Actions

Work Header

Others learning about Tian's and Phupha's relationship

Chapter Text

Phupha tried hard to smile with a blurry vision of unshed tears as Tian's bus departed from Pha Pun Dao to Bangkok. There it was, an eventual ending for the beautiful love story that Phupha and Tian shared and the only love story of their lives. Tian looked back through the window slits as the bus started to move forward and Phupha's body had eventually started to look smaller and smaller and no longer in sight. Phupha shed the tears which he had held back for so long and the sheer reality that this might be the end even before the beginning of their life story shook him and his knees buckled. Phupha gave in to the grief and sat down sniffling tears now cascading down his face. Phupha hoped for the best, he had the best days of his life, the push and pull, subtle flirtings, in the beginning, the lingering gazes and finally the reciprocated feelings all came to an end.

Phupha had felt the loneliest in thirty years of his life which was washed away by one troublemaker eyes blank at first but soon morphed into mirth, determination, love and respect, and most importantly care for people around him, stumbling right into his arms in the very first time they met and successfully stole Phupha’s heart. Like Einstein‘s theory of relativity, Phupha didn’t feel a few months in the Phaphirun base lonely but the very few minutes that Tian had left to Bangkok, Phupha felt the loneliest.

The grief and guilt were killing him from inside. He hadn’t even spent any moments like normal rangers in the department would spend with their loved ones, but again every moment he had with Tian was dear to his heart. Guilt, mainly because he drove Tian away from him all by himself, and the boy even before he had boarded the bus looked at him with eyes held full of hope and expectations but, Phupha couldn’t bring himself to do it. He couldn’t be selfish and wish for Tian to be all for himself when there were so much future and hope for the boy. He couldn’t, the social class of difference and the eternal struggle they would have to face even if they got together at any point in time in their lives would tear them apart and Phupha had thought about only one thing about their separation.

That is to be separated on their own, without any involvement of a third person tearing them apart and then losing the thin shreds of hope they stuck upon their love entirely. He preferred separation when their feelings and regard for each other was still vibrant and full of hope, but goddammit why did it hurt so much? The heartbreak started to morph into physical pain and Phupha could feel his heartstrings snapping one by one.

 

 

 

 

“So Phupha, Mr.Sakda, and his men are finally behind bars for the atrocious crimes they’ve committed thanks to you.” Phupha had come down at the local police station for the hearing of further proceedings of the court case regarding the poaching and illegal storage of Sakda and his men in the Ghost Village. Phupha had just nodded along, no vigor in his posture nor determination. Nam had accompanied him.

“I heard that Mr. Teeriyut also helped in warding off the poachers and the security has been tightened all thanks to you Phupha.” Phupha had stopped hearing after the surname Teeriyut, the whole mind and body’s focus shifted entirely on Tian, Nam had noticed that his best friend’s mind trailed off whereas the officer was still blabbering and raining appreciation towards his friend.

He sighed, ever since Tian had left it has been two months and Phupha had fallen into depression refusing to eat, drink and carry on with his daily activities. All he did was stare at blankness and his eyes dazed. Nam, sighed deeply all he wished was to Phupha and Tian find each other and would get into each other arms and the little separation would have made the push but the longer they are separated the more Nam is losing his dear friend.

“Well...Well, well look who’s here cop, it’s our dear Chief Phupha.” Sakda’s annoying voice broke everyone out of their reverie.

“What is it Mr. Sakda get back to your work.” The cop chided, trying to avoid Sakda getting close to the forest ranger Chief.

“I will, I will but let me just greet the person who put me in here.” Sakda’s smile sent chills to Nam’s spine, his eyes menacingly glaring at the Chief.

“What do you want Mr. Sakda?” Phupha spoke up, breaking the silence.

“You have some guts to go against me Chief even after everything I had done to that stupid village and its people.” Sakda raised his voice.

“That’s because you deserve to rot in hell, people like you are monsters who are out to scare innocent people, and me, won’t let that happen.” Phupha gave an ultimatum.

“Oh! Just because I landed in jail doesn’t mean you won Chief, and I didn’t lose. I will get out of here and do you know what will be the first thing I will be doing?” Sakda’s baleful laugh echoed in the room. “I will go after that pest, that Teacher of yours and his father, and teach them a very good lesson. I will make sure to snap that Teacher’s neck with my bare hands. Bullets aren’t enough to kill-” Phupha had held Sakda’s jail uniform in his hands and the tight grip had Sakda struggling for breath. Phupha breathed fire. The very thought of Sakda thinking of even harming Tian was enough to get him moving on his feet.

The onlookers were surprised, the composed chief was seething and livid that he could legitly harm the criminal, they still needed him in good condition for the court proceedings. They tried to pry his arms but the strong ranger held on, eyes boring deep into Sakda and the man held captive had started to fidget and scarred for life.

“Listen here you bastard, if you have issues come at me, I will answer back don’t go behind Tian because then I will truly destroy you, mark my words,” Phupha warned, and with Nam’s insistence he let go of the man’s collars.

“Oh! Do I hear love? How romantic, but why don’t I see him around you Chief? I heard from a little birdie that you sent him away! Were you scared that I might harm him?” Nam had enough and sneered at the provocation.

“Aye Phu...let’s ignore him, come on, he’s lost his mind. He’s babbling nonsense because he’s angry.” Nam guided Phupha out of the station, blocking Sakda’s shoutings, Phupha sat down and Nam left to fetch water for him. Phupha held the tumbler in shivering hands and Nam just hoped that everything would be better, he rubbed his palm on Phupha’s back.

There were a calming silence and thousands of emotions that ran across Phupha’s face, fear, anxiety, and mostly helplessness.

“If you are so worried, you could’ve kept him beside you before sending him away like that.” Nam triggered something in Phupha.

“You think I wanted to send him away?” Phu snapped. “Dammit Doc, if I had all the power vested in me, I would’ve never let Tiain get out of my eyesight. I had no choice but to do this! If I had been selfish then Tian would’ve been in my arms instead of being miles away from me in Bangkok without any contact.” Phupha breathed harshly.

“You had a choice, Phu…” Nam spoke softly like he was talking to a troubled teenager. “You had a choice, you had all the power vested in you to control things and make sure that Tain had stayed by right into your arms like you are wishing now. But you pushed him away why? Not because you wanted him to stay away from you, why? Because you got an order from a senior?”

“Who happens to be his father, thank you very much.”

“Yeah, his father, not Tian. Not him, he gave you a chance clearly and you threw that away, you idiot!” Nam hit back on his friend’s head hoping to bring him into his senses. Phupha just cried silently, realization hitting him hard.

Nam just hoped that everything would be better and Phupha would move on, or morph out of his grief.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh boy, he did. Phupha had made it his mission to end Sakda and his henchmen and ensured that every single one of them was thrown in jail. He would make sure that there were no traces as he hunted them down one by one, capturing and transferring them into prisons. Sakda was furious every time they met and his henchmen were thrown in the same prison like him. Phupha had even caught the two spies in the Phaphun Dao village. It was a dead-end for Sakda and his threats.

On one such occasion when Phupha was conversing with cops and further proceedings Rang and Yod stood close by not to be a part of the conversation but to hear everything carefully. They were proud of their chief, closing down the biggest illegal cartel in three months would earn their chief a reward and a handsome promotion even. They were glad that Phupha had reverted into the same fiery one, but at the same time still had a longing in his eyes.

