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sick of this fake love

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“What do you think? Do you like it?” Tin watched Can as he looked around him at the open plan living area of the apartment he’d just taken. It was one of many that belonged to his family and his father had been unconcerned when Tin had asked to move out. He’d chosen this particular building for it’s vicinity to the university and it’s private gym and pool.

Also for it’s distance from Tul and the rest of the Medthanans.

Can returned his gaze from the view and locked eyes with Tin. He gave a small smile. He’d been withdrawn since Tin had picked him up after football practice. He’d warmed up lately, his natural verbosity and effusiveness taking over his attempts to keep his distance from Tin. The kid could talk, not seeming to notice or care that Tin’s responses were minimal.

Tin was still warmed by Can’s belief in his innocence. Unfortunately proving he’d done nothing wrong was not as easy as Can’s optimism.

“It’s nice,” Can finally replied, turning on the spot to take in the whole room. “Better than a seedy hotel room.”

“I’m not sure you can call the Pichaya Plaza ‘seedy’,” Tin said with a roll of his eyes. “Besides, you’re the one who wanted to go to hotels in the first place.”

Can stared at him wordlessly for a few moments before turning away and walking back inside the balcony doors, shrugging off his denim jacket as he went. Reaching the kitchen counter he turned and leant back against it. “Are you moving in here or is it just for…you know..?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m moving in. Look, Can—” Tin drew a deep breath. He’d been warring with himself all day but sense had won. They had to have the talk. They were both nineteen years old. They could live another 80 years and were they really going to do it meeting every three days for sex and nothing else? Tin could not wrap his head around what that would look like. He didn’t want to.

He was stopped in his tracks by Can pulling his shirt over his head and tossing to to one side before pushing himself up onto the counter, legs apart.

Fine. They could have the conversation after he’d responded to the invite.

Despite his best intentions, they did not have the conversation that day. Can announced he was tired and was it ok if he took a nap? He then promptly settled himself next to Tin on the sofa and fell asleep, his head falling onto Tin’s shoulder. He woke up forty-five minutes later complaining he was hungry and raided Tin’s newly stocked cupboards for snacks.

Then he wanted to talk about what was happening with the investigation into the cheating allegations. Before Tin knew it, he’d completely missed his moment as Can was up and on his way home, cheerily talking about his mother’s chicken rice like he hadn’t just consumed half of the contents of Tin’s fridge.

Tin stared at the door, furious with himself. Can was the only bright spot in his life at the moment end even that relationship was not as it should be. Soulmates. They should be eagerly getting to know one other. That was what he wanted. Sometimes he thought that Can was warming up but he was so changeable!

He needed to focus on the cheating allegations first anyway. It wasn’t easy proving you hadn’t cheated when all the ‘evidence’ was against him. His final saved versions of the assignments in question did not match those that had he had supposedly submitted. It would be easy if there was an electronic trail, but the university still expect all assignments to be printed and handed in manually.

There was a good chance that Tul would win this one. If he did, the fallout would be unbearable.

-o-

“Hey, Pete, have you seen Tin?” Can was pleased to see Pete arriving with Ae for lunch. He’d been looking for Tin since after his early morning class and not seen him in any of the usual places and he hadn’t replied to any of Can’s messages.

“Not since class this morning, and we don’t have any this afternoon,” Pete replied, frowning. “He left straight after. Have you tried the library? I’ve known him spend hours in there.”

“I’ll go look,” Can said, pushing away what was left of his lunch. He noticed Pete and Ae exchange a look but he didn’t care. Everyone was used to he and Tin ‘getting along’ now, so him going looking for him couldn’t be that weird, right?

He covered the short distance to the IC building quickly and up to the third floor. He stopped briefly at the vending machine for a bottle of Oishi, knowing Tin loved it. As he bent down to get the drink from the flap at the bottom he heard a familiar voice from a neighbouring office.

Tul Medthanan.

What was that slimy asshole doing here?

Instinctively, Can moved closer to the door, back to the wall.

“You’re sure this will stick?” Tul’s voice.

