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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317612
In which Kai sees a familiar face
Painkillers must wear off when you sleep, because Kai can feel every one of his bruises before he opens his eyes. The bedroom is bathed in morning sunlight, and is unfamiliar—actually classier than he’s used to—but the bed he’s lying on feels like a cloud—so comfortable, he doesn’t want to move.

“Feeling better?”

The voice sounds from the doorway, and the speaker isn’t Jet, but the man who stared open mouthed at Kai when Jet half carried him through the door last night. Kai had been half conscious so the man had only looked vaguely familiar. But now he recognizes him: this is Kit, Zone’s older brother, and apparently, an old friend of Jet’s. Kai levers himself up on his elbows, biting back an involuntary gasp. His arms don’t sting as much as last night, as the scrapes have started to scab over; but his brow is throbbing, and it feels like someone dropped a brick on his ribcage.

“What hit me?”

“‘Two guys’ is what you told me,” Kit says. “But something tells me there’s more to that story.”

“Yeah,” Kai makes his legs swing over the side of the bed. Even that movement hurts. “Yeah, there’s more.”

He’s still wearing the clothes from last night. The dark brown spots are blood, but he doesn't want to think about what those other stains on his pants came from. As if reading his mind, Kit holds out a pile of clean clothes.

“Here. You fell asleep before we could get you into clean clothes. But now that you’re awake, you can shower and put these on. I called Zone and he brought them over last night.”

“Zone?” Kai is more than aware that he sounds like a brainless idiot, but the throbbing in his brow is making it hard to think. “He was here last night?”

“He wanted to see you, but you were sleeping, so I made him leave. He’s actually worried sick about you,” Kit is still smiling. “I’m supposed to say that you have a lot of explaining to do when you go back to the dorm.”

“Sorry.” It’s all Kai can think to say.

Kit cocks an eyebrow. “From what I hear, it’s not me you need to apologize to.”

“I know,” Kai has a sneaking suspicion that Kit doesn’t just mean Zone. “You know how to do that Eyebrow Thing, too?”

“Family trait,” Kit winks at him. “Why don’t you shower and change, and then I’ll give you breakfast and we can talk. Bathroom’s the room next to this one.”

He tosses the clean clothes on the bed, and leaves the room. Hot water is exactly what Kai’s sore muscles need, so he stays in the shower as long as possible. The clean clothes feel absolutely amazing, and the pain in Kai’s head has dulled to an annoying ache by the time he joins Kit in the kitchen. The smells coming from the steaming pot on the stove make Kai's stomach growl loudly enough that Kit grins at him.


“Yeah,” Kai sits down on one of the bar stools as Kit fills two bowls. He’s not exactly sure why Kit wants to talk to him, since they don’t have more than a passing acquaintance with each other. But Kit let him stay overnight when he could have kicked Kai out, so at the very least, Kai owes him some form of conversation, right? “Sooo…why do they call you Kit?”

“Because I’m always eating these,” Kit waves the mini KitKat in his hand. “I’d give you one, but you shouldn’t eat sugar if your head still hurts.”

“I don’t like KitKats,” Kai makes the comment just to have something to say.

“You're the first person I’ve met who’s said that,” Kit doesn’t seem to be the least bit offended as puts a steaming bowl of Jok Moo and a couple of painkillers on the bar in front of Kit. “Eat first, then take those. It’ll help with your headache.”

Kai doesn’t need to be told twice. The thick rice porridge with pork and flavored with ginger spreads a comforting warmth all the way down to his toes. Kai stops eating it only long enough to swallow the painkillers, and when the bowl is empty, Kit refills it without being asked. He watches the younger boy for a minute.

“You said there was more to your story?” Kit’s voice is casual, but his eyes are not.

“Not much more, actually,” Kai keeps his eyes on his food as he answers. “They wanted something I didn’t have.”

“And they didn’t believe you, so you got scrummed.” Kit makes it a statement, rather than a question. “Anybody ever tell you not to pick fights you can’t win?”

“Yeah,” the word is garbled and Kai swallows before continuing. “But I never listen. And anyway, I didn’t.”

“Pick the fight?” Kit is smiling at him again. “Or win?”

Rather than answer, Kai eats another spoonful of Jok Moo. While Kit doesn’t actually expect an answer, every instinct he has is screaming that this kid is hiding something. But he won’t push. Not until he gets more answers from different sources.

“Where’s Jet?”

Kai's question breaks into Kit’s thoughts, and he takes his own spoonful of food before answering. “Out. He’ll be back soon, though. ”

He hopes Kai doesn’t ask him where Jet is, because truthfully Kit has no idea. Jet had slept on the couch last night and then left a note early in the morning saying he’d gone out. So that’s as much information as both Kit and Kai have.

