he likes boys...
notes: taking a quick little break from trying to figure out how words work for my kotlc collab fic (😩) for this quick little ficlet. <3 everyone say thank you to the amazing, amazing, wonderful, enchanting, talented akki, @i-love-side-characters, for the dialogue prompt (which is in bold) because i went into a frenzy after seeing the prompt and had a LOT of fun with this lmao
(also ask me about tam's debate topic i have so many thoughts on it please please please)
It’s after school and Tam needs to prep for his debate in class tomorrow. He’s going against Stina and if he doesn’t beat Sophie’s girlfriend, Tam’ll never hear the end of it from both of them during their weekly milkshake nights.
He doesn’t have time for whatever Marella is planning.
“Yes, oh dear, wonderful Marella?” Keefe walks over, wiping the sweat off his brow as he drops in the spot next to Tam. He looks at Tam, smiling slightly and Tam nods in his direction distractedly before turning back to his speech notes.
“Did you know Tam likes you?”
word count: 1251
read it under the cut!
“Hey, Keefe!” Marella’s shout rings across the field where she and Tam are currently sitting on the bleachers. It’s after school and Tam needs to prep for his debate in class tomorrow. He’s going against Stina and if he doesn’t beat Sophie’s girlfriend, Tam’ll never hear the end of it from both of them during their weekly milkshake nights.
He doesn’t have time for whatever Marella is planning.
“Yes, oh dear, wonderful Marella?”
Keefe walks over, wiping the sweat off his brow as he drops in the spot next to Tam. He looks at Tam, smiling slightly and Tam nods in his direction distractedly before turning back to his speech notes.
In contrast to what my companion said, importing a tax on greenhouse gases would solve the issue of pollution faster than just creating methods of transportation to reduce civilian’s carbon footprints---”
“Did you know Tam likes you?” Bang. Tam scrambles up from the floor where he just fell, head ringing as he rushes to cover his best friend’s mouth, smiling sheepishly at Keefe’s bewildered expression.
“Wh--what?” Keefe looks at the both of them. The tone of his voice seems confused, but Tam can see the beginning of a smile forming on his face.
“Oh, yeah, remember that one time you were swimming laps during a meet when we came to cheer you on? I totally saw Tam wouldn't stop staring at you shirtless. Especially when you came out of the pool all wet and hair dripping at stuff. I mean I don’t see it, you kind of looked like a wet dog to me but that’s just cause I’m a lesbian. He, on the other hand, totally likes you.
“Marella..” Tam warns her, his jaw clenched in embarrassment.
A memory resurfaces in Tam’s mind.
Before dealing with anyone, first, inhale. Then, exhale. Count to 10. Linh’s calm voice echoes in his head.
After counting to 10, if you’re still angry, think of your happy place for a few seconds. And finally, if that doesn’t work you have my full permission to fuck them up.
Tam chuckles at the memory and the horror he felt at the time, hearing his sister curse for the first time, when he's suddenly brought back to reality at the sound of Marella's voice again.
“---like he like likes you. Like he wants to hold your hand and kiss your cheek and hug you and call you his boyfrien---”
“I swear if you open your mouth again—”
“Have fuuuun” Marella croons, standing up and running away from Tam’s death glare into the arms of her awaiting girlfriend.
She tucks her hand into Biana’s back pocket, kissing her on the cheek in lieu of hello as she smiles amusedly at them and after waving goodbye, the both of them leave for Biana’s tennis practice.
Tam feels betrayed. His best friend and his crush’s best friend conspiring against him. What are the odds?
A cough sounds from behind him. Tam turns to see Keefe grinning widely at him. He gestures at Tam to sit next to him and he walks over before plopping down next to him, their knees touching.
“Not a word. Not a single word,” he grumbles. He knows there’s no point when he catches sight of the mischievous glint in his crush’s eyes.
3, 2, 1, And….
“Aww babe, you had a crush on me? That’s so embarrassing.”
There it is.
Keefe smiles crookedly at him and Tam will not blush, no matter how cute the way his boyfriend looks with his face all scrunched up and eyes bright from giddiness.
Keefe gets off the bleachers, stretching his arms out as he waits for his boyfriend. The edge of his shirt rides up and Tam pointedly avoids looking at the small strip of tanned skin peeking out as he packs his things, ignoring the hand held out in front of him and descends down the stairs quickly to avoid the afternoon crowd.
He stops at the bottom and feels Keefe stand behind him, waiting for a response.
Tam purses his lips, “We’re dating, idiot. You’re even the one who confessed to me and asked me to prom. Which is so daring, by the way, like what you have done if I said no?”
He crosses his arms and turns, leaning his head back against Keefe’s shoulder, eyes closed, soaking up the sun.
Maybe Linh was on to something when she called him a cat,
Arms snake around his waist as Keefe’s head falls on his shoulder. Tam can feel butterfly kisses along his neck as Keefe’s grip around him tightens.
“I love you.”
Tam tries to hide his soft smile, but it’s no use. “That doesn’t answer my question,”
He feels Keefe chuckle along his shoulder.
“ You have to say it back,” he whines, “Otherwise people are going to think you hate me.”
Tam scoffs, “No one will think that, I’ve been obsessed with you and your stupid hair since like middle school.”
“Still,” Keefe’s head lifts up, “Please Bangs Boy? For me?”
He pouts and Tam feels the familiar swell of affection in his heart for this wonderful boy.
He sighs, “I love you too.”
Keefe’s glee is palpable in the air around them. “You do, don’t you?”
Tam’s eyes narrow. He knows that tone….
“You know that’s like kinda cringe of you right?”
Keefe takes his hands away from Tam’s waist, ignoring how he almost makes him fall on the ground and swings their joined hands back and forth as they start to make their way inside.
“I mean the debate king and the swimming champ. Have you heard of a more cliche couple?”
Tam starts to list names on his fingers, “Sophie’s the school nerd and Stina’s the jock of the school. Dex is also technically a nerd and Fitz is the popular guy. Then there’s Marella who’s dating not only Biana but also my sister so like there’s a numerous amount of cliches in that--”
He’s cut off by Keefe’s chuckle and stops in the middle of the field.
“You really are an oblivious one, aren’t you darling?”
Tam’s heart skips a beat at the term of endearment, “Huh?”
“I was being romantic.”
Keefe smiles, “Yeah, oh.”
Tam grimaces in apology “I---”
Keefe’s hand darts out to stop his mouth from moving, “Bup bup bup! What did we say about unnecessary apologies?” He raises an eyebrow and Tam stares at him unamused.
“There’s no need for apologies between us.”
Keefe’s eyes crinkle, “Exactly!"
He checks his watch, "Now come on Bangs Boy, it’s almost 6, and Tiergan and Elwin will freak if we’re not in time for joint family dinner.”
He pulls Tam along, running as Tam follows along with him.
Tam grins. He knows soon, in a few hours or so it’ll be time for Keefe to go home so he’ll kiss Tam on the cheek and promise to drive him in the morning before leaving Tam to stay up all night preparing, making sure he’s ready for class tomorrow.
Till then though, he’s with his boyfriend on the way home for dinner with his family. His adoptive dad adores Keefe and Elwin adores him in return. After dinner, they’ll head to Linh’s room so Biana can paint Keefe’s nails while he and Marella braid Linh’s hair.
He’s happy, Tam realizes. He’s so so happy.
And, as he feels the weight of Keefe’s sunshine smile on him, cheeks red from the exhilaration as they race to the parking lot, Tam knows he wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world.
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