“Yes, I told you, it’s over for him. Despite your brother’s immaculate record—“

That was enough for Can to pull out his phone and activate the camera. He snuck closer to the door and cautiously peeked in where it was ajar. Sure enough there sat Tul in the chair opposite that professor Can had seen him with at the café that first time. Ducking he edged the phone into the gap and pressed ‘record’. If this was what he thought it was then he’d need the evidence.

Only when he heard the conversation coming to an end did glance at the name on the door, Professor Chomchuen, before retreating and making his way into the library to look for Tin. Tin was still nowhere to be found. Can tried calling him again and was disappointed when the call just went straight to voicemail. Deciding then and there to ditch his afternoon classes he headed in the direction of Tin’s new apartment, taking advantage of the key that Tin had given him, even though he’d said at the time that he didn’t need it. The place was frustratingly empty. Can threw himself down onto the sofa with a sigh. Where the hell was Tin?

Why did he even care? He only knew that he did. It had been creeping up on him, slowly but surely, his attempts at keeping contact to the bare minimum resulting in a little longer here and there. Hoping that Tin didn’t notice, because that would be embarrassing wouldn’t it? His one sided affection was as humiliating as it was surprising. The worst thing was, Hin had given him a solution to all of it. Can had a way out of it now, one that he’d never believed would ever be possible. If he was sitting on the answer rather than acting then it was because he wasn’t sure how to broach the subject with Tin, because…what if Tin said ‘yes’?

All he needed to do was help Tin out of the mess he was in regarding the ‘cheating’ and then he could put the wheels in motion and separate himself from him permanently.

With that on his mind he left the apartment and caught a cab to the Medthanan house, hoping that Tin would be there.

-o-

“Master Tin, there’s a young man here to see you,” Joy announced, approaching Tin as he exited his father’s office following the excruciating discussion about the accusations he was facing at college. Tin had asked if he could transfer to a college in the States, New York, the one Jessica went to, and recommence his studies there next semester. If he quit the course he was on now before they could throw him off he could leave it all behind him. He’d even told his father he wanted to study architecture, not business. Surprisingly the old man had agreed as long as Tin kept some business modules.

Of course, he had to talk to Can about that because he couldn’t leave his soulmate behind and Can might not want to follow Tin half way around the world. Tin knew he wouldn’t want to. He had to try though.

The ‘young man’ could only be one person. “Where is he?”

“In the dining room,” Joy said, offering a small bow before retreating.

Tin returned to his room briefly to use the bathroom and straighten himself up. When he entered the dining room he found Can facing off his brother, arms folded in front of his chest and a storm in his eyes.

“What’s going on?’ he demanded, moving to stand at Can’s side, resisting the urge to wrap a protective arm around him.

Tul’s gaze flickered to towards him, before he went back to glaring at Can. “You might want to call off your guard dog, brother dear. He’s starting to foam at the mouth.”

“Tell him what you did,” Can said, his tone almost cheery. “Otherwise I’ll show him the evidence.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tul said confidently. “I haven’t done a thing.”

“What—?” Tin began, but Can put a hand on his arm and shook his head, stopping him in his tracks. Can’s eyes were wide and full of something Tin read as a plea. Trust me.

“Have you told him yet, Can?” Tul tipped his head to one side as though thinking about something but Tin knew him too well for fall for the innocent act. The man was a viper about to strike.

“I’m about to—“

“Have you told him that your cousin has given you a way to sever the soulmate connection?”

-o-

Can gasped in shock. What the hell? Yes, Hin had told him all about finding out that Tul was his soulmate and wanting nothing to do with him, not when the man had treated him like dirt for years as Hin had grown up around the Medthanan household. Their marks had activated when Tul had pinned Hin to the wall one night after coming home drunk. Tul had turned possessive after that, and controlling. Hin had run before consummation, chasing an old wive’s tale, and finding the answer he sought.

“What do you mean?” Tin asked, glancing at Can in alarm then back to his sibling. “How did you—“

“How did I know you two were soulmates? It’s obvious, surely. Looks at him! Someone like you would never look twice at a peasant like him if ‘fate’ hadn’t played a hand in it.”

