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In Every Lifetime

Chapter Text

“Kong, I know this is a lot to ask of you and we fully understand if you would like to reject this marriage.” Mr Rojnapat said with a sigh, while Mrs Rojnapat sat beside him, crying silently.

Kongpob couldn’t answer as he stared long and hard at the photo that was just handed to him. The face and smile staring back at him, was all so familiar. Too familiar.

Tears prickled his eyes as he continued staring at the photo. “..Oon..” he breathed out in a soft gasp.

Mrs Rojnapat looked at him, staring with disbelief. “How..how do you know that name? We didn’t tell you. Not even your parents know.”

“It’s.. hard to explain,” Kongpob replied, sniffling a little to hold in his tears. “But I am more than willing to go through with this marriage.” He looked at Mr and Mr Rojnapat smiling, and turned to his own parents. “Shall we set the date?”

The Sutthilucks looked at their youngest son. They were proud of him and yet also worried, of what they had just asked of him.

 

To complete this ghost marriage.

Chapter Text

“Oon~ Oon~ where are you~” the sing song voice of Kongpob reverbed through the large Sutthiluck mansion as the little pitter patter of feet followed. The young boy ran around in search of the older child whom he stuck to like glue since birth. Kongpob knew not of friends and the outside world, having been sickly since young.. His life, his world revolved around Arthit, who had endearingly allowed only him to use that ridiculously adorable nickname. To tell the truth it was simply because Kongpob was unable to pronounce Arthit properly and ‘Oon’ at least sounded nicer than ‘Arr’. But seeing the smile that always appeared on the younger’s face after the name ‘Oon’ spilled from the little mouth made Arthit soften his harsh demeanor, accepting his fate.

“Young master Kongpob! You mustn't run around like that!” the worried cries of Kongpob’s nanny, Earth, echoed soon after. The young boy ignored her completely as he continued his search of Arthit, scuttling down the hallways to the servants’ wing. He squealed as he launched himself full force onto the familiar back he spotted a small distance away.

“Oon! Oon! Oon!” he wriggled around on Arthit’s back while the older boy groaned at the sudden weight impact.

“Kong, we’ve talked about this. You’re getting way too heavy for me to carry.” he grumbled as he tried to dislodge the arms and legs that have wound themselves tightly around his neck and torso.

“Can you bring me out today? I want to eat haw candy!”

“No. I have school. You have classes with P’Yong in the afternoon.”

“Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease~ Na na na?” Kongpob pouted, burying his head into the crook of Arthit’s neck. By this point the older boy had given up trying to wrangle him off and was walking back towards the main house with Kongpob still enjoying his piggy back ride.

Earth chuckled, following the pair from behind. Young master Kongpob was only 2 years younger than Arthit but with the way the older one spoiled him, one would have thought that Kongpob was at least 5 years younger. She knew it wouldn’t be long before Arthit said yes to Kongpob. It wasn’t because he was the young master. Everyone knew that Arthit doted on him - abnormally so in fact. Despite what his mouth might say, Arthit’s eyes always spoke a different story.

Setting him down softly on the couch, Arthit turned to look at Kongpob. “No. Your grades have been slipping. What happened to wanting to go to the same school as me? At this rate you won’t be able to make it into any school. Let alone mine.” Arthit smirked, giving him a gentle tap on the forehead.

Kongpob pouted and sulked. It wasn’t his fault that Oon was too smart and made it to the best high school in the province even without the help of his father’s special scholarship. He tried, he really did! But studying in the same room with Arthit really wasn’t conducive for him. P’Yong had hoped that Arthit’s good manners and interest to learn would rub off Kongpob just a little but all it had resulted in was the younger staring at the older child for at least 80% of the time.

So P’Yong now had to keep them apart, much to Kongpob’s dismay. He was only allowed to see Arthit for fifteen minutes at two intervals in between his 5 hour lessons from 1 to 5 in the afternoons. At first, Arthit moved back to the servant quarters to continue his studies. But the whining of Kongpob soon spread throughout the house when he exited the study room on his break and realised his precious Oon was nowhere to be found. He then proceeded to refuse all forms of studying unless Arthit was sitting right outside the study room where he could run to his arms during his break. And so the other servants of the Sutthiluck household went about moving furniture for the rest of the day, just so the young master could get to his ‘best medicine’ whenever he was allowed.

Arthit smiled gently at the small figure sitting on the couch, now hunched over and grumbling under his breath. He could pick up the words “dumb”, “mean” and quietly blessed P’Yong for he must be sneezing furiously away somewhere. He looked at him quietly, observing the boy who took up more space in his heart than he was willing to admit.

Kongpob was always a little skinnier than most his age, no thanks to his heart condition. Skinny and lanky- like a monkey, was how Arthit loved to tease him. But it didn’t mean that Arthit ever forgot, that Kongpob was not like every other child. That at any point in time, the gods could decide it was his time, and Arthit would never see him again. He shuddered at the thought, pushing it away to the far recesses of his mind as he crouched down to Kongpob’s level.

“You have a test today don’t you?”

Puppy eyes looked back at him, growing larger with the tiny hopes of what was to come next.

“If you get at least a 80 on it, I’ll give you a reward. You know you can’t go out but we can go to our spot.” he said, while ruffling on the soft hairs of the boy. “I’ll bring you the haw candy,” he added as an afterthought, remembering it had indeed been quite some time since Kongpob had his favourite treat.

“Really? You mean it?” The puppy eyes were now thoroughly sparkling, full of determination.

“Uh huh. In fact..” he looked around, dropping his voice lower so that only Kongpob could hear him, “I’ll let you have some iced coffee jelly too if you score above 85.” Flashing him his signature dimpled smile, Arthit watched as Kongpob hurriedly hopped off the couch and made a beeline for the study room.

“I’ll make sure to get my reward from you Oon! Just you wait!” he hollered while dashing towards the study, leaving the elder of the two behind, shaking his head.

Standing up and making his way to gather his things for school, Arthit made a mental note to come back early to make the special coffee jelly for Kongpob. What Kongpob didn’t know was that his favourite jelly was never store bought but always handmade for him by Arthit himself. Due to his heart condition, Kongpob was never allowed any forms of caffeine but the boy had a strange addiction to coffee from a young age. He had always stood in the kitchen while the adults drank their coffee, sniffing like an addict and pleading with anyone who had a cup in their hands. Of course, he was denied the drink every single time. That was until Master Sutthiluck came back with a bottled blend of decaffeinated coffee just for his son.

This special bottle however, was never made known to Kongpob, for obvious reasons. Instead, Master Sutthiluck had allowed Arthit to take it upon himself to make it into a treat for Kongpob. He had always trusted the young boy’s judgement, which was matured beyond his age and watched as he used it to pacify his young boy’s temper tantrums or motivate him to do better at his studies. He never once saw the boy as the son of their head butler Rojnapat, but rather, the one blessing in Kongpob’s life and genuinely treated him as another son. Arthit Rojnapat had impeccable upbringing and manners, was incredibly intelligent and the only one whom Kongpob would listen to - more than Master Sutthiluck himself.

Chapter Text

Yong stared hard at the paper in front of him, checking off each question with a red pen while Kongpob stared at him from across the table. Eagerly awaiting his results. Yong sighed, glancing up at the boy who was practically wagging his imaginary tail. Arthit must have promised him something again. Kongpob was never this interested in his results. Which was a pity really, since he did have the brains, just never the attention to fully focus on his studies.

Counting under his breath, Yong quietly wrote the score for Kongpob’s papers and gave yet another sigh. The cheeky brat actually managed an average of 82. After consistently getting an average of 60 for the last few weeks. He wondered what kind of magic spell Arthit casted on the boy to make his grades improve so rapidly in just one day. Turning the paper to Kongpob, he smiled. “See, I knew you could do it.”

What he did not count on was seeing Kongpob’s immediate crestfallen face. Yong looked at him questioningly, as the boy started fiddling with his fingers under the table. “Kongpob? What’s wrong?” he asked as he tried to wave for attention. “This has been your best score yet. You’d be able to get into Arthit’s school if you keep this up. That’s what you’ve always wanted, no?”

Kongpob’s face lit up for just a split second before returning to its sullen state. “But.. I won’t be able to get my iced coffee jelly from Oon today. He said I needed an 85 for that.” he answered softly, the disappointment clear in his voice. Yong paused for a moment, before breaking into a smile and shaking his head. He already knew that Kongpob would get his iced coffee jelly regardless if it was Arthit who promised him. That boy never said no to Kongpob unless he absolutely had to. Yong didn’t even think Arthit knew how to say no to the younger boy.

Standing up to leave the room, he patted Kongpob’s head saying, “You could promise him to keep this grade up so that you could enter the same school. I’m sure he’ll be happy and reward you anyway.” Giving one last look at the boy, he exited the study room sniggering under his breath. That should keep the little one in check till at least the end of the year. Master Sutthiluck would be pleased.

As soon as Yong walked towards the servant’s quarters in search of Arthit to warn him about the possible tantrum coming his way, the smell of coffee hit him hard. He couldn’t help but laugh again to himself. Looks like Kongpob would definitely be getting his iced coffee jelly afterall.

“Ow. P’Yong, you’re done?” Arthit asked, quickly wai-ing the older and returned to pouring the coffee into the container to set. “That means that little shit will be here soon.” he added as he quickly covered the container and put it into the fridge. He then quickly busied himself opening all the windows to air the kitchen so that the coffee monster would not be able to smell the lingering traces of coffee.

“Arthit, what exactly did you tell Kongpob today? I’ve never seen him that earnest in his studies. If he keeps this up he would have no problem going to your school.”

A sheepish smile was shot his way as the teenager across the counter rubbed his neck and said, “I told him he’d get haw candy today if he got 80 and iced coffee jelly if he got 85.”

“It really has been a while since he had any of those!” he added quickly as an afterthought seeing Yong’s face, thinking that the tutor might have disagreed with his choice of rewards for the sickly boy.

“No no, I wasn’t worried about that. I know you manage that boy’s diet better than anyone in this household. It’s just..” Yong trailed off, trying to pick the right words. “I was thinking if I was the one dangling the carrot, would it be this effective?”

To his amusement, Arthit started turning bright pink as he fumbled around, trying to do something with his hands. He had never seen the ever feisty Arthit this lost for words. ‘Guess we both know the answer to that question then,’ he thought to himself, and allowed the question to go unanswered as the ever familiar patter of feet approached the kitchen.

“Oo- oh P’Yong you’re here? Why are you still here?” Kongpob grumbled, halting his steps and the whine he was about let out loudly. Arthit stepped to his side and smacked the back of his head. Hard.

“Manners, Kong. He’s still our Phi no matter your status.”

“Ouch.. that hurts Oon.” Kongpob whined but flinched when he only got a stern glare in return. Obediently putting his hands together in a wai, he quickly bade the senior goodbye while dragging Arthit out. Yong waved at the two retreating backs, and silently prayed that the gods would have some mercy on the two - to bless them with a lifetime together.

Stepping into Arthit’s room, Kongpob finally turned around to face him, staring hard at his face as his own contorted into a look of constipation. Arthit stared back at the boy with puzzlement. Surely he hadn’t failed his test. He knew Kongpob too well for that. He would have been sulking and crying under the stairs had he failed. So what was this behaviour about?

“P’Ai’Oon..” Kongpob’s voice was soft, as he tried to find the right words to use to convince his Phi. Arthit on the other hand, was now on full alert mode. Kongpob only ever used that name with him when he wanted something. As in really, really wanted something. And nothing good ever came after that name.

“Ionlygotan82butIpromiseIwillstudyreallyhardandgetintoyourschoolsocanIpleasestillhavemyicedcoffeejelly?”

Arthit stood staring at Kongpob for a while, rapidly blinking while trying to digest what the younger boy had rattled off in some form of an amazing rap. Then he started to laugh, so hard that tears were threatening to spill from his eyes. He had prepared himself for the worst and yet all Kongpob was trying to ask from him this time around was for iced coffee jelly. Just how much did that boy miss it? He definitely was someone with a one track mind.

Kongpob gazed at Arthit intently, worry slowly spreading over his face. Had he finally broken his Phi? The older boy was gasping for air at this point and Kongpob didn’t know if he should run for help or just wait for him to return to normal. He heaved a gentle sigh of relief as Arthit slowly stood up, having doubled over in laughter so hard just a minute ago.

Not saying a word, Arthit faced Kongpob, looking at him quietly for a while. The boy was waiting expectantly for an answer, gripping his fists by his sides. Kongpob really could look so earnest sometimes it was hard for Arthit not to take him seriously as well. Gently taking one of the curled fists into his hand, he smiled.

“Hey, getting into the same school is what you want too right? It isn’t just for me. So I know you will do your best. Your por is finally allowing you to not be homeschooled so you really should grab the chance to enjoy as normal a student life as you can! Although that means you will have to endure all the problems that come with it too. But you’re a big boy now, you can do this much can’t you?”

Kongpob nodded silently, not willing to look at Arthit in the eye. “I can do it,” he uttered softly, “with all my heart.”

“Well that’s good enough for me then. Come on, let’s go. It’s almost time for dinner.” Arthit continued holding Kongpob’s hand and started leading him back out of the room. “We’ll have the haw candy and ice coffee jelly for dessert.” He threw a wink at the younger one as he continued walking towards the main house in nonchalance.

Kongpob felt the soft thudding of his heart as he clenched his chest with his free hand. ‘Just a bit more time, please.’ he quietly prayed in his mind, as he intertwined his fingers with the radiant teenager in front of him. ‘Just a little more time..’ In truth he didn’t care at all about going to school like a normal child. What he cared about was having the chance to really be Arthit’s junior. Not this young master and caretaker relationship. It also most definitely had nothing to do with the girls that he saw ogling his Oon as he walked home while he was spying from his window. Most definitely not.

Chapter Text

One year, two years.. Three.. The years kept going by as everyone in the Sutthiluck household silently prayed for the good fortune of the young master. Each year he lived on borrowed time. The fortune teller had predicted that he would not live past the age of 18 and as he got older, the fear increased. Somehow, said person with a short life didn’t seem to be affected at all. Not one bit. In fact, he seemed to use it as a free pass to say whatever he wanted to the one person who tolerated him more than anyone. 

It started with whining and tantrums, growing into flirtatious lines cheesier than the romance novels the maids around the house read. It seemed that making Arthit turn bright red whenever he was caught off guard by one of those seemingly innocent lines had become Kongpob’s new and favourite pastime. 

“KONGPOB! How could you say that in front of everyone!” Arthit’s voice thundered through the house. No one even reacted to his yelling as it had already become a daily occurrence in the Sutthiluck household. Kongpob must have said something outrageous once again, which was amazing really since it was merely his first day at college - with Arthit obviously.

“But I didn’t say anything wrong Oon! I was merely stating the facts.” Kongpob cooly strode in behind Arthit, plopping himself onto the couch in the main room.

“You cannot go around saying you’ve reserved me!” Arthit hissed back, also settling himself on the other end of the couch. “And it’s P’Arthit from now on I told you! I have an image to maintain.”

Slowly crawling his way over to close the distance over the couch, Kongpob smirked, looking like a predator stalking his prey. “It’s the truth isn’t it P’Arthit . You’re mine, always have been.” At this point, they were almost nose to nose to each other and Kongpob could see every lash surrounding Arthit’s doe eyes that have widened with every move he made towards him.

The beautiful blush that Kongpob loved soon crept up to the older’s face as he blinked furiously, avoiding all forms of eye contact. “Besides,” he whispered, gently bringing their noses together for an eskimo kiss, “I would never call you Oon in school. That is only for me to know. No one else is allowed to call you that.”

Arthit blinked furiously, struggling to find his words while trying to stop his thundering heartbeat. At this rate he was sure Kongpob would hear it, with the nonexistent distance between them. “K..Kongpob!” he managed to squeak out. “Stop it! Everyone can see us here!” Frantically looking around, he prayed that P’Earth was not anywhere nearby like she usually was when Kongpob stepped into the mansion. 

Although Kongpob begrudgingly backed away slightly, allowing Arthit to put an arm in between them to defend himself from his advances, he soon leaned forward again. Whispering into the ear that was completely flushed like the owner’s face and neck, he cheekily asked. “Then shall we take this somewhere where no one can see us then? Your room, or mine?” 

By this point Arthit’s eyes had reached the size of plates as he couldn’t believe what the younger boy was insinuating. These days he really couldn’t tell if Kongpob was just teasing him anymore. Although he had hoped, just a little, that Kongpob really meant what he said every time he threw a flirty line his way. Gathering his wits, he pushed the young man who was still hovering above him gently away and quickly scrambled away without saying another word. 

“Oon~” the sing song voice he knew soon followed, “is that supposed to be an open invitation for me to follow you to your room?”

Arthit’s head turned around so quickly Kongpob thought he might have sprained it in the process. He received a stern glare from the elder as Arthit continued to scurry away, all while still burning bright red. Kongpob chuckled to himself. Over the years it had gotten impossible to see Arthit as anything other than ‘cute’. Only the heavens knew how much he had to keep all the other people in school from seeing this side of his adorable Oon. Thankfully the older boy had always been a hothead and only had a handful of friends over the years. Otherwise, who knew what Kongpob would have done - locked him away in his room maybe. 

Wincing slightly, Kongpob clutched his heart as the familiar throb and pain shot through his body. He fell forward a little, using the couch as support and soon had to relent to sitting down. He breathed hard through the pain, willing it to go away. His attacks were unfortunately getting more frequent and he knew that his limited time would soon come to an end. Every birthday he had, he was thankful and only ever made one wish - that he could stay with Arthit, for as long as he could. 

Leaning his head back and letting it hang slightly off the top of the couch, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The pain was slowly ebbing away but his heart rate was still high. ‘Just a little more time’, he prayed once again, as he had always done. ‘Just a little more time, please.’ He was finally 18 this year, and could finally marry - as long as his parents gave their consent. 18, was also unfortunately the year he was predicted to die. He just hoped that he would have enough time to do what he wanted to do all these years. 

Since Kongpob had met Arthit at the age of 5, he was determined to make the pretty boy his wife. He didn’t know the implications then, but P’Earth had told him that a married couple would stay together all their life when he had asked her what it meant to have a wife. And that was exactly what he wanted, to be with Arthit for the rest of his life. 

At age 14 however, after going through an intensely awkward session of sex education in school, he soon learnt that boys were not supposed to marry other boys. No one in the household ever had the heart to correct his thoughts on the matter so this piece of information had struck him like lightning. This resulted in the young master of the Sutthiluck family returning home, bawling his eyes out and suffering an attack that landed himself in bed for the next two weeks.

Not having the heart to break the young child’s heart into further pieces, Master and Madam Sutthiluck repeatedly assured him that he would be able to marry his Oon, just as soon he was 18. It was then he made them promise there and then that they would make it happen, before he finally calmed down, while clinging onto Oon for dear life of course. 

Arthit too, who had remained by Kongpob’s side to placate him, was not allowed to speak another word denying the marriage. But once the adults had left the room, he let Kongpob snuggle tighter into his chest as he wrapped the blanket securely around the both of them. He gently kissed the younger child on the forehead and promised him that they would always be together. Upon hearing the promise uttered softly by Arthit, Kongpob’s sniffles finally slowed to a stop and he was lulled into deep sleep by the former’s steady heartbeats.

It was the most painful two weeks for the two youngsters then. One having had to come face to face the harsh realities of the society they lived in, and the other, having had to nearly watch someone dear to him slip through his fingers with the near brush of death. Neither of them spoke of the incident ever again, only keeping it deep within their hearts. Both however, silently vowed to keep their promise - to be together forever.

‘18. Two more weeks, just two more weeks.’ Kongpob spoke to his heart, looking down and rubbing his chest. ‘Please just, stay strong till then.’ He himself knew his own condition better than anyone. He had constantly hid behind the stunning smile, seemingly athletic tanned skin tone and ever charming words. This made everyone around him forget that he was still sick and treated him with normalcy - which he greatly appreciated. He had made many great friends along the way too, although of course, no one came close to his precious Oon who still shone like the bright sun in his life. 

He gazed in the direction that Arthit had ran off longingly, contemplating chasing after him or to give him the chance to have a breather. After the age of 16 when Kongpob became sure of his own feelings, he decided he would no longer hold himself back. He was on a countdown timer after all, and it made absolutely no sense to not try to tie Arthit to himself. He knew he was being selfish, but he was positive that if he ever had to see the love of his life with anyone else other than himself, his heart would have stopped right there and then. He would much rather die than see that ever happening in his lifetime. 

Hiding in his room and quickly closing the door behind him, Arthit slumped back against the wall. His heart was still palpitating. At this rate, he was beginning to suspect the one with the heart problem might actually be him instead of Kongpob. The pounding of his heart had been increasing in frequency, with every flirtatious line thrown his way. And he hoped, he could only hope, that Kongpob meant every word he said. Because he might die of heartbreak if Kongpob meant none of it. 

He knew he shouldn’t, he knew he mustn't. But whenever that boy flashed his megawatt smile at him, he couldn’t help but to melt into it. Arthit had always felt a sense of responsibility towards Kongpob, ever since his father introduced the two of them when he was still 7. He had just felt like he needed to take care of the boy who was so small and frail then. Along the years though, somewhere somehow, he soon realised what he had felt for the younger one had well evolved past responsibility. It had started with a little crush, but now, Arthit was afraid to put a name to what he felt for Kongpob. 

Maybe it was when Kongpob’s voice broke when he was 13. The whiny voice of the child he knew inside out had suddenly mellowed out into a soothing tone. Kongpob in turn had stopped whining, realising it no longer worked when he didn’t sound as cute as he did anymore. However, he took to dropping his voice a notch, making his voice a little raspy (and sexy) and continued to weedle his way through to Arthit. This tone often sent ripples down Arthit’s spine, especially when Kongpob called him ‘Oon’. And Arthit secretly enjoyed it - not that he was ever, ever, going to admit it to the younger boy. 

Or maybe it was when Kongpob had a sudden growth spurt at the age of 15. He had thought that it was never going to happen but in the span of 6 months, Kongpob had suddenly reached the same height as him. Finally being able to see him eye to eye, Arthit suddenly realised how much emotions the other could express with just a single look. And frequently sent butterflies frolicking around in his tummy.

Whatever it was, there was one thing that was for sure. Arthit was irrevocably in love with Kongpob.

 

Chapter Text

Arthit paced around the large foyer of the mansion mumbling under his breath. To say that he was feeling antsy was an understatement. Kongpob had thrown Arthit’s brain for a loop by saying that he would not be going home together with him. Kongpob had never done this, not a single time since he had started going to school. Not even the time where they were in different schools. So why now?

“Why. Why?”

“Is he seeing someone?”

“Who?”

“No, it can’t be. Aim is always around him. That’s the biggest damn lightbulb I’ve ever seen walking around.”

“Or is it someone from the gang.”

“Who?”

“ Maprang? May? PRAE?”

By this point, Arthit had gone past mumbling and had gone full blown yelling to himself while fisting his hands into his hair. The gardener had paused at the same rose bush some distance away, watching the young Rojnapat and his mysterious antics. She was sure that if Arthit had pulled any harder, his hair would come out in tufts. Like the weeds she was holding. She may not know why he was acting like that, but it could only be related to one person. Everyone knew that only one person could ever cause Arthit to react like that.

Arthit’s heart wrenched thinking about Kongpob possibly liking someone, to be precise, someone who wasn’t him. It wasn’t like he was assuming but Kongpob had now gone past flirtatious lines to outright expressing with actions now. It had just been yesterday that Kongpob had insisted on intertwining their hands together under the table at the dinner table. No matter how Arthit had tried to pull his hand back from the younger one, he couldn’t seem to untangle their hands. This left Arthit with no choice but to handle his utensils with his left hand, earning many strange yet knowing looks from the elders at the table.

It had also left him unsure of how to feel for the next half of the night. One part of him couldn’t help but wonder since when had the young boy he once knew gotten this strong - the lean figure of Kongpob barely featured any muscles (much to his dismay as he had been desperately trying to help Kongpob gain weight as he was too skinny). The other part of him, the one that seemed to be led by the nose by Kongpob these days, had simply wanted to give in to whatever the cheeky brat had in mind. He was sure that he would have enjoyed it anyway.

The biggest part of him however, wanted to ask Kongpob what their relationship was now. Arthit was sure, almost certain, that he was not the only one feeling this way but simply couldn’t garner enough courage to open his mouth to speak the words. He was not a man of words - that had always been Kongpob. Arthit had much rather conveyed his feelings through his actions like he always did. But Kongpob had always been excessively clingy to him as well, and that resulted in his dilemma on whether Kongpob was just being how he always was - or if everything meant more now.

