Win, Dean and Pruk had a meeting after training and before Win had a chance to shower and come back to change. Everyone on the team should have left by now, but when Win walked into the locker room from the shower, he spotted Team laying on one of the benches, already fully dressed. One arm was slung over his eyes, the other hanging limply off the side of the bench.
“Hey, Team. What are you still doing here?”
Team groaned in response and lowered his arm to see Win. “Hia...” he whined. “I’m tired.”
Win rolled his eyes, “Practice wasn’t that hard today, why are you so tired?” He began pulling clothes out of his locker.
Team pushed himself up, dropping his legs to the floor so that he was now straddling the bench and rested his arms on his knees. “Just tired lately...”
That response caught Win’s attention. He turned back to look at Team, taking a closer look at his face. Sure enough, the usually silly and energetic freshman looked run down. Thinking back, Team actually was rather sluggish in practice today, too. His times were slower than usual. “Do you have a lot of school work?”
“Exams...” Team shrugged.
“Are you stressed out?”
“Come over tonight, I’ll help you with English some more.” Win moved closer and ruffled Team’s hair.
“Okay, hia,” Team nodded weakly.
Win was worried now, and pursed his lips together. He reached for one of Team’s arms and tugged him to stand. “Get up, go get some food. Meet me at my dorm in an hour.”
Team let himself be pulled to his feet and sighed as he agreed, then trudged out of the locker room. Win watched him go and frowned. He quickly got dressed, let Dean know he was leaving, then made his way out of the building. Win decided he would do the same thing he suggested Team do, and grab some food before heading back to his dorm. He actually bought more than he could eat and took it all back to his dorm, along with a couple bags of original flavor potato chips. Couldn’t hurt to have a snack for Team during their study session.
A knock came from the door a little after Win finished eating. Opening the door, Win saw Team, looking just slightly more awake than earlier. “You ate?”
“Uhh,” Team nodded, then walked in once Win stepped aside to make room. They both made their way over to the bed, which is where their usual tutoring sessions took place. Opening up their textbooks and notes, Win started the session. Team had actually made good progress over the course of their sessions together. Win had gotten used to finding ways to teach students who struggled to pick up English in the past and slowly, but surely, Team was getting it.
While they studied, Win took time to study Team’s face. Apart from the usual brightness being gone, he noticed that there were bags under his eyes. His eyes were also redder than usual, too. Concern started to fill Win’s heart for the younger man. They had been close ever since the training trip the swim team took at the start of the year, but Team didn’t really talk to Win about what was going on in his life. Win would make a point to try and figure out what was going on, however he could.
An hour into studying, Team had shifted to laying down while reading his notes. Win was focused on reading something for one of his own classes until he heard quiet snores coming from Team’s direction. Glancing over, he saw that Team had fallen asleep, mouth open, moments away from drooling on his notes. Win laughed quietly to himself and leaned over, gently pulling the notebook away from Team, closing it up and setting it aside. If Team was so tired, Win didn’t mind him getting sleep now.
Win settled in, leaning against the headboard of the bed and carried on reading while Team slept soundly beside him. That didn’t last, however. Team didn’t wake, but he did start jerking in his sleep. His brows were furrowed, his jaw clenched and his breathing quickened. Win watched as his fists clenched in the sheets beneath his hands and then Team started whimpering in his sleep. He was having a nightmare. Quickly moving to his side, Win set a hand on Team’s shoulder, squeezing it and speaking softly to him.
“Team... Team, it’s okay... shh, it’s alright. It’s just a bad dream. You’re okay, you’re safe.” He rubbed Team’s arm and back, trying to comfort him.
Team reached out in his sleep, grabbing onto Win desperately. He muttered in his sleep, “Hia.... Hia.” The tone of his voice was small, scared, begging for help. It tugged at Win’s heart.
“I’m right here, I’m right here, shh.” Win laid down beside Team and pulled him into his arms, hugging him tightly. Team was shivering, his skin cold to the touch. Was the AC up that high? Win was always so warm that he hadn’t even noticed. He pulled Team to his chest and rubbed the younger man’s back, comforting. Eventually, Team settled in his arms and the tension started to seep away. Team’s fists loosened, his face relaxed, his breathing evened out. He buried his head against Win’s neck and his body slowly warmed.
The whole while, Win kept speaking to him, calming him down. He kept running his hand over Team’s back, combed fingers through his hair, soothed him as best he could. Maybe this was why Team was so tired lately? Was he having nightmares often? Every night? Win couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to sleep if he was woken by nightmares regularly. Resolving to help Team get some much needed sleep, Win settled there, intending to stay right where he was until Team woke up on his own.
As it turned out, Team slept all night long. Win woke early the next morning, Team still snuggled in his arms. They had both shifted in their sleep a little, Win was laying on his back, head on a pillow, and Team was laying on top of him, head on Win’s shoulder, an arm slung across Win’s chest. Both of Win’s arms were still wrapped around Team’s body, one hand resting on the back of Team’s head. It was astoundingly comfortable, Team’s weight against him, their bodies seeming to fit perfectly together. Win found himself thinking he wouldn’t mind getting used to this. He began running his fingers through Team’s hair gently, but otherwise was content to just stay where he was until Team woke up.
Nearly an hour later, Team began to stir. He yawned first, then started to stretch. That was when he seemed to notice that there wasn’t a pillow directly beneath his head, but a living, breathing person. Team stilled, then slowly lifted his head to see where he was and what was going on.
He was greeted with Win’s smiling face, “Good morning.”
Team blinked, then jerked back, sitting up awkwardly. “Uh-- Wha-- Huh?” He looked around, then down at himself and Win. They were both fully dressed, wearing the same clothes they had on while studying. Win wasn’t even in pajamas.
“You fell asleep,” Win explained.
“Why didn’t you wake me??” Team asked, incredulous.
“It seemed like you really needed the sleep,” Win shrugged, his tone casual, as if nothing strange was going on.
Team rubbed his eyes, collecting his thoughts. They had woken up cuddled together. He slept straight through the night without waking. He was actually fairly well rested and woke up on his own. He slept with Win. “Uhh... I should... go.”
“Do you want breakfast?” Win asked.
“Breakfast?” Team’s brows drew together as he looked back at Win. Then he looked around for his phone. “Uh... Pharm usually brings me breakfast.”
“Okay.” Win just nodded, still just sitting in bed, watching Team.
“I’m gonna... uh... go back to my room now.” Team tried to get out of the bed, tripping a little on the blanket as he went. He gathered up his belongings and shoved them into his bookbag. “Thanks-- Thanks for tutoring.”
“Any time.” Win smiled warmly, then got up when Team headed for the door. “See you at practice?”
“Yeah, uh... Yes,” He waved and reached for the door.
“Wait.” Team paused and looked back at Win, who stepped away, grabbed a bag of potato chips, then handed it over to Team. “I got these for you last night. You can have it for a snack later.”
Team blinked at the bag, looked up at Win’s face, then back down to the bag. His expression softened, though he remained confused. Taking the bag slowly, he said, “Th-thanks, hia... See you later.”
“Study hard today,” Win smiled his usual disarming smile, then watched Team walk out the door. There was a long moment between the sound of the door closing and the sound of Team’s receding footsteps.
Win turned around, looking back at his room, at the bed that they just shared so platonically. He had slept with people before, but not quite like that... And Win found himself hoping that there would be another time.
The extra sleep Team got the night he spent in Win’s room did wonders for him the following day. He could actually stay awake through classes, though he still couldn’t focus, because every so often, his mind would drift to how it felt to wake up in Win’s arms that morning. On more than one occasion, he felt his face getting hot at the thought. Nothing happened, they just slept, but for some reason it wouldn’t leave Team’s mind all day.
He was almost dreading practice that day, because he wasn’t sure how to act around Win later, but decided it might be best to just act like nothing happened. Maybe Win would do the same thing and he could just focus on practice. It more or less worked, but when Win threw his arm around Team’s shoulders so casually -- as he did all the time before -- it hit Team a little differently. He had to stop himself from leaning into Win’s side and ended up tensing up instead. Luckily, Dean showed up and gave an order to everyone to line up for laps, so Team quickly pulled away from Win.
As he stepped away, he felt Win’s arm and hand trail away and it sent a shiver down Team’s spine. He chalked it up to cold air, or some other excuse he already knew was feeble. He didn’t see the way Win stared after him as he walked away but Dean caught the look on Win’s face, although he didn’t say anything to his vice captain. Once the whistle was blown, Team and all his teammates dove into the pool and began swimming their laps. Practice went smoothly overall, and when they did timed races, Team regularly placed in the top three, which was far better than he had been doing lately.