Rang glanced back at the defeated hilarious face of Sakda who was indirectly a part of Phupha and the dear teacher’s separation. Sakda sat on the floor head buried in his hands and Rang felt that the man deserved all these.

“This is what happens when you provoke a man in love,” Rang announced loudly pulling Yod into the conversation and grabbing the criminal’s attention.

“What do you mean Rang?”

“Oh! It’s nothing P’Yod, look at our chief, they tried to kill the man he loves and he taught them a big lesson. Isn’t that enough proof that you should never provoke a man in love? He shall turn into a lion to protect the dear ones. Our chief and Teacher are proof of that.” Rang smiled and Yod returned the emotions. They looked at Phupha who shook hands with other cops and smiled, Phupa loves Tian and shall always love him. They prayed that Tian would return one day and claim his position.

 

As the rangers returned, Sakda sat in the darkness of his prison cell and let out a hopeless laugh, he was invincible for all these years and a mere love story between a Forest ranger Chief and a troublemaker teacher bought the end of his era.

Chapter Text

Tian walked to the podium and received his graduation certificate, trying his best to drown Tul’s cheers from behind. It was embarrassing and honestly, Tian wished that the ground would open up and swallow him when Tul cheered and catcalled his name on top of his lungs. But his focus was entirely on the extra reward he was rewarded with for his virtue and volunteering activity of teaching the kids and helping in the arrest of the poachers. Tain was no longer sad whenever Phaphun Dao's name came up but instead, Tian held the memories close to him, in his mind, and dearly missed the kids, villagers, rangers, doctor, and Phupha. Like his man had told, Tain was now living for himself, validating his feelings and he had finally let out that guilt of living in someone else's place nor he felt like he was Torfun’s shadow anymore. But his heart and mind yet yearned for Phupha and Tian knew that he shall always love the man, the ring around his neck was the sole proof of that. He had carried Phupha’s heart with him.

 

Tian was now a changed man, more cheerful and less snobbish and obnoxious and still a dear troublemaker. His parents had enough of his silly pranks, Tul was dead tired of his mischief and his nephews were now his dearest friends. They were all surprised at first, seeing a radical change in him wasn’t easy when all Tain did after returning home was slamming his door shut and refusing to interact with any of them for an entire month.

It all changed when Tian had gone to a nearby university along with Tul for a football match and a small gush of wind and a small body slammed into him the sheer force had him stumbling on the ground taking the hugger along with him. Tian groaned and the person on top of him chuckled, Tian froze, the voice was similar, and behold! It was Longtae in his all glory.

 

 

 

 

 

“I cannot believe it Phi, I’m in front of you after a very long time. God, I missed you so much that I couldn’t stay in the village any longer and I left. I hoped to see you again and here you are, in my university.” Longtae’s cheerfulness was contagious, Tian and Tul laughed along with him.

“I didn’t believe that I would be seeing you again Longtae thanks for studying here.” Tian smiled and Longtae let out a sincere smile.

“Dude is this the chief of yours?” Tul asked shamelessly and yelped when Tian kicked him under the table. Longtae looked at them in confusion but the topic was diverted soon, forgetting about it. Tul, Tian, and Longtae had now become close-knitted friends and Tian made sure that he had toured Longtae every nook and corner of Bangkok, memories reminding them of the village.

On one such day, Longtae offhandedly commented that Phupha was worse and was sick even ever since Tian left the village and it made his heart clench painfully and also bought a sense of satisfaction. Call him selfish but Tian didn’t want to be the only one suffering whereas Phupha would soon forget him and meet new teachers and get married. But no, maybe god repaid him for the tears he had shed due to the green giant in the past few weeks. And the sign of suffering reassured him that Phupha loved him back as much as he did. Don’t get him wrong, Tian was glad because he loved Phupha the most.

Thus began the change, his focus shifted on education and now a graduate. Longtae was with him in the ceremony and a year had passed. Longtae kept the secret that he had reconciled with Tian to the villagers as per Tian’s request. No one knew, especially Phupha. Longtae respected his wishes and helped Tian make a journal by clicking pictures now and then.

The graduation party ended with Tul and Longtae being drunk out of their minds and Tian the only sober one had called a taxi to take them home. His parents were out for a party so he had asked for help. He and the house gardener struggled to drop Tul and Longtae on the beds of their guest room and Tian thanked the man for the help. Remembering that he hadn’t paid the taxi yet, Tian walked around in the darkness in a hurry and fell down the last bit of stairs.

“Tian!!” Mrs. Teeriyut screamed in horror and Mr. Teeriyut switched on the lights to see better.

“Oh, my god son what were you thinking? Walking around drunk like this in the night? What if you had gotten hurt?” Tian’s mother was worried.

“It’s okay Mom, I’m not drunk, just stumbled down the last bit of stairs honestly slipped that’s all. I had to yet pay the taxi driver so-”

“I took care of it, don’t worry son.”

“Oh! Thanks, dad.” Tian turned towards his mother. “Mom, I’m fine stop worrying, see there isn’t even a single drop of blood on my body. I’m good.” he wiped her tears.

“Okay son...be careful na…” She whispered and Tian just laughed getting up from the coach. As soon as he took a step further a metal ring dropped on the floor and rolled towards his father’s feet. Tian looked in horror and checked his neck to confirm whether it’s his ring, rather Phupha’s. Before he could retrieve the ring back his father had picked it up and looked closely at the engraving and glanced back at his son, eyes widening in surprise and Tian gulped. He was in trouble and his mother worriedly glanced between her child and husband.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So you’re telling me that you and the forest ranger that your father had ordered to look after you are in love with each other?” Tian looked at his mother’s curious and his father’s anxious eyes before he nodded. He heard deep sighs and that moment he felt that his biggest fear would turn out to be true, being shunned by his parents because of his sexuality.

“Are you guys still together?” Tian’s father asked this time.

Tain chucked, broken laughter and voice cracking at the irony. “We were never together, in fact, we have never even told I love you to one another. I just know that our feelings are mutual.” Tian’s parents glanced at him worriedly.

“Why did you come back, son?”

“Shouldn’t you know the answer for this one dad? Since you dearly requested the Chief to send me back home, I’m here.” Tian shrugged, eyes brimming with tears.

“But-”

“What did you do?” Tian’s mother glared at her husband.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Mr. Teeriyut defended himself. “You were missing your son, we were missing him. He recently had a heart transplant. I was worried for his health and at the same time relieved that Phupha was taking care of him. Tian was away for so long, we all missed him so all I wanted was to see him during the new years and hopefully grow up and take on the business, I never wanted to separate the two.”

“What?”

“What!” Tain shrieked. “But dad, didn’t you feel that I should return home and I had enough fun in the village?”

Mr. Teeriyut sighed at the accusations. “Listen, I might have worded it wrong. I just wanted your mother to see you once before she chews my head off with her worries.” Mrs. Teeriyut let out an offended gasp. “And yes, you can be an entrepreneur by looking after the operations there itself.”

“What do you mean dad?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Rise and shine idiots.” Tian opened the blinds waking up his two idiot friends from their sleep. Tul and Longtae simultaneously groaned.