Just as he was still running through the names of every single girl who have had any form of interaction with Kongpob in his head, said person struts through the main gate, looking positively pleased with himself. Arthit however, had yet to notice his presence, and was still marching back and forth on the foyer.

Kongpob stopped. And stared. Enchanted by the sight in front of him. While other people saw a young adult potentially on the verge of a breakdown, all Kongpob saw was pink cheeks, pouty lips and the need to run forward to hug the adorable man 200 metres away from him just intensified exponentially.

Just as he was calculating his odds of pouncing on the older guy unnoticed, the dark brown eyes of Arthit found his and suddenly, said man was marching towards him - full speed ahead.

“Kongpob!”

Now if Kongpob had any sense of danger for his life, his fight or flight response would have sent him bolting out of there. However, being the idiot that he was, he merely stood there with his arms wide open, ready to welcome Arthit into his arms.

Only to have Arthit grab his arms and pull them to the front of his chest, inspecting every inch he could possibly set his eyes on. Then Arthit moved his hands to cradle Kongpob’s face, gently turning his face in every direction to make sure that it was exactly how he last saw it. When Arthit finally realised what he had done and what he was holding in his hands at the very moment, he froze. Kongpob however, was more than delighted to be caught in this situation. He slowly brought his own hands to cover Arthit’s, leaning his face into one of them and held the other’s gaze with such intensity that the elder thought he might combust on the spot.

“I’m fine P’Ai’Oon,” he whispered gently, taking a step towards Arthit. “Really.”

“But you left. Without me.” Arthit half sulked, his eyes downcast. “You have never done that.”

“Well, I had to get something and today was the only day Prae was free to get it with me.”

Arthit’s eyes widened. “P..Prae?” His hands now clammy as he struggled to remove his hands from Kongpob’s grasp.

“Yeah, she told me she had found what I wanted the other day and kindly offered to bring me there to pick it up.” Kongpob grinned at Arthit, keeping his hands tightly around the other’s.

“I.. I didn’t know you two were close.” Arthit mumbled under his breath so quietly Kongpob would have missed it had he not been standing just a hair’s breadth away from him.

Kongpob allowed himself a second to relish what seemed to be jealousy from the other man. He loved that little twitch in the muscle between the eyebrows and he yearned to smooth it out with his thumbs had his hands not been too busy gripping onto Arthit. Knowing the older guy, he was going to run for the high hills the minute Kongpob freed him and Kongpob was going to have to spend the next few hours talking to him through the door and convincing him to come out of his room.

“Stop fighting me Oon. She’s just a friend, and she was being nice.”

“Oh I’m sure she’s nice. And pretty. And tall. And the nominated Star. And.”

“Oon. Do you like Prae?”

Arthit’s head jerked up so fast to stare at the other so quickly Kongpob thought he might have dislocated his neck. Lucky Kongpob had decided to gradually angle himself a little to the side so that he could execute his next move, or he might have ended up with a bloody nose.

“I. No! But you.” he took a deep breath. “You’re the one who likes her. You’re the one who just went out with her. Alone.” No sooner had he finished his sentence, Arthit was back to staring at the ground, unable to look at Kongpob as he uttered the words that pierced through his heart.

Kongpob slowly wove his arms around Arthit’s waist, gently holding him from the side while burying his nose in the crook of the shorter guy’s neck. Inhaling the unique smell emitting from Arthit, Kongpob had to stop himself from getting distracted and tried to turn his attention back to the guy who was clearly slipping into a state of distress.

“It was for you.” He whispered quietly while softly dropping kisses along the pale expanse of neck that was now exposed to him for the taking. “I wanted to get something for you. It was supposed to be a surprise so I couldn’t bring you along now, could I?”

Arthit blinked rapidly trying to digest the new piece of information. “So you don’t like Prae?” He tried to turn around to face Kongpob but the face of the other was now firmly plastered to the side of his neck as the latter continued his ministrations and was now moving upwards towards his sensitive ears.

“How could I? Especially when I already know she likes girls?” Kongpob breathed into Arthit’s ear while nuzzling it. He really didn’t want to let go but they were still on the front porch and it really wasn’t the place for what he wanted to do next.

“She does? How did you know?” By this point, Arthit had fully let his tensed emotions go and was now lightly holding onto Kongpob’s hands that were on his waist.

“She told us when we were gathered in Tew’s room for our project the other day.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You didn’t ask. I didn’t think it was important either.”

Arthit hummed in reply before finally realising after a few seconds where and what they were doing. On the main foyer. Of the Sutthiluck mansion.

“Kongpob! What are you doing! Let go of me!” he squirmed in the younger’s arms, trying to pry himself from the lock hold.

“Five more minutes,” the young Sutthiluck grumbled. “No one’s going to care about us anyway.”

“Well I care! Let go! We’re outside! Anyone could see us!” Arthit squirmed somemore. “Why are you so strong now?” he added on, grumbling under his breath.

“Does that mean I can hug you when we’re alone in our room then?”

“KONGPOB!”

Kongpob sighed, reluctantly releasing Arthit from his hug. Trust the guy to only realise the position they were in only now when it had been ongoing for at least 5 minutes. Arthit had also not asked at all about Kongpob’s surprise for him and had unexpectedly lingered on the topic of Prae instead. The man was too adorable when he was jealous.

“Okay okay,” he held his hands up in surrender. “I also got you this.”

Fishing out a bottle of pink milk from his backpack, he handed it over to Arthit. Whose eyes were positively sparkling now. It was amazing how a bottle of this miracle drink could always tame the feistiest of Arthit’s mood.

Happily grabbing the drink over and immediately sipping on it, Arthit smiled. “That’s more like it.” Then he picked up Kongpob’s other hand with his free one and dragged him back into the mansion. “Hurry, I’m starving. I’ve been waiting for you to have lunch together.”

Kongpob couldn’t see his face, but he knew Arthit’s face must have turned a gorgeous shade of pink, much like the drink in his hand. Afterall, the tips of his ears always gave him away.

Chapter Text

“URGH. What am I supposed to get Kong for his 18th birthday?” Arthit grumbled, slumping himself down onto the canteen table next to Knott. “He has everything!” 

“You could put a bow on your head and present yourself as a present. I’m sure he’d love that.” Bright piped up. 

A chunk of flying basil chicken hit Bright on his right cheek as Arthit continued his assault, catapulting more pieces his way. 

“You know he’s right.” Tootah added on as he stole the chunks that landed on Bright’s plate.

“I can’t gift myself to him!” 

“Why not?”

“I.. I just can’t! We’re not like that !” No sooner were the words out, Arthit began to regret them. Who was he kidding? He didn't believe them, how was he going to convince anyone else that what was between them was simply platonic. Not that he wanted it to be. But they could never be like that. Could they? 

“He’s never asked, you know? We. We never said. We.” And he couldn’t finish his sentence and just buried his face in his palms, food forgotten.

“Hey. Hey, it’s okay.” Knott patted Arthit on the shoulder, sensing his distress. “Let’s start with what did you get him last year.”

“Shoes.” Arthit supplied lamely. “He wanted a new pair.”

“You bought him shoes? Don’t you know you can’t buy your lover shoes? They’ll run away!” Bright interjected, inappropriately. 

But Arthit already knew that. He had secretly written his name under the insoles of the pair of sneakers he had gotten Kongpob last year. It wasn’t like he believed in the old wives’ tale. But it wasn’t like he wanted to take the chances either. He also made Kongpob give him ฿1 before giving him his present. Just in case. He didn’t tell Kongpob why though. The latter didn’t need to know. The boy would just have gotten under his skin with his gloating. 

Tootah snorted. “As if Kongpob would leave. We couldn’t get him to leave even if we wanted to. How long has it been since we’ve had a night out?”

Arthit opened his mouth to rebute, but quickly closed it again as the blush crept up his face. 

He knew that Kongpob only left his side when well, never. He didn’t think anyone could pry that younger guy away from his side. 

Groaning, he buried his face in his palms once again. “Guys, could we please focus on the problem at hand?”

“How about something you know,” Prem gestured a little, “to show your feelings for him then. He likes that kind of sappy shit.” He paused for a little while, and then added on, “how about a card?”

“I can’t just give him a card. It is his 18th birthday! It’s supposed to be meaningful.”

“Well, he once told me it wasn’t the card that was the present. It’s the message that goes into it.” Prem casually explained.

“Wait, who did you write a card for?” Bright rounded on his friend, sensing something amiss.

Everyone turned to stare at the usually fierce and hot headed guy who was suddenly at a loss for words. Awkward silence surrounded the group as they waited for an answer. 

“Wad.” Prem huffed, after he realised they weren’t going to let it go. 

More silence ensued before chortles of laughter filled the place. “I knew something was up!” Bright bounced around excitedly.

“We’re supposed to be focusing on Arthit’s problem, not me guys.” Prem deadpanned, trying to distract the rest of his group to the problem they were supposed to be tackling. 

“Alright, alright. Arthit first, Prem next. Let’s focus.” Knott struggled to get out in between his laughter and trying to rally the rest back to tackle the issue at hand. 

“I really don’t know what you’re so worried about, you could just stand there and breathe and Kongpob would think he’s got the best present in the world.” Tootah said, patting Arthit’s shoulder to provide some comfort. 

“He’s turning 18. We all know how special it is, especially for him.” 

What Arthit was afraid to say was, he also feared that it would be Kongpob’s last. The fortune teller who predicted that Kongpob might not make it past this year was one of the best in the province and was known to never get it wrong. The whole household had been on their toes ever since the year started, fearing what could possibly come. 

“How about getting him something to match? He was so envious of our team jersey because he couldn’t get one.” Tootah supplied.

“Oh yeah, he really threw a fit with that one. Wouldn’t look any of us in the eye and he kept coming head to head with Arthit when he first found out.” Bright agreed, nodding. 

“I think it was more the fact that we had matching things with Arthit and he didn’t.” Knott added with an afterthought. “That was really some show of jealousy then. Kongpob had always been polite to a fault up till that point.” 

“Wouldn’t people get the wrong idea then, you know, if we appear wearing the same things? That we’re together?”

Bright rolled his eyes. “I think the bigger question is who thinks you’re not together.” 

“Arthit, you like Kongpob. And it is clear that he likes you too. He can hardly keep it together around you. He literally looks like he is trying his hardest not to eat you alive every time he puts his eyes on you.” Tootah said gently, facing Arthit. “I hate to say this but the two of you are on limited time, with his health and all. Are you sure you want to waste it on worrying what other people think about your relationship or would you just rather be happy with him?”

Arthit went quiet, gears churning furiously in his head. Tootah was right. As much as he hated to face the facts, he might lose Kongpob soon and it was scary as hell. He remembered their promise as children to stay together forever. Kongpob had even thrown a huge fuss about marrying him then. Arthit wondered if Kongpob still remembered about it.

While he had always kept his emotions in check, Kongpob had always worn his on his sleeve. But it wasn’t like Arthit always denied the younger boy. He was a little more ‘accommodating’ away from the prying eyes of others, often when they were hanging out in the privacy of either of their rooms. 

Little known to the rest, Arthit could barely keep Kongpob away from him once they were in the rooms - not that he’d even put up much of a fight. The boy had snuck so many kisses from his cheeks, forehead, neck; well pretty much every inch of him he could get his mouth on actually. And Arthit had actually let him. 

A slight blush once again made its way up to his cheeks as he remembered that the kisses were not one way. Arthit had stolen his fair share of kisses from the younger one, albeit Kongpob was asleep most of the time and did not know about them at all. Or so he thought. But that was for Kongpob to know and not for Arthit to find out. 

“Hoi hoi, what are you thinking about now? Why are you turning red?” Bright asked, prodding his cheeks and breaking his train of thoughts.

“I think I know what I’m gonna get him now. Thanks guys!” Arthit said, swatting Bright’s hand away as he scrambled to his feet, hastily gathering his things and stuffing them into his bag. If he skipped lunch right now and got a ride from Knott to go grab Kongpob’s present, he could be back before the junior finished his lessons. Kongpob would never know that he was gone. 

“Knott, could you give me a ride to the mall? I just need to pick up something real quick and then we can come back.”

“Sure thing. Prem, hold onto my bag.” Knott quickly hopped up as well as he jogged behind Arthit who was already marching his way out of the canteen. He was glad that Arthit had finally gotten his thoughts together. Sometimes the guy had a tendency to get up too much in his own head. Arthit could deny all he wanted but it was clear as day where his feelings stood with Kongpob and all of them just wanted the two to be happy, with whatever time they had left together. 

Upon reaching the mall, Arthit half dragged Knott excitedly to a shop that sold local leather goods. He had spotted a set of bracelets previously when strolling with Kongpob but had resisted buying them then as he was apprehensive about wearing couple items. However, after listening to his friends, he decided they were right. It was silly to be worrying about that now when he should have been focused on Kongpob instead. 

The bracelets were identical, with the exception of the single simple pendant hanging from each of them. One sun, one moon - the exact representation of the two of them. The sales girl had recognised him from the time he had stared through the window, and smiled at him knowingly. 

“Is it a gift?” She quietly whispered to him as she was wrapping up the bracelets for him. Arthit nodded, gently smiling back. “It’s that handsome young boy from the other day isn’t it?” 

Arthit looked at her wide eyed, ready to panic. However, the face of the girl reflected nothing but sincerity. It made him feel comfortable enough to nod back again, confirming her suspicions. She beamed at him and reached behind the counter, pulling out small complimentary cards.

“Would you need one? We have a couple of designs to choose from.” 

He picked up the cards and shyly indicated the design he wanted. “This one please, thank you.” he said and took out his wallet to pay for the present. As she returned his change and handed him the small paper bag, she leaned over the counter slightly and whispered again. 

“Good luck, I hope he loves it!” 

Smiling and waving goodbye to the friendly sales girl, Arthit felt immensely better and happy. It wasn’t just about the fact that he had gotten Kongpob’s present. It was more that he had given into his feelings and followed his heart. And he felt good about it. 

Maybe it really was time he admitted to himself, and to said boy of his affections.

Chapter Text

The whole Sutthiluck household was buzzing with excitement (and hints of fear) as everyone busied themselves with the preparation of the young master’s 18th birthday. It was the biggest party they had to prepare for yet. Everyone was both happy and scared for the youngest Sutthiluck and had nothing but best wishes for his days to come.

Arthit too, was obviously helping with the preparation as he tried to prepare Kongpob’s birthday cake on the sly without the boy interfering. As the days crept closer to his birthday, the younger boy could not seem to leave him alone. He was adamant on being joined at the hip to Arthit, making it difficult if not impossible for Arthit to put into action his plan of hand making him a tiramisu (decaffeinated) cake.

Thankfully, the boy had to go for his final fitting of his suit for tomorrow’s party and that gave the older guy a window of about two hours to get his cake together. The cake right now was the least of his worries, The little brown bag that sat in his room was what was giving him true anxiety. He had no idea how he was going to give Kongpob’s present to him and he definitely wanted to give it to him tonight, as the clock struck midnight.

For one thing, knowing Kongpob, he was going to insist on sleeping with Arthit tonight. So when else better to give it to him? Also, Arthit did not want to be competing with all of the other people who would be giving him their gifts too. He had planned to hopefully confess to the boy about his feelings and he needed Kongpob alone for that. He was ready to face himself but it didn’t mean he was ready to admit it in front of everyone else as well.

As he sprinkled the finishing touches on the cake, the tell tale sound of the family car returning to the front of the mansion told him that he needed to pick up the pace and put the cake in the fridge. Kongpob would be walking in any second now.

True enough, just as he closed the refrigerator door, a pair of arms wound around his waist from behind. Arthit tensed ever so slightly before fully relaxing into the back hug. Patting the Kongpob’s hands, he asked, “how did the fitting go?”

“As usual. I still don’t see why I needed a new suit. I have plenty of them that I don’t wear. You’re the one who needs a new one.” Kongpob grumbled into the side of Arthit’s neck.

“Now why would I need a new suit?” Arthit laughed softly as he spun himself around in the arms of Kongpob. He reached out to smooth out Kongpob’s hair that was now ruffled after his little burying of head. “It’s not my big day, it’s yours!”

“But it would have been nice to match one of mine.” Kongpob continued his fussing and pulled Arthit in for a proper hug. “Besides, you would have looked really handsome.”

“Well, I couldn’t outshine you now could I? You’re the star of the night tomorrow. I’ll just look handsome on every other day instead. You can have tomorrow.” Arthit sniggered, throwing his arms around Kongpob’s shoulders and rubbing his back. He hasn’t seen this whiny Kongpob in a while and he kind of missed him.

The young man proceeded to mutter something incoherent into the nape of Arthit’s while swaying their bodies gently side to side. The older guy smiled as he too buried his nose into the other’s neck as well. He really loved hugging Kongpob. Now that he admitted things to himself, he could fully enjoy every bit of affection that Kongpob gave and he truly loved it.
“Can we go back to my room now? I just want to hole up with you till tomorrow. I need all the rest I can get. Knowing my mum, half the neighbourhood is going to be around tomorrow.”

Arthit chuckled, knowing that gentleman Kongpob would be making his appearance tomorrow night. Kongpob only showed his whiny side to the closest of his family including Arthit. Everyone else around knew him as the composed, popular and ever well-mannered young master of the Sutthiluck household.

“What about dinner?”

“The usual, we’re probably going to have a feast tomorrow anyway. So something simple would be great.” Kongpob sighed again. One would think that the boy was going to face the dogs with his attitude at the moment.

“Alright, give me a little while to whip up something and then we can go hide alright? I’ll need to go grab my clothes too.”

“I can go grab your stuff for you, it’ll be faster.” Kongpob made a move to let Arthit go, ready to head into the other wing.

Arthit panicked. What if Kongpob saw the paper bag? And the card? Oh lord the card. “No no no! I’ll do it. It wouldn’t take me long. I’ll probably need to take a shower too, gonna smell after cooking.”

“But you always shower in my room.” Kongpob pouted, side-eying Arthit. He liked seeing Arthit come out with just his towel and damp hair. It was sexy. And unfortunately was not a sight he got to see more often. Arthit usually got fully dressed before coming out but Kongpob learnt that if he hustled the older guy fast enough to the washroom he tended to forget about taking his clothes with him. He was hoping to get a sight of the beautiful alabaster skin tonight but it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen.

Arthit glanced at the full pouty lips from the handsome boy in front of him. Kongpob was being extra clingy today and he wasn’t sure why. He worried that the ever ticking time clock against Kongpob was getting to him. Maybe he just wanted to spend more time together.

“Okay okay, I’ll grab my stuff and shower in your room. I have some notes I gotta look through for tomorrow’s class and you won’t know which they are.” he relented and was immediately rewarded with Kongpob’s signature smile.

“That sounds great.” Kongpob gently pecked Arthit’s temple before escaping down the hallway, knowing that the latter was about to yell. “I’m gonna shower then run the bath for you!”

“Kongpob!” the familiar voice of Arthit rang out followed by Kongpob’s peels of laughter down the corridor. Arthit stood momentarily flushed, before he busied himself, grabbing various ingredients from the refrigerator. It wasn’t like he really minded but what if the others had seen. He had taken his chances with the hug but a kiss was pushing it. Taking a deep breath, he gathered his thoughts and started cooking. Tonight was go time and he needed his wits about him.

Just as he had placed the completed dishes on Kongpob’s small dining table, the owner of the room stepped out of the washroom. Arthit could smell the light fragrance of body wash wafting towards him as Kongpob approached him from behind once more. Spinning around and coming nose to nose with him, Arthit reached out to take the small towel draped around his neck to towel dry the younger’s hair.

“You’ve got to dry this properly or you’ll catch a cold. I keep telling you this. You can’t afford to get sick.” Arthit grumbled, rubbing the other’s head gently.

“I just wanted to hurry so you could go get your bath.” Kongpob leaned his forehead against Arthit’s, giggling a little as the latter wrinkled his nose when a droplet of water hit it. He allowed himself to enjoy the other’s hands on his head for a little longer before carefully dragging the older man to the washroom and nudging him in.

“Hurry before the water and the food gets cold!” and he closed the door on Arthit before he could say anything else.

After quickly giving his hair a few more rubs with the towel, he quickly put his towel away and picked up Arthit’s clothes that were sitting in the corner with his notes and a mysterious little bag. He fought against his natural curiosity to check out what was in the bag, knowing that the older man would not be pleased if he went through his things without his permission.

Setting Arthit’s clothes on his usual side of the bed, Kongpob laid down in the middle of the bed and turned towards them. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell the clothes emitted. It was strange that even though they used the exact same brand of detergent, Arthit’s clothes always smelled so much better.

Casting his eyes further to his bedside drawer, he wondered if he would be able to find the right time tomorrow to get Arthit alone to himself. He wasn’t sure how the older would react to what he was going to do but he didn’t think he would be disappointed, or at least he hoped. Arthit had promised him right? So he wouldn't let him down.

“Kong? Where are my clothes?” Arthit stepped out of the washroom, with his towel wrapped. hanging low around his waist.

Kongpob immediately sat up, eyes trained on the creamy white, perfect body that was now parading his room. He held up the clothes and offered them to Arthit, grinning like a cheshire cat. As Arthit reached out for his clothes, Kongpob cheekily pulled them back, causing the half dressed man to topple into his lap.

“Kongpob!” Arthit’s voice rang throughout the room as he struggled to get himself out of the awkward position.

“What Oon? I like you in my lap. You’re warm like a cat.” Kongpob smirked as he nuzzled the damp hair of the man who had just managed to get his face out of his chest.

“Stop. Being. Cheeky.” Arthit hissed as he whipped his clothing out of Kongpob’s hands and stormed off to the washroom once again.

Kongpob hummed a little tune as he got up to settle himself at the table. Tonight was a good night. He had managed to sneak a kiss, set eyes on that beautiful body and even had Arthit fully in his lap. Life was good.

Arthit huffed as he settled himself in the chair on the opposite side. That little stunt that Kongpob pulled had roused him up so much he wasn’t sure he could remember his plans for the night anymore. Just when he had psyched himself up in the bath too. As usual, Kongpob always had to derail him, one way or the other.

While he was still lost in his thoughts, a spoonful of omelette egg and rice appeared in front of his mouth. Kongpob was staring at him with a little twinkle in his eye. He begrudgingly opened his mouth and allowed himself to be fed. The boy opposite him looked like Christmas had come early. He sighed and scooped a little of his own basil chicken with rice, bringing it to the other’s mouth.

“I didn’t make it spicy today,” he announced as Kongpob eyed him suspiciously. “I wanted to eat with you.” he added on quietly, making the younger one beam his widest as he opened his mouth wide to be fed.

The two of them ate in comfortable silence, quietly feeding each other. Little did Kongpob know that Arthit was secretly playing out his plans over and over again in his head. He couldn’t stop thinking of the words he was going to say, how he was going to lead up to giving his gift and most importantly, how he was going to time it to exactly midnight.

“Are you being nice because it’s my birthday tomorrow?” Kongpob couldn’t resist teasing, “Does that mean I should cash in on your mood to get my way?”

“Maybe.”

And Kongpob’s jaw hit the floor.

Chapter Text

“Oon. Oon. Did you mean that? Can I have my way today?”

Arthit immediately regretted the word that he had said in the spur of the moment as Kongpob had now latched himself onto him, following him from behind with every move he made. 

“No you can’t. I was just joking.”

Kongpob’s hand that was wringing the corner of his shirt dropped so quickly Arthit felt a pang of guilt as the younger boy now stood in the middle of his room, shoulders slouched in clear disappointment. 

Sighing, he cursed inwardly for having such a quick mouth that now backfired upon him. “At least let me clear off the plates first. Then you can tell me what you want.”

“I want-”

“Later. And I still have the right to consider and say no.” Arthit scooped up the empty plates, making a beeline for the kitchen. Why could he never actually say no to the boy? It was practically an impossibility and it seemed that everyone knew that too. Was he that whipped?

Kongpob grinned, happily settling onto his bed. It wasn’t an outright no at least. He still had a chance. He ran through his options in his head. There was so much he wanted to do. Snuggle, cuddle or maybe he should just ask for a make out session. Though he was pretty sure that would be a hard no. His chances would probably be better if he just pounced on Arthit. 

Remembering the little box that was currently sitting in the drawer of his study desk, he immediately knew what he had to use his request for. It wasn’t that he had no confidence, but he most certainly was not going to take any chances. There was simply no room for error for what he had planned out.