When practice was over and everyone was getting out of the pool, Dean set a hand on Team’s shoulder and nodded. “You did well today. Better than recently... whatever changed, keep it up.”
Team blinked up at Dean, his jaw dropped. When Dean narrowed his eyes in confusion at Team, the freshman just stuttered out an agreement. After Dean walked away, Team glanced around the pool room for Win, and saw him walking towards the locker rooms. Win glanced back over his shoulder and caught Team looking. He smirked at Team, mischief in his eyes and Team scowled. Win just laughed to himself and carried on towards the locker room. Team had no choice but to follow.
Two nights passed since Team fell asleep in Win’s room and things almost immediately went back to normal. Which is to say, he went back to tossing and turning in bed, taking too long to fall asleep and then waking up an hour or two later from a nightmare. Team sat up in bed and groaned. His room felt so cold and he bundled his comforter up around his shoulders. He wanted to turn off the AC, but then it would be too hot to sleep. Not that he was sleeping anyway. Team missed his home, where it was cool enough at night not to need air conditioning. He sighed and grabbed his phone, trying to distract himself from the nightmare that woke him.
It was almost 2 am, but he scrolled through his chat messages. Manaow and Pharm would definitely be asleep, so he couldn’t text either of them. He played a game, but kept losing and the frustration made him quit. Sighing, he switched back over to Line and scrolled through his recent conversations. He tapped on the message with Win and stared at it. The last thing they talked about was swim practice. Team scrolled up...
They had talked about a bunch of random stuff, practice, tutoring, a collection of random jokes and gifs, funny links. Team dropped his hands and phone into his lap and stared off, sighing. He could text Win now. The other man might be awake still. And if not, then Win just wouldn’t reply, no harm done. Team chewed his bottom lip as he thought it over, then sucked in a breath and lifted his phone.
“Are you awake?” He typed out the message, hit send, then let out the breath he was holding. Team couldn’t help but stare at the chat window. He tapped a finger against the back of his phone, waiting, watching, wondering.
The “read” notification appeared. Win was awake, he saw the message. Team held his breath. Then he wondered why he was so nervous, feeling like a girl talking to her crush or something. Immediately, Team shook his head, trying to get that particular thought to go away.
Win was typing. A second later he sent a message. “Yeah, what’s up?”
Team considered how to reply. “Can’t sleep. Bored.”
The notification showed “read” immediately. Win must not have closed the chat message. He was waiting for Team’s response. Win replied too quickly, “Want to come to my room?”
Team’s jaw dropped. He stared at the message, then looked straight ahead. His eyes became distant as he glanced around, not really seeing anything. He thought about that request... Why not? He was awake, bored, couldn’t sleep, no one else was awake, Win’s room was just one floor up. It just made sense. Right?
“Sure,” He typed out. “Be there in a bit.”
Win read the message, then sent a thumbs up emoji and that was that. Team got out of bed, put on his shoes and left his dorm to head upstairs. They were friends, they could hang out. There was nothing weird going on. He knocked on Win’s door and waited for it to open.
The door was pulled away and replaced by a topless Win, his hair down and soft, freshly washed. Team saw Win without a shirt more often than he saw him with a shirt, but he never saw his hair down like that. Even when they showered in the locker room, Win always tied it back up before it dried.
Without a word, Win stepped aside and gestured for Team to come in, so he did, leaving his shoes beside Win’s. He padded into the room and glanced around. Win followed him, watching Team with his trademark grin. “So... can’t sleep?”
“Yeah...” Team looked off, frowning. “What were you doing? Why aren’t you asleep, hia?”
Win shrugged and dropped himself down onto the edge of the bed. He leaned back on his elbows and looked up at Team, who still stood in the middle of the room. “Just scrolling through stuff on my phone.”
Team looked down at Win, the way the other man was laid out like that, head lulled casually to one side, eyes on Team. He tried to suppress a shiver and when he failed, he covered it with a shrug and a stretch. “See anything good?”
Win’s eyes traveled up and down Team’s body and he licked his lips, “Yeah.”
“Hia!” Team groaned and rolled his eyes outwardly, but inwardly he felt a knot form in his stomach. He sat down on the edge of the bed beside Win and shoved his shoulder. “I meant on your phone.”
“Not really,” Win relented and answered. He turned his head to the side and studied Team’s face. Team tried not to feel uncomfortable under that stare, but also didn’t want to do anything to hide from it. “What do you want to do?” Win’s voice was light, not suggestive, which was different and, oddly, comforting.
“I don’t know...” Team shook his head.
“We could watch a movie?” He offered.
Team nodded, “Yeah. Sounds good. Something funny?”
“Sure.” Win got up and grabbed his laptop off his desk and moved it over to the bed. Meanwhile, Team made himself comfortable, getting into the middle of the bed, propping a pillow against the headboard, and reclined. Win joined him, sitting close beside Team, their legs touching from hip to ankle. Team didn’t move away.
Win settled the laptop on his lap, but angled it so Team could easily see it. They scrolled through a movie channel and picked out a comedy they both liked. As it started, they both settled in comfortably to watch it.
Team was asleep before they got half way through the movie, his head resting on Win’s shoulder. Win carried on watching until it ended, then closed the laptop and reached over to set it on the side table. He tried to move without waking up Team, but the younger man stirred nonetheless.
“Hia?” He asked, voice sleep-dull. “Did I fall asleep?”
Win looked over and Team’s eyes were barely half-open. He smiled fondly. “Yeah. It’s okay.”
“Sorry...” Team blinked and seemed to try and wake himself up, but Win reached up and ran a hand through his hair.
“It’s fine. Just sleep here tonight.”
“Mm... is it okay?” Team wasn’t putting up any kind of argument. He didn’t want to move and, more than that, he wanted to sleep over again.
“Of course,” Win chuckled slightly, then tried to get Team to move a little. “Come on, lay down.”
Team obliged and shifted down the bed as Win did the same. They both laid on their backs, heads on separate pillows, facing the ceiling.
“Hia?” Team started and Win turned his head to look at the other man, humming in question. “Can I...” He couldn’t finish the question, but reached towards Win with the arm that was further away.
Win understood well enough and took Team’s hand, pulling it across his chest and pulling Team along with it. Team rolled onto his side and tipped his head down to rest against Win’s shoulder. He sighed out and his whole body started to relax. Win wormed his arm underneath Team and wrapped it around his shoulders, hugging him close.
“Night, hia...” Team said drowsily and quickly fell back to sleep. Win looked down at the sleeping man beside him and smiled. He ran his fingers through Team’s hair, comforting, and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
“Goodnight,” he whispered against Team’s head and the boy nuzzled into Win in his sleep. It brought a smile to the blond’s lips. He would fall asleep soon after and Team didn’t stir once. No more nightmares tonight.
It had been nearly two weeks since Team slept at Win’s dorm for the second time. In that time, their relationship did and didn’t change. Win still threw his arm around Team’s shoulders all the time, but maybe just a little bit more often. He found more excuses to touch Team and was always pleased that Team didn’t stop him. Sometimes, he even caught Team leaning into it. After the training camp at the beginning of the year, Team would occasionally jump or go stiff initially when Win leaned on him. After a while, he just got used to it and these days, Team even seemed to be expecting it, waiting for Win to lean on him.
Every so often, he would lean his shoulder back into Win’s chest. He would let Win set the pace when walking, so that he wouldn’t pull away from the embrace. More recently, especially when he was tired, Team would fully lean back into Win’s hold. He lulled his head back to rest on Win’s shoulder and whined a “hiaaaa, I’m tired.”
It was all Win could do not to kiss his head in those moments. But they were in public.
Win never minded being affectionate with people he loved in public, that’s why he always found excuses to touch Team. But there was something different about that. It was something friends could do. Team and Mew leaned on each other a lot, Win and Dean did too. Well, Win leaned on Dean. The fact remained, Win could get away with doing anything with Team that a friend would do. Anything more affectionate than that, anything sweeter, anything remotely romantic, was saved for private.
That was an unspoken rule between them, one that Team set without saying.
On one occasion, Win jokingly slipped his hand into Team’s, teasing him, but wanting it to be real. Team pulled his hand away and rolled his eyes with an annoyed “Hia!” Win wasn’t mad, he liked teasing Team and as long as the junior kept calling him hia, everything was fine. Having beloved younger siblings, Win was always helpless against the word “hia” - he would do anything for someone who called him hia. And Win knew, he would do anything for Team.