“Tian! Man! Shut the blinds before I go blind!” Tul screamed at him and Longtae agreed.

“Nope! Not happening now which one of you will drop me at the bus stop because I’m going to Phaphun Dao.” At that announcement, Tul and Longtae’s eyes widened comically and the speed they woke up, caused them a headrush.

“Phi!! For real?”

“Yes!” Tian chuckled.

“Then Phi, I’m also coming with you.” Longtae jumped in Tian’s arms and they hugged merrily. Tul sulked and pouted on the bed.

“I can’t believe you two are ditching me.”

“Well if you take a bath and wear decent clothes we can all catch the bus tonight at eleven sharp. Before that we should drop by the volunteering service office.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yod stood waiting for the new volunteer teacher, the bus was delayed by three hours and yet he had to wait patiently since there was no communication with the new teacher, it was his job after all and he knew Phupha would chide him if he didn’t fulfill his duties. Glancing around Yod remembered the time when he had picked up Tian at the same stop. It has been a year, but the memories are still fresh. He was wondering how the former teacher was doing when a finger poked on his back.

“Yes?”

“Are you the one who’s supposed to pick up the new volunteering teacher?”

“Aah..yes yes. I’m Yod, a forest ranger and you are Mr?”

“Tul, my name is Tul and I’m the new volunteering teacher.”

“Thank you Mr.Tul it’s been six months ever since we had a new teacher, I’m sure the kids are looking forward to meeting you.”

“I’m glad too, Mr. Yod.”

“Wow! I never knew you could speak so much about the village to new teachers huh Chan Yod?” Yod turned around at the voice and his jaws literally dropped.

 

 

 

 

Phupha stood at the familiar place and glanced at the house which had been empty for six months but now was getting occupied. Phupha sometimes slept in the house, instead of the base whenever he missed Tian dearly. This was the only place Phupha could drown in countless thoughts of Tian and their relationship. Glancing at the house, Phupha opened his wallet and took out Tian’s photo which he had borrowed from Longtae, and rubbed his thumb on them. There will be a new teacher in the village today and kids would learn something new and struggle to get adjusted, the villagers dearly missed Torfun and more of Tian. the guilt and gratefulness they felt for him made them miss him all the time.

Phupha glanced at the house once again, he shall no longer be coming at the house and waiting for Tian to return. The house shall be occupied by some stranger but Phupha’s heart and soul would only belong to Tian. glancing down at the watch, Phupha frowned in worry because it was three in the afternoon and the new teacher hadn’t been reported yet, maybe the teacher fled and Phupha felt happy. Only Tian had stood against all odds and won over the kids and villagers, no one could do it like him but again at the same time, the kids' education was at stake.

Torn in internal conflicts Phupha was about to board on the bike and leave the place but Yod’s voice was heard.

“Chief! The new teacher is here!”

The sudden breeze cooled as it swept past him. The eerie silence was new and all of a sudden Phupha’s heart started to pick up heartbeats like it could sense the person they wanted the most like they could sense Tian. Earnest Phupha looked back and he was not disappointed it was Tian! Tian, the one he loves.

Tian’s ethereal smile was plastered on his lips and the slight smirk, with hair grown longer and slightly tousled along with the wind. He wore Phupha’s jacket and the same clothes he had worn when he had come to Phaphun Dao for the first time. The necklace and he ring out on the neck display for everyone that he was taken!

Tian laughed at the sight, so the Chief was broken. Chuckling, Tian ran towards the man and stopped two steps before him. He was going to let Phupha cover those two steps like he had caught him when he fainted.

“Surprised to see me?” Tian’s lopsided grin was too much for Phupha’s heart, he has started to cry and Tian’s eyes brimmed too. Longtae, Yod were all engrossed. Tul was surprised to see his best friend so in love. But was happy, he was finally getting what he deserved.

Phupha didn’t talk, nor let out a noise. At first, he thought that he was hallucinating, he couldn’t take his eyes off Tian at all. Was there any way he could confirm that all this was a dream because of his wishful thinking? Unsure Phupha took the remaining steps and stood right in front of Tian.

“Are you maybe sad Chief? That it’s me back again spoiling all the opportunities that you could have had with the new teacher?” Did tian tease and wink? “But don’t worry! I’m not the new teacher, it's someone else but I’m here for someone else and it’s-”

“Is it you Tian?” Phupha gulped, fearing the answer.

Tian had stopped talking, the sudden superflux of emotions was evident. Longtae had started to tear up at the back. Tian gulped in the fresh air, letting his tears fall evidently. Phupha’s hand rose to wipe them as a reflex but stopped midway.

Heart bursting with love, Tian closed the distance and placed his cheek in Phupha’s hand hanging in mid-air and the dam burst open, within a fraction of seconds Phupha had wrapped his arms around Tian pulling him to his chest. Tian laughed merrily at the reaction, the least bit scared.

“Welcome home Tian!” Phupha closed his eyes savoring the embrace.

“I’m home…., Chief.”

Chapter Text

Judging by the fact that there were only five kids in the entire village who were supposed to be in primary school made it difficult for the volunteering services to scout for fresh talents or even retain the ones that were posted in the poorly facilitated village. The teachers would come and decide that the trouble was not worth it for five kids and mercilessly leave without second thoughts. Hence the kids were dearly attached to their teacher Seetian. They missed him and wished that he would be back soon.

Like Khama had told before, the kids genuinely hate saying goodbyes and always have trouble adjusting for a new face, once they get close to that person they’ll have to say their goodbyes again to not see their new faces ever again. The high dogmatism found in them was a challenging factor for every volunteering teacher posted in Pha Phun Dao. only two people have emerged successful.

On a bright autumn morning, Rang and Yod informed the kids that there shall be a new teacher arriving tomorrow to teach them. Ayi and Khaoneung had let out a whine at the news because it meant that seeing a new face and all the troubles shall begin again. Meejo was worried because a new teacher meant no more Seetian for them. Will they ever see him again? Seetain? Whenever she asked the particular question at home, her parents would ponder along with her, when she would ask the same question in front of her friends, they admitted that they also wished to see Seetian back in the village as their teacher. Whenever she would ask the question in front of the Chief and the rangers there would be an eerie silence, the tension too palpable, and everyone would exchange nervous glances towards each other and at a particular man before the topic being changed.

 

 

 

 

 

The kids were in the classroom waiting, accompanied by Rang and Yod as usual. All left was the entry of the new teacher along with the chief. As usual, the kids weren’t keen on meeting a new face but they had to for the sake of themselves and their parents and most importantly for the rangers who go through highs and lows so that couple of kids could get educated.

“Hey, kids!” A man’s cheerful shout shook every kid out there and at one glance at the new teacher and his attire, it was evident that it was another city-bred, rich brat.

Frowns etched on every single face but to be respectful they all stood up to greet the new teacher. “Hello.” they bowed down respectfully.

“Hmmm….wow!” Tul chuckled, actually nervous. He was stepping in for his best friend, Tian, their previous teacher and the absolute best they had. He hadn’t been this nervous for his exams even.

“My name is Tul, I live in Bangkok and I’m so happy to come down here and teach you guys.” faces just blankly staring at him, a two judgemental even. Do not fret Tul, you can do this!

“Hmmm….” more pin drop silence. “Can you guys introduce yourselves?”