When Arthit returned to the room, Kongpob was happily seated in the middle of the bed. He reached out and made grabby hands at the guy staring at him with disbelief. He patted the space between his legs, indicating where Arthit should sit. Shaking his head, Arthit picked up his notes and the little paper bag. Setting the paper bag at the bottom on his side of the bed, he crawled towards Kongpob. Pausing for the slightest of moments, he huffed and settled himself against Kongpob, as the younger boy automatically snaked his arms around his waist. 

“Are you going to study your notes now Oon?” Kongpob mumbled, already nuzzling Arthit in the neck.

“Mmm. But I’m feeling lazy right now.” Arthit leaned his weight onto Kongpob’s chest, enjoying the other’s warmth. One of his hands absentmindedly fiddled with the fingers around his belly while the other held onto his notes. 

“Just look at this. There’s so much to read. Being a third year student is so tiring.” He waved the stack of papers around to prove his point.

Sniggering at the older boy who was throwing a mini tantrum in his arms, Kongpob wound his own arms around his waist tighter. “If you’re complaining like this, I’m not sure how P’Bright is surviving.” 

“That idiot copies Knott’s work. But somehow he still passes the main exams.”

“Oon. you know P’Bright isn’t actually stupid right. He’s just lazy.”

Arthit leaned his head further back onto Kongpob’s shoulder so the other could see him glaring at him. “I know that!” he snapped. “He’s my friend you know.”

“Okay okay.” Kongpob pacified, gently stroking Arthit’s head. Looking at the clock, he suggested, “why don’t you take a nap then you can get back to studying later.”

“No! Then I won’t wake up in time for-” Arthit’s eyes widened as he realised what he had just said out loud. 

“In time for what Oon?” Kongpob smirked.

“In.. in time to brush my teeth!” Arthit quickly made up, furiously nodding away. 

“You can brush it..now?”

“No! I can’t sleep! You never wake me up!” 

“Oon, you’re the one who keeps telling me 5 more minutes in the morning.” Kongpob rolled his eyes. The older guy had a habit of sleeping in and always hiding away from him despite his best efforts to wake him up. 

Arthit leaned back once again to glare at Kongpob. Staring at the chiselled jawline of the other kind of made him want to bite on it. So he did. 

Kongpob yelped, squeezing him a little tighter. “What was that for Oon!”

“I felt like it.” Arthit answered nonchalantly, as he wiggled a little to try to settle down comfortably once again.

“Does that mean I can do it to you too?” Kongpob questioned cheekily, his mouth getting dangerously close to the bottom of Arthit’s jaw. 

“No! Only I can do it to you!” Arthit rushed to turn his head to bite Kongpob once again but was met with his lips instead. 

The two guys stared at each other in shock, neither moving away from each other. Kongpob was the first to recover of the two, as he gently nibbled on the other’s bottom lip. He did not expect the kiss to last long knowing Arthit who tended to withdraw with every advance he made. However, that did not mean he wasn’t going to grab the chance to taste the sweet lips of his senior. Such luck did not come often to him as all he managed to steal were pecks on the lips, never actual kisses.

Arthit slowly came to his senses as he felt the soft touch of the other on his own lips. He pondered if he should pull away like he usually did or give into his own desire to kiss Kongpob back. Despite his brain’s hesitance, his body stayed true to himself as he found himself lightly nibbling Kongpob’s upper lip. 

Sheer bliss flooded Kongpob when he realised Arthit was not going to bolt and was in fact, currently kissing him back. Keeping his right hand firmly planted on Arthit’s waist, he slowly moved his left hand to curl gently behind the elder’s neck. Now that Arthit had finally relented, he wasn’t going to let him go that easily. 

The kisses between the two gradually picked up pace, soft nibbles escalating to light open mouthed sucking of each other’s lips. Arthit was the first, to Kongpob’s surprise, to hesitantly dart his tongue in between both mouths. He then proceeded to delicately explore the inner cavity of Kongpob’s mouth when the younger guy more than willingly granted him entrance. The two tongues danced about the other tentatively, each probing around this new domain.   

It was all so new and thrilling to the both of them. Arthit could feel his body, in more parts than one, reacting with an almost primal instinct and causing a reaction in his nether regions. He angled his body and titled his head to gain better leverage to deepen each kiss he returned. Moaning softly, Arthit brought his hands up to clutch the collar of Kongpob’s shirt, his notes now a wrinkled mess beside him. 

The latter’s brain was slowly slipping away with each delicious taste of the elder’s mouth. Kongpob struggled to wrangle both his thoughts and breath back to his body. If he didn’t, he was pretty sure he was going to try to have his way with Arthit right there and then. Something he was also sure that the older guy was certainly not prepared for. This right now was already a step forward by leaps and bounds - it was practically a dream come true.

‘Baby steps,’ he thought to himself to calm his raging libido. ‘Baby steps. You can’t screw it up tonight. You need him in a good mood tomorrow.’

Kongpob allowed himself to enjoy a few more minutes of utter bliss before he and Arthit both finally ran out of breath and pulled away from each other. The guy in his arms now had his head buried in his chest, hands still clutching tight to his shirt while his ears tips were turning completely pink. Kongpob willed himself not to pull Arthit’s lips right back to his and settled for kissing the top of his head instead. 

After a long quiet moment between the two guys who were calming their heart rates down, the first person to break the silence was Arthit.

“Kong?”

“Hmm?”

“What are we?” Arthit asked, timidly looking up at the younger boy. 

“What do you mean Oon?” Kongpob questioned, genuinely puzzled.

“I mean, what is going on between us? Exactly what.. Kind of relationship do we have?”

“Family.” Kongpob answered simply, and Arthit felt his heart drop. Did Kongpob see him as a brother? But they just made out. Brothers do not make out. He could feel himself getting slightly light headed and breathless. Of all the answers he had expected, this was not one of them. But before he could wrench himself away from Kongpob’s embrace, the latter continued.

“You promised to marry me. You’re going to be my wife. So we’re family.” Kongpob hummed in satisfaction as he indulged himself with a faceful of fragrance from Arthit’s soft hair. 

“Who, who said I was going to be your wife?” Arthit stammered but relaxed once again into Kongpob’s arms. With such a simple answer, Kongpob had blasted away all his fears and hesitance. 

“You did Oon, you can’t back out now. I heard your promise, you know.”

“I didn’t promise anything.” Arthit feigned ignorance as he fiddled with the bottom of his own shirt.

“Fine.” Kongpob huffed and tugged on Arthit to turn sideways, propping up one of his knees to allow him to lean back on it. 

“Then I want to cash in my request now.”

Chapter Text

“Then I want to cash in my request now.”

Arthit, who had now moved onto playing with Kongpob’s shirt instead, remained silent, waiting for Kongpob to finish. 

“I want you to say yes, to whatever I’m going to ask you tomorrow okay?” 

“The whole day?” Arthit exclaimed, looking positively worried now.

“Yeap, the whole day.” Kongpob grinned down at him, looking like a Cheshire cat. “Come on, it’s my 18th birthday. You want me to be happy right?”

“Fine.” Arthit grumbled. It wasn’t like he was planning to argue with the birthday boy on his big day anyway. “But you can’t go overboard okay? There are going to be others around so keep yourself in check.” he nagged as he gently pinched the side of Kongpob’s waist while drawing him closer for a hug. 

“Alright alright. I promise I won’t go overboard.. When people are around.” Kongpob whispered huskily, sending a wave of anticipation through Arthit. 

He wondered what the younger boy had done to him, when his simple words could turn his brain to mush.

The clock struck twelve, with its chimes reverbing through the room, marking the start of Kongpob’s 18th birthday. The boy was beyond ecstatic, Arthit’s promise had just made it his best birthday ever. 

“Happy birthday Kong!”

Arthit drew himself up to cup the younger’s face and placed a gentle peck on his lips. He smirked as Kongpob’s lips tried to follow his for more. Reaching over the boy to the little paper bag that had been sitting at the side of the bed, he shyly pushed it into the boy’s hands. He slowly repositioned himself to face Kongpob so that he could watch him open up the present. 

“Can I open it now?”

“Yes. I didn’t want you to open it with everyone else around.”

“Why, is it something naughty?” Kongpob asked, beaming widely as he slowly undid the ribbon of the box. 

“What! No!” Arthit shook his head vehemently, blushing a little.

As Kongpob reached for the card that was sitting on top of the bracelet, Arthit hurriedly held his hand to stop him. 

“Read it later.” he said, now turning an even brighter shade of pink. 

Kongpob cocked an eyebrow at him but acceded to his request anyway. Putting the card aside, he smiled as he picked up the bracelet to inspect it closely. 

“Why the sun Oon? That’s you. I’m the moon, you know that.” He questioned cheekily, dangling the bracelet in front of the now very red Arthit. 

Pulling the bracelet he had kept in his pocket this whole time, he dangled it right back at Kongpob. “So that you can keep me with you, like I’m keeping you with me.” 

By this point, Kongpob’s smile had grown so big Arthit thought his mouth might split. Arthit reached out to his hand to pull it towards him, while his slightly trembling hands slipped the bracelet on Kongpob’s wrist and tightened it into place. He then held his own hand out for the younger boy to do the same. He wasn’t sure why he was feeling nervous, it was just Kongpob, the boy he had known pretty much his whole life. And the same boy who just called him his wife. He was not going to reject him.

While he was collecting his thoughts, Kongpob dragged him fully onto his lap so he was straddling him and hugged him tightly to his chest. Arthit yelped softly, surprised by the sudden move.

“Thank you Oon, it’s perfect.” he whispered.

“Now we get to match.” Arthit giggled, and added while throwing a little shade at the boy. “So you don’t have to sulk at the guys anymore.”

“I was already over that!” Kongpob pouted. 

Arthit pulled away from the warm body in front of him. Leaning back slightly, he pointed to the card that was sitting beside them. “Words are not my thing, but I want you to read it.” 

Kongpob released one of his hands and picked up the small card. Reading it with one hand, he stared at it, long and hard. Arthit nibbled his bottom lip anxiously, waiting for Kongpob’s reaction. It shouldn’t be taking this long, it wasn’t like he wrote an entire page. It was three words to be exact.

Before he could open his mouth to ask if Kongpob was okay, he was once again being dragged back into the boy’s arms into another bone crushing hug. The junior remained silent however, with a sudden sniffle breaking the silence. 

“Kong? What’s happening?” Arthit struggled against him, trying to pull back to see his face but Kongpob held him tighter in place.

Kongpob’s voice cracked a little as he replied, “Nothing.” 

“Are you.. Crying?” 

“No. I’m just happy.” Another sniffle followed.

Arthit was stunned for a small moment. He knew Kongpob was sentimental but he had not expected this reaction from the other. It really was just three words; not that there was a whole lot of space on the tiny card. So he wrote what really mattered, the one thing he had never voiced out in his 20 years of life to the other. 

Chuckling to himself, he rubbed the back of the younger boy and made himself comfortable, settling his chin on his firm shoulders. “Why are you being silly, it’s not that big a deal.”

As soon as he finished his sentence, Kongpob abruptly flipped their positions and Arthit found himself pinned under the boy all of a sudden. The former stared at him, his eyes reflecting so much passion that it sent shivers down Arthit’s spine. 

“Not a big deal?” Kongpob breathed out with disbelief. 

Moving closer to Arthit with every word he spoke, Kongpob moved his own hands to pin the older guy’s hands over his head as he interlaced his fingers with them. 

“Not a big deal?” He said, dramatically rolling his eyes to prove a point. Returning his eye contact with the other, he launched himself against Arthit’s lips, devouring them like a starved animal. This time, his kiss was not gentle. It was hungry and demanding, as he tried to convey every single bit of his feelings to Arthit through them.

“I’ve been waiting for you to say those words to me, just you know, my entire life.” He continued as he released Arthit from his assault, which had elicited delicious moans from the latter.

Arthit flushed as he blinked up innocently at Kongpob. He had not expected his card to draw out such a reaction from the other. Had he really been depriving Kongpob so much that the younger flew into such a frenzy? Were his actions not enough?

“Don’t overthink it Oon.” Kongpob murmured against his lips, as he dropped his forehead to rest against his. “I know you show your feelings through your actions. But this.. This just assures me so much more of what I already knew.”

Arthit closed his eyes, giving Kongpob an eskimo kiss. “Good. If you had said that you didn’t know it already, I was going to kill you.” Then he arched himself upwards to press his lips against the other.

“You’re the only one who will ever get to do this to me. So don’t you ever dare think otherwise.” Arthit mumbled, stealing his own fair share of kisses now while tightening his hold on Kongpob’s hands which still held his own above his head. He wanted to thread them through the other’s dark locks so desperately but for some reason he couldn’t find the strength to break free from the younger’s deadlock.

Kongpob growled, his eyes flashing menacingly. “I would kill anyone who dares lay their hands on you.”

“Although I think with your temper, you’d kill them yourself first.” he added on with an afterthought. His Oon was feisty and was only ever soft with him, thankfully. 

“Says the person who has me pinned under him now.” Arthit huffed, wriggling a little to prove his point. 

Arthit’s movements however, had set off another reaction in the younger boy as he strained to control himself once again.

“Oon,” he warned, “you have to stop moving or I can’t promise what is going to happen next.”

Arthit looked up at him in confusion, watching the passion in his eyes getting quickly replaced by lust in a flash. A certain part of Kongpob’s lower body that was pressed against him also twitched in response, as though proving a point.

“Oh! Oh.” he gasped, unsure of what he should say. “Oh.” He finished lamely, flushing scarlet almost immediately. 

“Yes. Oh, Oon.” Kongpob chuckled and kissed the flushed cheeks of the other. “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything unless you’re ready. This today is already so much more than what I could have asked for.”

“By the way,” dropping one last innocent kiss on Arthit’s lips, Kong whispered, “I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Kongpob’s eyes fluttered open with the light of dawn streaming through the windows. He was about to stretch his body out when he realised that there was a weight holding him down. He grinned with satisfaction as he gently stroked the head of hair that was pressed against his chest. 

Arthit groaned slightly at his touch and nuzzled further into him. This was the first time that they had cuddled all night as lovers and no longer with their ambiguous relationship. Kongpob’s heart leapt for joy at the memory of what had transpired the night before. He could get used to mornings like this. He’d take as many as he could get.

Looking up at the time, he was tempted to snuggle up to the sleeping body for just a little while longer but he knew that he was going to need the extra time to wake his wife up. Mornings were not Arthit’s best friend. The older guy really loved sleeping in. But they still had school today so he would have to do the inevitable. 

Dropping a light kiss on Arthit’s forehead, he gradually extricated himself from his tight grip. This earned a few more groans from the sleeping figure and Kongpob hurriedly stuffed his pillow into his arms and watched Arthit nestle comfortably against it. 

The younger boy washed up quickly and headed over to the kitchen where he picked up their usual breakfast that was already sitting out, ready for them. The other servants of the household had happily wished him happy birthday along the way and Kongpob groused inwardly as he watched them hustle about in preparation. He wanted nothing more than to be left alone with Arthit but clearly, that was not going to happen. 

Stepping back into the room, he set their food down onto his table and shuffled back to the bed where the elder still laid fast asleep. Gently leaning over Arthit, Kongpob blew softly at his sensitive ears. At a young age, Kongpob very quickly found that this was the fastest and most effective way to wake Arthit up. It was also the only way that didn’t get him punched in the guts.  

“Oon, it’s seven thirty, you have to wake up.”

“Hnng..” a hand flew to rub the ear that was quickly turning pink.

“Oon, we’re going to be late,” Kongpob reiterated, with another puff to his ear.

“Five more minutes..”

“Oon, you have to get up now or I’m going to have my way with you.” Kongpob cheekily licked his ear to emphasize his point.

Arthit’s eyes flew open as he scrambled slightly to sit up, hitting Kongpob with the very same pillow he had used to replace himself. 

“Get your brain out of the gutter!” He flustered, face turning as red as his ear. He sat there for a few minutes, trying to properly wake his brain up with Kongpob laughing beside him. 

As Arthit scuffled down his breakfast while hastily trying to pack his notes into his bag, he caught Kongpob staring at him from the corner of his eye.

“What?” he managed to say without spitting out the chinese donut he had been stuffing his face with. 

“Nothing, I’m just happy.” Kongpob smiled widely at him, “so very happy.”

“Why, cause you’re legal now?” Arthit teased, coming to his side as he finally gathered his things that were lying around the room. 

“Because I can finally do this anytime I want.” And before Arthit could clarify what Kongpob had meant by that, a smooch landed on his cheek with a resounding smack. 

“Kongpob!” he stared at him flabbergasted as he held his cheek that was positively burning now. However, before Arthit could say another word, the younger guy had caught him by the waist and was now sucking at his lips gently. From the point that their lips met, Arthit’s brain ceased function and he gave into Kongpob’s ministrations, responding to them with an equally fervent need. 

“Kong..” Arthit moaned through the kiss, “School.. Late..” He struggled to piece his thoughts together as Kongpob took his assault downwards along his neck.

Kongpob snickered, loving the effect he had on the older boy that was literally slowly turning into putty in his arms. Giving the spot one final lick, he leaned slightly to admire his handiwork. The spot was hidden beneath Arthit’s collar, but was also visible from a certain specific angle. ‘That should keep the butterflies and bees away now.’ Kongpob thought, clearly pleased with himself.

At this point, Arthit had finally returned to his senses as he socked the boy in the arm that was still gripping his waist. “You can’t do this in school.” He mumbled, leaning his forehead onto his shoulder. 

“Okay then, then I’ll double the time at home to make up for it.” Kongpob landed a quick peck to Arthit’s temple before swiftly moving to his side with his arm still firmly lodged in place and guiding both of them out of the room

Arthit shook his head as he let himself be led out of the room. He had unleashed a monster and now he can’t put him back in his cage. His hand however, had slipped in between the two of them to cling onto Kongpob’s bag strap, unwilling to let go. 

Bright pounced on Arthit as soon as he stepped into the canteen with Kongpob, slinging his arm around the fair boy’s shoulder. 

“I see.. That you guys are wearing the same bracelet now. Are you guys dating?” The suddenly observant boy asked, staring from Kongpob to Arthit and back. Arthit blinked in shock. He had expected Tootah to be the one to notice but somehow this nosey parker always managed to sniff out the latest gossip, which in this case was now his relationship. 

“Yes we are, P’Bright.” Kongpob replied in a matter-of-fact tone before Arthit could say a word, as he plucked the older boy’s arm off his shoulder and pulled Arthit by the shoulder towards him instead. “So you need to start keeping your hands to yourself P’Bright or I’ll get jealous.”

Bright stood gaping in shock, as a shiver ran down his spine. Kongpob had said that with a smile but there was an evil glint in his eye that hinted what he had just said was not meant as a joke. The boy was always polite and courteous to his elders but his jealousy was simply off the charts when Arthit was involved. 

“Kong!” Arthit hissed as he pinched the cheeky brat’s waist slightly. Looking back at his gang he smiled brightly as he admitted their relationship status. These were the only people outside of their actual family that he knew would never judge them for their love. He felt safe, and was proud to share it with them. They had been right by his side through his many years of confusion, pining and longing and never once uttered a word of disdain or disgust towards him. 

“Well finally!” Tootah exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. “So did Arthit put on a ribbon and give himself to you?” He teased as he gently tugged at Arthit’s collar, revealing the now darkening bruise that Kongpob had planted earlier in the morning. 

Arthit’s hand shot up to pull his collar back from Tootah’s fingers, as he quickly buttoned his shirt up to hide what he suspected was there. He hadn’t looked at a mirror since their small make out session in the morning and did not realise Kongpob had literally left his mark.

Thankfully Kongpob still had his arm around Arthit who was now furiously glaring at him and he held the guy in place tightly, while throwing an incredulous look at Tootah. Fleeting images flashed through his mind as imagined what that would have been like. His heart rate picked up pace as little dirty thoughts now filled his mind. 

“Bright suggested that and we all honestly agreed he would have been a great gift.” Tootah explained, side stepping away ever so gingerly out of Arthit’s possible reach. 

“P’Arthit why didn’t you listen to them?” Kongpob whispered huskily into his senior’s ear. “I would have loved it. Every. Bit. of. It.” He finished off as he gently nibbled on the tip of Arthit’s ear.

“Kongpob!” Arthit burst, nudging the boy away from his side. “Go to class! You’re going to be late!”

“I’ll see you guys later at the party!” Kongpob chuckled, waving goodbye to the gang. He knew if he didn’t stop soon, things were not going to be pretty. “P’Arthit, pay attention in class! We’ll continue this conversation later!”

He grinned as peels of laughter followed by multiple “shut up” exclamations from Arthit and the gang rang out through the corridor. Once he had made sure they were completely out of sight, Kongpob slumped against the nearest pillar massaging his chest. 

Willing himself to take deep breaths, he closed his eyes as he felt around for the little medicine powder packet he carried and swallowed it quickly, downing it with gulps of water. He hated his medicine, not because they were bitter but because he knew deep down, they no longer worked. 

‘Tonight’, he thought to himself, ‘this is what you’ve been waiting for.’ He had already notified his parents of his special plans that night and he did not plan on failing. All the arrangements had been made. After tonight he would be 3 months away from his biggest wish in life and he was bent on making it happen.

Chapter Text

Kongpob sighed as he finished receiving birthday wishes from the daughter of the aunty of the other aunty of the uncle who lived down the street about two blocks away. This was exactly why he hated celebrating his birthday. There were always so many guests - many of which he did not recognise he might add, no thanks to his mother's over enthusiasm. 

He understood her excitement over his birthdays as they each signified a year her son has survived but in reality, all he ever wanted was to have a quiet party, with just friends and family that mattered. However, being the ever thoughtful child he was, he never had the heart to reject his mother. Which basically brought him back to the same situation year after year, as he stood in his perfectly tailored suit, receiving and thanking guest after guest for coming to celebrate his birthday.

He sighed again as he shot a longing look towards Arthit who was now surrounded by both the gang and his own small handful of friends. He wanted nothing more than to glue himself to the elder's side but first, he had the polite birthday boy role to play. 

As the last of the irrelevant guests trickled out of the house, Kongpob heaved a sigh of relief. He looked around at the crowd that remained and decided it was time to put his plan into action. Giving his parents a knowing look, he snuck up upon the unsuspecting Arthit and rounded him up in a back hug. 

“Kongpob!” Arthit yelped, smacking his hands in a bid to get Kongpob to let go. They were surrounded by their closest friends who were now cheering and whooping, excited for the pair.

Kongpob grinned and whispered in Arthit’s ear, “what’s wrong Oon? Everyone here knows about us anyway.”

“That isn’t a reason to be so blatant!” Arthit hissed as he continued trying to wiggle his way out of Kongpob’s arms. 

“Oh but it is.” Kongpob grinned, spinning the older boy around and planting a big wet kiss on his cheek. Before Arthit had the chance to yell his name again, Kongpob got down on knee in front of him.

“Wh-what are you doing Kong!” Arthit sputtered as he frantically tried to get the boy back on his feet. Master and Madam Sutthiluck and his father were watching them from the corner and there were people from the rest of the household all over the place. What was Kong thinking!

Kongpob jerked his head towards Bright and Tootah, who both grabbed Arthit by the arm each and held him still and trapped between them. Tootah even covered Arthit’s mouth for good measure knowing that his dense friend was never going to get what was going on till the words were out of Kongpob’s mouth.

“Oon, this was not how I saw my proposal going but you are truly infuriating sometimes.” Kongpob started, earning a few sniggers from the small crowd around them. “I’ve known you since I was 5 and loved you ever since then. I was determined to make you my wife when I was 14 and was sure that I was in love with you since I was 15. You are my all, my everything and my everlasting sun. Like the moon that can’t shine on its own without reflecting the light of the sun, my life has revolved around you ever since the moment I met you.” 

Kongpob took a deep breath before he continued. Arthit still looked as confused as ever. “I know I don’t have much time left but I also know that as selfish as this may seem, I don’t want to have lived this life without ever having the chance of calling you my other half. So I'm taking my shot now and praying that you love me as much as I know you do. Arthit Rojnapat, will you do me the honours of marrying me?”

Taking out the small box that had been burning a hole into his blazer’s pocket the whole day every time he thought about it, he opened it to reveal two simple rings. With shaking hands he offered it up to the love of his life, trying to mask his nervousness by offering his trademark grin.

Arthit’s eyes widened to the size of saucers as he stood frozen in his spot, no longer fighting against his two friends. His eyes darted to the master and mistress of the house only to see Master Sutthiluck giving him an approving nod and Madam Suthiluck was shedding happy tears while leaning into her husband’s embrace. His father however, remained as stoic as ever.

“P’Tootah, I think you’d have to release P’Arthit’s mouth before he can actually give me his response.” Kongpob said, somewhat amused and Tootah’s hand flew away from Arthit’s face at the speed of lightning with an embarrassed “oh yes”.

