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Oct 21, 2019 11:56 AM
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Chen doesn't actually like tourney. Never has, probably never will. He joined the team mostly because he didn't know how to tell their coach no and he stayed — 

Well, he stayed for a lot of reasons, but mostly he stayed because of Ben. 

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In the locker room, Ben's face lights up like it always does when he sees Chen.

"Good game today!"

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"Yeah," and his voice is very very warm. "Good game." 

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"I really think we might make it to the championship this year," Ben says, casually pulling off his jersey.

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Chen isn't looking at Ben's chest or his arms or the way his shoulders and back move, isn't looking at his wrists or the dip just above his hips. He isn't. 

"Fingers crossed, anyway!" 

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"We'll have to work hard and practice but I believe in us."

Ben takes off his pants.

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He's still not looking! He's even more not looking than he was before! 

Locker rooms are one of the many reasons he doesn't like tourney. It's not public, really, but it's public enough. He changes as quickly as humanly possible. 

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Ben is a little disappointed that Chen changes so fast! It's pretty weird and he tries to avoid thinking about it. It's just sad that Chen doesn't feel comfortable around him.

His stomach growls. "I'm hungry. Want to grab something?"

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He isn't particularly hungry, but, "I'd love to." 

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"I feel like we never get to hang out."

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"I do too, it's the worst." There are reasons for this, some of them good reasons, but they're very easy to ignore when Ben is right there. 

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"I'm just really busy all the time with school and stuff. And Dad keeps joking that he's going to abdicate."

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"Wow. And I've got the civil service exam in a few months, most of my time I spend studying." 

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"Maybe we should study together more."

(His stomach flips, probably because Chen is very cool, and anyone would be nervous in his shoes.)

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Ben wanting to spend more time with him feels warm and nice and good. "We should!" 

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"Awesome!"

His face hurts a little bit from smiling.

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He doesn't examine how much he likes when Ben smiles. 

He's not really sure what to say, once they get where they're going — most of the places that one can get food actually are public. 

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Ben sits and his feet brush against Chen's feet. He doesn't seem to notice.

(He notices.)

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It doesn't look like he notices either. (He notices.) 

He keeps up a conversation about — nothing, really, or at least, nothing he'd particularly mind if everyone else in the country heard. 

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Ben is smiling a lot for a conversation that consists solely of small talk!

He feels electricity running up his skin from where their shoes are touching.

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That's good. Ben smiling is very very good. Sorry he can't provide much more than small talk. 

He isn't paying attention to how he feels about the fact that they're touching. 

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Ben leans forward to express a deeply held opinion about their history class and their knees brush briefly.

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There is no outward reaction, but he listens very carefully. 

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Next time he leans forward his knee just. Stays there.

 (Ben is aware he is a terrible person.)

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Chen doesn't pull away, doesn't stop smiling. (He should pull away — he doesn't.) 

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They can just sit like this until the meal is over.

Ben keeps losing his train of thought.

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