“Ayi”

“Meejo”

“Inta”

“Khoneung”

“Khalae”

“Okay! That’s good. I’m Tul.”

“We know Kru.” Wow!...

“Eh...hehe!! Yeah I introduced myself earlier, I forgot.” not even a single impressed face. Gosh! Now Tul was sweating, how did Tian do this? If the kids are like this what about the villagers? Will he be even able to fit in here? He made a whole bet with Tian that he will finish the service for three months before moving back to Bangkok and then the USA for his masters. But how? The kids are so unwelcoming and cold. Tul, mentally cursed for being almighty when he rejected Tian’s help in the morning. god, now he feels stupid.

“Looks like you’re having a great time here with the kids!” Tul whipped his neck to see Tian in all glory.

“Phi Seetian!” The chorus of cheers echoed and Tul was pushed away by a strong force of little parades of kids to hug their beloved teacher.

“Aww!! I missed you guys too.” Tian hugged every single student personally and everyone present there smiled at the gesture. As Tul observed, Tian even went on his knees to wipe precious Meejo’s tears. He was loved in here, Tian belonged to the village, the kids, the villagers, a good friend of rangers, and an asset to their Chief.

As the kids settled down, Tian began to explain properly that he was not their teacher again but he shall be staying in the village with them and would take up the next turn of service and register himself as their permanent teacher. Of course, the kids cheered and rangers played along.

“But, for now, you guys have to promise me to treat teacher Tul better okay?”Tian coerced and the immediate obedient response was reciprocated.

“Good, this is my best friend kids, meet Tul.” Tian even held Tul’s hands to make a wave.

“Seetian, what’s a best friend?” Ayi pondered.

Tian and Tul exchanged glances with each other and chuckled. Tian prompted Tul to answer the question. Tul’s nervousness began again but Tian’s reassuring smile was enough to keep him grounded.

“Best friend is someone who will always be with you anytime of the day and at any point of your life. They are your shadows and pillars as well.” Tul looked impressed with his answer but the kids were confused. Tian burst into laughter.

“Don’t go all philosophical on them, idiot, they cannot comprehend all those big words yet.” he turned towards the kids. “Best friend is someone like a family, they are someone with whom you share everything and anything with.”

“Yeah, they are your brother from another mother.” Tian smacked Tul’s head. The rangers and the kids laughed. Phupha entered the school at the exact moment and smiled seeing the bond between two best friends he was glad that they shared such a bond.

A hand shot up in the air, Tian gestured to Meejo. “Then who’s your best friend in the village Phi Seetian?”

Chief and the rangers puffed their chests waiting for the answer, all of them expecting that their names shall be taken. “Longtae” and chief’s chest flatly deflated.

“Yes, Longtae! Even Phi Tul knows Longtae kids.” and it was safe to say that Tul’s teaching foundation was successfully laid.

 

 

 

 

 

Evening, it was recess day and the kids were playing with each other. The kites soared high in the air and the cheerful laughter accompanied with it. Tian had taught the kids how to play with kites and their dear chief also. To explore and have more fun, the kids decided to invite the Chief and Seetian and even the new teacher to play with them. Happily, they all marched to the ranger’s unit to invite the adults but stopped in their steps as soon as they spotted Tian and Phupha together.

“Are you serious right now?” Tian’s eyebrows were furrowed and their face marred with confusion as he stared at Chief.

Phupha didn’t respond but returned an equally fierce gaze.

After two minutes of intense staring, Tian burst into laughter and Phupha huffed.

“I can’t believe you Chief! You are jealous of Longtae? Longtae out of all?” Tian bellowed in laughter and Phupha clicked his tongue in annoyance. The kids stared at the two of them in confusion.

Tian glances around them and the kids scurried away to hide behind the bushes. Glancing around to feel the safe atmosphere, Tian turned the sulking Chief towards himself and smiled seeing the angry face. Phupha turned his face away. Sighing, Tian embraced Phupha pulling him on his neck, and Phupha’s arms automatically wrapped themselves around Tian’s waist.

“Chief…” Tian began. “You don’t have to be jealous of anyone, especially after last night you need not be. I’m yours and I don't have anyone except you, so you are mine as well. Okay?” Tian tilted his head towards the right and tried to act cute, Phupha immediately melted.

The kids stared at them in awe, Chief and Tian were close like the people they show on movies and Tv which the kids get to watch once in very few months due to village fairs and festivals. The rangers were right, their chief was lonely and missed Tian a lot hence they didn’t answer whenever Meejo asked them whether Seetian would be back in the village? Now everything fell into place, the kids automatically had smiles on their faces when they saw Phupha and Tian in an embrace, they were cute. The kids chuckled within themselves, not make any loud noise and distract the couple.

“Come on now! Have I ever felt jealous that you and Doc Nam are close?” Tian chided and when Phupha opened his mouth to correct him, Tian cut him off. “Except for that one time!”

Phupha sighed, he was being unreasonable. He knew, yet after being through so much, he still had insecurities, everyone was close to Tian and he hated the fact that he had to share him with the villagers, the kids, even his rangers and friend so whenever Longtae and he chummed with one another, the green giant in him erupted with envy.

“You said that Longtae is your best friend in the village, Tul is your best friend in the city then what am I?” Tian stared at the ridiculous question.

“You want to be just my best friend?” Phupha whined at the teasing tone. The kids also laughed silently.

“No! Tian! You know what I mean!”

“No, I don’t chief” Tian was being fake innocent, probably enjoying Phupha’s miserable state.

Phupha tried to get out of the embrace huffing and Tian stopped him, giving in Tian dropped a peak on the Chief’s lips and the kids gasped. Phupha grabbed him by his neck and turned them around shielding Tian from the kids' vision but the way Phupha’s head was bobbing it was clear that they were engaged in a deep kiss. The kids were happy, to be honest, this means that Seetian would never leave them and they shall be happy forever. While the kids exchanged high fives with one another, an adult crouched down beside them curious to see what the kids were looking at diligently.

Nam shrieked in his mind as soon as he saw Phupha’s back, taking by the gesture of Tian standing on his tiptoes and arms wrapped around Phupha’s neck, it was clear to him what they were up to, but in day broad light that too in front of the kids! The horror!

“Hey Phu and Tian go inside the kids are here!” he yelled, and the couple broke its embrace, Tian looked flush and embarrassed and Phupha looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him. The kids hadn’t exactly witnessed the kiss but they knew what the adults were up to and it was scandalous and the raging topic for dinner at the ranger’s base for dinner that night.

Chapter Text

Tian’s clothes were thrown across the floor. He was desperately trying to find a pair of pants for the day, his clothes were in the teacher’s house, where he sometimes stayed with Tul and needed to be washed. Tul’s clothes were quite big on him and he hated his cologne so wearing his clothes was not an option for now. Tul had already left for the classes and Tian had only one option of borrowing clothes from Longtae. Again, Longtae had left for the city center along with his parents for some family function, so that was out of the window. Tian wondered if there were any fresh clothes of his in Phupha’s house at the base. Hurriedly, Tian left in direction of his lover’s house.

Phupha’s house was unlocked and Tian entered and opened the wardrobe looking for his clothes, all he could find were used clothes and he groaned in despair. A gun was clicked and placed on his back and Tian froze, gulping he turned around to see a new face, dressed in ranger’s clothes who held him point-blank.