The gears were cranking furiously in Arthit’s head as million questions poured through. He could barely register what Kongpob had just said but with every second of his silence, he watched the other boy’s face falter ever so slightly. And it pained his heart. He never wanted Kongpob to think that he didn’t love him enough to want to marry him. Because it wasn’t true.

So he shrugged off his friends at one go and launched himself into the embrace of his kneeling lover, whispering a “yes” just for the one person who needed to hear it. Kongpob broke into the widest smile possible as he gestured a thumbs up to everyone around them whilst holding Arthit firmly to himself. The small crowd broke into an applause as their friends made catcalls towards the hugging couple, with Bright and Tootah being the loudest.

“Thank you Oon, I love you.”

“I love you too, you crazy person.”

“Oon, I hate to ruin the romantic moment but I think my knee’s going numb. Could we stand please?” Kongpob winced as he tried to shift his weight to his other leg. 

“Oh my god I’m sorry Kong!” Arthit scrambled to his feet and hoisted his fiance up by the arm. “Is your knee okay? Do I need to tap on it for you?” He questioned as he frantically helped him dust off the dirt from his pants. 

“I’m fine Oon, but I would be better if you would put the ring on now.” Kongpob’s eyes glinted as he flashed the little box at Arthit again. His heart bloomed as Arthit mumbled as he held out his hand, “you’re supposed to do it you dimwit.” 

Slipping the ring onto Arthit’s ring finger, Kongpob gathered his lover into his arms again. “I’m glad I didn’t have to remind you of your promise yesterday.” He smirked and gave a quick peck to Arthit’s lips.

“Kongpob!” Arthit flushed as he looked around at everyone again who all had their eyes on the happy couple and were passing the champagne that the other servants had brought out around. “I can’t believe you were using the request for this!” He hissed, lightly smacking Kongpob in the chest. 

“I wasn’t going to take any chances. I needed you to say yes.” Kongpob shrugged.

"As if there would have been any possibility of me saying no." Arthit admitted begrudgingly as he buried his face into Kongpob's shoulder. "Master and Madam don't look surprised, and neither does my father. Did they already know about this?"

"About that.." Kongpob started sheepishly, swaying their bodies gently side to side in tempo with the music that was softly playing in the background. "Everyone here knows about it except you. And they have for months." 

"What!" Arthit's head shot up from Kongpob's shoulder. "Even the gang?" 

"Yes, even them. How'd you think that the usually slow P'Bright knew what to do with one gesture from me." Kongpob laughed, pushing Arthit's head gently back to his shoulder. "Everyone here is exactly where they want to be - here, to celebrate us."

"Also, in my defence I've been planning this since I was 15." Kongpob hummed lovingly, "I remember your promise you know. You said we'd be together forever. So you get to keep it now."

"I did not say that!" The elder grumbled indignantly. "And I'm older, I should have been the one to propose." 

"Yes yes, you can pretend you proposed then." The younger placated, "and I definitely said yes."

With that, Kongpob pulled away slightly from Arthit only to push his lips and tongue back onto his, starting a dance of their own and completely ignoring all the presence of their guests. Everyone looked on happily, and quietly offered their blessings to the couple. Becoming the air was such a common occurrence with the pair that no one bothered to question them anymore. 

That was until Bright could no longer take being a million watt lightbulb and started clearing his throat as loudly as he could. Prem and Knott each took a turn to smack him in the head but it was too late. His damage had been done as the pair of lovers jerked apart with Arthit burying his head into Kongpob’s chest in embarrassment.

More whooping ensued as the pair slowly separated, each turning to their friends to receive their well wishes and congrats. Arthit remained mostly pink throughout the rest of the night while no one could wipe the grin off Kongpob’s face.

Arthit thought he was about to combust as Master Sutthiluck came up to him to give him a warm hug and Madam Sutthiluck had tearfully told him that she was now ‘leaving her baby in his hands’. Whereas Kongpob had to have the most awkward conversation with Mr Rojnapat who warned him about all of Arthit’s shortcomings and ‘not to give up on his stupid boy’.

As the two toppled into bed, completely exhausted by the events of the night, Arthit turned to face Kongpob who had snaked one of his hands around his waist once again. He reached out to  gently stroke the younger’s hair, while the other reached for his resting hand on the pillow. 

“Kong, aren’t you afraid about what other people say about us?” Arthit asked, for the first time properly voicing out his thoughts. 

“Oon, I”m a dying man. I could care less about what others think as long as you love me.” Kongpob replied immediately. “Besides, we’re not doing anything wrong by loving each other.”

“Mm, but our marriage, it will never be recognised in the eyes of the law. Won’t it bother you?” 

“Nope. Not one bit.” Kongpob said, pulling Arthit closer to him. “In my mind, I’ve been married to you ever since we were kids. I’ve told you many times Oon, you’re my wife. I’m just refusing to end my life without actually marrying you. I don’t want this to be just in my own head.”

Giggling, Arthit pinched Kongpob’s cheek. “You’re insane, you know that?

“Insanely in love with you.” Kongpob agreed, earning himself another pinch. “What would you like our wedding to be like Oon? We have 3 months to plan everything.”

“Kongpob! What do you mean by 3 months!” Arthit whispered-yelled, mindful of the fact that he might wake up the others in the household if he had used his normal volume.

“The ceremony’s in three months. I’ve got most of the skeleton arranged but I’d still like to have your input on things like the look and feel of the wedding and definitely our outfits too. Although I think you might not have much say in this by the time Mae is done.” He added with an afterthought. 

“Crazy, definitely crazy.” Arthit mumbled to himself.

“Humour me Oon,” Kongpob kissed his forehead. “If it were up to me I would have been married to you years ago. I really don’t want to spend another day without being married to you.”

“Fine.” Came the sleepy huff. “And I really don’t care what the ceremony will be like, as long as you’re the one next to me at the end of the day.”

Kongpob’s cheshire grin was once again plastered to his face as he pulled the elder boy’s face up to his and kissed him to blissful oblivion. 

Chapter Text

“Kong, have you seen my reference book for Thermodynamics of Materials?” Arthit called out as he was making his way into Kongpob’s room. He had no idea how this had happened over the past few weeks. It seemed like his belongings had somehow snuck themselves out of his room into Kongpob’s and he highly suspected his fiance had something to do with it. 

“Kong?” He called out again as he entered the bedroom, only to find the younger boy keeled over the ground, breathing heavily as he clutched his heart. “Kong!” Arthit yelled again as he ran to Kongpob’s side.

Arthit held on tightly to his lover's hand, whispering “inhale, exhale” gently as he willed himself not to cry. Kongpob struggled to follow his every word, gripping tightly still at his chest and the hand that held him. Steadily, his ragged breathing subsided, his breaths finally normalising.

Kongpob closed his eyes as he leaned his head upon Arthit’s shoulder. “I’m sorry Oon, I didn’t mean to scare you like that.” He mumbled, his heart still pounding rapidly but thankfully now without the pain. Arthit trembled as he pulled Kongpob securely into his embrace sideways. The adrenaline rush had finally died down and all his emotions overwhelmed him at one go. 

It never got any better for Arthit. Year after year, day after day. Despite having seen Kongpob suffering his attacks more times than he can count, it didn’t make it any easier for Arthit to watch from the sidelines. Every time the attacks happened, he felt as if he was the one with the heart problem as his heart always felt as though it was being ripped apart with panic and pain from watching Kongpob’s suffering. He sobbed as quietly as he could without alerting the younger who was resting in his arms. 

His tears however, could hardly escape the observant eyes of Kongpob who had spotted the little droplets of water appearing on his lap. “Oon, don’t cry, please.” He pleaded as he wiped the tears from Arthit’s cheeks. “It hurts the worst when you cry.” 

“I’m scared, Kong,” Arthit admitted, “I can’t lose you.”

“I won’t leave you behind Oon, I promise. Even if that means haunting you in my afterlife.”

“Kongpob!” Arthit wailed as he pinched his cheeky lover in the arm. Trust the boy to still be pulling jokes in such a situation.

“I mean it Oon, I don’t know how to let you go. I’m going to follow you wherever you go, even if it is into the next lifetime.” Kongpob grumbled, rubbing the sore spot.

“You are such a handful,” Arthit groaned back in reply. Only Kongpob had the ability to cheer him up from being upset over him. It was definitely a talent he swore, and he was unfortunately destined to lose to Kongpob, over and over again.

“But you still love me right?” Kongpob asked cheekily, nuzzling his cheek on Arthit’s shoulder.

Arthit flushed red as usual and mumbled something incoherent as he played with Kongpob’s hand.

“I couldn’t hear that Oon, could you say it again?” Kongpob pleaded with a couple of light kisses dropped on his fiance’s jawline.

“I said I do and you can’t leave me to be on my own. Or I’m going to be so mad at you and I’ll make sure to forget all about you.” Arthit huffed as he pressed a hard kiss to Kongpob’s forehead, helping the latter get up.

“Aw, Oon, that’s not fair.”

“I don’t care. You’re not allowed.”

Pulling Arthit back to him in a back hug, Kongpob quietly promised, “I’ll love you in death, I swear. So don’t forget about me. I’ll cry.”

“So stay alive, for me.” Arthit sniffled.

“I’m trying, Oon, I’ll try my damnedest.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.” Kongpob whispered as he nibbled on Arthit’s ear. “Now can I get a reward for being a good boy?”

“Kongpob!” Arthit gasped. “What’s going on in that head of yours!”

“A lot of things I’d like to do to you apparently,” his fiance replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

Arthit squirmed as he tried to release himself from the starved man that was his fiance’s grasp. “Not now!” 

“Later then?” Kongpob held on tighter, peppering his favourite neck with feather light kisses.

“Mm,” Arthit hummed, distracted by Kongpob’s ministrations. “Wait, what! Kongpob!” He smacked the arms around his torso. “No funny business! I was looking for my reference book!”

“I know Oon, that’s why I said later.” 

“Come to think of it, why is it that I’m finding less of my things in my room and they all somehow appear here instead?”

Kongpob’s eyes flashed with a cheeky glint. “That’s because I’ve been getting P’Earth and the others to move your things over here while we’re at school.”

“Kong! What would you do that for!”

“A wife is supposed to stay with the husband, so you’re staying with me.” Kongpob shrugged as he stepped over the bookshelf to pull out the book that Arthit had been looking for. “My room is your room now.”

Arthit flushed red again, it wasn’t like he had a problem with it. 

Handing the book over, “I want you to be the last person I see before I sleep and the first person before I wake,” he declared.

“Kongpob!” and the signature yell was back. “Why’d you have to say it like that!”

“Because it’s true! Come on Oon, we have to go down for dinner now. I’ll show you where everything is later. I had stuff moved around so that you’d have space for yours too.” Kongpob chortled, ushering the elder by the shoulders out the door.

“How am I ever going to get any studying done like this?” Arthit grumbled under his breath as he allowed himself to be guided out of the room.

Once they had eaten dinner, Arthit was promptly dragged back to the room while Kongpob gave him a tour of the room that he clearly knew very well. His fiance had certainly taken a lot of effort to move things around to make sure that Arthit had his own area as well. 

The younger excitedly pushed him around from corner to corner, showing him the newly organized bookshelf, the re-sectioned wardrobe and even the study table which had somehow been replaced by one that was now double in size. Arthit felt overwhelmed, facing the boy he loved who had clearly planned their future together however short it may be.

And he felt loved, so very loved. While Kongpob chattered away eagerly, trying to show him the new sheets the Madam had gotten for the both of them, Arthit reached for his waist and nestled his head comfortably on his chest.

“Thank you Kong.” He murmured. “Why me? A person like you could have anyone you wanted.”

“But the person I want is you. I’ve never wanted anyone else. Now that I've finally got you I’m never letting you go. You know that right.”

“But why?” 

“I don’t know. Why do the planets orbit the sun? It’s the same for me. I don’t know why my life revolves around you - it just does.” Kongpob stated as he shrugged, pulling Arthit tighter to himself.

“You’re silly.”

“Why is it silly?”

“It just is. You didn’t have to do all these for me. Your room was just fine the way it was.” Arthit pulled away to look at Kongpob, who had a slightly pained expression. 

“It isn’t that I don’t like it though.” He added hastily, waving his hands to emphasize his point. “I just think it is kind of unnecessary.”

“I just wanted to create a space where you would feel like you belonged. See? The books belong there, your models go there, your clothes go to that half of the wardrobe and..” Kongpob’s voice trailed off as his trademark smirk returned to his face.

He stalked Arthit predatorily as he walked his fiance backwards towards the bed. As soon as the back of Arthit's knees hit the edge of the bed, he lost his balance and toppled onto it. His hands that flew out to grip onto Kongpob for balance were rendered totally useless as the latter was pulled down along with him. 

"And here.." Kongpob grinned triumphantly and plastered his lips firmly unto Arthit's, drawing delicious moans from the elder almost immediately. "Is where you belong." 

Ever since the night they had gotten engaged, Kongpob seemed to relish the fact that no one would bat an eyelid even if he was all over Arthit and had increased the intensity of their physical intimacy level exponentially.

“Kong..” Arthit breathed as he clung on tightly to the body that was now pressed against his firmly.

“Now is later Oon,” Kongpob whispered, insistently claiming Arthit’s lips over and over and again. 

“I know,” Arthit struggled to keep his lover away just long enough for him to complete his sentence.

Holding the now slightly panting Kongpob just a mere hair’s breadth away, Arthit stared at him as he mustered all his courage to say the words that were going to leave his lips next.

“Make me yours, because I already belong to you.”

Chapter Text

Kongpob’s eyes widened in shock as he stared at Arthit who was pinned beneath him, waiting for him to say it was a joke and that he didn’t mean a word he just said. But there was one problem - the words never came. Arthit instead, laid there gazing back at Kongpob, almost expectantly. 

“Wait, Oon. When you say make me yours what exactly do you mean? Because if you mean what I-”

He never got the chance to finish his sentence as Arthit wound his arms around his neck and dragged his full body weight back down upon himself and started to kiss him senseless.

“I meant exactly what you think it is.” Arthit whispered, somewhat shy now. He swore that if Kongpob wasn’t going to make a move anytime soon, he was just going to retreat back into the shell he usually hid and that would be the end of the night. And that was not at all how he intended to spend it. He did not spend all that time talking to Tootah and getting himself laughed at all for nothing.

Thankfully, Kongpob didn’t need telling twice. Although he had once again looked down at Arthit in disbelief, the certainty reflecting back in the other’s eyes was all he needed before he dove right back down to claiming ownership over the man who was willingly giving up his all to him.

Kongpob sighed contentedly. Just when he thought he couldn’t love Arthit more, the elder once again overturned all his expectations by giving him permission. If he had to be frank, he had almost fully expected their marriage to be a sexless one, or at least until he thought Arthit would no longer shy away from his advances - which could take an eternity. And he thought he would never live the day to experience it. Literally.  

Yet here he was, giving Kongpob the green light, to show him how much more he could love him. He slipped his hand beneath Arthit’s back, gently lifting his lover further up the bed. Their lips never once disconnecting throughout the entire process. 

“Are you sure? Cause I won’t be able to-”

Arthit rolled his eyes as he silenced his lover with a kiss. He huffed. The one time he wanted Kongpob to be a man of action and not words and he had to go on blabbering like this. Was it not obvious enough he wanted him too? Kongpob was not the only one with raging hormones.

“One more question Kong I swear-”

And it was Kongpob’s turn to silence Arthit as he captured him once again in a searing kiss. The elder allowed him to dominate the kiss as a low rumble of satisfaction escaped him, and his hands gripped onto him all the tighter. Kongpob’s body was now pressed flush against his, with every inch of them touching each other. 

“I’ll let my lips do the talking then,” Kongpob declared, breaking the kiss momentarily just to pull Arthit’s shirt off. “You’re all mine now Oon.”

The pair of lovers continued their ministrations upon each other, tenderly loving, worshiping and exploring each other's bodies through the night. Their moans and groans filled the air, bringing a blush to the ears of those around them. None of the night shift helpers had dared to continue with their chores on the second floor that night. 

The light of dawn had just begun peeking through the curtains when Kongpob heard the room door rattling open. Had they forgotten to lock the door last night?

The answer was soon obvious enough as the bright and cheery holler of Bright echoed through the room only to be brought to a halt when the senior's eyes settled upon the clothing that have been strewn around the room. The gang of seniors stood gaping at a small distance away from the bed. 

Kongpob immediately flew into action as he quickly drew the bed covers and cuddled the still naked Arthit who was still very much asleep, shielding him from sight. In his semi-conscious state, Arthit mewled and snuggled further into his arms, much to the horror of their spectators who had never heard such a sound emitted from their feisty friend. Kongpob shot a glare towards the gang, daring them to say a word as he tightened his protective embrace around his fiance.

"I'm so glad we decided on 2 to a room instead of 4." Prem stated, breaking the awkward silence as he whirled his body around and pretended to inspect the room instead. 

Knott chuckled and spun both Bright and Tootah by the shoulders, ushering them out of the room while he called out, “Kongpob, get decent and come down with Arthit. We leave in half an hour.”

“Arthit! You didn’t tell me it was happening last night!” Tootah yelled while on his way out. “I would have advised against it!” 

Chortles of laughter were heard all the way as they slowly faded downstairs. Kongpob looked at the precious sleeping figure in his arms and gently kissed his forehead. It was good Arthit had remained asleep throughout everything. Or everyone would have died by his hands, himself included. 

“Oon, it’s time to get up.” He whispered to his ear and caressed Arthit’s cheeks lightly. “The rest of them are here and waiting for us.” 

“Hnng..” Arthit stretched and clung onto Kongpob like a koala.

Kongpob chuckled as he picked his sleeping fiance up like a bride and carried him to the washroom. There was no time to waste. The others would probably make their way back up once again if they took too long and a still half asleep Arthit would not do. After he had turned the tap on for the bathtub, he lightly placed Arthit upon the long sink counter. Arthit however, decided to be sticky and Kongpob was left with no other choice but to allow the elder to cling onto his left arm whilst trying to prepare the toothbrush and toothpaste for his fiance. A sleepy Arthit was so adorable that Kongpob wanted nothing more than to snuggle back into bed with him. 

Unfortunately, their trip awaited and Arthit had been so looking forward to spending some time at the beach. So here Kongpob was, now preparing a warm towel for Arthit as the latter sleepily brushed his teeth. Once he was done, Kongpob quickly pressed the warm towel to his face, instantly waking the older man. 

“Oon, are you awake now?” 

The sleepy man nodded while yawning, blinking as he took in the surroundings. And his very naked state.

“Kongpob! Why am I still naked?”

“Because we slept naked?” Kongpob answered seriously as he picked Arthit, who strangely wasn’t resisting up once again to lower him into the bathtub. 

Arthit hissed as his bare butt met with the warm water in the tub and smacked Kongpob on the chest. 

“How am I going to go to the beach like this?” He grumbled and winced, sliding forward slightly for Kongpob to join him behind. 

Kongpob was momentarily stunned by Arthit’s natural action but quickly got over it as he slipped himself out of his clothes and stepped into the tub to join his fiance. Arthit leaned back upon Kongpob’s chest immediately as he squeezed a dollop of shower gel and passed the bottle backwards. Looking down at his own chest, he screeched in horror.

“KONGPOB!”

“I couldn’t help it Oon, you have no idea how you looked yesterday!” Kongpob whined as he too squeezed shower gel and began massaging Arthit’s back. “I did try to warn you!” 

“You knew we were going to the beach today! You could have held back a little!” Arthit grumbled, enjoying Kongpob’s hands as they worked out the kinks in his muscles.

“I’ve been holding back for years Oon, that alone has been a miracle.” Kongpob mused as he began working on his own chest.

“Still.” Arthit pouted as he dragged his hands over Kongpob’s. “Help me up here, we have to hurry if the gang’s already here.”

Standing in the tub, they finished getting clean in double time with Kongpob fussing over Arthit and trying to make him feel as comfortable as possible. It hurt him that Arthit winced with every move and he would much rather the one who was in pain was him instead. ‘Maybe we should switch next time’, he thought to himself as he towel dried the luscious butt in front of him. ‘Yeap, not possible.’ And the thought disappeared as soon as it appeared.

The pair finally made it down a good half an hour later with the gang catcalling upon spotting their descent down the stairs. 

“Took you two long enough!” Bright yelled, fully ready to launch his attack on the couple.

But before he could say anything else, Tootah had hopped up and dragged Arthit aside, much to Kongpob’s disgruntlement. 

“Here,” Tootah shoved a powdered satchel discreetly into Arthit’s hand. “It will help with the pain.”

A pink tinge crept up Arthit’s face as he muttered his thanks and quickly downed the powder along with the water that Tootah had also handed him. “How’d you know?”

Tootah choked back his laughter. Clearly Kongpob had left out a very important detail from their encounter this morning - namely the encounter itself. “We erm, kind of walked in on you guys butt naked in the room just now. Or at least Kongpob was clearly naked and your clothes were all over the floor and Kongpob refused to lift himself off you so we took a stab.” Tootah rambled, a little too happily for Arthit’s liking. 

Arthit groaned, planting his face into his palms. He couldn’t believe that his friends had witnessed the morning after their first night together. It was his worst nightmare come true. Kongpob was not going to get any this trip, he promised himself grumpily. 

Tootah sniggered as he patted Arthit’s shoulders and pushed him out of the kitchen corner they had hidden in. “It’s fine, we’re all just happy for you. Well, mostly for Kongpob since he has been looking at you like a starved animal since years ago. You might want to try to stay away from the sea water later though. It will probably sting.”

Arthit griped, muttering ‘stupid Kong’ under his breath as he swiped the chinese donuts the younger handed out to him. He knew it wasn’t entirely his fiance’s fault as he himself clearly had a really large part to play in this matter but at this point, he just wanted to pin the blame on Kongpob and his horny brain. This weekend had suddenly gotten infinitely longer knowing that his friends would never let them live this down.

Chapter Text

“Agh..” Arthit groaned as he stepped off the van. The smell of salt water came lightly with the sea breeze that was hitting their face. Kongpob lovingly massaged his lower back as he came up behind him. The bumpy road to the seaside villa had been unforgiving and even with the extra cushion Kongpob had discreetly prepared for his fiance, it still left Arthit wincing every now and then in pain. 

Not that Arthit was regretting anything, he most certainly had enjoyed himself last night - but he really had not thought the timing through. Kongpob had been more than enthusiastic himself, which resulted in a few more rounds that were out of his calculations. As a kiss landed on his temple, he sighed and relaxed his body into the arms that had snaked around his waist from behind. This position had already become both their favourite form of embrace.

“Are you okay Oon?” Kongpob asked, playing with Arthit’s fingers as he stared out at the rest of the gang who had sped off into the villa to claim the rooms they wanted. 

“Aren’t we supposed to run after them? What if we’re left with the worst room?” Arthit asked, taking in the view of the magnificent house in front of them, the Sutthiluck family vacation home.

The Sutthiluck wealth was indeed great as Arthit was once again reminded of their status difference. He quickly put his dark thoughts out of his mind as he mentally chanted to himself that the only thing that mattered was that Kongpob wanted him. The younger had done nothing but constantly assured him that their status was never going to be a problem. The rest of the Sutthiluck family too had always shown their constant support towards their relationship. 

“They won’t be able to get into our room.” Kongpob chirped confidently as he dangled a key in front of Arthit. “It’s been reserved solely for us.”

Arthit giggled as he shook his head. Trust the boy to have already known what stunts his friends would try to pull. 

“It’s P’Bright and P’Tootah we’re talking about. I had to be prepared.” Kongpob shrugged as he took Arthit by the hand and happily guided them into the villa. “We’re on the bottom floor with the biggest room,” he added impishly. “And the small private pool.”

“Kongpob! Why can’t we open this door!” Bright yelled from the far corner of the villa whilst Prem and Knot had seemingly found the room they wanted and were trooping upstairs with their bags. 

“That’s not your room P’Bright!” Kongpob hollered back. “You’d better go upstairs before all the good rooms are gone!” He threw a wink back towards Arthit who chuckled quietly and continued following behind him. 

“Kongpob, that's not fair!” Bright whined coming out to the main hall.

“Bright get your ass up here! I got us a good room! We can see Arthit and Kongpob getting it on in the pool from here!” Tootah screeched from the second floor.

Arthit’s face turned pale as Bright’s lit up with glee, scrambling up the stairs to get to the room. 

“Kongpob!” Arthit hissed, bringing them to a halt with a jerk on the younger’s arm. “Can they really see the pool from up there?”