Every time Dean and Pharm were around and being sickeningly romantic and dreamy around each other, Win would look at Team, then indicate the other couple with his eyes, paired with a waggle of his brows and a smirk. Team would just sigh and give a look that said “dream on.”
But when they were alone...
In the privacy of Win’s dorm, things were different. There, Win was allowed to be more affectionate. If he pulled Team into his lap or hugged him for a long time, Team didn’t fight it. He leaned in. Nearly every night, Team would show up at Win’s door in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. Each time, Win let him in, and they fell asleep in each other’s arms. The nightmares abated some, as well. After a particularly rough day, Team was more likely to have a nightmare, Win had learned. They seemed to be triggered by how stressed out the other man was.
Win knew he couldn’t make Team’s daily life any easier, but he could at least help him get a good night’s sleep. Besides which, he was really falling for Team at the same time. If he was honest, he had been falling for Team since the training camp. Dean knew it, he had called him out on it, but Win didn’t care if he was obvious. The only person who didn’t seem to catch on was Team. Whatever this was between them, Team seemed just fine with not defining it. And for now, Win would go along with that, as long as Team still found excuses to climb into his bed at night.
It had been almost two days since Team slept over, though, and Win didn’t know why. Maybe he was sleeping alright on his own or just busy. Maybe he had some strange notion of not wanting to bother Win, as if it bothered Win at all.
That was how Win ended up in front of Team’s door, knocking, waiting.
“Hia?” Team asked, confused, when he opened the door to see Win standing there. “Why are you here?”
Win shrugged and smiled, “Can I come in?”
Team nodded easily and stepped aside, letting him in. He watched Win walk over and sit back on Team’s bed, leaning back on his elbows and turning his head towards the ceiling. Win sighed softly, he wasn’t even really sure what he was doing here.
“Are you okay, hia?” Team approached slowly and when Win turned his head back down to meet the younger man, he saw concern on Team’s face.
A smile pulled at the corner of Win’s lips. “I’m fine. Just haven’t seen you in a bit.”
Team grinned, “Do you miss me?”
“Maybe I do,” Win reached out an arm and grabbed Team’s wrist, pulling him closer. Team let himself be pulled in and stood between Win’s legs. He combed his free hand through Win’s hair, a shy expression on his face. Win hummed softly, closed his eyes and leaned into that touch. “That’s nice.”
Team chewed his lip, before getting the courage to speak what was on his mind. “I like your hair down, hia.”
Win had noticed that, and loved it. So of course he just left it down after showering and before coming to Team’s room. Not that he wore it up to sleep anyway. He wrapped an arm around Team’s waist and let his head rest against the other man’s stomach, sighing contently.
“You sure you’re okay?” Team asked, now running both hands through Win’s hair, massaging his scalp, the back of his neck, rubbing his back. Just touching, touching, so much touching.
“I’m fine.” Win smiled against Team’s stomach, “I just wanted this.”
Team was quiet and Win knew, instinctively, that he was feeling shy. His hands didn’t still at all, though.
“Have you slept alright?”
“Mm... Kind of.” Win could feel Team shrug as he answered.
Pulling back, Win looked up at Team’s face. The other man’s hands fell away and rested lightly on Win’s shoulders. “You’re always welcome to sleep over, you know.”
“I don’t want to bother you, hia... I’ve been there a lot.”
Win gave him that Cheshire grin of his. “You don’t bother me. I want you...” Team’s eyes widened. “I want you there.”
Team looked left and right and seemed nervous. Then he made a decision, leaned down, and kissed Win’s forehead. “Spend the night?”
Win smiled softly and nodded. “Love to.”
Stepping away from Win, Team climbed onto the bed and leaned back against the headboard, settled just behind Win’s back, probably expecting Win to do the same thing. Instead, Win half turned, placed a hand flat on the bed beside Team’s hip, and leaned in. He moved slowly enough that Team could stop it if he wanted to, but Team didn’t stop him.
Win’s lips pressed softly to Team’s. The other man relaxed, his shoulders losing the tension he carried around all day, and he pressed back into Win’s kiss. They both closed their eyes, let the kiss linger ever so softly. Team’s hand made its way up to Win’s chest, palm flat. Normally, Win would feel the urge to deepen the kiss by now, and he wanted to, but more importantly he was perfectly content just to exchange sweet kisses.
They kissed, separated, kissed again, and carried on like that, just pressing lips to lips, moving slowly, breathing each other in, but not going any further. And Win couldn’t be happier.
He pulled back and smiled at Team, his eyes warm. Team raised his shoulders in a way that Win found utterly adorable, and smiled back.
“Lay down, hia,” it wasn’t a question, but didn’t have the air of a command. It was a request.
Win nodded. He stood long enough to pull off his shirt and shuck off his pants until he was down to just boxers. Glancing over, he caught Team staring, but didn’t tease him this time. Both articles of clothing were left on a chair and Win climbed into the bed. At the same time, Team shifted down the bed to recline there. Under the blankets, Team laid on his side and Win moved in behind him, wrapping his arms around Team’s body, hugging him to his chest.
They closed their eyes and settled in, getting comfortable.
“Good night, hia.” Team’s voice was quiet, happy, comfortable.
“Good night.” Win pressed a kiss to Team’s shoulder, then nuzzled into the back of his neck.
So, this might end up being a little bit on the canon-divergent side, but not intentionally. Just cause I'm not real sure where the scenes in this fic take place in relation to what little bit we are given of Team/Win in the show. And I don't have all of Hemp Rope (alas, no one does!) to line up either. Either way, you can expect lots of soft and romantic moments in here. I hope you guys won't mind too much if stuff isn't chronologically perfect compared to the show~~
“Hia,” Team sat on the bench in the locker room. Win had asked him to hang out and give him a ride, since he had his car and Win didn’t. Win was just finishing putting things away in his locker and looked over at Team.
“I’m hungry,” Team frowned and rubbed his stomach.
Win smiled to himself and turned back to his locker. He pulled out a bag of potato chips and tossed it to Team. “Eat this.”
The younger man caught the bag with a look of surprise. “Hia? Since when do you keep potato chips in your locker?”
Win closed the locker and turned around to lean back against it. He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned.
Team stood up and smiled, walking towards Win. “Are these for me?”
“If they are?” Win raised a brow, smirking.
“You’re keeping snacks for me,” Team grinned and lightly connected his fist to Win’s stomach. It wasn’t a punch, just a teasing touch.
Win reached out and grabbed Team’s wrist, pulling him in until he stumbled against Win’s body. Team’s eyes went wide and he gasped out a “hia!” But Win didn’t release the other man. “No one is here, they’ve all gone home.”
Team glanced left, then right, then looked back at Win, frowning. “Teasing again?”
While keeping his eyes on Team’s, he lifted the hand in his grasp and pressed a kiss to the inside of Team’s wrist. He smiled at the little shiver that ran through Team and the way the other man didn’t break eye contact. Though, Team did swallow thickly.
“Thought you were hungry?” Win tipped his head, grinning warmly. He pushed himself off the lockers and Team had to shift back a step. His free hand moved up to hold onto Team’s hip and stop him from moving back any more.
“What are you doing?” Team asked, breathless.
Win bumped his nose against Team’s, then tipped his head down and kissed his cheek. Team closed his eyes and breathed slowly, tipping his head towards Win ever so slightly. Win placed another kiss to his cheek, moving closer to his lips this time. Team started pursing his lips, kissing the air even as he turned his head towards Win. Eventually their lips met in a long, slow kiss. Win pulled Team closer by the hip until their bodies pressed together.
Team lifted a hand to Win’s shoulder, holding on loosely as he shared the kiss with Win. Eventually, Team pulled back, blinking and a little breathless. He looked into Win’s face, as if searching for something. Before he had a chance to find it, though, Win spoke.
“Still hungry?” Win’s voice was just a little above a whisper.
Team nodded, “Yeah...” Even Team wasn’t too sure what he was hungry for, though, food? Or Win?
“Eat those chips. Let’s get to the car,” Win slipped his arm around Team’s shoulders and led him out of the locker room. Team let him lead the way as always, and did eat the chips while they walked. They were his favorite, after all, and the fact that Win had specifically saved them for him made Team feel good in a way he wasn’t expecting.
They got to Team’s car and Win took the keys. Every so often, he would do the driving and Team didn’t really mind it. They left campus and Win took them to a restaurant they both liked. They talked generally as they ate: about class, swim practice, what was going on with Dean and Pharm, even.