“Who are you and what are you looking for in the Chief's house?”

“I can explain...it’s not what it looks like. Are you new?”

“That’s not the point” the ranger growled. “Explain before I shoot you!”

“Okay!!” Tian squeaked. “I’m Tian, the village teacher, I came here in search of something that I had left behind the last time I came here.”

“If you’re a teacher you should be in school what are you doing in Phaphirun base?”

“The rangers know me, I visit most of the time, I get it you’re new but…”

“Hey! What are you doing?” Tian looked at his savior, Rang was surprised. “Do you even know what you are doing?” he questioned the new ranger.

“But sir, he could be a poacher..”

“No, he’s not.” Rang cut him off and gestured to the new ranger to remove the gun, the ranger complied. “This is Tian, thank goodness it was me who saw it, or else you could’ve landed in big trouble if the Chief saw it.”

“Sorry” the ranger apologized and Tian smiled. “Apologies accepted, just don’t scare me like that again, I’ve had a bad experience with guns.” Rang nodded in understanding and the new ranger made a mental note.

“I’m Aran, new posting yesterday.”

“Nice to meet you Aran, your name suits your job.” Tian smiled and Aran’s breath stuck in his throat. Rang could sense trouble.
A/n Aran name means forest in Thai.

 

 

 

 

 

Aran saw Tian often in the village then on, he could see how Tian was loved, cherished by everyone in the village, and was important to everyone. He learned that Tul was the new volunteering teacher, he was Tian’s best friend and Tian was the previous teacher and the next teacher as well. Aran made friends at the base and also befriended Longtae, Tul, Doc Nam through Tian. Whenever Aran saw Tian’s cheerful smile and helping nature towards the villagers, his heart fluttered and before he knew it, he had developed a teeny tiny crush on Tian.

He tried to spend time and strike conversation as much as possible with the teacher, but he was never alone, someone always accompanied him and most importantly Tian and the Chief were very close, they even had private conversations and no one from the base interrupted them. Sometimes, Aran had spotted Tian asleep in the Chief’s room in the mornings while Rang or Yod waited for him to wake up, and drop him off at the teacher’s house. He found it strange but never pondered too much into it.

 

 

Which he probably should have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was Doc Nam’s birthday and the party was hosted at Phaphirun base. At the start of the party everyone was present, the kids, the villagers. But as the clock hit 10 pm, the kids were escorted back home by a few rangers and then the actual party began. Drinks were bought out, everyone went crazy as the Chief permitted them to let loose, it was a rare occasion and everyone celebrated their freedom. Aran glanced around and found Nam, Yod and Rang were cracking some jokes at Phupha who was chiding them and the three laughed at every reaction of the Chief.

Aran looked around avoiding the three of them and could spot Tul, Tian, and Longtae together. The city people were encouraging Longtae to drink beer, and Longtae made faces at every sip, probably his first drink. Aran approached them.

“Drink?” Aran offered a glass to Tian but it was snatched away by Tul.

“No no, no drinks for him for the time being. It’s cold and he should protect his body.” Longtae nodded at the side.

“Thanks, Aran, Tul is right. No drinks for me right now, maybe a few days later. Also, the Chief won’t let me drink.” Longtae and Tul teased Tian for the last sentence and Aran was again confused, why would Chief let the man drink? Anyway, Aran sat down next to Tian in the space and Tian was surprised but later shut his mouth, because the place he had reserved was gone but he didn’t comment on it. Aran was pretty much drunk at this point.

“Tian..?”

“Hmmm…?” Tian turned around. Longtae and Tul also listened.

“How is your skin so smooth?” Aran wondered loudly and Tian chuckled at that.

“Probably genes.” Tian shrugged.

“Wow I’m jealous.” Tian just smiled at Aran’s pout.

When Tian reverted to the conversation with Tul and Longtae, Aran grew impatient. Annoyed, he tapped Tian’s shoulders incessantly and captured not only Tian’s but almost everyone’s attention at the party.

“Tiannnn!! Pay attention to me!” Aran screeched and Tian looked at him in surprise, this was new and soon heavy footsteps were indicating the arrival of Phupha, Tian glanced at the Chief and back at Aran.

“Tian! Tian! I like you, will you go out with me?” glass in Longtae’s hands dropped to the ground in surprise and there were few audible gasps. Tian’s was visibly surprised.

“What are you…?”

“He’s taken!” Phupha gently took Tian’s hands in his and yanked him out of his seat. He was angry but his actions were gentle. Tian nodded at Phupha and they both exchanged a smile. Without further ado, the duo left the party hand in hand and left the base. Everyone cheered at their backs and Tian’s ears were adorably flushed, Tul groaned about not having a place to sleep at night and Longtae patted his back in sympathy and offered his place for the night. Aran watched everything in confusion but no one approached him regarding anything and the party resumed.

 

 

 

The next morning, Aran was suffering from a hangover. Everyone at the breakfast table was grim and wincing because of the headache. Breakfast was ready and everyone was waiting for the Chief's arrival. Tian and Phupha returned to the base with Longtae and Tul in a row. Tian sat next to the doctor for breakfast as the Chief went inside his room. The breakfast noises were drowned in the background as Aran observed Tian everyone now and then.

Tian had his hair ungelled and free-flowing which brushed on his forehead now and then due to the smooth wind. He was dressed in simple track pants and a green ranger’s shirt which was quite big on him. That caught Aran’s attention. Ranger’s shirt was exclusive to Rangers or their family members, no one else was entitled to wear them.

So how could Tian wear one? Nobody else at the unit batted a single eyelash at the attire of the teacher and when Tian leaned to serve food for an extra plate, Aran’s eyes widened at the huge hickey right below Tian’s left ear. It was a trial of hickey’s, to be frank. It started right below the earlobe, a path trailing and hiding beneath the ranger’s shirt Tian wore. Aran was intrigued. Phupha came out of his room all dressed and walked towards Tian. the two occupied the farthest end and had breakfast exchanging subtle glances and eyes focused on each other.

Aran left the breakfast and was just staring at the two. After twenty minutes, Phupha had finished his breakfast. He got up and simply kissed Tian’s forehead and approached the table, glancing at everyone and eyes zeroing on Aran. Aran was flabbergasted and lowered his eyes on the food.

“I’m going for morning rounds. I want everyone on duty by thirty minutes okay?”

“Yes chief!”

“Good.” Phupha bent down to tie his shoelaces and Aran saw another hickey at broad daylight, it was on the Chief’s neck.

When Phupha left not without glancing once again at Tian, everything clicked to Aran. everything made sense and honestly, Aran had made a fool out of himself.

After two days Aran personally apologised to Tian and Chief together, they both accepted his apologies and Aran was relieved and thankful for Tian for taking everything lightheartedly and saving him from the Chief’s wrath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This is the school and that’s Tian the teacher of the village.” Aran introduced the school to a newly posted ranger.

“Wait, I’ve seen him before.” the ranger spoke out and Aran smiled.

“Yes at the base probably or with the Chief.” The ranger nodded in affirmation. “He’s the Chief’s partner, the boyfriend. They are getting married one day.” Aran proudly announced, totally moved on from his crush and an ardent fan of the two and protector like other rangers.