“Not if you know where the blind spots are.” Kongpob coaxed, squeezing Arthit’s hand tightly as he softly pulled on his hand, urging him along. “Unless you want to put on a show for them, I know exactly where to stand where they’d never be able to see us.”

Unlocking the door with the key he held in his other hand, Kongpob tugged Arthit right into his arms once they had stepped into the room. He casually slid the backpack on his shoulder off and tightened his grip upon the other’s slender waist. This caused the elder to drop the bags in his hands as he yelped in surprise.

“I don’t mind giving P’Bright and P’Tootah a show though.” Kongpob whispered, nibbling on Arthit’s plump lips. He kissed the elder deeply and walked their bodies backwards towards the balcony that led to the small pool. 

“Kong..” Arthit moaned softly against his lips. “We can’t.. Them.. See..” His words were drowned with all the pecks that Kongpob rained relentlessly against his mouth. 

“Shh Oon,” Kongpob warned. “I know how to block them from seeing us but I can’t do much about them hearing anything.” 

“Mmph,” Arthit’s words were once against lost with the next passionate kiss that Kongpob had pressed upon him. “Mmmppphhh…” He struggled, pushing halfheartedly against the body pressed against his. 

Finally gathering his wits, Arthit pushed himself away unwillingly from Kongpob and buried his head in his chest. “Not now Kong,” he whined. “It still hurts.”

“I know. You’re just too irresistible.” Kongpob answered, planting a small kiss onto his forehead. 

A soft knock startled the couple out of their reverie as Knott stuck his head into the room. 

“We’re heading to the beach. Prem wants to get some photos in and Bright is becoming insufferable. Want to help me drown him?” Knott asked the two who were still caught in their little hug.

Arthit laughed. “I’m giving the waters a miss today but I’ll lend you Kongpob.” 

“Ow, Oon. I want to stay with you.”

“Nope. You’re going to get Bright for his smart mouth today.” Arthit chuckled, now dragging the boy after him to get their things from the bags that were on the floor. 

The group traipsed over to the beach with Prem lagging behind and taking shots of all his friends. Kongpob helped Arthit set up a nice spot under the shelter of a beach umbrella before catching Knott’s eye as they made to grab hold of Bright. 

The pair chortled as Bright flailed helpless against his giant friend, while Kongpob assisted with his legs. Tootah squealed with glee as he continuously splashed sea water against his face. Counting down from three to one, the two swung Bright like a pendulum who had since resigned to his fate and squeezed his eyes shut.

The lanky boy landed with a great big splash into the sea as Arthit laughed endlessly on shore, trying to catch his breath. As soon as Bright had resurfaced, the evil glint in his eye had all of them around him running for dear life. Tootah was the first down, with the taller boy leaping upon his back and dragging him down. They soon emerged as a pair of sputtering messes and turned their attention towards their muscular friend. 

“Don’t you two dare,” Knott threatened jokingly as he backed away further into the sea. Tootah and Bright shared a look before yelling a battle cry, launching themselves at him. Tootah flopped face first into the sea as Knott moved out of the way at the last minute whereas Bright had once again applied the monkey on the back technique as he tried to tackle his larger friend down. It made absolutely no difference as Knott snorted, throwing Bright down once again into the sea.

Kongpob opted for the safer option, slowly inching himself in the opposite direction of the three, slightly further into sea. The tides were getting higher and he braced himself for the hits, as they splashed upon his chest. He was laughing at the unfortunate fates of his seniors when a surge of pain hit his chest abruptly. 

He doubled over in pain, knees collapsing as he hit the waters and was quickly engulfed by it as another tide came in. He struggled, both to breathe and to resurface but was overpowered by the constant movement of the sea. Flailing his arms around, he tried to gain his seniors attention as he silently prayed for help. Soon, all he heard were muted voices and the constant blobbing of water around him. 

Arthit, who had been watching from the sand, was enjoying the antics of his friends when he suddenly realised that Kongpob was no longer in his line of sight. He panicked as he scrambled to stand up and ran towards the sea. 

“Knott! Bright! Tootah! Where’s Kong!” He exclaimed, furiously scanning the sea for his lover as he waded in as fast as he could. The blood in his veins ran cold as he feared the worst. 

“No, no, no. This can’t be happening.” He mumbled to himself, ignoring his own pain. He made his way towards the last spot he had seen Kongpob with the rest of the gang closing in on him. He searched around aimlessly in the waters, trying to catch a glimpse of his fiance. The last thread of his sanity snapped as he kept yelling out for Kongpob, hoping for a response.

“Here!” Knott suddenly yelled, some distance away, further into the sea. He picked the now unconscious boy up and slung one of his arms over his shoulder, supporting him by the waist and started walking them both up to shore. 

“Kong!” Arthit hurried over, supporting his other arm over his shoulder. “Kong, are you okay? Kong?” Tootah and Bright waved Prem over with the towels, as they set the boy upon them. 

“Kong?” Arthit by now was almost in tears as he gently tapped his lover’s face. “Please Kong, wake up!” He leaned his head upon his chest, praying for a heart beat. “Kong!”

Kongpob sputtered, coughing up some water as he struggled to breathe. The other seniors heaved a sigh of relief and collapsed around him, each also catching their own breath. Arthit pulled him tightly into his arms, crying on his shoulders. Kongpob muttered his apologies into the ear of his distraught lover, while he caught his breath. His heart was pounding against his chest and he was trying his hardest not to pass out. 

“Oon, I’m fine. I got caught by a wave when my chest hurt. I’m okay now.” Kongpob whispered, stroking Arthit’s back. He willed himself to believe his own words - he was on the brink of fainting again. 

Thankfully, Prem had alerted the villa’s staff and they had come scurrying with a wheelchair. After a struggle to tear Arthit away from his fiance, they helped Kongpob on and pushed him back to the villa where the local doctor had been contacted. Arthit trailed closely behind, his friends supplying as much comfort as they could. They had never seen Arthit this flustered and afraid, much less in tears.

Chapter Text

After receiving instructions for Kongpob’s medication from the doctor, Arthit carried the protesting boy to the already prepared tub of hot water, hoping to warm up his body. He had refused to join him in the tub despite multiple whinings about how ‘it would make him feel better’ from the younger one. Once he was satisfied that his lover had been warmed up and was clean enough, he hustled him into clothes and picked him up once again.

Stuffing Kongpob under the covers, Arthit busied himself by bringing him the honey ginger tea and porridge that he had instructed the villa staff to prepare. He had refused to look the boy in the eye ever since they had returned and it was unnerving Kongpob by the minute. He knew that Arthit was probably blaming himself for what had happened and he yearned to set that record straight, that it wasn’t anyone’s fault.

Before Kongpob could grab a hold of Arthit, the older boy had once again excused himself from the room, mumbling that he had to check if Knott had given his father and Kongpob’s parents a call. Kongpob sighed. His fiance was indeed overthinking things once again. At this rate he was not going to be let out of the house for at least a month. He groaned as he fed himself, knowing he needed to finish what Arthit had brought him if he wanted his lover to listen to anything he had to say.

The gang gathered around Arthit as he came down the stairs, each enquiring if Kongpob was alright. Knott patted him on the shoulders while Tootah gave him an encouraging squeeze on the arm. He looked around at his friends. Despite everything that had happened today, he was glad that they were here with him. He didn’t think he would have known how to handle the situation if they weren’t.

“I’ve called your father and he said he would inform Kongpob’s parents. He also said he’d send the van over tomorrow. It’ll probably reach around noon.” Knott explained gently. “It’s probably best if he goes back to recuperate. We can come back another time.”

“I’m sorry guys, I-”

“Arthit,” Prem interrupted. “It wasn’t your fault. I was on shore with you and I didn’t notice Kongpob going under either.” 

“But I-”

“No buts,” Tootah shushed, spinning his clearly shaken friend around and ushering him back up the stairs. “Go wash up and spend some time with your boy. The two of you need to talk. And stop blaming yourself.”

Arthit grumbled as he unwillingly stepped back upstairs obediently. Tootah was right. He needed to talk to Kongpob. He just wasn’t sure he was ready to do it yet. 

“Your parents have been informed,” he announced with his head hanging when he stepped back into the room, unwilling to have any eye contact. “The van will be here by afternoon. We’re going home.”

“Oon..”

Kongpob didn’t have the chance to complete his sentence when Arthit had marched himself right into the en-suite washroom, closing the door with a small click. He laid back upon the headboard and let out a deep sigh. This was not how he had planned the weekend to go. For the first time in his life, he resented the gods. He hated them for giving him such a weak and useless body. All he had ever wanted was to stay by Arthit’s side, to protect him and care for him. And yet, here he was, being babied endlessly as Arthit worried over him. 

So he prayed that in his next life, he would be able to spend all the time he was going to lose with Arthit in this together with him. The time that the gods owed them. He pleaded in his mind that they would take pity on them, and not to separate them again in their next. A tear slid down his cheeks at the thought of leaving Arthit alone. He wasn’t going to hold any false hope. His chest had not stopped hurting since the afternoon and Kongpob’s breaths were becoming increasingly shallow. His heart thudded furiously within his chest as he tried to take even breaths to slow it down. He knew his time was near but it would kill him if he were to leave while Arthit was still mad at him. 

Once inside the washroom, Arthit slumped against the shower wall. Switching on the shower, he let the water hit his face as he cried into the sounds of the water. He had nearly lost Kongpob, when he didn’t have to. How was he going to face the Sutthilucks if anything had happened to him? If only he didn’t tell Kongpob to help Knott, if only he had let him stay by his side on shore like he wanted to, if only..

His cries got louder and he sank onto the floor, burying his head into his knees. A life without Kongpob terrified him. He didn’t want to be alone - he didn’t know how to be alone. Almost his whole life had revolved around the younger. What was he going to do without him? Arthit sobbed as he let out the stress that had been hovering over him since the afternoon. His shoulders shuddered as he gripped himself tighter. 

Finally stepping out of the washroom, Arthit took a deep breath as he braced himself for the talk that was going to come. Kongpob would definitely want to have the conversation now rather than later, there was nowhere for him to hide. Not that he wanted to leave the boy’s side after what had just happened. 

Thanking the helper who had been keeping an eye on Kongpob on behalf of him while he was in the shower, he stepped towards the younger one on the bed. He held out a packet of medication that had been prescribed by the doctor just now along with Kongpob’s usual medication and a glass of water. His fiance wordlessly took it all, swallowing and grimacing before glancing up at him with pleading eyes.

“Oon,” Kongpob said uncertainly, reaching a hand to hold onto Arthit’s wrist. “Please stop avoiding me. I hate it when we’re not talking.”

“It was my fault.” Arthit mumbled, staring at Kongpob’s hand on his wrist. “You wanted to stay on shore with me. I made you go.”

“No one made me do anything, Oon. I wanted to have fun too. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.”

“I should have let you stay on shore. I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off you. I-”

Kongpob had heard enough. He tugged on Arthit’s wrist, making the other fall into his lap. 

“Oon, you have to stop doing this to yourself. If you have to blame someone, you’re gonna have to blame me. A wave of that height would not have brought a normal person down. Only a sick one.”

Kongpob wrapped his arms around the elder who was now seated sideways in his lap. He stroked his hair and kissed the eyes that were welling up with tears once again. 

“You didn’t cause this.” He reaffirmed in resolute voice, putting an end to the topic and pulling his lover safely to his chest.

“Kong, are you okay? Your heart rate is really high!” Arthit looked up, staring worriedly at him.

“It hurts, it hasn’t stopped hurting since before I was hit by the wave. That was the real reason I went under.” Kongpob admitted, heaving deep breaths.

Arthit scrambled under the covers and pulled Kongpob onto his chest, a position they were very much used to since young whenever he had his attacks. It had always soothed Kongpob to listen to Arthit’s constant heartbeat. It had also given the younger boy an excuse to cuddle the elder to sleep. A small smile crept onto Kongpob’s face as the memories that were both painful and sweet flooded in.

“What are you grinning about?” Arthit snapped gently. “Focus on your breathing.”

“I was just remembering how this used to be the only way I got to sleep with you at night.” Kongpob reminisced fondly, stroking his fiance’s chest with his fingers. “But it always worked magic. I would always be calm as long as you were around. Now that I think about it, I know why.”

“Hmm? Why?” Arthit asked, patting Kongpob’s shoulder in a slow, steady pace that matched his own heartbeat. Another habit he had gained since young. 

“Because you are my heart.” Kongpob answered simply.

“Kong!” Arthit huffed, “be serious.”

“I am! So as long as your heart beats, I will always be with you. Right here.” Kongpob tapped Arthit’s chest lightly over his heart.

“Shh, stop saying such things.” The elder hurried to stop him, hating what he was insinuating. “This will pass too. Like it always does.”

Kongpob remained silent, he didn’t know how to respond without lying. 

“Oon.”

“Hmm?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

The pair squeezed themselves tighter together as sleep took over. 

Through the night, Kongpob’s breathing became more laboured and he struggled, to keep his consciousness, to stay awake. But he knew he was betting on the losing team as the pain increased. He whispered ‘I love you’ again to his love whose chest he was still resting upon as a last tear of pain and sadness escaped his eye.

Then it all stopped. The pain ceased and he slipped away, fingers still curled in a tight grip on Arthit’s shirt.

Chapter Text

The first light of dawn peeked through the windows, shining itself on Arthit’s face. He winced and groaned at being rudely awoken before realising that there was a weight on his chest. Kongpob must have been really not well if he had not risen before him. The boy had always been an early riser, waking up before him all the time. 

“Kong?” He patted the younger’s shoulder. That was cold. 

Arthit froze. Why was Kongpob this cold? Feeling his hands all over Kongpob’s body, he started to panic. It wasn’t just the exposed shoulder that was cold. His body had lost the usual warmth it radiated.

“Kong? Kong? What’s wrong?” Arthit struggled to sit up to check on his lover.

The younger boy remained motionless and all the warning signs blared in Arthit’s mind. ‘No, no, no,’ he thought repeatedly to himself as he called Kongpob’s name again and again. Placing a trembling hand over Kongpob’s back, he prayed for a heart beat. Whether it was an erratic one, a normal one, he didn’t care. He just needed to feel one. 

But there was none.

“Kong?” Arthit whimpered as he tried to pry the cold hand that was grabbing his shirt away. “Kong, you can’t do this to me. Please.”

A cry of anguish broke through the silence of the house as the gang and a few of the helpers that were around came running into the room. Arthit was sobbing while clutching Kongpob tightly to his chest. The boys looked at each other before Prem daringly took a step forward to lay a hand on Kongpob. Looking back at the others, he shook his head. Tootah hid his head onto Bright’s shoulder as he tried to muffle his cries while the other boy stood frozen, still trying to process what his friend had indicated. 

Knott took a deep breath and stepped outside, heading straight for the phone. Kongpob’s parents had to be informed and Arthit was most definitely not in the state of mind to do it right now. He had to do it, for his friend. A tear trickled down his cheek as he swiped it away, telling himself he could cry later.

Prem tried to take Arthit’s hands away from Kongpob but Arthit wailed like a mad person, clutching the boy ever closer to him while screaming no. Prem blinked, sniffling a little as he stood up to reposition himself at Arthit’s side of the bed. 

“Arthit,” Prem called quietly, “you have to let him go.”

“No, Prem.” Arthit looked at his friend, eyes wild like an injured animal. “Kong’s cold. Could you grab us more blankets? We have to keep him warm. He’s cold. He needs-”

“Arthit.” Prem said louder. “He’s gone, you have to let him go.”

Arthit shook his head as he yelled back “No. No. Kong wouldn’t do that. He promised.” He buried his nose in the head of hair that still had the fragrance of the shampoo he had used yesterday. “He wouldn’t do this to me. He wouldn’t.” He muttered nonstop, stroking Kongpob’s hair.

Prem looked back at the rest of his friends for help but all he received were four shaking heads. Sighing, he stood up and patted Arthit’s thigh before joining the rest on the other end of the room. The gang stepped out of the room and Tootah finally let his tears run freely as he held a tight grip on Bright and sobbed. 

“Kongpob’s parents and Uncle Jack are on their way,” Knott informed them, as he too was red eyed from trying to hold his tears. “Let Arthit have his last moments with Kongpob. Uncle Jack would know what to do.”

Two painful hours passed and Arthit had remained in his spot, holding Kongpob steadfastly to himself. He had yelled at everyone who had tried to remove the boy from his grasp, flailing his arm around to stop them. He had also still been calling his lover’s name constantly, as if he would wake up at any point in time. 

The adults finally arrived and they dashed up the stairs, Madam Sutthiluck was in a faceful of tears herself as she clutched onto Master Sutthiluck’s arm, allowing him to guide her. 

“Arthit,” Jack’s voice resonated through the room.

“Por?” Arthit looked up, eyes full of hope. “Por, you need to help me. Kong’s cold. We need to get him warm. The rest of them won’t listen to me. We have to-”

Jack sighed, pained by the sight of his boy in distress. “Son, you have to let him go before we can help him.”

“No, no. I have to keep him warm. You need to get the blankets. Then we can bring him to the hospital, they can help. They have to.” Arthit pleaded, tears streaming once again down his face. 

“Arthit..” Madam Sutthiluck’s shaky voice came from Kongpob’s side of the bed. “Thank you for holding him all this time. He.. he must have been happy.” A sob followed. “You.. you can let him go now my dear, you have to..”

Arthit looked at the mistress’ face in shock, his hands dropping to his side as he allowed the Sutthilucks to cradle their son into their arms. 

“I’m sorry. I.. I..”

“Arthit, let’s make this clear.” Master Sutthiluck held his hand firmly in one whilst supporting his wife in the other. “You were not to blame for this. Kongpob was sick. We all knew that. You’ve made his days very happy and we couldn’t have asked for more from you. We love both of you very much, you hear me?”

Arthit let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding as he threw himself into his father’s arms, finally letting the full acknowledgement that Kongpob was dead hit him. His lover was gone. The boy who had not left his side the last thirteen years was no longer going to hold onto him. How was he going to live now? Arthit didn’t know. He bawled his lungs out, letting his cries intermix with Madam Sutthiluck’s strangled sobs. 

Arthit didn’t know what happened in the next few hours, or days. Everything seemed to have passed by in a blur. The gang had remained firmly glued to his side, each taking turns to make sure he wasn’t alone. His father had suddenly increased his affection, hugging him every time he saw him to tell him that things were going to be alright.

But everything wasn’t. Kongpob was no longer with him. How could things be alright?

Before he knew it, he was standing at Kongpob’s funeral. A handsome portrait of the young boy, his fiance was staring back at him. Kongpob loved this photo of himself. When Arthit asked him why, he replied ‘because P’Prem captured the exact moment I was looking at you.’ Arthit remembered blushing to the tip of his ears when he heard that as he yelled out ‘Kongpob!’

He was never going to be able to yell that name again.

He stood in a daze, staring at the photo, refusing to admit that the boy he loved was now lying in a coffin behind it. It still seemed that Kongpob was going to slide his arms around his waist, any moment now. And he would have peppered his neck in kisses, causing Arthit to start a lecture about inappropriate moments. A tear trickled down his cheek as the ceremony began. 

After the ceremony, Madam Sutthiluck engulfed him into a tight hug as the two of them cried silently, each seeking solace from each other. 

“Arthit, I know this isn’t the best time for this conversation. But I don’t think there would ever be a good time for this.” She sniffed as she pulled away from him. “Kongpob had always so desperately wanted to marry you but it didn’t happen..” Her voice trailed away.

“Yes Madam?” Arthit’s attention perked up as he picked up the words ‘Kongpob’ and ‘marry’.

“Would you consider a ghost marriage dear? I think that would make Kongpob very happy.” She asked gently, with a twinge of shame in her voice. Ghost marriages were not to be taken lightly and were often frowned upon in society. 

Master Sutthiluck came up with his father from behind them. “We’d have you marry him as his ‘wife’ Arthit,” he explained. “This way you can take on our family name and I will name you as our successor. I’ve already spoken to your father about this.”

Arthit spun around to look at his father in shock. Taking on the Sutthiluck name was no small matter but his father gave him a reassuring smile and a small nod. “It’s okay Arthit, we leave this decision up to you.”

“I want to.” Arthit blurted out hurriedly. “I want to marry Kongpob regardless, but as for being the successor..” 

“We were already planning to hand the business over to you once you had graduated, Arthit.” Master Sutthiluck said, grabbing his hand. “I’ve told you time and time again, you are my son too. This changes nothing. It’s just that.. Kongpob wanted so desperately to be married to you. We’d like to fulfill that for him.”

“When?”

“6 days from now. The seventh day when the soul returns. We thought it would be nice if Kongpob came back and saw that he was married to you.” Mrs Sutthiluck smiled.

Arthit nodded. “Okay, let’s do it.”

“Are you sure, do you need to-”

“I’m sure.” He answered firmly.

Chapter Text

The Sutthiluck household busied themselves once again. But this time around, it wasn’t for a day of celebration. Not exactly. The atmosphere around the house was solemn despite the bright red decorations, and everyone worked quickly with hushed voices. Whilst the whole neighbourhood buzzed with the rumours of a ghost wedding being held, the family held their head up high and pressed on with their decision. Arthit included.

Ghost marriages had been shunned by society for a long time, as many had resorted to crime and grave robbery, just to find a suitable partner. The gang had questioned Arthit on multiple occasions on his decision to which he had answered resolutely that he would be going ahead with it. While it was easy for a live male to take on a dead bride, Arthit was going to be playing the role of the ‘bride’ in this case. This meant that even though their marriage would not be recognised in the eyes of the law, by tradition, Arthit would still be married to Kongpob and would never be able to take on another partner regardless.

Not that any of it mattered to Arthit. As Kongpob had said so lovingly once to him, they were family and in their minds, they had already been married. He was worried however, about what his father would think about it. Taking on the Sutthiluck family name would have been a different matter altogether. But the elder Rojnapat had just patted him on the back, assuring him that no matter what decision he made, he would stand by him. The Sutthilucks had given the both of them everything in life - to say that they owed them their lives would be an understatement. 

So here Arthit was on the 7th day of Kongpob’s passing, finally dressed in one of those fancy suits Kongpob had always wanted to see him in. He smiled woefully to himself at the thought, knowing exactly how the younger would have reacted. ‘If only you were here Kong, I’m in one of your stuffy suits. We could match now,’ he thought to himself as he straightened his tie. They had decided to forgo the usual traditional outfits as Arthit knew how much Kongpob wanted to see him in a suit. 

Stepping downstairs, he finally saw the full decoration that had been prepared for their ceremony. The whole house was now covered in red as it would have been had they been preparing for their actual wedding ceremony. The only difference being that a white rooster sat in the coop in a corner, the representation for Kongpob that evening. Arthit found himself staring at it, wishing that Kongpob would appear to hug him from behind, to tell him it was all just an evil prank and they were going to have their actual wedding.

But Arthit knew it was all just wishful thinking on his part. He sniffled and stepped towards the elders, giving them a small wai. Madam Sutthiluck smiled at him gently as she stepped forward to hold his hand, tears brimming in her eyes. 

“You look so handsome,” she said, stroking his cheek. “Kongpob would have swooned. You were always the best looking in his eyes.”

“Thank you, Madam,” Arthit whispered.

“It’s Por and Mae now, Arthit.” Master Sutthiluck joined the two, clapping a gentle hand upon Arthit’s back. “We are family. Have always been. You were just too stubborn to listen to us.”

“Now that you’re marrying Kongpob, you have no more excuse my dear.” Madam Sutthiluck added on, as she continued stroking his face. She may have lost one son but the other was still here, and she was going to love and dote on Arthit with all the love she would have given Kongpob and more. 

Earth came in with the last of the needed items for the ceremony and hustled Arthit along. “Come now, Arthit, we have to start. We can’t afford any delays or we will miss the auspicious hour. We have to be done before 9pm or we won’t be able to wait for Kongpob’s soul to return.”

The elders quickly took their seats, settling at the front of the hall. Arthit walked in with Earth by his side, holding onto one end of the bridal ball, the other tied to the white rooster that was in Earth’s hands.  He walked slowly, making his way towards the parents who were seated. The officiated then began reciting the rites once he had reached the front. 

“First bow, to the heavens and earth.”

Arthit and Earth turned on their spot, taking a bow towards the exit of the hall.

“Second bow, to the ancestors and parents.”

The pair once again turned to face the elders once again, and bowed.

“The couple, please bow to each other.”

Facing each other, Earth and Arthit bowed to each other.

Arthit took the rings that were presented to them and slipped his own on, on top of his engagement ring. Taking the other, he tied it to the rooster using a red string. 