Manaow and Del were the most obvious shippers when it came to Dean and Pharm’s relationship, but Win and Team did their own quieter shipping of the pair. Team asked Win questions about Dean, making sure that he would be good enough for Pharm, that he would take care of him, and care for him. Win answered all his questions in stride and didn’t have to work too hard to paint Dean in a good light, since Dean was a good man already. Win actually appreciated and respected Team for being so protective of Pharm, and would do what he could to put the man at ease.
“Should I worry about Pharm asking Dean these questions about me?” Win asked, propping his chin on his hand.
Team rolled his eyes then pointed at himself, “I’m the one who protects Pharm, not the other way around.”
“I bet Pharm could be pretty fierce, you know.” Win popped a dumpling into his mouth.
“Mm, can be, sometimes.” Team nodded. “But I promised I would protect him and Manaow. So I will.”
“You’re a good friend,” Win said with admiration. He smiled softly at Team, different than his usual grin or flirting. It was just pure and honest.
Team blinked at Win for a moment, then smiled back. Leaning forward, Team took a moment to be serious. “My friends are important, and I keep my word.”
“They’re lucky to have you,” Win leaned forward and met Team’s eyes. The younger man looked pleased.
“You and Dean are like that too, aren’t you? Wouldn’t you protect him and him you?” Team asked.
Win pursed his lips and considered his answer, but nodded eventually. “Yeah, we would, but Dean doesn’t really need protecting and I don’t either.” He shrugged and leaned back.
Team tipped his head curiously at that, but shrugged and nodded, supposing that was true.
“If Pharm isn’t the one who protects you, I can be,” Win offered.
Team blinked at him and then looked down, feeling embarrassed, “Hia...”
Chewing his lip, Team raised his eyes to Win.
Win leaned in again, meeting those eyes. “I’ll protect you, Team.”
After a second to gain his courage, Team nodded, “Okay, hia.” His voice was just over a whisper, but he agreed. Win already protected him, in a way, protected him from his nightmares.
“Good,” Win nodded, then looked at the plates between them. They were basically finished with the meal. “Ready to go back?”
“Sure,” Team wiped his hands on a napkin and stood up. He was ready to escape the moment, ready for a change of scenery, and maybe... maybe a bit more privacy. When they got outside the restaurant, Win took up his usual position with an arm around Team’s shoulders, all the way back to the car.
They went back to the dormitory, stopped off at Team’s room so he could get a couple things, then went upstairs to Win’s. Inside, they put their things down and Win stepped towards Team, not unlike back in the locker room.
“Don’t you... want to go take a shower, hia?” Team asked, voice low.
Win reached up and pulled out the tie that held his hair back, then ran a hand through his hair to loosen it. “Do I need one?”
“Um... I don’t know.” Team shrugged and at that, Win leaned in, brushing his nose the side of Team’s face.
He brought his lips to the younger man’s ears. “Want to take a shower with me?”
“Hia...” Team frowned and brought an arm up between them, pushing against Win’s chest. “Don’t tease me...”
Win backed up when he was pushed and met Team’s eyes, “Who says I’m teasing? We shower together after practice.”
“That’s different,” Team made a face, half pouting, half scowling.
“Different how?” Win grinned, wanting to make Team answer.
“You know how.”
“That mean you don’t want to?” Win tipped his head.
Team looked around the room, anywhere but Win, as he tried to form an answer. He was too torn right now on what he wanted. Clearing his throat, he shook his head, “I don’t need a shower, I washed my hair after practice. You uh... didn’t.”
“So I guess I’ll shower alone, then.” Win frowned and backed up a bit.
“Mm...” Team nodded but hadn’t missed that frown on Win’s lips. He reached out and caught a small lock of Win’s hair between his fingers. He brushed his thumb over the bit of hair. “I like your hair when it’s soft... without chlorine.”
Win closed his eyes and sighed. Team ran his fingers through Win’s hair properly, but it wasn’t as satisfying as usual. “Wash your hair... and come back.” Team dropped his hand to Win’s shoulder and gave him a little shove.
“Wash it for me?” Win did his best attempt at a pout. It looked odd on him.
“Goooo,” Team pushed him with both hands, stepping forward to move him towards the bathroom.
Win laughed as he let himself be pushed. “Will I get a reward?”
“For washing your hair?” Team rolled his eyes but Win gave him another pleading look. Team sighed, “I’ll brush it for you, deal?”
Win smirked and considered that reward. “Deal.” He stepped back towards Team and kissed his forehead, grinned, and headed for the shower. Team glared after him and rubbed his forehead, wiping away the stolen kiss. Shaking his head, he moved over to the bed, settling there to scroll through his phone and wait for Win to get washed up.
It didn’t take too long, but Team had found a story and was reading it when Win left the bathroom. He didn’t look up or watch as Win neared. In fact, it wasn’t until Win was standing at the edge of the bed, wearing nothing but a towel, and called his name that Team finally looked up.
The moment felt like something out of a television show. Team saw Win’s towel clad hips first, then his gaze trailed upwards over bare stomach and chest and shoulders, until he finally saw Win’s face. His trademark grin on his lips. Team felt his breath catch in his throat and his heart beat a little bit faster. Win’s hair was dry, a little disheveled, and fell around his face. Team felt a little anxious and swallowed hard.
“Hia... you... uh...” He looked down to the towel, “Maybe should put some pants on...”
“Nothing you haven’t seen before,” Win said, shrugging one shoulder.
Team lifted his eyes to Win’s, then slowly looked back down. Win’s hands were on the towel now, and he slowly began unwrapping it. “Hia!” Team gasped and looked away.
“Calm down,” Win chuckled and set the towel aside. “Just look.”
Slowly, Team looked over his shoulder back at Win, saw that he had been wearing boxers under the towel the whole time, and sighed in relief. Win climbed onto the bed and sat beside Team. He held out a hairbrush to the younger man, “We had a deal.”
Team snagged the brush out of Win’s hand and gestured at him with it, threatening. Win raised a brow and smiled, not at all intimidated. Without a word, though, Win settled cross-legged in front of Team, who shifted to sit on his legs, giving him a bit more height. Slowly, gently, Team began running the brush through Win’s soft, fine hair. Between the bleach and the chemicals of the pool, Win had to use really nice hair products to keep his hair so soft, which is why he never washed his hair at the showers on campus.
One thing Team really liked was Win’s hair. He liked running his fingers through it, liked brushing it, liked the way it looked when it was down. Win had learned of this weakness of his, but never teased him for it. Perhaps because Win liked all the attention and wouldn’t risk being cut off from those soft, sweet touches or admiring glances. Team took his time gently working out any tangles and smoothing down the fine strands. Even when Win’s hair was smooth and shiny, Team kept brushing, until Win leaned back, resting against Team’s chest. He dropped his head onto Team’s shoulder and looked up at the other man.
“Are you tired?” Team asked, confused. He lowered the brush and set a hand on one of Win’s shoulders.
“No, just...” Win smiled. “Content.”
Team looked away, shy as always. Win sat back up and turned towards Team. He cupped the other man’s face in his hand and turned him to look at Win once more. Team’s eyes were still shy and couldn’t quite meet Win’s gaze.
“Team,” Win called his name softly. Team tried to meet Win’s eyes then, but a little bit of uncertainty showed in his own eyes. “Hey...”
Team blinked a couple times and opened his mouth, and Win knew that he was about to run away. But Win wasn’t going to let that happen. Instead, he stole those lips in a kiss, holding still until Team relaxed into it. He could feel Team’s sigh more than he could hear it. He could feel it in the way Team leaned into Win, the way his shoulders lowered, the way he kissed back so softly.
When the kiss broke off this time, there were no more excuses. They didn’t need to leave campus, Win didn’t need to take a shower. It was just the two of them, sitting in Win’s bed, kissing one another. As they pulled apart, Win looked over Team’s face with the most loving expression in his eyes, and smiled. He brushed back a bit of hair from Team’s brow and shook his head in slight wonder.
Team didn’t know what to make of the look on Win’s face, but something in his heart told him not to be afraid. Something told him this was a good thing, a safe thing. So he reached out, holding Win’s face gently between his hands, and kissed him once again, a little deeper this time. Win was happy to kiss back, and the two of them lowered themselves to lay in the bed. Win held himself up with one arm beneath Team’s back, he ran a hand through Team’s hair as they kissed.
Carefully, Win lowered himself down to lay atop Team, not wanting to scare him or push too far. Much to Win’s pleasure, though, Team wound an arm around his waist. He lifted a hand to hold onto Win’s shoulder. He arched his back, pressing up into Win and Win trailed his kisses down to Team’s neck. Team’s head lulled to one side, and he closed his eyes, sighing. His hand moved from shoulder to the back of Win’s head and fingers carded through that soft blond hair.