“Aah..!” the ranger echoed and Aran was ready to fight him off if there were any judgmental comments but the ranger smiled. “That’s nice, they’d make a good couple.”

“Yes, they do.” Aran smiled along.

Chapter Text

It was a usual day to have lunch at Khama’s house. Longtae, Tul, Tian, Phupha, and Nam were sitting in a semi-circle while Longtae and Tul helped Khama’s wife and the remaining ones chatted with each other.

“I’m telling you teacher Tian I’ve never seen anything like this before. “ Khama and Tian were engaged in an intimate chat with one another.

“Well, it’s understandable Khama those things don’t happen here but it’s pretty common in cities mostly.”

“Yeah probably, but this old man needs to learn a lot of things I guess!” Khama sheepishly laughed.

“It’s okay Khama, not everybody knows everything, there’s always something which we learn along the way.” Nam nodded at Tian’s words and Phupha had a proud smile because of Tian’s wisdom.

Khama smiled at the words and nodded along, dropping the conversation entirely. He later turned towards Dr. Nam and patted on his back.

“So how is it to stay away from your wife in the early days of your wedding? Are you finding it hard?” Khama’s concern was genuine. “Or are you having trouble sleeping alone at night?” Everyone cracked up at the teasing tone.

“Aye Khama it’s okay! She won’t come down here and by the way and a little bit of distance is always good. I’m meeting her next week in the city.”

“Good, you shouldn’t stay away from your loved ones for a long time. It’s dangerous and the love strays away.” Khama spoke up and Nam decided that it was the best time to throw a teasing smile at Phupha and Tian, and was chided by the glares of the Chief.

“Tell me about it Khama!” Nam snickered. Despite the warning glare he enthusiastically gestured at the chief. “Phupha was miserable and heartbroken. I’m glad he’s okay now!”

“Aye Doc!” Phupha warned and Tian chuckled warmly beside him.

“Aah!” Khama’s eyes widened in realization. “You’re right Doc, see Teacher Tian I hadn’t noticed this before.” Tian smiled. “Let’s just resolve this? Won’t we Chief? Let’s find you an alliance and get you married!” He clapped his hands at the idea grinning.

The occupants of the table froze in shock, Nan deeply stared at Khama’s face contemplating whether it was a joke or Khama was being serious. But the man was grinning all by himself and happily munching down food. Longtae and Tul were preoccupied with cooking and didn’t notice anything. Tian was solemn and Phupha had entirely lost appetite.

 

 

 

 

Tian sat by the hammock accompanied by the howling night winds, his mind preoccupied with thousands of thoughts running in his head. Khama had dropped a bomb, of course up until then any person they came across was supportive of their relationship and there wasn’t a single incident where they were frown upon or faced any homophobic behavior. But Khama’s innocent thoughts of setting up Phupha with a bride, reminiscences him of the times when the villagers were ardent fans of the idea that Phupha and Torfun shall end up together. But Tian hadn’t dared to correct them and just chose to suffer silently. Wondering about the afternoon's incident made him realize that nothing is different, he couldn’t correct Khama that Phupha didn’t need to be set up, he was here now, wasn’t he? He has wished that they shall never be separated and Phupha had told them that they shall be together for eternity.

But what’s disturbing Tian the most is Phupha's silence on the topic. The man hadn’t gulped down a morsel and left mid-lunch in the name of duty. Insecurity gripped Tian’s heart at the thought of Phupha having second thoughts about family and stuff. Where Tian had no place in the picture. What if Phupha was regretting his decisions? Insecure and pained, Tian’s eyes watered immediately.

“Hey! Here you are! I looked for you everywhere.” Phupha dropped down beside Tian who wiped his tears hoping that it wouldn’t be noticed during the night.

“Chief..” Tian whined, his voice choked but he pulled it off with a smile when Phupha noticed his flushed face. “I was here all along. Where were you? I didn’t see you for the entire day post lunch.”

Phupha smiled at Tian’s cute pout. Sighing, Phupha got up and draped his jacket over Tian’s shoulder. He knew he'd never get that back, Tian loved dressing in Phupha’s clothes, bit oversized on him due to their shoulder width and height differences but Tian looked cute and Phupha loved to see Tian in his clothes. Tian clutched the fabric and pulled it over himself, shielding him from the cold. Phupha hugged him closer, decking Tian’s face under his jaw. Caressing his boyfriend’s hair, Phupha pulled Tian closer until they could hear each other’s breathing and found solace in each other’s arms.

“Tian.”

“Hmm?”

“Stop thinking too much about Khama’s words. He didn’t mean it! He has been saying that ever since I’ve been here serving the village.”

Tuan stilled at the words and visibly relaxed, there was a sad smile on his face. Yet he was also kind of happy that Phupha noticed his troubles.

“Don’t think that I don’t know what’s running in that head of yours. I know, I always know okay?” Phupha pecked his head, sniffing his scent and pulling him closer. “I’ll have a talk with Khama tomorrow explaining our situation. I'm sure he shall understand.”

“But chief. What if it goes wrong?”

“I’m sure it won’t. We shall face it together okay?” Tian nodded. “Now do you want to stay here longer or shall we go to sleep?”

Tian remained silent. “Tian.” Phupha began.

“Distract me, I don’t know if I can sleep with so many thoughts in my head.” Tian was honest.

“Okay let’s go!” Phupha pulled him from the seat and within seconds they were in their room.

Clothes thrown on the floor and both sweating post-coitus Tian fell asleep straight away head resting on Phupha’s arms cuddling with Phupha who was wide awake, Tian’s back pressed against his chest and lull of heartbeats Tian deep in sleep, Phupha was awake. Tian’s tears had stopped but he knew Tian would wake up in the morning and think about the same thing again. He had to find a way to stop that, secure his relationship with Tian so that everyone knows that they belong to each other. But looking at the past few days Phupha knows that even if he drops to one knee and proposes to Tian, the latter will agree to the wedding but Phupha still wants to take it slow. They’re having the best time of their lives. He simply doesn’t want to rush things.

Morning sun rays pierced through the slits in the windows of the room. Tian woke up and wanted to turn around to see his lover. Carefully he tried to fidget but the darned bed had to make a loud creaking sound and Tian gave up when Phupha’s arms tightened around his waist. He was awake.

“I hate this bed!” Tian declared.

“Hmm...I love you too.” Phupha snuggled closer.

“What the! Are you listening to me?” Tian shrieked.

“Hmm…” Phupha was still asleep.

“Chief! We gotta change this bed soon.” Tian sat up and poked Phupha’s forehead continuously until the man relented and opened his eyes.

“Tian.” A sigh. “No need, Tul will finish his service tomorrow and we will shift to the house just adjust for today.”

“I don’t want to.”

“What do you mean?” Phupha stared at Tian in surprise. Up until now, Tian had hardly thrown tantrums in the village, especially in front of Phupha he didn’t want to lose face.

“The base has electricity and it’s much warmer than the house.” Tian reasoned.

Phupha agreed, Nan had told that Tian had to keep his body warm because he’ll get a lot chiller compared to others due to transplant. And the teacher’s house was standalone without any trees to block the wind, unlike the base. So he understood Tian.

“Hmm..” he pulled Tian closer. “But I don’t mind being anywhere as long as I’m with you, you’re my home.” Phupha flirted and smirked seeing the deep flush on Tian’s face.