Now turning back to face the parents and kneeling on the two cushions that had been prepared beforehand, Arthit took into his hands the tea cups that were brought to him. Offering one of them up to Master Sutthiluck, he bowed his head and accepted his blessings. Turning his body, he turned towards Madam Sutthiluck and did the same. The two elders then picked up his hands and placed a red packet into them. 

“Welcome to the family Arthit. Thank you for doing this. We’re sorry it has to be so unfair to you.” 

“It’s okay Por, Mae. I never intended to marry anyone else anyway. It wouldn’t make a difference. Kongpob and I belong with each other. Nothing will ever change that.” He smiled as he answered earnestly, warming the hearts of his new parent-in-laws.

They then stood up while Arthit remained kneeling. The older Rojnapat then took over the seat, clearing his throat as he sat down to mask his wavering emotions. He had told Arthit it was his solely his choice and he would not intervene. But it all felt different, now that he was seated in front of his son. The path that Arthit chose would come with consequences. He would now become an outcast of society. It was bad enough that he had chosen to marry a man but a ghost marriage? Not everyone was willing to accept that.

Taking the tea cup that Arthit offered up to him, he blessed him with all the happiness the gods could give for the rest of his life. His poor boy had been through enough and all he wanted was for him to be happy now. He knew how much Kongpob meant to his son. Arthit had been a walking zombie over the last few days and today, at the wedding, was the most alive and normal he had been.

Putting a red packet of his own into his son’s hands, Jack Rojanapat held Arthit’s cheeks. 

“Be happy my boy, that’s all I ask of you. Maybe now you can finally let him go.”

A tear trickled down Arthit’s face as he leaned into the warmth of his father. This wedding, this ceremony, was supposed to be a celebration between him and Kongpob. And yet, there was just him left. He knew his father meant well but how, he wanted to ask. How was he supposed to let Kongpob go? Everything around him only reminded him of the younger boy and sometimes, he could barely breathe.

At times he felt like he was hallucinating, when he could hear the soft whispers of ‘Oon’ in his ear. Or when he felt phantom hands around his waist. Or even when he looked at the ring on his hand. Arthit felt like he was slowly losing his mind. 

Taking a deep breath, he quickly swept away the tears and stood up. The rest of the household came forward to congratulate him with their utmost blessings. Earth, who had kept a strict eye on the time soon came over to usher him back up to their room that had also been redecorated in total bright red. 

“I hope he comes,” she gripped his hands tightly as she smiled at him. Sprinkling a bit of flour along the entrance of the door, she left the newly married boy alone. 

Arthit heaved a sigh as he yanked his tie off. 

“How did you stay so long in this outfit, Kong,” He mumbled to himself as he started to rid himself of the 3 piece suit and stepped into the shower.

Donning the bright red silk robe that had been prepared for him, Arthit stood at the edge of the bed, staring. This room had too many memories between the two of them, and he didn’t know if he wanted to stay or leave. He hadn’t dared to step in till this day, fearing the memories he would recall.

Climbing into the bed, he pulled Kongpob’s pillow close to himself and deeply inhaled. His scent had still lingered, despite the change in sheets and Arthit felt like he was drowning in it. Clutching it tightly, Arthit let himself sob. He had not cried since the day that Kongpob died and now his emotions had broken through the wall he had worked so hard to build.

“Kongpob’s gone.”

“Kongpob’s gone.”

“Kongpob’s gone.”

Arthit’s anguished cries filled the second level as he repeated it to himself. 

Everyone in the Sutthiluck household held their tears as they cuddled with their loved ones, holding onto each other tightly as they shared in Arthit’s pain. Madam Sutthiluck buried her head against her husband’s chest as she too cried for her lost child. 

That night, no one dared to step out of their rooms in fear that Kongpob’s soul would not be able to return.

Arthit didn’t remember how or when he had fallen asleep, but when he woke, he was in another red room that wasn’t Kongpob’s. Looking around, he blinked furiously, trying to figure out where he was.

Just as he was starting to panic, a familiar voice called out.

“Oon.”

Chapter Text

‘No. It can’t be. It can’t be.’ Arthit chanted to himself in his mind, squeezing his eyes shut. He was hearing things again. This was not the time to be hallucinating. He was in a strange room. He had to figure out how he got here and how to get out.

“Oon,” the voice called again. 

Arthit refused to turn. He’d been in this scenario one too many times. Every time he turned, Kongpob wasn’t there. And he’d be left with a stabbing pain in his heart once more. 

A pair of hands encircled his waist. Arthit froze. The feeling was all too familiar but there was no warmth. And yet.. It couldn’t be. Could it? Another touch landed on the nape of his neck and Arthit shivered. Again, no warmth, the touch felt foreign and familiar all at the same time. He should be yanking the arms away from him and running away but yet he couldn’t. 

Because it reminded him of someone. The one person who was no longer able to do this. 

“Oon, I missed you. So much.”

There it was again. The voice, now whispering against his ear. Why was this happening? Was he really losing his mind?

“Oon, aren’t you going to look at me? Don’t you miss me?”

The pair of hands on his waist released their hold and he soon found himself face to face with the owner of the voice. Staring deep into the other’s eyes, Arthit could not stop the tears once again. 

“You’re.. Here.. You came..” He choked out before throwing his arms around the other’s neck. “I thought it was all just old wives’ tales..”

“I’m home.” Kongpob replied, squeezing Arthit tightly to his chest. 

Arthit bawled as he clutched on tightly to the younger in front of him. Even if it was just for tonight, he was glad. Kongpob was home, Kongpob was once again by his side. 

“So I heard you married a really handsome man?” Kongpob teased, stroking his back.

Arthit wailed harder, pounding Kongpob in the chest. 

“I’m glad you did, Oon. If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here.” 

“What.. What do you mean?” Arthit asked between his sobs.

“When I, you know, died,” Kongpob paused for a little while, assessing his lover’s reaction. He rubbed small circles upon Arthit’s back, making sure that he was calm before continuing. “I entered this other space. Kind of like our town but not.”

Arthit looked up at him, baffled. Pulling Arthit by the hand, Kongpob nestled himself on the bed, leaning on the headboard whilst the other leaned on him. He enveloped Arthit once again in a reassuring back hug, fiddling with his fingers as usual.

“The houses here in this town are all offerings that have been burnt for the dead, so they kind of all look weird together. Some big, some small, you know, like bad architecture.” He slowly explained, trying to make light of the situation. “Some houses had effigy servants, cars. But some souls had no houses even.” 

Arthit remained silent so Kongpob continued.

“My parents obviously prepared me well for the afterlife so I was totally adjusted and comfortable. But there really isn’t much to do. Just walking around a lot and talking to those who would actually talk back to me. Then, the red decorations started appearing in the house. Everyone was suddenly lively in the town and many even came up to congratulate me.” Kongpob chuckled as he remembered a particularly stoic uncle coming up to him and shaking his hand before walking away without a word. 

“Then someone explained to me that I was getting married. Ghost marriages have been scarce so our marriage has literally been the talk of the town, the biggest event they’ve seen in ages so to speak. Which brings us here. In our wedding room Oon.” Kongpob ended his explanation with a light kiss to Arthit’s forehead. 

“So..” Arthit started, “does this mean I will be able to meet you, here, from now on?”

“I don’t know Oon,” Kongpob sighed. “Not a lot of other souls have been through a ghost marriage for me to ask around here since it is so rare. But I do hope so. I only know I was able to cross over to bring you here tonight because it is the 7th day - and that we were married well, when I was dead.”

Arthit sighed, the water works starting again. “But what if.. We only get tonight together?” The words stinging as soon as they left his mouth.

“Then I’m glad I got to see you and hold you and tell you I love you one last time.” Kongpob pulled him impossibly closer. “We’ll just have to make the best of tonight.”

Turning Arthit’s face slightly so that the older was facing him, he smiled and continued. “This way, I will be able to send you back to the real world knowing that I’ve done everything I could to show you I love you.” 

He landed a soft kiss on Arthit’s lips, who gasped at the contact. Again, the touch was there but it was lacking Kongpob’s usual warmth. Arthit sighed into the kiss, taking only a moment to respond. Warmth should be the last thing on his mind if he was here making out with his supposedly dead husband. Throwing all thoughts out of his mind and his arm around Kongpob’s neck, he kissed back, pouring his urgency and emotions into it. 

Kongpob was right. They had a chance at a second last night. He’d be damned if he had let this unimaginable chance slip out of his fingers just like that. So Arthit kissed, nibbled and danced his tongue along with Kongpob’s at an increasing tempo that soon had him pulling away and panting against the other’s chest. He sulked a little when he realised that Kongpob had not been affected the way he was by their kiss. 

“It seems like your new husband has unlimited stamina now, Oon.” Kongpob chuckled, planting a few more pecks upon his very pliant lover. “I can please you any way you would like now.” He whispered seductively into his ear.

“That’s not very fair.” Arthit pouted as he allowed Kongpob access to his favourite spot right below his neck. The sensations still felt a little foreign but Arthit could still feel himself shuddering with every lick that his husband was now trailing along the length of his neck. His body and brain were still in conflict with each other.

“Mm.. Well, we might as well enjoy it.” Kongpob grinned cheekily as he looked up at his slightly perplexed husband.

"Oon, don't think too much about it. Let's just enjoy the moment." He continued as he rubbed away the little frown that had begun to crease with his thumb.

Then, doing what he usually did best, Kongpob distracted him as he flipped them both over. Pinning Arthit firmly beneath him now, he launched a full forced assault on Arthit's body - his lips, waists, thighs. 

Hitching the pale expanse of thighs that were peeking through the red silk robe against his hips, he ground his hard on against the moaning mess beneath him. He then proceeded to show his husband exactly how much pleasure he was now capable of providing.

Eventually, Arthit was worn out by his lover’s over enthusiasm and new found unlimited stamina. He sulked once again as he groaned into his pillow. He had definitely overexerted himself. The other boy however, was humming leisurely next to him, tucking him securely under the covers as though they hadn’t just done the dirty just a few seconds ago. 

After taking a few minutes to calm his heart rate down, Arthit gazed at his lover, taking in the view in front of him. The boy didn’t look any different from the last time he’d seen him. In fact, he probably looked better. He was no longer pale nor in pain.

"Did it hurt Kong?" Arthit asked quietly, playing with Kongpob’s fingers as they laid side by side facing each other. He spun their wedding ring on the other’s finger around that he had personally tied upon the white rooster earlier on in the day. 

Kongpob sighed, immediately understanding what the older boy was referring to. 

"No, not really. No more than my usual pains." He stretched his other hand out and wrapped it around Arthit, forcing the other's forehead to bump slightly against his. "One minute the pain was there and the next, completely gone and I felt like my entire being was floating." 

“I’m glad then.” Arthit whispered, fighting the urge to cry. 

“I wasn’t scared either. You were right there with me. The only thing I was worried about, was you hating me. I broke my promise.” Kongpob admitted quietly. 

“You know that could never happen,” Arthit muttered, giving his husband a little eskimo kiss. 

“I didn't like that there would even be a chance for that to happen.”

Snuggling closer, Arthit raised a hand to flick Kongpob’s forehead. 

“Have a little faith in your husband please.” He pouted. 

“Okay.” And a loud smacking kiss resounded through the room. “I think I could really die without regrets now though. We actually got our wedding night.”

Arthit’s breath hitched. Being here like this with Kongpob had made him forget that this was not real life. He didn’t want it to end. Kongpob, sensing that Arthit was in distress again, gently caressed his cheek to make him look at him. 

“Don’t be like that, Oon,” he coaxed. “This has already been such a great blessing. How many people actually got a chance like this?”

Placing another soft kiss on his lover’s lips, Kongpob savoured his taste. “I want you to send me off with a smile this time okay?”

Arthit’s tears ran down his face as he nodded and tried his best to put on his sweetest smile for his husband. 

“I love you, Kong.”

“I love you too.”

Arthit fought hard but sleep soon came for him as the human in the room drifted off with the other’s arms securely around him.

Chapter Text

Arthit woke with a start, his eyes taking in the surroundings of the room. Then his face fell with great disappointment. He was back in the real world. The world with no Kongpob in it. The tears started to leak from his eyes once again as he cried for his lost love. He wished he didn’t have to return to it. If the dream world was where Kongpob was, he wanted to never wake.

Earth soon came hurrying in, attracted by the sounds of crying. She spared a second glance at the flour she had sprinkled the night before, before scurrying to Arthit’s side. Pulling the young man into her arms, she soothed him, rubbing gentle circles upon his back. He leaned into the warm embrace, desperately wishing it belonged to that one person.

“He came, didn't he?” Earth asked softly, still comforting the trembling figure in her arms. 

Arthit jerked in surprise, sobs coming to a slight halt as he sniffled and looked at Earth. How did she know? It wasn’t a question that P’Earth had asked, more like a statement requiring confirmation. 

“The flour,” she stated, “there were marks. I checked all the other rooms, but there were only marks outside your room.”

Arthit sputtered, struggling to find the right words as tears still trickled down his face. The flour, it was also an old wives tale. It was said that when the soul returned to the house, they would leave marks as they visited their family members. Then, last night was not merely a dream. 

He really did come.

“Master and mistress are going to be so disappointed,” she smiled, wiping his tears with her hands. “In the end, all he could think about was still you.”

Arthit struggled between half a cry and a choked laughter. That did indeed sound like Kongpob. Everyone had resigned to their fate of being air whenever the two of them were together. 

“He did come.” Arthit confirmed, hiccuping a little from crying too much.

“Oh, Arthit,” Earth exclaimed, pulling him in for another hug. “Did you properly say goodbye this time then?” 

“Mm.” Arthit hummed, still sniffling. “He was happy we got married.”

“We all knew he would. He’s been harping about it since he was a child. I never told you but he asked me. What it meant to marry someone. He wasn’t even ten then. I think he’s been planning your wedding ever since.”

“So you’re the reason why he wouldn’t stop calling me his wife.” Arthit shook his head, his tears finally stopping. 

Earth held up her hands. “I didn’t plant the idea of marriage. He got that on his own. I merely, explained it. As innocently as possible for a child that is.“

Arthit shook his head. He remembered Kongpob at that age. Every sentence ended with a why back then. The him who was only 2 years older could barely keep up with all his questions. He resorted to giving some pretty nonsensical answers too just to get Kongpob off his back.  

“Thank P’Earth,” Arthit mumbled, rubbing his face. “I feel better now.”

“That’s good.”Earth smiled, ruffling his hair. “Now get ready for breakfast. You should tell your parents Kongpob came by yesterday. They would feel more at peace too.”

“My.. parents?” Arthit asked, slightly confused. 

“The Master and madam, silly.” Earth chuckled. 

“Oh. Right.” Arthit flustered. He had married Kongpob, they were indeed his parents now. It was going to be strange calling them his parents from now on. It would have been easier if Kongpob had been around. He would have eased him into it quickly. But without him, things were going to be awkward for a while. 

“Now come on, go wash up. You look like you had a rough night.” Earth patted him on the back as made to leave the room. “Hurry, you still have school.”

Upon hearing the words ‘rough night’, Arthit flushed bright red as he remembered how he had spent time with Kongpob as a newly married couple. That was not something the rest of the family needed to know. 

As he busied himself and got himself ready, he thought about how he should tell the family, or in this case, what he should tell them. He wasn’t really ready to delve too far into the subject either, knowing that he would more than likely break down at the dining table if he did. 

Opening his door, he spotted the marks that Earth had mentioned earlier in the flour outside his room. Maybe it was his excessive imagination but he really thought the markings looked suspiciously like little hearts drawn into the flour. He sniggered lightly to himself as he imagined Kongpob squatting there and drawing them with his finger. He wouldn’t put it past his husband to do such a thing. He took one last longing look at the flour before heading downstairs. 

Madam Sutthiluck’s eyes too were bloodshot just like Arthit’s as he came face to face with her, politely putting his hands together for a wai. Taking his seat at the table, he greeted both fathers and settled down. 

“Arthit.. Did you.. Did he?” Madam Sutthiluck asked, tears brimming in her eyes once again. She reached for Arthit’s hand, holding it in her own slightly trembling one. 

Arthit nodded quietly, squeezing her hand back to provide a little comfort.

Madam Sutthiluck let out a small gasp as her tears flowed. “I knew it.” She whispered. “I’m going to throttle that brat when I get to see him again. How could he only think about his lover and not about his parents at all.” By this point she was wailing and Arthit was in panic, unsure about how he should comfort her now. 

Master Sutthiluck laughed, pulling her to his side as she sobbed into his shoulder again. 

“Your son has a one track mind, just like you. Did you honestly expect anything else from Kongpob?” He asked lightly. “Even from young, Arthit was the only person who mattered. I wouldn’t be surprised he even forgot we existed. All he wanted to do was marry Arthit and he finally got to do it.”

Madam Sutthiluck let out a small laughter in the midst of her bawling, fully agreeing with her husband. Arthit relaxed slightly upon seeing this, while wondering if he had looked this ridiculous this morning too. 

“Was he happy, son?” Master Sutthiluck asked, while still comforting his wife. 

Arthit nodded immediately, and let out a smile he hadn’t worn in days. “He was very happy, he wouldn’t stop reminding me he was my husband now.” He admitted shyly. 

“Then that’s all that matters.” Master Sutthiluck said with finality, beaming at Arthit. “We knew it would please him.” 

Arthit agreed, it was worth seeing the smile on Kongpob’s very handsome face. He had missed that smile of his. Missing just a day of it somehow made it feel like eternity. He fiddled with the additional ring on his ring finger. This was his last connection to his husband now. 

Getting up from the table, Arthit politely excused himself to join the gang who by the sounds of it, were already waiting to pick him up outside the house. They had made it a point to never let him go to or return from school alone, knowing that would be when he would drastically feel the difference now that Kongpob was not around to travel with him. 

“Arthiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” Bright’s shrill voice came hollering, as Arthit was slipping on his shoes. He closed his eyes and inhaled a deep breath. 

He had just lost his husband. Losing a good friend would be a disaster, he reminded himself, not quite convincingly.

He strode over to their side, covering Bright’s and Tootah’s mouth in a hurry as both boys had already opened their mouths, ready to harmonise a second yell. 

“Oh shut up! The whole neighbourhood can hear you!” He hissed. 

Bright grinned behind his hand, looking obviously pleased with himself. Arthit felt a gentle flick of a tongue on his hand that was covering and he jumped away in disgust, wiping his hand on Bright’s shirt. 

“You are disgusting!” He yelled, alarming a couple of other passersby as they walked down the street. 

Tootah laughed as he dragged Bright away before Arthit chopped him into tiny pieces. Prem was trailing behind the two as usual with his camera on hand, snapping pictures as they went along.

“Arthit, you alright?” Knott asked quietly, walking by his side. 

The other boy nodded. Taking a deep breath, Arthit let a tear fall as he struggled to control his voice. 

“He said it didn’t hurt.” he choked out. 

Knott draped his arm around Arthit, pulling him close as he patted him on the shoulder for comfort. 

“That’s good isn’t it?” He asked, “You were worried he had to suffer alone in pain.”

Arthit struggled, nodding and shaking his head with uncertainty. He wasn’t sure how to feel.

“Arthit,” Knott said, stopping the both of them in their tracks. “Kongpob was never alone. He had you till the very end.”

Arthit looked at his friend’s sincere eyes, willing himself to believe what he had said. 

“Just like how you will always have us too.”

He looked at Knott and then forward to his other three friends who said nothing but remained by his side. Knott was right. Kongpob was never alone and neither was he. As long as he had these guys, he would be alright. 

Eventually.  

Chapter Text

Arthit threw himself upon Kongpob’s bed and let out a great sigh. Bringing his arm up to shield his eyes, he finally let his mind rest. His first day back at school had been tiring with a ton of work to catch up with. Had it not been for Knott’s legendary notes, he would not have made it past the day.

Thankfully, most of their current course work involved mainly group projects in which he had the gang’s support and understanding. He sighed again. If he wanted to keep up his grades for the year he really had to push himself more this semester. Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing. Studies would at least keep his mind off thinking about Kongpob. 

Like today, the day had gone by in such a flurry that he had no time to think about Kongpob. At least not until now, when he was really alone again. Now that all his things had been secretly shifted here by his husband, he had been pretty much left with no choice but to return to this room. 

He both dreaded and yearned to be here. As much as he dreaded being in the room that used to belong to Kongpob, he also felt somewhat comforted by it. Being around Kongpob’s things made him feel a little less alone, even for just a little bit.

He rolled over, curling himself into a fetal position. It was strange but within a short span of time, it had almost felt like he had forgotten how to sleep alone. Kongpob often had his arms and legs draped all over him that the bed now felt strangely empty and cold. 

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale. 

Arthit chanted to himself, the same way he did for Kongpob all these years. It seemed to be the only way he could stop himself from crying himself to sleep. It kept him calm enough to at least allow himself time to drift asleep. 

Arthit didn’t know how long he had been asleep for before an arm draped around him, pulling him close to something that was both hard and soft at the same time. 

He snuggled closer out of instinct, pressing his face against it. A familiar tapping on his cheek and little kisses soon followed. Arthit swiped a hand against the touch on his face, only to hear a familiar chuckle. 

“Too early Kong..” Arthit groaned. He definitely hadn’t slept enough yet for it to be a school day again. 

“Actually it’s too late.” Kongpob whispered. “I missed you.” 

Another soft kiss was delivered to Arthit’s forehead, lingering there a little longer than the rest of the kisses earlier.

Arthit’s eyes fluttered open at the voice, only to find himself staring at a chest he knew oh too well. He pulled back in a hurry, staring up at the pair of eyes looking back with love. 

“Kong!” He gasped as he threw himself back into the other’s arms and held on tight. “You’re here again.” He muttered against Kongpob’s chest, struggling hard not to burst into tears again. 

“Technically, you are the one who’s here. I’ve been waiting all day, hoping you would come.”

“Me?” Arthit frowned and separated himself from his husband, unwillingly. He looked around the area, only to realise he was once again back in the same room - Kongpob’s other one. 

“But how?”

“I don’t really know either Oon.” Kongpob shrugged, pulling him back into his arms. “I tried asking around after last night, if you would be able to return to this.. Dimension again. I couldn’t go to yours anymore. No one seemed to know though. But I held onto the slim chance that you would.”

“Does this mean I can now meet you every time I sleep?”

“I’m not sure, but for now it does seem that way. I think that,” Kongpob paused, to fiddle with the ring on his husband’s hand. “Is our link.” He wiggled his own fingers in front of Arthit. 

“My guess is that because you married me while I’m well, like this , it’s given you a passage into this realm that the living can’t enter.” 

“Am I the only human to have entered this place then?”

“No one knows, there hasn’t been a ghost marriage in ages. I only know that while humans can’t enter here, we can’t cross over to the living world either. Unless it’s the ghost festival of course.” Kongpob mused, recalling his day of trying to obtain information from the other souls around the area. 

It hadn’t been easy. Many of the souls who were still in this dimension were either in transition or basically couldn’t move on. There were many vicious souls, he had learnt, who spent all year waiting to be released during the ghost festival to wreak havoc upon the people they held grudges against. He was hoping to bring Arthit around, if he could. But that would require planning and familiarity - there was no way he was risking the other’s life. 

“I’m just glad you came back.” Kongpob muttered, planting yet another kiss on Arthit’s forehead.

“I’m glad I decided to marry you anyway.” The elder whispered. “I feel like I can live now, if I can continue meeting you like this.”

Kongpob squeezed his husband tighter, trying to provide comfort. He felt guilty. He hated how his life had been too short and he would not be able to take care of Arthit for the rest of his life. And Arthit saying such things scared him. He knew the other was strong but he also hid his thoughts from everyone. Arthit tended to overthink, and he prayed that the gang would keep him safe on his behalf. 

Kongpob stroked Arthit’s hair. “So tell me what stupid things did P’Bright do today?” He chuckled, imagining his noisy senior.

Arthit pouted and bit Kongpob in the shoulder.

“Ow, Oon! What was that for!”

“You didn’t ask me how I was doing but you asked about that idiot?” Arthit huffed, jealous and annoyed. How could his husband be this daft?

“Oon, you realise you’re right here, in my arms right?” Kongpob placated. “Besides, I would have gotten down to you eventually. Gotta save the best for the last.”

Arthit groaned, exasperated. Dead or alive, this boy had his own set of logic that often defied his. But he knew why; why Kongpob didn’t ask about him. And he was also partly glad he didn’t. He wasn’t sure he could honestly tell Kongpob that he wasn’t alright. 

He was not okay. He wished he was dead because he never wanted to leave his side. He wished he was dead so he could forget about the pain. He wished he was dead because he had never felt so alone in his life.