“Hia... Win...” The words were gasped out quietly as Win nibbled on a bit of Team’s neck.
He grinned against Team’s skin, then kissed that same spot. He ran his hands down Team’s chest, following them with kisses over tee shirt-clad skin. Win sat up then, straddling Team’s legs and looking down at him, his head tipped to the side. Team looked up at Win and reached out, taking both of Win’s hands in his own. Their fingers laced together and they looked at one another. The silence between them was comfortable, and Team smiled, giving Win’s hands a squeeze. Win smiled back and sighed contently.
“Do you want to sleep?” Win asked quietly.
Team shook his head, then tugged on Win’s hands, pulling him back down. “Lay with me?”
“Of course.” Win lowered himself back down, gathered Team into his arms and rolled onto his back, taking Team with him. Easily, Team curled into Win’s side and nuzzled into his neck. He breathed in the scent of Win, then sighed out. Win tightened his arm around Team, stroked his fingers over his shoulder,
“Thanks, hia...” Team’s voice was just above a whisper.
Win laughed softly, “What for?”
Team shook his head, “Just thank you.”
Win turned and pressed a kiss to Team’s forehead. “You’re welcome.”
Neither of them were tired enough to sleep, but they were both just happy to lay in each other’s arms peacefully until sleep caught up to them. Sometimes it was like that, and they were both perfectly happy with it.
This chapter contains explicit content. It also contains ~emotions~ and ~feelings~ and ~happiness~
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Win really liked watching Team. He liked watching him playing around with Pharm, swimming at practice, focusing on his studies... Really, he liked to watch Team do just about anything. Dean had caught him a number of times, but Win didn’t care. Team rarely caught him, which was at one time both amusing and a little disappointing. He was half sure that Team would get adorably flustered if he caught Win staring at him. It was equally likely that Team would glare or blush. Maybe both.
One instance where he did not expect to get caught was watching Team while he was sleeping. At this point, they were sharing a bed at night more often than not. Normally, they fell asleep together, and if anything, Win tended to fall asleep first, as Team took much longer to relax and drift off. It was rare, but sometimes Team was so tired that he fell asleep before Win and on those days, Win liked to watch as the other boy slowly relaxed, his brow smoothed out, his breathing evened, his jaw loosened. His whole body unwound.
Team had a way of looking relaxed all the time, with his lowkey hair style, never fully buttoned shirt, and tie always askew. But if anyone looked close enough at him, they could see the smaller, more subtle signs of a young man who was stressed and tired and run down. Win had learned all those signs and so he also knew when they were gone. He would do anything to chase them away and keep them at bay, to keep Team’s heart light and free. To protect him from the world, from his past, from his nightmares, from anything that could or would hurt him.
Win brushed a bit of hair away from Team’s brow and smiled. He lifted himself slowly on one arm to lean over and press a kiss to Team’s forehead, wanting and needing to do so. Win closed his eyes and lingered there for a moment before pulling away. He was surprised when Team’s eyes fluttered open, drowsy but no longer asleep.
“Hia...?” His voice was thick with sleep and a touch of confusion. “Did you kiss me?”
Win laughed softly and bumped his nose against Team’s. “Go back to sleep,” he whispered, then laid back down.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” Team nuzzled into Win’s neck and sighed.
Win pressed his cheek against the top of Team’s head and brought a hand up to twist fingers through the short hairs at the back of Team’s neck. “Just looking.”
Team hummed contently at Win’s actions, then asked, “At what?”
“You.” Win kissed the top of his head and said nothing more.
Team went quiet. The arm that had been slung across Win’s chest slowly moved until his hand was just above Win’s heart. Team curled his fingers a little, then stroked the tips over Win’s bare skin. It made Win shiver in a delightful way.
“Having fun?” Win asked, capturing Team’s hand in his own, stopping the teasing touch.
“Only you get to do those things, hia?” Team raised himself up and looked at Win, eyebrow lifting.
“You want to tease me?” Win grinned.
“Maybe I do.” Team jutted his chin out slightly, challenging.
Win released Team’s hand and let both of his arms drape loosely against the bed. He dropped his head against the pillow and let himself lie limply beneath Team. “Do your worst, then.”
Team blinked, not expecting that. He looked down at Win, eyes traveling from face to neck to bare chest, then back up again. He licked his lips, took a breath, and made a decision. He got up and straddled Win’s hips, setting his hands on the swimmer’s abs, then slid them upwards towards his chest, then stopped at his shoulders. Holding on there, Team leaned down and only paused a moment before claiming Win’s lips in a kiss. He set the pace, urging Win’s lips to part as he did the same, slipping his tongue inside.
Win lifted his hands to rest on Team’s thighs, giving them a gentle squeeze, thumbs moving along his inner thighs. He was starting to trail them up when suddenly Team grabbed Win’s wrists and pinned his arms down against the bed. Then he kissed Win a little harder. It wasn’t like Team to take control this way, so Win was going to enjoy it for now. He gave in, let his body remain limp beneath Team, and kissed him back. He opened himself up to Team, wondering where this would go.
One hand was freed as Team let go in exchange for holding the side of Win’s face, tilting his head and moving kisses from lips to cheek. He caught Win’s ear between his teeth, nibbling slightly and sucking. It drew a small gasp from Win’s lips and he lifted his hand to hold the back of Team’s head. After some attention to his ear, Team’s kisses and bites moved down to travel along Win’s neck. When teeth grazed a good spot, Win tilted his head away and gasped. Team was very good at this and Win was loving it.
Soon enough, though, he wanted to take control back. Win grabbed Team’s shoulder and flipped the two of them over, setting Team on his back. He held himself over Team and grinned down at him, one of his legs was slotted between both of Team’s and their hips were pressed together. He rolled his hips just to draw a groan from Team’s lips and loved the sound of it. Team held Win’s face between both his hands and pulled him down for another crushing kiss. Win was happy to oblige.
It felt good, it always felt good making out with Team. It felt good when their bodies were pressed together, when Team’s hands were in his hair or on his skin. It felt good to touch Team and make him gasp or groan. There was often something rushed about everything when they were in bed together, though, and Win wanted to slow things down this time. He wanted this to last and didn’t want any reason to hurry.
As soon as the kiss let up a little, Win traveled away from Team’s lips, to his cheek, one slow press after another. He kissed a place just beneath Team’s jaw, forcing the other man to tip his head back at the same time, exposing more of his neck. Each kiss lingered as Win slowly made his way down Team’s neck, to his collar, and further down. Even though Team still wore his shirt, Win kissed his chest all the same. He ran a hand over Team’s chest, pausing over his heart and giving the slightest squeeze.
Team’s breath kept hitching with every soft yet certain touch. Win could feel the beat of his heart beneath his hand, and looked up to Team’s face. The awed expression he saw on Team sent a jolt through Win’s heart. He knew he cared about Team, knew he liked him, liked kissing him, taking care of him, hanging out with him, sharing a bed with him... But in that moment, he realized just how far he had fallen in love with Team. It hit Win like a ton of bricks and seemed so obvious despite the latented realization.
Win kissed Team’s lips with all the love he had. Both of them hummed into the kiss, swept up in their emotions. Team reached up and wrapped both arms around Win’s shoulders, holding him down, keeping him close, as he arched his back and kept kissing Win. At the same time, Win slid an arm under Team’s back, holding onto him, wanting Team just as close as Team wanted him. They kissed and kissed until Win’s hand slid under the hem of Team’s shirt, up his back, hitching the shirt up as far as it would go. He broke the kiss on Team’s lips to move down and kiss at his stomach and lower ribs.
Soon enough, Team was shifting so he could rid himself of the shirt, pulling it off over his head and tossing it aside. His hair fell over his face and his eyes were soft as they looked at Win. Lips claimed lips once more, both of them feeling the heat of the moment now more than ever. Team’s hands ran through Win’s hair, holding his face close as they laid back down together, bodies pressed against each other again. Team was letting out quiet hums as he thrust his hips upwards, wanting the friction of Win’s body against his own.
Win felt like his whole body was on fire with desire. He wanted Team so badly and the need and want he could feel from Team only stoked the fire. Team dragged one hand down Win’s back, his nails too short to leave any marks, but his fingertips pressed into Win’s tattooed skin the whole way. One of Win’s hands grasped Team’s hip, pinning it down to the bed and he was rewarded with a soft groan from the other young man.
“Hia Win...” Team panted out, his voice filthy with desire. Win could feel it deep in his gut, his own desire running wild.
He brought his lips to Team’s ear, nibbled at his earlobe, then spoke in a low, smokey voice, “Say it again...” At the same time, he pressed his hips down against Team’s, and could feel how hard they both were.