Tian tried to hold back the blush but miserably failed. So he snorted. “Chief! Who taught you to sweet talk like this?”

A breath away from fusing Tian’s lips with his, Phupha whispered octaves lower and in a husky tone. “No one, when I’m with you it’s all-natural.” And then they kissed.

Probably the fact that they were still naked fuelled Phupha’s desire that he pinned Tian’s back on the bed to devour his lips but the frantic moments to access each other’s lips and the constant movement, the bed buckled and gave up, the bed crashed on the floor with Phupha literally falling on Tian’s chest. It was unexpected and the duo stared at each other in shock. Tian whined at the weight and Phupha got up and tried to help Tian.

“I hate this bed!” Tian whined.

 

 

 

 

 

The news soon spread like a wildfire and Tian avoided coming to the base for continuous two days just to avoid being teased miserably, but it doesn’t also necessarily mean that he wasn’t cornered by Tul and Longtae regarding it. Phupha had given up because Nam, Yod, Rang had decided to become unleashed apes and even the minute to large threats made by Phupha to the extent of even breaking their bones didn’t stop the trio from having fun at the couple’s expense.

 

Phupha had ordered a new bed, Tian had successfully avoided coming to the base and since Tul had returned to Bangkok Phupha and Tian stayed together. It was another sunny afternoon when all the gang was together having lunch at Khama’s house happily chattering amongst themselves.

“Chief! The new bed is here!” Rang came in search of Phupha and broke the news without further ado. There was an eerie silence followed by Nam and Longtae guffawed in laughter. Tian buried his face in his palms, ears flushed pink indicated that his face wasn’t anything different. Phupha was taken aback at first, later glared at Rang for the damage, and was embarrassed.

“Did I miss something?” Khama innocently asked looking around at the different reactions of the people. “Did your bed break, chief? Why?”

Phupha was flabbergasted at the question, totally unexpected, Longtae fell on the floor laughing, tears pooling in his eyes. Nam giggled eyeballs dancing between the couple.

“Ooh! Khama, nong Tian, and Phupha-“

“Aye Doc!” Phupha warned shaking his head, for Nan to continue it further.

“Por(dad) Chief and P’ Tian slept and did naughty things in the bed! That’s why it broke” Longtae answered instead and Tian squeaked when Khama whipped his head at him in surprise.

Breaths held in the intense situation everyone waited until Khama spoke something, the laughter died down and Tian’s heart started to beat faster because of the silence.

“Oh is that so?” Khama asked first, Phupha gulped at the tone and before he could answer and explain, Khama continued. “Then the two of you should test whether the new bed is sturdy or not and worth the expense.” He winked.

Tian gasped, Longtae grinned, Nam howled, Rang started to clap and whistle, and at last Phupha stood there in shock at the suggestion by an elderly person.

“Go on sons.” Khama waved at them.

“Khama not you too!” Tian whined and others simply bellowed in laughter.

“Oh by the way chief! I’m happy for you too. I was thinking of ways to hitch you guys up in the name of an alliance but I see that you guys are steps ahead of me.”

Phupha flushed pink and was shy.

“Oh and teacher Tian.” Tian nodded. “It seems like the old man here doesn’t know a lot of things yet!” He winked again and Tian whined loudly.

Chapter Text

The heart of PhaPhun Dao was its people. PhaPhun Dao was their planet and they lived together in their little ecosystem. Surrounded by rich and lush greens, the villagers' main occupation was farming. The rangers protected them and their livelihood and Khama stood over like a great leader, looking after all of them.

The future of the village was their children, although there were only a handful of teenagers like Longtae and little kids who were educated and would bring reforms in the village. To that, they were entirely thankful for the volunteering teachers who took up the responsibility of educating their kids. But it wasn’t that simple at the start.

It was awful, the city-born people and their ways didn’t sit well with the villagers. The volunteering teachers were rude and foul-mouthed which was a cultural shock to the villagers, they pushed back the inhabitant ability of strangers in the village and guarded themselves against them. The rangers were a part of the family and Torfun was a dear surprise. She came like a gust of wind, knocked their hearts, and warmed up to them in the easiest manner that even they couldn’t be wary of her for a very long time.

Torfun and Phupha helped them to ease their lives in a lot of ways, hence they were a family to the villagers. So at the sudden disappearance of Torfun, all they did was hold their ground and wait for her patiently. But Tian was persistent, bright and the resilience in him forced the villagers themselves to surrender for his power. He didn’t force anyone to accept him, all he did was wait in a corner and patiently stand until the villagers themselves crossed the line and warmed up to him.

The good deeds Tian did for the villagers were a great deal, he put them on the map, to be honest. Protecting and protesting against Sakda and his cheating ways in acquiring tea leaves to create their brand in the market for their famous tea sachets. Soon they were qualified for tea export from the government. Tian did a great deal for them and the way they had behaved towards him lashing out in anger was unjust and Villagers were truly sorry and guilty for treating Tian like that.

 

They realized their mistakes when Tian announced his departure from the village, their kids and themselves could no longer hold on to their tears. It was wrong of them to treat everyone presuming that the volunteering teachers looked down on them or did not care for them, Tian was the exact opposite. When they gave him a short farewell party, all they could wish was Tian to come back and their happiness knew no bounds and they were extremely jubilant when Tian returned.

 

 

 

 

The village was buzzing with the arrangements of the wedding of another young couple in the village. The couple was in love for two years before being caught red-handed by the groom’s parents in their fields. The parents caused a scene and Khama handled the situation like an expert he is and now the wedding was held in two days. Like earlier, Tian helped out with the Chair and built other materials for them, Longtae was the designated photographer. Rangers helped out in material purchase and carried out to the venue where all the weddings were held in the village.

Tian bent down to wash his face in the cold water. He and Phupha took their time off and came by the waterfall to spend their time. The couple was swarmed with work since the wedding preparations started. Tian had been endowed with lots of responsibilities which tired him out at the end of the day due to the classes as well, he crashed into bed as soon he stepped into the base or the teacher’s house, and honestly, it’s a surprise that Phupha hasn’t confronted or made a fuss of it yet, maybe he is tired too, Tian thought.

The hues of the dusk filled the sky and Tian stared at them in awe until somebody cleared their throat behind him. The source was Phupha and the duo stared at each other with their whipped smiles, like usual. Phupha removed his shirt and walked into the water dropping his gun on the ground, all the while making eye contact with Tian.

Tian was initially surprised, Phupha was insatiable and the two couldn’t keep their hands off each other but Phupha was suggesting that they’d do something in the waterfall, which was secluded but yet accessible to most in the village itself was shocking. Tian’s eyebrow raised at the Chief’s antics was met with a smirk and Tian just sighed and walked into the water joining his lover, without shedding any clothes.

Phupha didn’t comment on it, he knew Tian was still shy regarding stripping himself bare in the open to the eyes of others due to the deep gash on his chest. But the thought of being bare and naked, both in soul and physical form right in front of Phupha without any hesitation was enough for Phupha. He didn’t pressure Tian to do anything, all he did was accept him.

“Chief! Are you serious? You want to do it here?” Tian looked around still maintaining an arm’s distance.

“Do what Tian?” Phupha feigned ignorance.