But now, now he felt like he could breathe again. He gripped onto Kongpob’s shirt, pulling himself closer ever so slightly. If he could still see Kongpob every night, then he had a reason to live. He would be able to live.  

“Oon, I’m still waiting.” Kongpob hummed, patting him in the back. 

“That idiot screamed in front of the house. Again.” Came the grouchy reply. 

Kongpob laughed. That did indeed sound like something P’Bright would do. “Did P’Tootah join in? They would make great cheerleaders.” He mused.

Arthit grumbled. “Don’t even get me started. I was this close to stuffing a shoe into their mouths. I might actually die of embarrassment hanging out with them one day.”

The room was once again filled with Kongpob’s laughter and Arthit felt a weight lift off his chest. Everything felt so right in the moment.

“Are you laughing at my pain?” He glared at his husband, eyes squinting menacingly. He bared his teeth as though he had fangs, ready to chomp on the younger’s delicious looking clavicles. 

“No, no, of course not.” Kongpob struggled to stop laughing. “What about school? Did Professor Suda give you a hard time?”

“That man has no sympathy,” came a snarl. “He nearly locked us out of class because we were 1 minute late and then proceeded with the most intense practical lesson of the year.” 

Arthit continued ranting, waving his arms around wildly as he went into the details of his class, completely disregarding the fact that Kongpob could barely understand a thing he said. But his lovestruck husband continued listening, pitching in the right prompt words and reactions each time, encouraging him to go on. 

The pair lazed in bed, hands touching each other lightly as they conversed. It felt like their everyday life, like nothing was wrong. And ironically, Arthit felt more alive in this realm of the dead than in the land of the living.

Chapter Text

The gang soon noticed Arthit had begun perking up a few days after the night of his wedding - which was strange. They had expected a gradual pick up and most definitely not an immediate change in mood like this. While he avoided saying Kongpob’s name, he seemed almost terrifyingly stable for someone who had just lost the love of his life. 

It had been almost like he had moved on.

Which was scary because it was totally unlike Arthit. And they were worried. But none of them knew how to bring up the matter, least they triggered the false front to come crashing down. But while Arthit seemed okay emotionally, they were ever more concerned with his health. 

The bags under Arthit’s eyes were darkening by the day, a clear indication that he was not getting enough rest. They feared that their friend might eventually collapse at the rate this was going. 

“Hey, my parents are going to be out of town this weekend! You guys should come. We could grill some moo-ping, chill and have a sleepover!” Bright announced during lunch. 

It was a little scheme they had devised to try to help Arthit sleep better. They figured that if they surrounded him, he might get a good night’s sleep. Either that or tire him out enough that he crashes. They weren’t picky. Anything to help their friend. 

Arthit’s eyes widened in surprise. He didn’t want to go. What if he couldn’t meet Kongpob tonight? They still didn’t know how it worked. Did he have to be in Kongpob’s room? What were the factors involved? Whatever it was, he most definitely didn’t want to risk it. Being able to see Kongpob at night was the only thing keeping him sane. 

But he couldn’t tell anyone about it. How was a guy supposed to just come out and say that ‘oh by the way, I meet my dead husband in the land of souls which is why I’m still functioning like a normal human’. This wasn’t a normal dinner topic he could just bring up so easily. 

“Erm,” Arthit started, his brain whirring around madly, trying to come up with an excuse. “I can’t er.. No, I have this thing..”

“Nope, you’re not getting out of hanging out with us.” Tootah announced with finality, giving him a look that effectively shut him up. 

Knott patted him on the shoulder, “Arthit, you need to get out more often. You can’t just coop yourself up at home.”

Arthit sighed. He knew his friends were bound to intervene one way or another and he wanted to tell the others about what was going on with him. However, he feared their reactions. A relationship like that was unlikely to get the blessings of others, regardless of who they were to each other when Kongpob was alive.

He nodded soundlessly, wishing that the weekend would never come. 

“What if I can’t meet you that night, Kong?” Arthit whined, throwing himself into his husband’s arms the minute he had arrived in the room that night. 

Kongpob laughed, squeezing Arthit tight. “It’s just one night Oon, you should go enjoy yourself.”

“I don’t want to if it’s without you,” the sulking continued. 

“You used to whine that you couldn’t go anywhere without me,” Kongpob teased. “Now you’re the one who doesn’t want to be without me.”

“That was different.”

“Oon, that’s exactly why you should go. Because it’s different now. I may not be here forever.” Kongpob said quietly, patting his back. 

Arthit pulled back in panic, looking at him. “Why? Why won’t you be here forever? Where are you going?” His questions came like rapid fire at the flustered soul.

“I don’t know Oon, I’m just saying. We don’t know how this works. I may not be here anymore tomorrow either. Every night I have here with you is a blessing that I don’t want to take for granted.” Kongpob sighed. 

After talking to the others in the realm, the only thing he had gathered from them was that this was the place souls rested and prepared themselves before moving onto reincarnation. But everyone stayed for different periods of time. There were some who were here for just days and some, for years. 

Kongpob didn’t know the rationale behind it all, so he had just resigned to taking it one day at a time. Which was complete irony since that was exactly the same way he had been living when he was alive. Maybe this was the life he had to resign to this lifetime. 

“All the more I shouldn’t be going this weekend!” Arthit exclaimed, his face panic stricken. 

“Oon, we don’t even know if we would be able to meet whether or not you go. You might as well enjoy yourself.” Kongpob coaxed, squeezing Arthit’s hands. 

“But,” Arthit made to put up another excuse but was quickly silenced by Kongpob’s lips.

“Go, Oon. Have fun, have a life.” Another soft peck was delivered to Arthit’s lips before he could say anything else.

“Fine.” Arthit huffed. “But you’d better be here when I come back.”

“You know I won’t leave you unless I had to.” Kongpob nuzzled his hair before leaning down for another kiss.

Arthit gave in, both mentally and physically, melding his whole being with his husband. Kongpob was right. Neither of them knew how this worked and despite his current happiness, he would still have to prepare for the day that Kongpob may once again leave his side. 

The weekend came a lot sooner than later, with Arthit still trying to wiggle his way out of it up till the very last minute. But with the combined efforts of Tootah in the living world and Kongpob in the other dimension, Arthit didn’t seem to have any other choice but to join the gang. 

Which was precisely why he was now stuck in a car with Bright’s impossible singing that he had no way of stopping since said person was the driver behind the wheel. He couldn’t even slap him behind the head as he usually would in fear of their lives. Arthit rolled his eyes as his hands twitched on his lap. His greatest nightmare came true as Tootah joined in from the back causing him to audibly groan.

Giving in to the looks that Bright was shooting his way, Arthit joined in the belting of some of their childhood songs, serenading them with his voice. It had been so long that he had almost forgotten that he used to enjoy singing. Maybe Kongpob was right, he grinned, as the next hit started to play. Maybe this was exactly what he needed. 

“Hey let’s stop by the fortune teller at the market while we’re picking up stuff for dinner.” Bright suggested. “My parents say he’s new and he’s awfully accurate.”

An all round approval filled the car as they continued to talk about the plans for the rest of the day. Arthit thought to himself if the fortune teller would be able to bring any insight to his current situation, hopefully without revealing too much details to his friends as well. He was still unsure how they would react to the fact that he was meeting his dead husband every night. 

Bright happily dragged the lot of them towards the temple’s direction where they stepped in to make merit, before heading to the outer garden where a middle aged man sat at a table with charts and amulets donning the area. 

“Hello boys, do you want to have your fortune read?” The man asked kindly, as the gang politely offered their wais.

Bright was the first up, as he dashed forward and took the seat in front of the fortune teller. The rest of them chortled around him, entertained by Bright’s enthusiasm. 

"So when will I get a girlfriend?" Bright asked hopefully.

"That," the fortune teller started, gently touching the lines on Bright's palm, "might take a while."

That earned a wave of laughter all around from the rest of them as they patted their poor friend on the back. Bright was totally crestfallen.

"Your career line is fantastic though," the man continued. "Strong, continuous line. You will probably meet a great boss and he will guide you to a very successful career."

"I guess that's better than nothing," the boy shrugged, somewhat satisfied. The rest of them each took their turns having their palms read. Tootah was delighted to know that he had a great love line, despite the topsy turvy career path he had waiting for him. 

“The life of a fashion designer will never be easy,” he announced before exclaiming, “Arthit! Your turn!” He quickly got up and excitedly pushed Arthit to take the seat next. 

Arthit stumbled forward, awkwardly shifting on the stool as the fortune teller studied his palm. The other man took a long time studying his lines, unlike Bright’s and it was beginning to get unnerving for Arthit. 

“You have really complicated lines boy,” The fortune teller sighed. “Like the other boy there, you have a good career line. Your love line however, has been severed, but yet it continues and it isn’t the appearance of a new person. It is the same love that will be by your side for a very long time. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Arthit’s eyes widened, as he quickly drew his hand back. The rest of the guys shot questioning looks at each and shrugged. Did this mean that Kongpob was still around Arthit? But that didn’t make any sense at all. Kongpob was dead. 

Unwilling to have more attention drawn to himself, Arthit quickly paid the man for his fortune and tried to usher the rest of them away from the booth.

“Boy!” The fortune teller called out as they were walking away.

Arthit turned around, confused.

“Wherever it is you have been going, you need to stop going there. Your ‘yang’ aura is being taken over by the strong ‘yin’. Anymore and it will take your life eventually.” The man said solemnly, staring him in the eye. 

Arthit did not know how to respond and instead offered another wai to bid the man goodbye.  He ran to catch up with his friends, the words of the fortune teller running circles in his mind. But he already knew his answer.He was never going to stop seeing Kongpob.

Never - even if it killed him.

Chapter Text

The rest of the day went by fairly quickly, with Bright coming up with strange sauce concoctions to go with the moo-ping they were having for dinner, Tootah trying to fabulously dress the plates and poor Knott and Arthit who were the only ones hard at work for their dinner. Prem as always was hovering around everyone with his camera in hand. 

Tossing a couple more charcoal into the pit, Arthit grabbed the other fan and stood beside Knott, fanning away lightly at the fire. 

“I think that’s enough,” Knott nodded, pleased at the burning white charcoal they had going now. 

The moo-ping sat grilling nicely in a row as the gang sat around, enjoying the peace of the night. It had been a while since they had hung out like that. The last time they tried, well, was the day Kongpob died. That was more than a month ago.

Lightly smacking Bright’s hands away from the uncooked sticks on the grill, Arthit made to grab the other food that was on the table, now looking absolutely picturesque thanks to Tootah’s efforts. 

“So what do you think the fortune teller meant by your love line just now?” Prem asked, munching away. 

Arthit froze for a while before resuming his chewing. 

“I don’t know,” he shrugged lightly. “But I did marry Kongpob, I won’t think of being with anyone else anyway. So I guess he wasn’t wrong.”

The other boys nodded lightly, knowing that no matter what they said at this point in time would not change their stubborn friend’s mind. Arthit had kind of a one track mind and would not listen to anything anyone said (with the exception of Kongpob’s pleading).

Mindless dipping his stick of moo-ping into the bowl of sauce that was in front of him, Arthit put the meat in his mouth - completely unaware of Prem waving his hand furiously to stop him from doing so.

“What the hell Bright, what is this monstrosity!” Arthit soon exclaimed, spitting out the sad piece of meat. He quickly grabbed his pink milk and gulped furiously, washing down the unknown combination he had just alarmed his tongue with.

"I think I saw him putting in cola." Prem said seriously.

"I saw wasabi." Tootah added.

"There was definitely fish sauce." Knott piped in. 

All four pairs of eyes rounded in on the guilty one at the table who squeaked, "I honestly only remember grabbing the soy sauce!"

Arthit’s stick of moo-ping was sent flying in Bright’s direction as the latter screamed bloody murder.

“Arthit are you trying to kill me!” The taller boy yelped, drawing his legs up to the chair as the stick of meat fell to the ground. 

“Obviously.” Arthit deadpanned. “Be thankful I didn’t make you drink your disgusting brew.”

There was a moment of pregnant silence between the gang before Knott and Prem lept into action, pinning Bright to the chair as Tootah forced his mouth open. 

Sashaying over with the sauce bowl in hand, Arthit grinned. “Bottoms up my dear.” 

The night went on with lots of screaming (on Bright’s part) and thankfully, lots of laughter as well. Arthit did not remember laughing or enjoying himself this much in such a long time. Maybe his friends and Kongpob were right, he did need to get out a little more. Regardless of what went on at night, he still had a life in the day too. 

With all of them now sprawled around the guest room in various directions, Arthit let out a little happy sigh.

“Thanks guys,” he said quietly. “For everything.”

True to their personalities, the four of them replied each in their own way. Prem gave a quiet grunt and Knott rolled over to pat him on the shoulder. Tootah snuggled in closer to give him a hug while Bright basically threw his whole body over him, yelling ‘tower stack’ as the rest of the guys followed suit. 

The sweet moment was completely ruined in a second as all the guys rushed to pile on top of Bright, with Arthit being the unfortunate bottom of the stack. By the time he had finally managed to wriggle himself out, he was a mess and totally out of breath. Bright reached out and flicked a finger to his forehead. 

“You don’t have to thank us for anything.”

They grinned at each other and toppled on the bed, each taking a small space of their own. 

Arthit was excited and afraid at the same time, unsure if he would get to see Kongpob tonight. But somehow, he felt not so alone anymore. He closed his eyes and let his tiredness take over, falling asleep to the not-so-quiet snores of Tootah and Bright combined. 

“Kong!” He exclaimed excitedly as he threw himself at his husband. Today was a good day indeed.

He chattered on happily, telling Kongpob about everything that had happened earlier in the day as he wiggled on his lap, urging the other to wrap his arms around him. 

“We did so many things today Kong! Oh and you must surely be glad you didn’t get to try any of Bright’s horrendous creations. That guy has no talent in the cooking department I swear!”

Kongpob chuckled at his excited husband, pulling him tighter into his embrace as he listened to the enthusiastic narration of the day’s event - albeit in a confusing non-chronological order as Arthit happily bounced from one thing to the other in his eagerness to tell him all about his day. 

“So we went to that fortune teller that Bright’s parents recommended and man, he was really spot on!” He prattled. “Do you know what he told Bright?”

Arthit turned his head a little so that he could stare cheekily at Kongpob while he expectantly waited for an answer from him.

“That he was going to be single for life?” Kongpob snorted as he blatantly admired the sparkle that had reappeared in his husband’s eyes. It had been missing for so long and right now, this Arthit in his arms felt like the Arthit he had known all his life. Tenacious, feisty and full of energy - just like his namesake. 

“Oh~ Not bad Kong! You’re close. He said,” and Arthit tried to put on the best imitation of the elder man they had met earlier in the day, “that it might take a while.”

He chortled and wrapped one of his arms around Kongpob’s waist, giggling into the crook of the neck of the latter. 

“As if that’s any of a surprise,” he added.

“What about you Oon? What did he say to you?” The younger boy enquired, nuzzling the headful of soft hair that was right under his nose at the moment.

There was a slight pause before Arthit opened his mouth to answer. 

“Well, he said I had a good career line.” Arthit recounted, “but..”

“But what Oon?” Kongpob asked gently, sensing something amiss with the older, as his playful aura completely disappeared in a flash.

“He said that I had a complicated loveline. A love line that was severed but somehow still continues.” Arthit admitted, pausing slightly as he debated with himself about telling Kongpob the next part.

“Oon, what else did he say?” Nudged the younger boy, with the same soft tone he often had to use to coax Arthit into doing what he wanted - which often meant trouble back in the days.

“I think he knows, Kong.” The arm around Kongpob tightened as Arthit buried his face back into his husband. “He said that whatever it was I was doing, was causing my ‘yin-yang’ to go off balance.”

“And what else Oon?” Kongpob knew from the other’s tone, that there was something else that he was not telling him, even though he didn’t know why.

“And..” Another deep breath, “and that it would kill me eventually if I did not stop.”

Kongpob froze, taking in the severity of the words that were just uttered. Arthit sensed the sudden tension in his body and pulled away hurriedly. 

“Kong, don’t go there. I’m not leaving you. I won’t.” Arthit panicked as he gripped tightly upon the other’s shirt. “It’s just a fortune teller’s words. You have to take them with a pinch of salt right? Look! I’m fine!”

The once sparkling eyes were now swirling with tears, full of anxiety and terror as they stared up at Kongpob, willing him to say the words that Arthit wanted to hear. 

“I promised. I won’t leave unless I have to right?” Kongpob said quietly, stroking the other’s hair as he kissed the tears that were now trickling down Arthit’s face.

“I left you once, I won’t do it again willingly.” He promised.

Arthit let out a large sigh of relief, his body immediately relaxing as he hugged his husband tight. 

“You promised, you can’t break it this time,” he mumbled.

“I won’t.”

Chapter Text

As much as Kongpob had explored the ‘Realm of Souls’ as he had so endearingly named it, he was still pretty much as clueless about the area as the day he had first arrived. No one knew much about the place and everyone kept to themselves in fear of being robbed which was the greatest irony.

After his conversation with Arthit however, he knew he had to find out more. Whilst he had never truly believed in the whole yin-yang theory of things, he also knew the consequences of not following a fortune teller’s advice. After all, here he was, dead after his eighteenth birthday, just like how Master Danai had predicted many years ago. 

So he set out, talking to everyone who was willing to have a conversation with him, until he found an old man who enjoyed sitting by the lake, some distance away from the Bridge of Naihe. After spending a few days talking about various matters with him, Kongpob finally felt comfortable enough to breach the subject he was about to ask the other. 

“P’Deer, do you know when the souls are supposed to cross the bridge?” Kongpob asked, as he settled next to the old man on the bench.

“Have I never told you?” The elder chuckled. “They say that souls cross the bridge whenever they are ready to and when they have left all their earthly matters behind. Most of us stay for 49 days before being reincarnated. However, you’ve probably seen your fair share of others who are still here well after that time period. These are the souls with wishes or matters that have been unfinished in the earthly realm and their families have not helped them to fulfill it. That’s why they are stuck here.”

The old man glanced at another soul who was strolling by the lake. 

“Some of them will never be reincarnated and will wilt away here for eternity.” He sighed. 

“How did you know all these?” Kongpob inquired curiously, a little hopeful that the old man might have the answers to the questions he wanted answered next. 

“My entire family line were born fortune tellers. These were all tales and things I had learnt my entire life.” Deer answered wistfully, “I wasn’t born with the sight so I never took over the family business.”

“So do you happen to know about the yin-yang balance then?” Kongpob shot back almost immediately, anxious to know if Deer would be able to help him decode the mysterious words of the fortune teller who had talked to Arthit that had been bugging him for days.

“What about it?” Deer gestured around. “This whole area is the biggest yin field you could probably ever find. The human realm would be full of yang. You see, only humans have the yin-yang balance. Souls like us are made up of pure yin. That’s also why souls aren’t allowed in the human realm. We throw off their balance.” 

“When you say ‘we throw off their balance’ what does that mean?”

“It means that when a human comes into contact with a soul, the soul starts feeding off the yang energy of the human naturally. It is the soul’s natural way of trying to balance itself and it happens without the soul even knowing. But of course, when too much yang energy gets taken away from the human, they die.” Deer answered lightly. 

Kongpob sat in silence for a few moments. He had finally understood what the fortune teller meant. Arthit had been visiting him in this realm for far too long. Combined with the fact that he had been spending all his time in this realm with him, Kongpob was unsure how far off this balance had been thrown off and when, it would truly claim Arthit’s life.

He had noticed the eye bags and paler complexion of the other but his husband had waved it off as ‘bad sleep’ owing to the fact that he had been meeting him every night. It was almost like dreaming every single night, Arthit had said, you wake up all tired because you feel like you haven’t slept. But Kong knew now. It wasn’t as simple as that. 

He was the cause. He was killing Arthit. And it was time to stop.

He had the perfect opportunity coming right up. The 49th day of his passing was closing in and it was now or never. His stubborn husband would accept no other reason and Kongpob didn't want Arthit to hate him - that would kill him. 

Kongpob also knew, that as long as Arthit was alive in the human realm, there was also no way he would consider even taking one step on the bridge. Arthit was the one thing he could not let go. 

"P'Deer, what do you know about ghost marriages?" Kongpob asked quietly, his voice laced with dread. 

"That they're really rare now because most people won't consider.." Deer's voice trailed off.

Looking up and facing the other, Kongpob found the elder staring at him. 

"It's you isn't it. That's why you're asking me all these questions. You're the one with the human bride."

Kongpob nodded sadly.

"Well, first of all, I must say you must either come from a really rich family or you have a very devoted lover."

Kongpob couldn't help but let out a sad chuckle before answering. "Both. But Oon loves me very much. That much I know."

The other soul patted him on the shoulder comfortingly. 

"Then you are a very lucky boy. But you should return your ring to your partner. That is the only thing that links your bride to you right now, and in turn, this place. I'm going to presume you would rather not be the cause of your bride joining you in the afterlife earlier than expected."

Kongpob heaved a heavy sigh as he leant back on the bench, joining Deer in watching soul after soul as they crossed the Bridge of Naihe, stepping into their route to reincarnation.

He was going to have a very upset husband to deal with soon.

That night, Arthit flung himself into his arms as usual upon arrival. Kongpob was actually happy for him. The elder's mood had lifted considerably since his outing with his friends and was now a lot bubblier as compared to when Kongpob had first passed on.

"Oon," he mumbled, pressing a kiss gently to the warm neck. "How was your day?"

He internally berated himself for chickening out in bringing up the topic, rolling his eyes dramatically. It was a good thing they were hugging and Arthit could not see his expressions.

"Same old." The chirpy reply came, as Arthit swayed them both slightly side to side.

"Oh but Tootah got distracted by our new teaching assistant today and nearly blew up our circuit. He totally overloaded the amperage." 

"A new teaching assistant?" Kongpob questioned mindlessly, still thinking of a way to tell husband that they had to stop meeting like this.

"Yeah, he's pretty young too and I think Prof said he was an alumni or something? I guess he's pretty cute by normal standards?" Arthit said, recalling how Tootah had described the new guy.

Upon hearing the words 'pretty cute', a pang of jealousy somehow managed to invade Kongpob's distracted mind as he tore himself away from his husband's embrace. He glared at the other fiercely, his eye reflecting the tantrum that was imminent unless the other started to placate him soon.

Arthit however, began chuckling almost immediately upon seeing his face - much to Kongpob's annoyance. Bringing his two hands from the other's waist up, he cradled the younger's face in them for a little moment before landing a loud, resounding kiss on his lips.

"Are you jealous, Kong?" He grinned. "I haven't seen this face in a while."

Kongpob rolled his eyes as his own grip around his husband's torso tightened. He continued staring at him pointedly with an expression that was clearly asking for an explanation. 

"Oh stop it," Arthit coaxed, pinching his cheeks. "I honestly don't remember what he looks like. I was just quoting Tootah verbatim alright?" 

"Besides, my husband is very handsome. Have you not met him?" He added on, beaming with such satisfaction that Kongpob had no means of continuing his little tantrum anymore.

Planting a kiss on his forehead, Kongpob then brought his lips down to Arthit's.

"Oh really? Handsome lucky fella he is then." Kongpob murmured against his lips before dragging him down upon the bed with him, his prior agenda buried in the depths of his mind for another day.

Chapter Text

Kongpob spent much of his days with Deer from then on, learning all he could from the older guy. Despite not being a fortune teller himself, Deer proved to still be fully educated in the different worldly matters. He shared everything that he knew with Kongpob, as they delved deeper into the various issues of yin-yang, reincarnation and even about the realm they were currently in. But Kongpob still had one pressing matter at the back of his mind.

How was he going to tell Arthit?

He knew the other was not going to accept anything he had to say about their meetings endangering his life. Arthit was stubborn like that. With the 49th day of his death looming over his head, Kongpob could no longer drag the issue.

However, he also knew that if he were to tell Arthit about his reincarnation, the other would never be able to enjoy whatever remaining time they had left together peacefully. With that in mind, Kongpob knew what he had to do. 

On the 48th night of his death, Kongpob gathered Arthit tightly into his arms, cradling the single person he saw more important than his own life. 

"Oon.." He started softly, his tears threatening to surface. "There is something I have to tell you."

The other lifted his head, doe eyes staring back at him. Kongpob took a deep breath.

"You know I love you right?"

Arthit nodded, unsure where this conversation was going. 

"Good. Always remember that okay? That I love you more than you could ever imagine." Kongpob whispered, unable to bring his voice up any louder.

"Kong, is something wrong?" Arthit asked worriedly, sensing that his lover was being strange.

"No, nothing," Kongpob answered hurriedly. This was worse than dying for him. At least he didn't have to make that decision. But this, this was pure torture. 