“Hia!” Team moaned the word, tossing his head back, gasping. “Win...”
It was so hot, Win could barely handle it. The hand still at Team’s hip tugged at the fabric covering his lower half, “I’m going to take these off...” He spoke into Team’s ear once more and Team nodded his consent. Win sat up enough to undo the fastenings on Team’s pants and pulled them off, along with his boxers. He did the same with his own, until they were both naked on the bed now.
Team looked up at Win from the bed, eyes half-lidded, mouth open. He was wanting, waiting, watching and Win smiled and tipped his head to the side as his eyes raked over Team’s body. To his credit, Team didn’t get shy, but he did breathe a little harder. He lifted himself up on one elbow and nodded at Win, “Are you waiting for an invitation?”
“Pushy,” Win said, grinning, then set a hand on Team’s leg, slowly trailing it up until he could wrap his fingers around Team’s shaft and start stroking.
Team dropped his head back and gasped. Win moved in to kiss his neck while stroking him to full hardness at the same time. He helped Team carefully lay back down on the bed and now that he was no longer holding himself up, Team’s hand found Win’s cock and began stroking it in time. Both of them hummed and gasped, pushing their hips forward as they stroked each other.
When it started to get to be too much to bare and, at the same time, not nearly enough. Win moved his lips to Team’s ear and spoke in a gruff voice, “I want you...”
Team let out a breathy laugh, “I’m not going anywhere, hia.”
“Good,” Win stole a kiss from his lips, long and languid, before pulling away to get lube and a condom. He settled himself between Team’s legs and stroked his hands down the other man’s chest and stomach before setting to work. Team watched him the whole time, eyes on Win’s face with an expression that seemed soft and warm, but that Win couldn’t quite read. It wasn’t the same intense desire that he normally saw, but something else, something more. Win’s heart skipped a beat.
He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Team’s inner thigh, to his hip and his stomach, before reaching his hand between them and preparing Team for sex. They had done this often enough now that Team was used to it. He used to be very shy about it, about the awkwardness of sex, but Win had helped him relax and understand that these things made sex feel better. It made everything go a lot easier. Nowadays, Team leans into it, enjoys the preparing stage, as Win works him open. Win always takes his time with it, too, making Team feel good, until he’s nearly begging for more.
Win stopped just before that moment, not teasing Team this time. He made short work of rolling the condom on, lathering it with some lube, and then positioning himself between Team’s legs and pushing in. Team held onto Win’s shoulder and gasped, then began peppering Win with kisses, wherever he could reach as he adjusted to the feeling of Win inside him. Win wanted to take his time tonight, he wanted the sex to be slow and steady, not hard and fast. He wanted Team to know just how much he cared about him, wanted Team to feel good, to enjoy the ride. The pace was set and Team was into it. They exchanged long kisses between the rolling of hips. Their hands trailed over each other’s bodies, fingers ran through hair, gripped muscles. Sometimes the kisses were broken by gasps or moans, other times they moaned into each other’s mouths.
For Team and Win, sex like this was rare but oh, so good. As Win got close to climax and could feel that Team was nearly there too, he rolled them over so Team was on top. Easily following the motion, Team sat up, riding Win at the same pace. He let his head fall back and his whole torso was exposed for Win to gaze at. Immediately, Win’s hands were on Team’s body, petting, stroking, touching. He loved this, loved watching Team ride him, loved looking at his body, loved the feel of it all. Win took Team’s hands in his own, laced their fingers together, and Team looked down at him, biting his lip, hair half covering his eyes. They met each other’s gaze and Win felt as if they were locked in place together.
It was so hot. It was so good. Win’s breath caught in his throat for a moment. He released one of Team’s hands so he could push himself up, then released the other to wrap around Team’s waist. With Team cradled in his lap, Win wanted to bring his lover over the edge. Team wrapped his own arms around Win’s shoulders and dropped his head, his breath quickening as the thrusts of their hips got harder and faster. Win slipped a hand between them and began stroking Team’s cock, wanting to make him come first.
Win knew how to make Team come, just what to do to bring him to completion, and did it now, wanting to make Team feel everything, to make him feel good and sated. Win didn’t last long after that, letting himself go once his lover had done so. Both his hands ran up Team’s back to hold his shoulders from behind, then Win dropped his head against Team’s chest, catching his breath. To his pleasure, Team nuzzled the top of Win’s head, and kissed him softly. It brought a smile to Win’s lips. That kind of affection was rare from Team and it made Win’s heart soar more than he might admit.
The pair of them slowly fell back down against the bed, laying side by side to catch their breath. Win tipped his head to look at Team and smiled softly. Team looked right back at him and smiled as well. The sight made Win sigh contently, then he found Team’s hand and laced their fingers together. Bringing both to his lips, Win kissed Team’s knuckles.
“Hia...” Now Team got shy, during the afterglow, and Win couldn’t help but laugh.
“After that, I can’t kiss your hand?” Win raised a brow at Team.
Team pouted cutely and looked away. “You can do it...”
“Good,” Win grinned more broadly and kissed Team’s hand again, then rolled onto his side so he could look at Team more easily. Team looked tired but the smile had returned to his lips, replacing the pout. They would have to get cleaned up in a little while, before falling asleep, but for now Win was content to just look at the other man, watch him. Team was so much prettier than he realized. Everyone always thought of Team as cool or cute, but to Win, he was beautiful and perfect. It had been a long time since anyone had stolen Win’s heart the way Team had. Maybe no one had ever stolen his heart so completely.
“Yeah, hia?” Team rolled his head to the side to look at him.
Win smiled, and leaned in to kiss Team’s lips softly. He wasn’t starting anything, just punctuating it. They had just made love, and this kiss was a period at the end of the sentence. Team closed his eyes and returned the kiss, not questioning it at all.
~ ~ ~
After getting cleaned up and settled back into bed, Team curled up against Win’s side, as he had been before he woke up to the kiss on his forehead. Win idly stroked a hand through Team’s hair, hoping to let him fall asleep easily. It was fortunate neither of them had class or swim practice the next day, because at this point they had been awake half the night. Sleeping in would be a must, but that was for tomorrow.
Tonight, Team was Win’s entire world, and the only thing that mattered to him. He brushed his nose over Team’s forehead and smiled. Then he whispered the words neither of them had said yet, “I love you...”
Team was silent and still, as if holding his breath. Win could feel his eyelashes flutter across his bare shoulder as Team blinked. Then Team lifted himself up and looked down at Win, his face awed. He looked down, chewed his lip, looked at Win’s face, studied him, before finally speaking, “I love you, Hia.”
Win smiled, feeling warmed all the way through. He cupped Team’s cheek and kissed his lips. When they pulled apart, Team was smiling shyly. He quickly hid against Win’s shoulder and closed his eyes, hugging a little closer than before. Neither of them were going to run away from their feelings tonight. Happy, content, and in love, they fell asleep in one another’s arms.
My heart was hurting and reeling from the end of episode 16 of UWMA and I needed something happy. Also for my babes out there missing Team and Win.
Some members of the swim team are starting to notice that Team and Win are closer to each other than they are around others. What will Team do when someone calls him out on it? Confirm or deny?
I was feeling bittersweet after watching the finale of UWMA and wanted to write something, so I delved into my inbox for requests/prompts.
A while ago, an anon sent in this request and I liked it: WinTeam being lovey dovey and the swim team looking and going "wtf is going on?"
I put my own spin on it. Hope you guys like it! :)
Swim practice was about to start and the team was already gathered together by the pool, waiting for Win and Dean to show up. They were chatting and messing around, talking about classes or dating. Team was in the middle of it all, always social, a smile on his face, in a good mood. When the swim team presidents showed up and called everyone’s attention, the group quieted down and looked at them, awaiting instructions. Team and Win exchanged glances as soon as they saw each other. It had become a thing now, Win always found him, looked into his eyes, and grinned. When Win first started doing this, Team would roll his eyes or make a face or try to pointedly ignore it. Win was teasing him and he knew it.
More recently, however, those glances hit Team in a different way. Sometimes they made him smile. Sometimes he felt strangely shy. Sometimes he had to glance away, which, of course, only made Win smile all the brighter. Neither of them really expected anyone else to notice it. Maybe Dean, because he already knew about the two of them, but not the rest of the team. It came as a shock today when Win caught his eye and grinned and Team smiled back, then Mew elbowed him. Team looked over and saw a knowing look on Mew’s face. Team met that look with a questioning expression of his own. Mew rolled his eyes and looked back at Win and Dean, listening to Dean’s instructions.
