like anyone, Manuel?" Tomas asks as he skips along the pavement, humming to the tune of what seems to be a mash up between 'Ghost Fighter' and Slam Dunk's theme songs.
As the smaller (but older) boy skipped ahead of him, Manuel can't help but smile. It still baffles him that walking with Tomas on the way home has become a habit for him. No, wait - anything that has to do with Tomas still baffles him. The two of them started out as org-mates, but that was that. Aside from the usual greetings and small talk whenever they passed by each other in the halls, they had little to no interaction at all. One fateful day, however, Manuel, being the clumsy being that he was, accidentally fell down a flight of stairs - and guess who was there to witness it all, stifling a laugh as he helped the poor giant stand up?
From that day forth, Tomas constantly approached Manuel to the point where they started hanging out together in whatever free time they had. Manuel honestly didn't mind, since he's taken a liking to the older boy ever since they first met. But it bothered him for a different reason. Whenever he saw Tomas, he was always surrounded by several people. He has this... magnetic aura that just pulls everyone in. So why would someone as likable, funny, & interesting as Tomas choose to be friends with a bland, dark humored, & socially inept dork like him? Up to this day, he still hasn't found the answer to that. What could he have possibly seen in Manuel that was so worthy of his time and friendship?
"Helloooo? Earth to Manuel? You still there?"
Manuel was startled to see that Tomas was now in front of him, waving his tiny hands in front of the taller boy's face. He lets out a chuckle and fondly puts his hand on top of Tomas' head.
"Sorry, I was thinking of something else," he admits, feeling a bit embarrassed that he didn't catch whatever the hell Tomas just said a few minutes ago.
"...That's okay. You're always in your own little world, anyway."
"Huh? Aren't you describing yourself?"
Tomas scrunches his nose and lets out a huff. "Hey, I have a lot of things to think about, okay? I have three exams coming up and I don't think I'm mentally and emotionally capable of taking them on all in one day."
"You poor thing."
Manuel could only say so much. As much as he wanted to reassure Tomas and say that everything's going to be fine eventually, he was also stuck in the same dilemma. They were taking different programs (Manuel in his second year of Pharmacy, and Tomas in his last year of History), but the suffering that college students go through remains the same. Not to mention he wasn't really the type to comfort other people. Heck, he can't even comfort himself.
He awkwardly places his hand on Tomas' back in the hopes of making him feel better. They stayed that way for a while until Tomas started clearing his throat out of nowhere. Manuel almost thought he was coughing for real, but the smirk on the boy's lips says otherwise.
"You still haven't answered my question, Manuel."
"You really weren't listening to a word I said earlier, huh?" Tomas pouts and stomps one foot childishly. "Unbelievable."
"Like I said, I was thinking of y-"
Manuel purses his lips and immediately stops himself from continuing the sentence any further. He can't even imagine what'll happen if he slips up (like he almost always does).
Tomas looks up at Manuel with those charming doe-eyes of his and tilts his head to the side, waiting for him to finish his words, but they never came.
"Yakult. I was thinking of Yakult..." he manages to mutter with an obvious voice crack, earning a high-pitched laugh from Tomas.
"Seriously? Are you that stressed? If you want it so bad, just tell me! I think I have some at my dorm." Tomas elbows Manuel's stomach and continues to laugh. "Although I still have to check if it's expired or not."
Manuel nervously chuckles as he thinks of being eaten up alive by the ground. He somehow managed to make a complete fool of himself in front of the guy he likes AGAIN. Luckily it still made Tomas laugh, so things weren't all that bad (and it's technically half-true since he has been craving Yakult for a few days now)
Manuel sighs and puts his sweaty palms together once Tomas had calmed down. "So what was it that you were asking, Kuya Tomas?"
He can already see it. The look that Tomas will give him that seems to be saying 'call-me-kuya-one-more-time-and-i-will-literally-end-you' or 'you-know-how-much-i-detest-being-called-kuya-you-little-shit'. He was ready to hear another one of Tomas' long lectures about it, but that wasn't what happened.
Instead, a smile that Manuel's never seen before was now on the golden haired boy's face. Manuel honestly had to hold his breath at the unexpected sight. It was such a gentle and peaceful smile - completely different from the energetic and toothed smile that Tomas showed everyone. It made him think how lucky he was to be able to see this particular side of Tomas, and how painful it was to see it disappear in a flash.
"I asked... Do you like anyone, Manuel?"
"Ah, you don't have to answer!" Tomas plays with the hem of his shirt as his eyes darted up and down. "I-I was just curious... I was thinking I could help you out or something..."
Before Manuel could even realize it, he was already reaching out to touch Tomas' face. Other people will probably look at them funny, but he didn't care. He wanted to absorb this moment. To cherish it.
"H-hey, what are you doing, Manuel?"
Manuel traces the cheeks of the smaller boy with his fingers, and they immediately turn into a faint shade of red. Tomas blinks a couple of times and averts his eyes from the intense gaze that the younger man was giving him. Cute, Manuel thinks. No, beautiful, he corrects himself. He doesn't know where his sudden burst of confidence came from, but for now, nothing else felt as right.
"You're so beautiful," he whispers, but still loud enough for the other to hear.
"I don't deserve you," he adds, before leaning in for a kiss. On the lips, on the cheeks, he wasn't sure anymore.
But he is sure of one thing - he's going to do it.
He's going to.
Or rather, he wanted to.
"Do you like anyone, Manuel?"
"...No one in particular."
The hot summer breeze passes by the both of them, along with Manuel's unspoken words of love.