“Ok,” Kai swallows the last bit of pork from his bowl. “I’m going back to my dorm.”

“You're not going to wait for your brother?” Kit only sounds partially surprised.

Kai shakes his head. He is halfway out the door when he remembers something. “Thank you. For last night. And breakfast. You didn’t have to—“

“It’s not a problem.” Kit waves his hand at him, then hands him a plastic bag with his dirty clothes. “If you ever need anything let me know. Especially now you know where I live.”

“Right,” Kai can’t think of anything else to say to that, so he just leaves.

He uses up the rest of his phone battery on GrabTaxi, asking the driver to go first to 7-Eleven, and then to his dorm. Last night, Jet had said he would answer Kai’s questions. But Kai isn’t sure he wants to hear anything his older brother wants to say. He'd rather get some answers himself first.

Zone is the type of friend you go to when you’re in trouble. He is fully aware of this, so when Kai comes back to their dorm and plops down in front of him without saying a word, Zone doesn’t do much more than raise his eyebrows.

Until he gets a good look at Kai’s appearance.

“Whoa. You look like shit.”

“Thanks,” Kai plops down opposite Zone, snagging the mug next to him. “I could say the same about you.”

Zone glares without any real anger. “That’s my macchiato.”

“I know,” Kai takes a healthy swig. Zone snatches the mug back.

“I thought you preferred Cafe con Miel.”

“Not in the mood for honey and cinnamon. I need your straight coffee and calcium today. Besides, your girlfriend isn’t here to steal it, so I will. What’s with you? Up all night studying or something?”

“Or something.” Zone looks more sober than usual. “Getting a phone call from your brother saying your best friend got his ass handed to him screws with your sleep schedule.”

“Right,” Kai has the decency to look a little guilty. “Kit said you were worried.”

“I hope he told you that I want explanations, too. Like how you ended up at my brother’s condo in the first place.”

Kai hesitates for just a second. “I need you to do that clever computer thing.”

“Which thing?” Zone cocks his brow, his dark eyes boring into Kai’s. “The one that will get me my degree or the one that will get me kicked out of uni if I’m caught?”

“The second one,” Kai’s expression is only partially apologetic. “And don’t do that Eyebrow Thing; it’s weird enough when your brother did it.”

“Kit uses the other eyebrow,” Zone’s own brow stays raised. “If this is part of your explanation you know I won’t do it for free.”

“Yes, it is, and yes, I know.” Kai drops a box of Pocky on the table in front of his friend. “Chocolate, right?”

“This will do for now, I guess.” Zone opens the box and devours two of the biscuit sticks before speaking again. “What do you need?”

“To find someone.”

“And you can’t look them up on Google or Instagram like a normal stalker?” Now Zone’s other eyebrow rises to meet the first one as he pulls another piece of Pocky from the box. Kai cocks his head.

“I don’t think ‘normal’ and ‘stalker’ belong in the same sentence.”

“You know what I mean, jackass.” Zone opens his laptop. “You have a name for me?”

“Are you seriously going to do it here?”

Zone rolls his eyes at Kai’s protest. “I’m going to start with Google and IG and go from there. That’s actually something you could have done--”

“Phone died on the way over here.” Kai says, connecting the dead phone to his charger to emphasize the point.

“Right,” Zone looks like he wants to say something else, but changes his mind. “You have a name or not?”


“That narrows it down.” Zone expects Kai to smack him, but instead his friend steals another swig of coffee and swishes it around in his mouth before answering.

“Jet Saetangmasawat.”

“That’s your last name.” Zone tries to sound causal and miserably fails. When Kai doesn’t answer, he presses. “That’s also part of your explanation, right?”

“I’ll tell you if you look him up for me.”

“Fine,” Zone types out the name, and then looks back at Kai. “Nothing.”

Kai chews on his lip. “Try ‘Lianjie Saetangmasawat’. That’s his given name.”

“How do you know that?” Zone makes a face that says he already knows the answer, then ducks as Kai tosses a piece of Pocky at his head. “Hey! I’m eating those!”

“Just do it, Zone.”

Zone’s fingers tap on the keyboard again while Kai occupies himself by finishing his friend’s macchiato. He knows better than to actually steal any Pocky—he nearly lost a finger the last time he tried. Zone’s addiction to that snack is probably on the same level as Kit’s to KitKats.

“Got it,” Zone stares at the screen for a second. “Hey! I knew that name sounded familiar! He did some work for my brother a little while ago.”