Swim practice began officially and Team put the silent exchange with Mew out of his mind. He focused all of his attention on the exercises they did, doing his best to get good times and be successful. Team was one of the fastest members in the club and now that he was regularly getting a good night’s sleep and was less stressed out in general, he could perform his best. They did many practice races and Team won most of them today. He was feeling pleased and proud as practice ended and he got out of the pool for the last time that afternoon.
He hadn’t even dried off yet when Win walked over and slung an arm around his shoulders, congratulating him on how well he did today. This wasn’t out of the ordinary, Win always put his arm around Team and no one ever questioned it before, so he didn’t pull away. In fact, he absentmindedly reached up and held onto Win’s wrist. They chatted about Team’s performance while heading to the locker room with everyone else. Dean trailed behind everyone, watching Team and Win as they went.
In the locker room, the pair had to split off while Win, Dean and Pruk went over the practice for the day and Team went to shower with the other club members. Later, when they got to the locker room to get dressed, Mew walked over to Team and nudged his shoulder. “What’s up?”
Team looked at him curiously, “What do you mean? Oh, wondering if Pharm gave me any snacks today?” He grinned.
Mew laughed and shook his head, “No, that wasn’t what I was wondering... but did he?”
Team sighed and frowned, “No, he made me lunch but didn’t have any desserts to share with us.”
“Must be nice to have a friend who cooks for you all the time.” Mew turned around and leaned back against the lockers.
“It is. He’s my best friend!” Team grinned happily. “So what were you going to ask then?”
“What’s up with you and P’Win?” Mew eyed him curiously.
“Hia Win?” Team asked, then frowned again, playing dumb. “What’s up with us how?”
Mew nodded towards the room where Win, Pruk and Dean were all talking. Team looked over, then back, confused. Mew groaned at Team, “Are you two... you know...”
“Friends?” Team’s eyebrows drew together. “Yes?”
“Just friends?” Mew pressed on, but lowered his voice so only Team would hear him. “Because he acts differently around you than the rest of us.”
Team looked left, then right. “Pharm only makes lunches for me, Dean and Manaow. That’s... different than he is with others. Right?”
“Mmm, but he gives treats to all of us and gives special treats to P’Dean. Kind of like P’Win hangs on you more than anyone else. And always looks at you when he and Dean are talking to us. P’Win doesn’t do that with everyone else.”
Team looked thoughtful and half nodded at Mew’s logic, then he grinned, “Maybe Hia is just more affectionate with me because I’m the best.”
Mew gave Team a sidelong glance, not buying it.
“Also! P’Dean’s boyfriend is my best friend, and Hia is P’Dean’s best friend. So maybe he’s being nice to me because of Pharm.”
“Why would P’Win care about P’Dean’s boyfriend’s best friend? That’s too far removed. Even if he was mean to you, how would that bother Pharm and P’Dean?” Mew countered.
Team cursed in his mind and looked away. He frowned and tried to think of some other excuse, but nothing was coming to mind. Sighing, he looked back at Mew. “What do you want me to say?”
Mew glanced around but no one was paying attention to them. He leaned in and spoke softly, “Are you and P’Win dating?”
Team pressed his lips together and held his breath. No one had asked him that before. He never had to decide whether to confirm or deny it. If it had been Pharm or Manaow, he would have denied it, because they would just tease him about it and eventually he would tell them anyway. And anyway, if either of them figured it out, it wouldn’t matter how much he denied it, they’d see right through it. Would Mew see through it if he denied it? Did he want to deny it? Was he ready to admit it?
He loved Win, he’d said those words to him. He wasn’t ashamed of the relationship, exactly, not because it was Win or because he was a man. But Team didn’t like sharing his personal life with anyone. He barely even told Win anything, and he didn’t tell Pharm much either. Team wasn’t used to being questioned and definitely wasn’t used to sharing personal details. He spent so long trying to think of how to respond that Mew grew impatient.
The swimmer shoved Team’s arm and then waved a hand in front of his face, “Hey Team! You there?”
“Huh?” Team blinked out of his stupor and looked back at Mew. “What?”
Mew studied him for a long moment and then grinned, “You are, aren’t you? You would have denied it immediately if you weren’t.”
Team cursed quietly and looked away, which was all the confirmation Mew needed. The other man cheered in triumph and Team quickly turned back to him and covered his mouth. “You can’t tell anyone.”
Mew’s brows furrowed and he pulled Team’s hand away, “Why not?” He was genuinely confused. “Do you think the others would be mean to you? No one cares that P’Dean is dating Pharm. Everyone thinks it’s cute.” Mew shrugged.
“Just...” Team halted and considered his words. “It’s our business.”
Mew nodded once and said nothing.
“What if people think Hia or P’Dean are playing favorites?” Team suddenly suggested, pointing at Mew. “Or something like that.”
“Hmm...” Mew nodded again. “I guess you’re right...”
“Yeah.” He turned back to his locker and got his clothes out, pulling his shirt on and doing up the buttons, all except the top two, then got his boxers and pants on. Mew stood leaning against the lockers and thinking it over while Team dressed. Right as he pulled his tie out and draped it around the back of his neck but didn’t tie it, Mew spoke up again.
“Is that why you two shared a room on the trip?”
Team was in the process of closing his locker when those words were spoken. He ended up slamming it shut and drawing the attention of others around him. Team stared at the locker door like a deer in the headlights and his breath caught. He could feel his cheeks turning red and wanted it to stop. He looked sharply at Mew, face serious.
Mew immediately started laughing but held up his arms in surrender. “I’m gonna go get dressed now. Uh... bye!” He quickly backed away from Team and went to his own locker to get his clothes on.
Team watched him go and then glanced around at the others, who had already returned their attention to what they were doing. Team looked at his locker and swallowed hard. He took a deep breath and tried to calm down, not wanting anyone to see him blushing and ask what Mew said to him. He turned his attention to trying to put his tie on, a constant struggle for Team. It worked as a good distraction and he left it hanging sloppily around his neck, just under the collar of his shirt.
Everyone began to filter out of the locker room as they got dressed and went home for the night. Team ended up waiting around until Win was done talking with the other two senior members. By that time, Team was the only one left. As usual, Win put an arm around Team’s shoulders as they walked to Team’s car.
“You’re quiet,” Win observed. “Are you alright?”
“Hm?” Team looked up at Win, then sighed and shook his head. “Fine. Uh... Mew... figured it out.”
“Figured what out?”
“About... us. That we’re... together.” Team looked away, not sure how Win would respond to that, and still unsure of his own feelings.
“Ahh...” Win nodded and held Team’s shoulder. “Did he say anything bad?”
“No. Just asked me about it.” Team shrugged easily.
“And you told him...?” Win was a little excited about this but was trying not to show it.
“Uh...” Team scratched the back of his head. “I didn’t say we weren’t, and he took that as my answer.”
Win smiled, pleased that Team didn’t deny it outright. “Are you alright with Mew knowing?”
Team took a moment to think about it, whether he was okay with it or not. “He said he wouldn’t tell anyone else...” They reached the car and Win turned to stand in front of Team, studying his face. Team shrugged. “I guess it’s okay.”
“If Mew figured it out, the others probably will eventually too,” Win said gently, lifting his hands to rest on Team’s shoulders and giving a little squeeze. “Will you be okay with that, too?”
Team frowned and looked at the ground. Win held his breath, his hands tightening ever so slightly on Team’s shoulders. The light pressure made Team look back up again. “I won’t deny it if anyone else asks me. And you don’t have to deny it either, hia.” Win relaxed and smiled and that tugged at Team’s heart in a way he didn’t expect. “It’s not that I mind them knowing... I just don’t like--” Team frowned, frustrated.
“You like your privacy,” Win supplied. He had figured this out about Team long ago.
“Yeah.” Team nodded. “That.”
“I’m fine with that,” Win said, giving Team’s shoulders a firmer, more reassuring squeeze this time. “As long as you like being with me.”
Team smiled as he rolled his eyes, he put on a dramatic sappy voice, “Yes, hiaaa, I like you. Happy?”
Win laughed and pulled Team in with one arm, then kissed his forehead. “Yes. I like you too, Team.” He made an exaggerated kissy face at Team, like he had when they kissed while looking at the Christmas lights. Now Team was the one who laughed. He glanced around quickly, then kissed Win’s excessively pursed lips.
“Let’s go...” Team said, trying to hide his own smile as he moved to the driver’s side of the car.
Win watched him, then opened the passenger door. He mumbled to himself, “Still so damn cute.”