Can watched in horror as Tin pulled back his fist and landed a punch on his brother’s nose with a satisfying thud. Tul staggered backwards, righting himself with a hand on the wall. Blood trickled from his left nostril.

The shock did not deter him from continuing even as he swiped the blood away, “It’s equally obvious that hedetests you! That’s one thing we have in common, members of his family would defy fate to escape us.” His face twisted bitterly and he turned his eyes back onto Can. “Tell him. Go on! Tell your soulmate how you’ve finally worked out how to sever the connection permanently. You can live out your days a free man. You can get it back on with that freaky lowlife you were holding hands with at Pichaya’s party.”

Can turned to look at Tin who had gone so pale he was almost translucent. It totally threw him. “I— That’s not— Hin, he told me that—“ Fuck, now was so not the time to lose mental capacity. The moment Hin had told him about him and Tul and how he’d managed to remove himself it was all Can could think about…because it made him realise that it was the last thing he wanted.

“See, brother, he can’t even attempt to deny it. He hates you so much that he can’t even tolerate you for all the millions you’re set to inherit. He’d rather live the rest of his days a lowlife peasant than be tethered to you! What does that say about you? You’re just like me, unloveable!”

Can vaguely noted that the corners of Tul’s eyes welled up as the vitriol left his mouth. Hin’s betrayal had devastated him.

“Is it true?” Tin asked, interrupting any vestiges of unwelcome sympathy from Can’s brain, because Tin’s voice had cracked. He took a deep breath, his gaze pinning Can to the spot. “You know a way to sever it?”

“Yes, but—“

“Set it in motion,” Tin said, stepping backwards, widening what already felt like the grad canyon widening between them. “Do you think I want to be tied to someone like you? Someone so insignificant, so dull to someone like me. Despite what Tul seems to believe, this is good news for me.”

Can felt his heart snap in two. No, no, no, this wasn’t supposed to happen! He had thanked his cousin but told him he didn’t want to know how to end the bond. Didn’t want to know how because he had no intention of being apart from his soulmate again. He adored him. No, more than that, he loved him, Tin had become everything to him.

“Tin, I—“ he began, stepping towards him but Tin raised his hand, ‘stop’.

“Just let me know when it’s done so I don’t have a seizure when I fuck someone else again.” He was at the door at this point, stepping through it before Can could muster any response.

Can turned to Tul and had punched him in the jaw before even realising that was his intention. “You piece of shit!” There was something so satisfying in how his fist throbbed from the contact and how Tul’s smug face expressed his shock and bitting attacked for the second time in a matter of minutes.

Can ran to the door to follow after Tin, pausing with his grip on the handle to turn back to face Tul. “I know you and Professor Whatshisname set Tin up. I’ll give you 24 hours to make it right or I’ll take this incriminating video to the Dean.” He held up his phone and flashed his fakest smile at the asshole before slipping through the door in pursuit of Tin.

He made it down the steps at the front of the house just in time to see the tail lights of Tin’s Mercedes as it exited the driveway. Fuck.

Can felt all the bravado leave his body. Tin didn’t want him. Do you think I want to be tied to someone like you? Tin Medthanan didn’t belong with Can Kirakorn, did he? Not in any reality.

-o-

Apparently having all the money in the world at your disposal meant it was far easier to disappear than Can had ever bargained for.

Tin was nowhere. Not at uni, not at his family home, not at his apartment. Pete claimed to have no idea and his phone was switched off when Can tried to call.

Five days was a long time to be physically separated from your soulmate. Can was at the point now where he was so antsy for Tin’s presence, for his touch, that he couldn’t sit still, yet any energy he did have left was draining fast. The bond needed physical contact. Can’s heart needed something else entirely.

He wanted to talk to Tin, tell him how he felt, and if Tin had meant what he had said about wanting him to sever the bond between them then Can would honour it. He wanted Tin to be happy and if that meant without Can in his life then so be it, but he couldn’t give up without at least trying.

Pete’s phone call came out of the blue when Can was making the walk up from the lift to the front door of Tin’s apartment in the hope that maybe he’d returned there. “Hey, Pete,” Can greeted as he unlocked the apartment. The place was deadly silent, Tin obviously wasn’t there, but he slid inside anyway and leant back against the door to close it behind him.

