The campus is loud around him.
People are walking up and down the paths outside the faculties after a long day of classes, but Tin is not paying any attention to them. He’s going fast, not quite running but definitely moving with purpose, and thankfully everyone is parting for him as he goes. He knows his face is probably murderous, and even if they are annoyed at him, no one is stupid enough to confront him right now.
Tin needs to get somewhere and he can’t be bothered with how he looks, not that he even cares about what all these Thai Program students think of him. He needs to get to Can as soon as possible or he might explode. In a very bad way. He needs his loud energetic cutest stupid to calm him down or he might do something he regrets.
The recent call with his brother going around in his head over and over again. His threats to hurt his Cantaloupe filling Tin with rage and fear, and he needs to see Can because he is the only one that will be able to help ease his mind.
But where the hell is Can?!
Having reached the Sport Science building, Tin looks around but can’t see his boyfriend where he usually lunges after classes. Tin takes his phone and dials Can’s number. The more it rings the more Tin panics, pulling at his hair and messing it up from its usually perfect style. He spins around on his heels, searching and searching but nothing. God, what if Tul’s threats were not just that? What if he’s gotten to Can? What if he’s hurt him?
His chest starts to feel heavy and it’s getting hard to breath. Panic and fear replacing his anger and making it difficult for Tin to think. He must look crazy to everyone around but he can’t help it. He should move, go somewhere quiet where no one will see the young Medthanan have a breakdown. His brother would have a field day if it made it to the press.
A hand suddenly falls on his shoulder, and Tin quickly turns around, eyes wide in distress and hope that instantly vanishes when it’s not Can that had come behind him, “Tin? Are…you…ok?” Good mutters.
“Go – od,” Tin’s voice is shaky and he’s struggling to get the words out, “Ca – an, have yo – u see – n hi – im?”
Good nods, slowly, “he… went… home… His… mom… picked… him… up.”
A sigh of relief leaves Tin’s lips but he’s still trembling and his breathing hasn’t improved. Good tilts his head to the side and seems to assess him before he grabs Tin’s arm and turns around, gently pulling him as he starts to walk. Tin follows, incapable of resisting as all energy leaves his body.
The two boys keep slowly making they’re way through the buildings outside area until they are on a closed-off corner, far from praying eyes and surrounded by bushes and tall trees. There’s a stone table and bench in the middle and it’s quiet, the sounds of the students barely a hum.
Good stops when they reach the bench and lightly pushes Tin to take a sit. Tin looks up at Good with damp eyes and, when did that happen? He doesn’t even have the energy to try and brush the wetness away, just keeps staring at Good’s calm eyes and somehow, he feels himself begin to relax.
“Are… you… ok?” Good softly repeats, his hand still on Tin’s arm giving gentle squeezes.
Tin wants to say yes, he wants to nod his head but he can’t, not when Good is looking at him with actual worry in his eyes, something he has only ever gotten from Pete and Can. So, Tin shakes his head and lets the tears fall. Good steps closer and brings his other hand to Tin’s head using it to guide it to his chest. Tin lets him, dropping his forehead forward until it hits Good’s middle. Good keeps patting his hair and Tin, unable to stop himself, wraps the arm not in Good’s hold around Good’s lower back, pulling him closer, and Good lets him.
It should be weird, he knows, but, for some reason, it’s not. Tin doesn’t know when he got close enough to Good that Can’s best friend would be here, comforting him as Tin cries into his white shirt, or that Tin would be comfortable crying in front of him, something not even Pete has seen. It may have been during the dozen dates with Can that the shorter boy had insisted Good joins. [“He looks sad, see?” Can had pleaded, hands on Good’s cheeks as he forces him to look Tin’s way, “Can he join us? The more the merrier, right?”]
Tin had wanted to say no, his dates with Can where his only, but when Can looked at him like that, he couldn’t. So, he said yes, and every time after the first, until Can just stopped asking and Good would join them. He didn’t have anything against Good, not after his initial jealousy before finding out he was just Can’s best friend, it was just that he didn’t know him much. For so long, he hadn’t understood how those two’s friendship worked. One too loud and fast, and the other too quiet and slow. That is until he started spending all that time with them. Through dinners and lunches and days out, Tin saw why they were best friends. Just like him and Pete, Can and Good balanced each other.
Eventually, Tin had started to enjoy their time together. He could sit back and watch them have fun, bringing small smiles to his lips. Still, he and Good didn’t interact much, just shared Can, space, and a few words. He had found out things about him by force and wouldn’t have called them friends, maybe acquaintances at best, but here he is, letting Good see him at his lowest.
Slowly, Tin’s breathing evens out and the tears stop falling, but he doesn’t move, just keeps clutching the back of Good’s shirt in one hand and pressing his forehead to his front. Good is still patting his head and that in conjunction with the floral smell of his shirt is helping ground Tin and pull him out of the panic that had built in him.
“Do… you… feel… better?” Good mutters, never stopping his movements or letting go of his hold on Tin’s arm.
“Yes,” Tin murmurs.
“Good… you… can… stay… as… long… as… you… need.”
Tin doesn’t reply, he doesn’t know what to say. He should say thank you but he’s never been good with words, specially those. So, he just stays where he is, basking in Good’s calming presence, and Good lets him.
Is this what being cared for feels like? he thinks.