“I thought your family ran a car dealership.”

“We do. But Kit’s branch of the company deals with flipping and restoring classic and custom cars, so he travels internationally, and isn’t home much. This Jet person helps him out sometimes.” Zone flips the laptop around so Kai can see. “This who you’re looking for?”

Kai is silent for so long that Zone gets up and moves to stand behind him in case he’d accidentally shut off the laptop when he turned it toward Kai. But that’s not the reason Kai is so quiet. The screen is still on, and at the top of the listed results, just under the search bar, is a photo of Jet.

No, not a photo—a headshot, like the kind businessmen and celebrities use. Jet is dressed in business attire not unlike what he was wearing last night, only there were no bloodstains. Every strand of his dark hair is in place and his eyes look directly at the camera.

“Yep.” Right now, Kai feels like Jet is looking directly at him. “That’s the one.”

If Zone notices the forced casualness in Kai’s voice, he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he points to the first link in the list of results beneath the photo. “Try that one.”

Kai raises his eyebrows as he reads the link aloud. “Manirat InfiniteDrift?”

“That’s my family’s company--at least, that’s the car flipping and customizing branch. Kit came up with the name.” He reaches over Kai and clicks on the link. “See, that’s the same picture.”

Zone isn’t wrong. Jet’s picture is right next to Kit’s on the page, and the text below Kit’s photo reads: Kit Kitrawee Manirat, CEO, and below Jet’s: Jet Lianjie Saetangmasawat, COO. That could explain why Jet is back in Bangkok--on legitimate business.

“I thought maybe he was hiding something,” Kai goes back to the results page and scrolls through them. “He said he would tell me last night, but I don't believe him.”

“Last night?” Zone’s voice is carefully neutral, but Kai’s eyes are still on the laptop screen.

“He took me to Kit’s condo after I got scrummed.” Kai’s hand stills on the mousepad. The sudden cessation of movement brings one of the images into sharper focus.

It’s a single story building, painted white and wider than it is tall. The front lawn is small, but well kept, and the wrought iron fence is polished and seems to be a way to separate this land on which the house sits from everything around it, rather than as a barrier to keep the occupants permanently in or out.

On the lawn in front of the building are three children—two boys and a girl. It’s clear from their body language that they’re close—familially close. The older brother stands protectively behind his younger brother and sister, with a protective arm wrapped around each of them. All three are smiling.

“This is the orphanage where you and Mali lived, right?” Zone knows bits and pieces of Kai and Mali’s past, but not all of it.

“Jet lived there too,” Kai’s voice is carefully neutral. “He’s my older brother.”

“Oh. So he’s the ‘asshole’ whose calls you were ignoring.” Zone stares at the screen, then back at Kai. “Sooooo that the three of you?”

“Yeah. Ten years ago a newspaper came to do a story on the orphanage when we were little. They wanted a picture of the three of us.” Kai’s eyes are locked on the oldest of the two boys. “I had no idea why—until the reporter came back a week later.”

“What happened to Jet? He get adopted, or something?”

“Yeah.” Kai is talking to the coffee mug again. “They wanted one child, not three. Mali and I came back from school and Jet was already gone.”

Kai’s phone buzzes, and the word “asshole” lights up the screen. Zone bites back a grin and Kai rolls his eyes when he answers.


“Where are you?” Jet doesn’t say hello either, and his voice wavers between accusatory and worried, which makes Kai feel a twinge of guilt.

Just a twinge.

“I’m at my dorm,” he softens his voice just a little bit. “You weren’t there, so I left.”

“Fair enough,” Jet is quiet for a minute. “You had something you wanted to ask me last night.”

“I asked you what you were doing here,” Kai corrects him. “You said you’d tell me in the morning, only you weren’t there—“

“Why don’t I tell you now?” Jet says. “You can ask me anything you like.”

Well, that's a one-eighty from last night.

It’s Kai’s turn to go quiet. Jet clearly wants something, and once he gets it, then he’ll disappear and Kai won’t have to worry about seeing him anymore. So why does that thought make his gut clench?

“Kai?” Jet hasn’t hung up yet, which Kai supposes is a good thing.

“We’ll talk tonight,” Kai finally says. “I’ll send you the location.”

He hangs up before Jet can say anything and turns back to Zone. “Can you print that stuff off?”

Zone blinks at him. “Sorry?”

“All that stuff about Jet,” Kai clarifies. “Can you print it off?”

“Yeah, we can print it off,” Zone’s eyebrow is cocked again. “Why?”

“Because I have questions,” Kai looks back at Jet’s smiling headshot. “And I’m getting answers.”

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