“Can, where are you? I have a message from Tin, he’s going to the airport. He’s flying to the States.” Can realised Pete sounded like he’d been crying. “He’s asked me to call you and ask ‘have you don’t it yet’? Apparently he can’t go until you do whatever it is.”

A wave of weakness shuddered through Can as Pete’s words made the distance between himself and Tin immeasurable. He felt his head spin as a wave of dizziness struck. The door to the bedroom was just down the hall on the right and Can, phone still held to his ear, stumbled towards it. He needed to lie down before he fell down.

“Can, are you there?”

“Tell him I won’t do anything without seeing him face to face first… I’m mean it.” Can opened the bedroom door and at the sight of the empty bed all his remaining energy left him and he stumbled over and managed to sit on the edge. “I’m at the apartment,” he managed to say, lying himself down on his side. He barely registered the phone clattering to the floor before he lost consciousness.

-o-

Pete stared at the phone and then up at Tin who was sitting at the table opposite him listening to everything Can had just said. “Tin, what the heck is going on?”

Tin rubbed his face tiredly and got to to his feet. “I have to go.”

Pete jumped to his feet and chased Tin to the door. “Tin, come on—“

“I’ll explain everything next time I see you, I promise.”

“What, via FaceTime from America?”

“Come and wave me off at the airport, I’ll tell you everything then.” The ticket was booked, he flew out in the morning. Jessica was picking him up from the airport and he was staying at her condo until he got himself sorted. It was happening.

He called a cab. Even if he had his car with him there was no way he could drive at the moment. He was feeling Can’s absence in every bone. Their lack of contact over the last few days had been horrendous. Clearly Can had not pulled the trigger to end everything yet and Tin needed it done otherwise he wouldn’t be able to leave the country. If he was to get through this, he needed to leave, get as far away as possible and never look back. It was the only way.

He was terrified, facing a lifetime alone, rejected by the one person who was made just for him.

Arriving at the apartment he let himself in and found the living area empty, all his things having been packed up by Medthanan staff the day before. He found Can in the bedroom, curled up in his side on the bed, fast asleep. He looked pale and his eyes were red rimmed. Tin’s heart twisted and he looked away, even though his body was screaming at him to close the distance between them and get the contact it needed.

He moved as near as he dared and reached out to shake Can’s shoulder before stepping back quickly, “Can! Wake up!”

Can groaned and rolled onto his back. “Just a couple more minutes,” he mumbled, stretching, then as if on delayed reaction, his eyes opened wide and he sat upright. “Tin?”

“You said face to face so here I am. Talk,” Tin retreated to the armchair in the corner of the room. “I’ve got a flight to catch.”

Can swung his legs to the floor and faced Tin head on. His soft brown eyes  locked onto Tin’s. He raised his chin, a move that usually signalled defiance. “I love you.”

Tin’s heart jumped. He blinked. Had Can just said… No, his mind was playing tricks on him.

“I used to resent my mark. I didn’t want some unseen force dictating my future to me. I wanted to choose,” Can closed his eyes as if drawing strength. Eyes open again he looked right at Tin and said, “I choose you, Tin Medthanan. If you still want me.”

Can looked scared to death but there was hope there, behind the fear and bravado. Tin wiped away the tear that had formed in the corner of his eye and took his own leap of faith. “I love you too.” He chuckled dryly. “I was yours before we ever touched. You got under my skin and infuriated me like no one else. I couldn’t stop thinking about you.” You believed in me.

Tin had a lap full of wriggling Can before he even had chance to process that he’d moved. “We need to talk some more,” Can said, peppering kisses along Tin’s jawline. “After we fuck though, yes? The bond is hungry.”

Tin couldn’t argue with that logic.

-o-

Saying goodbye to his family and friends was difficult for Can, but necessary. Tin couldn’t go to America without him and he knew Tin needed a fresh start away from the Medthanans, Tul especially.