They headed back to the dorm and up to Win’s room, not even bothering to stop at Team’s. Since Team spent so many nights there now, he had moved enough clothes and bought extra toiletries that he had almost anything he needed in Win’s room already. Even if he needed something that wasn’t there, he could go back to his room easily enough to grab it. After eating dinner, doing their homework, and washing up, they curled up in Win’s bed together and drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms, peaceful and content.
Win arrived at his dorm, expecting Team to be there already. They had long ago exchanged keys to each other’s dorms and Team wasn’t in his own room, and wasn’t answering his phone. Win assumed the junior was just asleep in his bed, waiting for him to come back. When he opened the door, though, Team wasn’t in the room. Win frowned and set his schoolbag down. He glanced around, looked at his phone, then sighed. Eventually, Win’s eyes fell on the desk, where the keys to the pool normally sat. He knew where Team was.
~ ~ ~
The pool room was still dark. The emergency safety lights were the only ones on; it was just enough to see by, nothing more. The only sounds to be heard were Win’s nearly-silent steps, and the gentle ripple of water. Team wasn’t practicing, he wasn’t swimming laps, he wasn’t racing. He was floating on his back, slowly drawing his arms over his head and pulling himself along in a slow motion backstroke. There was a peace to the scene Win found and he smiled.
Walking over to one of the diving boards, he stepped out of his shoes, and climbed onto it. Win let his bare feet dangle over the edge, just touching the surface of the water. After watching a moment, he decided not to disturb Team. Sometimes this happened, sometimes Team needed a moment away from everyone and everything. So Win watched and waited, waited until Team was ready to come out of the water.
Another twenty or thirty minutes passed, with Team alternating between slowly swimming and just floating, staring up at the ceiling. While turning to wade in the water, Team caught sight of Win sitting on the diving board. He looked down shyly, then started swimming towards his senior. Seeing he’d been spotted, Win took off his shirt and tossed it aside by his shoes. Then he dove into the water, smooth and easy. Win swam towards Team, meeting him halfway there.
He swam in a circle around Team, closed in on him and set hands on Team’s waist, drawing him closer. Both of them kicked their legs to stay afloat. A little smile turned the corners of Team’s mouth upwards, while his eyes glanced away shyly. He draped his arms over Win’s shoulders and let himself be pulled in closer. Win bumped his nose against Team’s and smiled broadly at him.
“You okay?” Win asked after a moment, sliding his hands around to Team’s back.
“Mmm,” he nodded, still on the shy side. “Sorry, hia.”
Win furrowed his brows and hugged Team, “Why are you sorry?”
“For making you come out here,” he shrugged a little, but didn’t pull away from Win’s embrace, just carried on treading water.
Win chuckled and shook his head. He kissed Team’s forehead, then started swimming backwards, taking Team with him. Moving them towards the edge of the pool, he said, “It’s alright. I decided to come find you, you didn’t make me.”
Team nodded, not seeming to know what to say. They reached the edge and Team climbed out, sitting with his feet still in the water. Win moved between his legs, resting his forearms on Team’s thighs.
“Did coming here help?” Win asked, looking up at Team.
Team hummed and nodded again, apparently not feeling very talkative. He reached out and gently brushed a droplet of water from Win’s brow before it fell into his eye. “We can go back.”
Win seized Team’s hand and placed a soft kiss to the younger man’s palm, then his wrist. When he looked up to Team’s face, Win saw him smiling. “Are you all done?”
“Yeah,” Team’s voice was just above a whisper, but it was too dim in the room for Win to see that he was blushing. “Let’s go home, hia.”
They agreed. Once Team stood, Win hauled himself up and out of the water. Team picked up a towel he had left out earlier, and the pair walked to the locker room. When Win reached out to hold his hand, lacing their fingers together, Team didn’t pull away. The locker room was just as dark as the pool, two overhead lights that never turned off illuminated the space just enough to see where they were going.
In soft shadows, they dried themselves off. Win put on a spare pair of shorts from his locker, then put his shirt back on, only bothering to fasten two or three of the buttons, leaving it mostly open. He leaned back against the wall of lockers and watched Team dress. He wasn’t watching in a lecherous way, just casually admiring his boyfriend. Nonetheless, when Team turned around and caught Win staring, a damp towel was thrown at his head.
Win laughed as he caught the towel, “Nothing I haven’t seen before.”
“Hia!” Team chastised, pulling a face at Win.
Still laughing, Win sauntered over and draped an arm around Team’s shoulders. “I’ve seen you changing in the locker room many times. Actually, everyone on the swim team has, maybe I should be jealous.”
Team elbowed Win in the gut. Even as he grunted and held his stomach, the smile still wouldn’t leave Win’s face.
“What, I can’t be jealous?” Win wiggled his eyebrows at Team.
The younger swimmer looked left, then right, and back again, refusing to make eye contact with Win. He half turned and started to walk away. “What is there to be jealous of?” Stopping after two paces, Team glanced back over his shoulder. “Hia Win is the only one I want...” Team let the words linger in the air between them before he started walking again.
Jaw dropping, Win hurried to catch up with Team, sliding an arm around his waist to keep him close. He whispered right into the younger man’s ear, “And you are the only one I want.” Win was pleased with the way his words made Team duck his head and smile shyly. This time, he was close enough to see the blush play across those sweet, round cheeks. Unable to resist, Win stole a quick kiss, pressing his lips to Team’s blushing cheek, and was rewarded with seeing that blush spread.
The two of them made their way out of the pool area and Win locked the doors up again with the keys Team had borrowed. They headed back to their dorm, splitting up at Team’s floor so they could both shower at the same time, though not together. Once in his pajamas, Team went upstairs to Win’s room, letting himself in. Win met Team halfway between the bed and the door, wearing only a pair of comfortable pants, slung low on his hips. His hair was still slightly damp, hanging loose around his face.
Team looked him up and down, then stepped forward and took one of Win’s hands in both of his own. “Thank you, hia,” he said softly.
Win tipped his head, confused. A small smile touched his lips, “What for?
“Coming to find me tonight.” Team rubbed his thumb over the back of Win’s hand.
Win’s face softened at that answer. He tugged Team towards the bed. “Let’s lie down.” Team nodded in agreement and they both climbed into the bed and under the covers. Win laid on his back and Team curled in against his side, head resting on Win’s chest. The senior wrapped an arm around his junior, letting his hand settle in Team’s hair, massaging gently. They were quiet for a while, just letting their bodies settle and unwind. Tension slowly drained from Team’s body as he relaxed against Win, closing his eyes, and letting himself enjoy the hand in his hair and the steady beat of Win’s heart.
“I like ... spending time alone, but I don’t like being alone.” Team finally said, in a whispered confession.
“I know,” Win turned his head to kiss Team’s hair. He thought for a while before adding, “I wanted to be there, but didn’t want to disturb you.”
Team took a slow, deep breath, then hugged tighter to Win. He nuzzled into Win’s neck, as if he could hide from the whole world and be just safe in Win’s arms. In a way, he could. In this room, in this bed, in those arms, Team could hide from everything except himself and his mind and his memories. But that hand in his hair, that solid body beneath him, and that caring embrace from the one man who might be able to save him from himself... Those things made all the difference in Team’s world.
With his heart beating hard in his chest, Team tipped his head and kissed Win’s shoulder. “I love you, hia.”
Win rolled onto his side, moving Team along with him. They laid there, heads resting on the same pillow, eyes meeting. The space between them was small and Win looked at Team, his eyes serious and certain. He cupped his love’s cheek and ran his thumb along the place just below Team’s eye. There were no tears there, not tonight, but there had been before and there likely would be in the future. Team was the kind of man who acted light and carefree, but fought a battle inside every day. Win could be strong for him when Team couldn’t be strong himself.
“I love you,” Win said in a soft yet sure tone. “When you need me... I will be there.”
Upon hearing those words, Team smiled and gave the smallest of nods. Then Win closed the small distance between them and pressed a sweet, soft kiss to Team’s lips. It lingered and was followed by several more quick kisses, before Team curled back into Win’s arms. He hid his face, smiling and blushing, against Win’s chest. Whatever tension or fears or worries still haunted Team, dancing around the edges of his thoughts, receded for the night and he was able to release a small, happy laugh that Win found absolutely precious.
Win held Team in his arms, combing fingers through his hair and gently rubbing his back until the younger man fell soundly asleep. As Win drifted off to sleep as well, all he could think was that he really would do anything he could for this man. He would protect him, help ease his sorrows, be there for him, through the nightmares and bad memories. Win would tutor him and hold him and celebrate his victories. Above all else, Win would love him. Win would love Team for the rest of their lives.