Tian’s unbelievable expression was enough for Phupha to drop the act. Chuckling, he pulled Tian closer and urged him to move towards the waterfall. Tian complied, cautious but the breathtaking smile of Phupha did wonders on his heart that the warning signs in the brain just flew right out.

Pulling Tian closer by his waist, Phupha admired his face as Tian slightly shivered from the cold. Tian sought warmth in his arms and Phupa was happy to indulge. Caressing his face, Phupha calloused fingers traveled from Tian’s forehead to his eyes, cheeks and landed on the plump lips. Heartbeats quickened and Phupha could feel Tian’s labored breath against his lips and chin. Without further ado, and like an automatic reaction the two kissed each other.

Tian tiptoed for access but Phupha pulled his waist in a strong pull, Tian stumbled and landed on Phupha’s feet inside the water. They were chest to chest and could feel each other’s heartbeats, Phupha’s hands wandered downwards to cup Tian’s ass and the owner squeaked into the kiss. Phupha and Tian burst into little chuckles.

Basking in the privacy the two hardly get, Phupha and Tian were drowned in the feeling of being close to each other after a long time. Provided the area was secluded and the others won’t look for them, understanding their busy lives.

Phupha and Tian kept their relationship open, but few things were extremely private for the duo. For example, the way Tian shivered in Phupha’s arms, body half drenched but the warmth and eagerness in which Tian reciprocated the kiss, the moans. Phupha’s hand in his damp hair, Tian getting lost in the feeling and finding purchase in Phupha’s biceps. The cool breeze made Tian shiver and Phupha pressed him even closer than before.

Perhaps it would have been wise for Phupha to be vigilant and aware of the surroundings like he usually did. But the feeling of having Tian in his arms after a long time debunked all the rational thoughts out of his head. He was no longer Chief at the moment, just Tian’s normal boyfriend who loved him and heart filled with the warmth of having a moment all for themselves away from the prying eyes or the apparent little fan club of theirs which was run by the doctor at the base.

Separating for a fresh gulp of air, Phupha watched in wonder as Tian’s lips were laced with saliva and looked fuller than before, maybe due to the prolonged kiss, and when Tian looked straight into his eyes and smiled bashfully like a teenager in love, Phupha looked him in awe and fell deeper in love.

Happy and in love the two trekked back to the village just in time for the wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phupha was dressed in a white shirt and beige trousers. Nam was busy and attended the wedding in his usual attire of lab coat over his military uniform. No one minded as long as he was present at the venue. The other rangers made sure that they were presentable at the wedding by actually washing up and dolled themselves up. On the other hand, Tian and Longtae twinned in matching traditional clothes with the same coat over their shoulders. Tian stood beside Longtae’s family, One might as well say that the couple and Longtae had adopted Tian into their small but sweet home at this point of the time. As Phupha looked at Tian, who looked ethereal amidst the hanging lights and soft hue glowing on his face, as he was engrossed in the solemnization of the couple, Phupha knew Tian belonged right here with him and the village.

After post-wedding, Nam, Longtae, and the other rangers were having a drunken banter along with other men in the village. Tian looked up and noticed that Phupha had been MIA ever since dinner. He searched around and even asked and Tian huffed in frustration that he couldn’t just call him up because the signal sucked in the village. Worried, but still faking it Tian indulged in the conversation whenever his name was called out.

Anxious, an ominous feeling crept into Tian’s mind. Determined to find his boyfriend he left the party abruptly and went in search of his boyfriend. When the rangers pointed out that their Chief would be in Tian’s original residence in the village, Tian took the path without further ado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hundred meters away from the house, Tian noticed strange lanterns hanging around the place and the dimly lit pathway decorated with potted flower plants. There at the center of all the decorations stood Phupha waiting for his arrival with arms crossed against his abdomen.

“Took you long enough!” Phupha teased.

Tian was flabbergasted. “I didn’t know that you had arranged a date for us if you had told me I would have left earlier.” Tian looked around missing the fond expression on Phupha’s face.

“Well, I’ve been waiting forever!”

“It’s practically your fault, if only you had told me that there was a date, I would have-”

“Do you remember this place?” Phupha cut him off.

Tian looked at him incredulously. “Of course, I do! It’s my house!”

Phupha snorted at the sass but ignored that for now. “What else?”

“There’s more?” Tian wondered aloud. At Phupa’s affirmative nod, he stared to guess things which were no related to the answer Phupha was looking for.

“Teacher’s house!”

A head shake.

“Tian’s house!”

Another shake.

“Our house?”

“Future teacher’s house.”

Another shake.

“I know what it is..” Tian jumped up and down. “A village property!” Tian beamed as a genius and Phupha resisted hard to roll his eyes.

The guesses went downhill and Phupha gently stopped his over-enthusiastic boyfriend.

“Wrong! All of them were wrong.” Phupha gently smiled as Tian scowled at the failure, but soon a smile took over his face.

Phupha kneeled and Tian’s breath hitched, the silence around them and his gasp were loud. He had expected anything else but this, Phupha kneeling in front of him with a red velvet box in his hand and a small silver plain ring along with a simple stud in the middle of it.

“When I asked whether you remember what else is especially associated with this place, you failed to answer. Well let me tell you, it's the place where I saw you for the first time in my life. You came from a long walk, completely exhausted and I hadn’t even introduced myself before you fell and I caught you up in my arms. Believe it or not, I hadn’t leaped to catch anything so swift in my life. At that moment I don’t know what compelled me, but you looked so precious and you’re my precious.” Tian was smiling but cringed visibly at the last few words. Phupha smiled in embarrassment. Flushing red, Phupha took a deep inhale of breath.

“Tian….”

“Hmmm?”

“I’m not good with words Tian, so without further ado let’s drop this cheesiness and I will ask you a simple question will you marry me?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years later the village was buzzing in excitement and everyone in the village was dressed up for another wedding. Except for this time, it was a unique custom, it was special as well. For the very first time in the history of Pha Phun Dao, there was a same-sex wedding held and it was dear and special to the entire village because it was Tian, their dear teacher, and Phupha, the forest ranger’s wedding. The two dear people who have worked hard and saved the entire village multiple times and the driving forces behind the happy place.

Tian’s parents had flown down for the wedding with a couple of relatives who were meaningful for Tian and who supported his decision. Tul arrived two months ago to help out with the wedding preparations. Khama and his wife decided to take place for Phupha’s side of relatives and since Phupha’s promotion, they were now given a two-storeyed house in the village, right in the middle of the village in the nearby distance for both the occupants of the house,

Rangers and their doctor Nam and his wife did all the silly antics they could to make the wedding more eventful. Even though Thailand hasn’t recognized same-sex weddings, Tian and Phupha would fly to Taiwan next week for the legalization of their wedding and a small honeymoon in the same place. It was ideal and perfect because they could fly back in case of any emergency. Phupha had surprised Tian with the trip, with Tul’s and Nam’s help.

The villagers might have found it strange at first to see two people of the same gender at the altar instead of two people of opposite genders but this was a good strange. Phupha and Tian had been steady and were no different than the opposite-sex couple often found in the village. Was it weird? No, it was different for sure. But again it was Phupha and Tian, The Romeo and Romeo of Pha Phun Dao. The villagers knew about their relationship and supported them by giving them hearty wishes as the couple shared a tiny kiss, post solemnization, probably shy from all the teasing from their friends.