Tin’s name had mysteriously been cleared but not without Tin hearing the full story of how low his brother had gone to best him. The truth coming out wasn’t enough for Tin to want to stay in Thailand, even when that truth had been the first thing Can had said his father when he’d met him, telling him he should be ashamed of how he treated his youngest son!

Tin’s parents, especially his mother, probably didn’t approve of him but even they couldn’t argue against a soul bond. Tin’s Dad had actually told Can to love his son like he deserved to be loved. Can had said that he already did.

Tin had double and triple checked that Can was happy to go with him to New York, revealing himself to be more of a worry wart than Can had ever realised. How had Can ever doubted that Tin cared about him at all?

Can’s parents and sister had fallen under Tin’s spell immediately. ‘Such a lovely polite young man, you should be more like him, Can.’

He had stopped questioning fate and decided that fate liked him if she had seen fit to give Tin to him. He didn’t know what he had ever done to deserve to be so lucky but he wasn’t going to overthink it anymore.

Instead of staying with Tin’s friend Jessica when they arrived in New York Tin had leased an apartment from some Medthanan contact that had a view of Central Park. Can knew it had to be costing a fortune, but that was something else he’d taken a chill pill about because a nice apartment made Tin happy, and that made Can happy, and that was all that mattered. Besides, the apartment was fucking amazing.

Can had signed up for intense English lessons to widen his English vocabulary from ‘hello’ and ‘my name is Can’, and random lyrics from English language songs that he didn’t really understand the meaning of. He’d found a football team to join, luckily he didn’t need to speak a lot to kick the ball around, and half the the team at least also had a different first language. When he’d mastered English a bit better he planned to sign up for college, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to study sports anymore. He just didn’t know what he did want yet. Tin had said not to worry, he had all the time in the world to decide. Meanwhile Tin had started with some early architecture modules at NYU ready to start full-time next semester.

Hearing Tin talk about what he was learning was fascinating to Can, not least because he loved to see him so happy in what he did. He’d been good at, but miserable, studying business.

The apartment had a balcony. Can loved sitting out there and listening to the city noise, it reminded him of Bangkok in a way, though New York had way more sirens than he was used to. He liked it. It was there that Tin found him that day, coming back from college earlier than usual. Can stood when he emerged through the sliding doors and gestured for Tin to take the seat, then immediately settling himself into his lap. Tin wrapped his arms around his waist and nuzzled his neck. “I missed you,” he said, threading his fingers through Can’s.

“Didn’t have time to miss you. I spent the day with Jessica,” Can teased, grinding down on Tin’s cock. Jessica had taken Can under her wing and would take him sightseeing when they both had a free day. She was also pretty good at reading his hunger signals and seemed to be enjoying giving him a tour of her favourite cafes and restaurants. Can decided she was his favourite American of all time, even better than Vin Diesel.

“I wish I had never introduced you both. She likes you more than me!”

“Who can blame her. You have a stick up your arse.”

Tin snorted, “You can have my dick up yours within the next few minutes if you’re nice to me.”

Can twisted his head awkwardly to kiss Tin full on the lips. “Who would believe that Mr High-and-Mighty could be so crude?”

“You love it.”

“Yeah, I do.” Can jumped to his feet and held out a hand. “Come on, lets take a shower and I’ll wash your back. Is that ‘nice’ enough for you?”

“Don’t know yet. Depends how much effort you put into it.”

Can was sure to clean Tin’s back thoroughly, never let it be said that he never made an effort.

Afterwards, as they both lay spent, snuggled under the duvet watching rain lash against the floor to ceiling window, Tin said. “Promise me you’ll never lie to me, even by holding stuff back like you did about Hin.”

“I promise. Promise me you won’t jump to conclusions again.”

“Touché.”

Can sighed happily and wriggled closer to Tin.

“Wait. What does ‘touché’ mean? That’s not even English, right? Don’t go throwing other languages in there, my life is confusing enough already… Oii, stop it!” Can squirmed as Tin started tickling him. “Tiiin!”

Tin stopped and kissed him on the nose. “Love you, you idiot.”

“Hmph,” Can pulled back, squealing as Tin recommenced the tickling. “Alright, alright! Love you too.”