"Just making sure you know. Like we said the last time, we don't know how much time we have together here. I just wanted to remind you." He tried to smile his brightest for his husband despite wanting to tell him everything.

Arthit smiled shyly as he planted a small kiss on his lips. 

"I love you so much." Arthit whispered back before launching into their nightly routine of him sharing what had gone on earlier in the day. The nagging feeling that something was amiss shoved aside as he snuggled deep into Kongpob's embrace.

Kongpob had successfully distracted Arthit by the end of their time together with an eventual round of sex full of passion and desperation on his part. He had poured every inch of what he was feeling for his husband into what he had planned was to be their last night.

He had been deprived of a full life and that was not what he had wanted for Arthit either. No matter what, he refused to be the reason that his lover would not live the life he was supposed to. 

And yet, the thought of Arthit hating him was such a terrifying one, he wanted to cling onto the only hope he had. That Arthit would believe that souls who bore no grudge or unfulfilled wishes would have to be reincarnated on their 49th day of passing.

As Arthit's soul faded away, returning to the human world, Kongpob finally let his tears run freely. He muffled his cries into his pillow as he let every inch of his agony free, drowning in his own sorrow. This was it.

His final moments with his loved one were over.

After what seemed like eternity and his tears had run dry, he stepped out of the house and headed towards the river bank where Deer sat every day.

Sitting himself next to the elderly man, he sighed audibly while absent mindedly spinning his wedding ring on his finger. 

"Did you tell your bride?" Deer asked gently, detecting the depressed aura that Kongpob was emanating. 

The younger shook his head dejectedly. "I couldn't. I didn't know how to."

Deer looked at him with pity and softly patted his shoulder. "So what do you plan to do now?"

Mustering all his courage, Kongpob slid his ring off and held it out to the other, hands trembling.

"P'Deer, could you.." His voice trailed off as he lost his strength to continue his sentence. Tears threatened to spill once again while he stared at the ring that he was holding out.

"Of course." Deer said, taking the ring from him. He couldn't imagine choosing to walk away from his lover like this and he had greatly admired Kongpob's bravery and love.

And there the pair sat, watching the other souls cross the bridge once again but never saying another word. Deer knew that Kongpob would probably be staying in this realm for a very long time alone and he didn't know what he could say to comfort the other. So he chose to stay seated with him, offering him solace with his presence. 

That night, he walked to the house that belonged to Kongpob, the house easily allowing him entrance with the personal article of his that was burning a hole in his pocket now. 

Walking towards the room he had sensed a faint yang energy from, he took a deep breath and opened the door.

"Kong! Where.." Arthit exclaimed only to halt mid sentence, as an unfamiliar elderly man walked in.

"Kongpob didn't tell me his bride was a man," Deer mused.

At the mention of Kongpob's name, Arthit relaxed a little and offered a timid wai. He was still a little cautious.

"And you are?"

"You can call me P'Deer. I'm here because Kongpob needed a favour."

"What? Why? Where is he? Is he okay? Why isn't he here?" The multitude of questions hit him as Arthit started to panic, stepping towards Deer.

"He left. For reincarnation, as do most souls on the 49th day of their passing. He asked me to pass you this."

Fishing out the ring from his pocket, he held it out to Arthit.

"But why? Did he know about this earlier? I thought he said some souls have been here for a very long time? Why didn't he stay?" Arthit was positively sobbing now as he took the ring from Deer, cradling it to his heart.

When Deer didn't reply, he looked up at the other and saw the answer that he needed.

"He knew, didn't he? That was why he was being weird yesterday." Arthit gasped as realisation dawned upon him.

Deer didn't reply and merely held his gaze. Looking back at the pleading eyes that bore into him, desperate for an answer, he sighed.

"Just know this, your husband loves you very much and wants nothing more than for you to be happy and healthy. And most importantly, he wants you to stay alive and well." 

Offering a comforting pat on Arthit's shoulder, much like the one he had given Kongpob, he turned and left. But not before he heard anguished cries from the one he had left behind in the room. Shaking his head, he walked away from the house and back to where Kongpob was waiting for him.

"You were right boy, he really does love you a lot."

Kongpob's heart broke into a million pieces as he buried his face into his hands, letting himself cry. His world had just fallen apart and there was nothing else he could do about it. He had taken the coward’s way out of this but he knew that if he had looked upon Arthit’s face one more time, he would never leave. And he would eventually cause the other’s death in that case.  

With nothing left that he could do, Kongpob prayed. He prayed that Arthit would forgive him for doing what he must. He prayed that Arthit would stay safe and healthy. And he prayed that Arthit would find happiness, even if it meant forgetting him.

Arthit awoke with a start in bed. Praying it was all a bad dream, he pulled himself upright. He opened his trembling fist, desperately wishing it wasn't true, only to reveal a shiny matching wedding ring to his own in his palm.

He stared at it for a few minutes before reality hit him like a thousand bricks. 

He was never going to see Kongpob again.

He was never going to see Kongpob again.

He was never going to see Kongpob again.

Chapter Text

Earth ran hurriedly towards Kongpob’s room, startled by the cry that had emitted from it. She hadn’t heard such pain from him since the day after his ghost wedding and it was worrying why he was suddenly reacting like this again. Arthit had seemed better the last few weeks, almost behaving as though he was back to normal.

Allowing herself entrance into the room, she found Arthit bawling, clutching something tight to his chest. She rushed to his side to console him, even though she had no idea what was going on. All she could hear were his soft mumbles.

“He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone.” Arthit repeatedly muttered under his breath, rocking his body back and forth as though he was in a trance. Tears streamed down his face endlessly.

Earth didn’t know what else she could do other than to pull him into her arms and made a shushing white noise to try to comfort Arthit who was beyond himself. Quietly counting the days in her head, she let out a small gasp as she realised what date it was yesterday. 

“Arthit, is it Kongpob?” She stroked Arthit’s back gently as she felt the younger one nod into her shoulder, his cries never once stopping.

She sighed, looking up at the ceiling to try to stop herself from crying. She couldn’t cry, not yet. So there she sat, hugging Arthit till he finally calmed down and tucked him into bed after he had finally cried himself to sleep in exhaustion. She carefully brushed his hair aside from his tear stained face. The poor boy had been through so much and she really couldn’t imagine what had happened for him to react like this.

Pulling the covers up snugly around him, she snuck out of the room quietly to notify his friends who were already waiting downstairs that Arthit would not be able to make it to school today. She also pleaded for them to come by after school, fully expecting that Arthit would need more than just her company today. 

Sure enough, by the time she had made it back up with a hot bowl of congee, Arthit was weeping silently into his pillow.

“Arthit dear, come eat something.” She coaxed, squeezing his hand. 

Arthit shook his head, burying his face further into his pillow. Earth sighed, as she patted his shoulder and left the congee by his bedside. She wasn’t sure if she should say anything to the boy who was clearly in grief. Eventually she settled for quietly dabbing his cheeks with a tissue as she rubbed circles upon his back, trying to soothe him.

Before long, the rush of steps up the stairs announced the arrival of the gang and Earth sighed in relief. If anyone could make Arthit feel better, it would be them. The four guys bumbled into the room, all ready to holler at their friend but stopped midway upon seeing Earth’s expression. 

She quietly shook her head as she walked over to them whispering ‘Kongpob’ before she left the boys and hoped that they would be able to comfort Arthit. They looked at each other with confused looks before gingerly walking over to the bed, two on each side. 

“Arthit,” Tootah whispered, leaning his cheek on Arthit’s shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

Arthit slowly opened his eyes, looking around slowly and staring at his friends who were now surrounding him. His crying slowed to small hiccups as he drew himself up to a sitting position, throwing his arms around Tootah who was the closest to him. 

Knott was the first to open his mouth, unable to take the silence any longer.

“Arthit, talk to us. We want to help.”

A couple of small hiccups and sniffs later, Arthit whispered. “You can’t. He’s gone. He’s really gone now.”

"What do you mean?" Tootah asked softly, dabbling his cheeks with the tissue Prem handed over to him.

Arthit paused, looking at the four concerned faces staring back at him. It would be okay right, to tell them, he thought to himself. He took a deep breath and held onto Tootah's hand for courage before launching into his story of how he had been meeting his dead husband.

"So he's really gone now." Arthit ended his story, sniffling once again as he buried his head into the pillow he had been hugging in place of Tootah.

The four others remained silent, each trying to comprehend what their best friend had just shared with them. It was practically unimaginable that Arthit had been meeting Kongpob ever since the day of his wedding. But it did explain how he had remained so normal comparatively to the previous few days right after Kongpob's death. 

Bright was the first one to speak up eventually after the long pause.

“So that means if we find his reincarnation, we can still kick his ass for you?” 

More silence ensued before all of them burst out laughing, Arthit included. 

“What the hell Bright!” Tootah sputtered as he tried to catch his breath, clutching his stomach which was now aching from laughing too hard. 

Bright blinked, confusedly staring at his friends. “What! I meant it! He deserves to have his butt kicked for that stunt he pulled. Do you think he will be reborn with the same face?” He asked honestly. 

Peels of laughter were emitted from the rest of them again as they all struggled to breath. Trust Bright to think of the one thing that Arthit never thought of. He had only been so focused on how Kongpob had left without a word but he had never thought about Kongpob’s reincarnation. If the younger truly had the chance for reincarnation, he would have been the first one to urge him to go for it. If the old wives’ tales were true, not everyone had the chance for reincarnation.

Finally calming himself down from all the laughter, Arthit looked up at the rest of his friends who were smiling at him.

“Thanks guys. I really needed that.” He said, looking at all of them and wiping his face of his tears. Having the rest of them around him always made him feel better, and he had nearly forgotten that in his grief.

After spending the afternoon with his friends, Arthit’s mood improved immensely. He knew he should have let Kongpob go a long time ago but having him around every night was the only reason he couldn’t. He also knew that he was a lot more fortunate than most, having had extra time to properly say goodbye as well. They had uttered more ‘I love you’ than he could count so at least he knew, that this time Kongpob knew full well how much he meant to him.

When he was once again left alone in the room, he picked up a necklace chain he hadn't worn in a very long time. He slid Kongpob’s ring onto it and held it up against the light. This was all he had left of their memories as a married couple and he was truly glad he even had any to speak of. It had been a miraculous time for both of them and he knew that Kongpob probably felt the same as well.

Taking a deep breath, he promised himself and Kongpob (wherever he was now), that he would live well from now on for the both of them. He didn’t know how, but he was going to try. No one was going to ever replace Kongpob in his heart, that much he knew. Putting the necklace that now held Kongpob’s wedding ring around his neck, he closed his eyes and said his last ‘I love you’ while clutching it.

So Arthit worked hard in keeping his promise, and although he never fell in love ever again, he lived a good life. True to the expectations laid upon him, he expanded the Sutthiluck business beyond anyone’s imagination. Throughout his years, he had the other four by his side constantly and although he had often felt lonely without Kongpob’s presence, he was never truly alone. 

When the time came for him to leave this lifetime, Arthit had reached a ripe old age. He believed in never leaving behind any regrets and worked his entire life to make sure that not having Kongpob by his side would remain as his only regret in life. Eventually, he closed his eyes and took his last breath, praying to anyone who would listen that he would be able to meet Kongpob once again.

‘Kongpob was right,’ he thought to himself. ‘It really does feel like floating.’ 

When he opened his eyes, he finally had a full view of the realm that Kongpob had told him about so many years ago. Houses of different looks, shapes and sizes were spread around the area, and many different other souls wandered aimlessly, never speaking to one another. So Arthit started walking, wondering if he would be able to find the one that belonged to him. However, as though guided by an internal compass, he found himself walking in a specific direction, before finally stopping at the gates of a particular house. 

Kongpob Sutthiluck / Arthit Rojnapat

Staring at the plate upon the gate, Arthit gasped in disbelief. It couldn’t be.

He gathered up his courage and reached out, the mansion gates swinging open almost immediately. The mansion did recognise him. Stepping in, he walked slowly, exploring the house with it’s all too familiar decoration. When he finally reached the door of the room he used to know, he took a deep breath before turning the knob.

And there it was, the room that he definitely knew, having spent over a month coming here. This was really Kongpob’s house, and now, as his husband, it was also his.

Chapter Text

Arthit opened his eyes, and looked around the room that held so many memories for him for the last time, both alive and dead. This was the room that he had shared with Kongpob too, that asshole. He still grumbled under his breath, scolding him for what he had done, despite it being such a long time ago. 

He was a dead old man now, but he had never once let Kongpob go from his heart. He had never once let anyone in either, he didn’t know how to anymore actually. When Kongpob left, he had left a permanent hole in his heart and the ring he wore on his necklace - a constant memory of the love he once had. 

He was alive but he was constantly lonely. He knew, he understood, that the younger one had to be reincarnated - he was never going to stop him. Now that he was back here, all his memories and feelings back then came flooding back, stronger and clearer than they had ever been. He just wished that Kongpob had not decided to walk away from him without a word. 

Souls could stay in the dimension for however long they had wanted to, it was after all the place to prepare for your next life. In his own time here, Arthit had met many others. Some of them had been in this state for years even, because they weren’t ready. So why did Kongpob leave, without saying goodbye no less? 

Arthit couldn’t bring himself to understand him right now, he simply couldn’t. They could have spent years together. He knew the other was worried about his health but that would have been something he would have learnt to deal with eventually. However, there was no use crying over spilt milk at this point. Kongpob had been gone for years. Many, many years. He wondered if the boy had been assigned a new good life, hopefully one with a longer life span since he never got to fully enjoy this one. 

Sighing, he picked himself off the bed and walked out of the house. He followed the path that all of them knew, somehow, where to go, till he had reached the Bridge of Naihe. He stared at it from afar, before taking a deep breath and stepping towards Mengpo who was giving out the Soup of Forgetfulness. 

“Child, you’re going to have to drink this before you step onto the bridge.”

Arthit looked at the bowl she held out to him.

“What if..” He started but was immediately cut off by the guardian.

“Everyone has to drink this soup before they go onto the bridge. If you don’t, you will not be able to be reincarnated. That is the rule.”

“But why?” Arthit asked, slowly as he took the bowl from the lady. 

“Bringing memories from the past can be dangerous. There have been people who have been driven mad by their memories. They aren’t able to live their present lives properly because they cling onto the past. So everyone starts their lives afresh now, with no memories.”

Arthit nodded, a tear of his dropping into his soup. He could see the logic behind it but it didn’t make it any easier to accept. Had Kongpob already forgotten about him? Was he going to just lose all the memories he had over this life just like that?

“Drink up my dear, there is no point fighting it. It is everyone’s destiny. So drink and move on, and let’s see where your fate takes you.” Mengpo said kindly, squeezing his arm gently.

Arthit brushed his tears away with his sleeve and nodded again. Taking a deep breath, he downed the soup in one go. 

“Thank you,” he said, returning the bowl to Mengpo.

“Now go, onto your next destiny,” the old lady said, ushering him onto the bridge.

Arthit looked at the bricked path of the bridge and took yet another deep breath. Stepping gingerly onto the walkway, he walked alone into the unknown.

From afar a young boy watched, only stepping out from where he had hidden when Arthit had completely disappeared behind the misty fog at the other end of the bridge. 

Making his own way towards the bridge, he was shocked when Mengpo called out his name.

"Kongpob Sutthiluck, it's about time you turned up."

Kongpob grinned sheepishly at her. "How do you know me?"

"I've been waiting for you to turn up at this bridge for ages, child." She sighed as she looked him dead in the eye. 

Kongpob rubbed his neck, and kept his head down in shame. 

"So hurry up and cross the bridge now. The person you'd been waiting for all these years has already left too." She grumbled, shooing him with her hands onto the bridge.

"But what about.." Kongpob started.

"You were never planning to drink it in the first place. What are you even asking for?" She grumbled, waving her arm.

"You knew?"

"I know everything to do with this realm, child. I even know that you've been plotting for ages to run past me so that you wouldn't have to drink the soup."

"Heh.." Kongpob didn't know how to reply, it was naive to think he could defy the guardian. But it didn't stop him plotting ever since he had found out about the Soup of Forgetfulness from Deer.

"So stop wasting time and just cross the bridge." Mango repeated again, glaring at him. 

"But.."

"Would you rather I make you drink it then?" She barked, annoyed at the boy in front of her.

Kongpob shook his head furiously, gave a quick wai before scuttling his way down the bridge. It was strange. In his many years of observation, not once had Mengpo allowed a soul to cross the bridge without drinking the soup. And yet, here he was, walking with full memories intact. 

Unsure with what fate had in store for him in his next lifetime, he prayed to whoever was listening to his pleas, to allow him to spend his next life with Arthit. Taking a deep breath, he too gathered his wits and walked into the fog, straight into his next destiny.

Mengpo remained on her end of the bridge, shaking her head. Another presence was felt behind her as she turned to face the other guardian who had arrived in her realm.

"Siming, what exactly do you have in store for those two? If it wasn't for you, I would never have allowed Kongpob to cross without drinking the soup. It is against the rules!" 

The younger deity smiled, flipping the book he held in his hands. "It was necessary for him to not drink it. He has to remember or their original written fates would not come true."

Facing the elderly lady who was still glaring at him, he chuckled. "Don't worry Mengpo, I assure you this is exactly how their fates are supposed to pan out. I've never had a pair of fates so intricately intertwined. I probably couldn't separate them even if I tried to rewrite it. I guess this is what the humans call 'a match made in heaven.'"

Mengpo stared out at the bridge in the direction the two had just disappeared in.

"Indeed, destinies that were meant to be could not be torn apart - not even by the writer of fates himself."

Siming shrugged, nodding in agreement. In all his eternity as the Keeper of Fates, he had truly never seen a bond this strong between two people. He wished them luck, in being able to see all their lifetimes through. It wasn't going to be easy.

Chapter Text

Kongpob stepped out of the Suvarnabhumi Airport and let out a sigh. He was finally here. In the one place that constantly haunted him in his dreams. Pulling out his phone and checking the address he had to go to one last time, he flagged down a taxi and was soon on his way to his destination.

His arrival in Bangkok was one that took years of planning. Kongpob’s parents had disapproved of his decision to return - until now. They knew that the one and only reason he wanted so desperately to come to Bangkok had everything to do with the dreams that he has had since he was a child. It had scared them half to death when Kongpob started talking about a part of the country that he had never stepped foot in, as well as describing events that he could not have possibly known. So in an attempt to distract the young child, they had sent him away to study overseas, staying with his Uncle Danai. 

So as Kongpob grew older, he kept his recurring dreams to himself and never spoke of them again. But he never forgot any of them. He knew exactly why he kept dreaming of these events and more importantly - that single most important person. He woke up each time, feeling a dull ache in his heart and a face full of tears. 

He knew that these were the memories of his past life.

From the point that he had started earning his own keep, he hired a private investigator to search for that person. However with just a name, no age or even a proper face drawing of the boy of his dreams, there was not much he could do. And each time the results drew blank, his heart withered a little.

That was when he decided to put an end to his misery and return to Bangkok once and for all. Regardless of the results, he needed to try for himself. Then and only then, would he be able to give up if he could not find him. 

His parents had tried to talk him out of it but to no avail. They knew their words were falling on deaf ears. Kongpob could be stubborn like that. So Mrs Sutthiluck called up an old friend of hers who was also in Bangkok to ask for a favour - that they took care of Kongpob and gave him support whenever possible. 

One thing led to the other and here Kongpob was, now on his way to meet the Rojnapats and his parents who had flown in domestically from their hometown. His heart was beating a hundred miles a minute as he sat within the cab. The surname of the Rojnapats had coincidentally matched the name of the person from his memories. 

This meeting though, was also supposed to be a fulfilment of an old promise between his mother and Mrs Rojanapat. Being close friends, they had promised each other in their youth that they would let their children marry. This arrangement had been forgotten by both parties but the phone call brought up old memories and a favour from Mrs Rojnapat as well. As much as Kongpob was unwilling to think about anyone else other than the boy of his dreams, he harboured hope that his supposed betrothed was going to be him. Otherwise, he had a full mind to reject the Rojnapats, courteously of course. 

His mother too had not shared much details with him about this supposed arrangement or child of her friend’s. ‘I leave the decision fully up to you.’ she had said, albeit with a somewhat grim expression. That baffled Kongpob a little but he didn’t have the time to think further into it. He figured he would decide on his next course of action after meeting this person. 

Upon reaching the restaurant, Kongpob was immediately shown into a private room where two other people and his parents sat waiting for him. He greeted them all with a wai before putting his things aside and settling down on the opposite side of the table. They had ordered a generous amount of food on the table and were busy asking various questions, directing them at both his parents as well as himself. Kongpob however, could not help but notice that his to-be fiance was nowhere to be seen.

As the dinner went on, Kongpob noticed the two Rojnapats getting increasingly uncomfortable and squirmish. Were they uncomfortable with him as a prospective son-in-law? It was strange that they had not brought his supposed spouse along and he was wondering if it was because their child had rejected this marriage and they had to breach that subject with him. All these, of course were his own speculation but it was evident in their faces that they were having issues breaching the next subject. 

“Kongpob, how much about this marriage arrangement did your mother tell you?” Mrs Rojnapat asked, her voice audibly cracking. 

“Call me Kong, Aunty. Please. My mother didn’t say too much about it. She only told me about the promise you two had when you were younger and wanted me to decide for myself.” Kongpob said courteously, smiling. 

“Ah..” Mrs Rojnapat sighed, her previously cheerful face now dampened with a grimace. “Well Kong, you see.. I only had one son in the end, unlike your mother who had three of you.” 

Kongpob nodded, this much his mother had shared. His two sisters were both married so it was left up to him to fulfil the promise between the two families. His mother knew he had no particular preference when it came to gender and had always been supportive of him. 

“Arthit was his name,” she continued, obviously crying now. 

Kongpob’s breath hitched. Arthit. What were the odds? But Mrs Rojanapat had said ‘was’. He was sure he hadn’t heard it wrongly. 

“Remember Kong, no matter what, the decision is all yours.” His mother reminded him gently, squeezing his hand that was on his lap.

“He was 24 when the accident happened. That was 2 years ago.” Mr Rojanapat took over, as he pulled his wife closer to him. “I know this is going to sound very unfair to you but we would like you to consider going through a ghost marriage with him. He can take on the status of your wife. It would just be a ceremony. You are still free to marry whoever you would like to in the future.”

“We just.. We just didn’t want him to be lonely in the afterlife.” Mrs Rojnapat sniffled. She reached into her handbag to pull out a small photo from her wallet and handed it over to Kongpob with a trembling hand. “That’s my sweet boy. He’s cute isn’t he?”

“Kong, I know this is a lot to ask of you and we fully understand if you would like to reject this marriage.” Mr Rojnapat said with a sigh, while Mrs Rojnapat sat beside him, sobbing silently. 

Kongpob couldn’t answer as he stared long and hard at the photo that was just handed to him. The face and smile staring back at him was all so familiar. Too familiar.

Tears prickled his eyes as he continued staring at the photo. “..Oon..” he breathed out in a soft gasp.

Mrs Rojnapat looked at him, staring with disbelief. “How..how do you know that name? We didn’t tell you. Not even your parents know.”

“It’s.. hard to explain,” Kongpob replied, sniffling a little to hold in his tears. “But I am more than willing to go through with this marriage.” He looked at Mr and Mr Rojnapat smiling, and turned to his own parents. “Shall we set the date?”

The Sutthilucks looked at their youngest son. They were proud of him and yet also worried, of what they had just asked of him. 

To complete this ghost marriage. 

“Kong, are you sure?” His father asked, face solemn. “There may be a lot of people who will judge you. Ghost marriages aren’t something to be taken lightly.”

“We can have a small quiet wedding. It doesn’t have to be anything big.” Mr Rojanapat quickly interjected. “No one other than us has to know about the wedding. It wouldn’t be legally binding or anything.” 

“Aunty, Uncle,” Kongpob started, addressing both elders. “I’m not afraid of a ghost wedding. And even if it was legally binding, it wouldn’t make a difference to me. I.. I have my own reasons for doing this.”

He looked at his parents who were looking at him with confused faces. He nodded gently, assuring them it was really okay. 

“Would.. Arthit be okay being bound to me by marriage? We are both men after all.” Kongpob asked worriedly. The last thing he’d wanted to do was disrespect the dead, much less the one he had been searching for all his life. 

“He.. I think he would be happy with such a handsome husband.” Mrs Rojnapat smiled, remembering her boy.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Mrs Sutthiluck asked quietly, fiddling with Kongpob’s tie. 

“You can still back out of this.”

“Mae,” Kongpob smiled, giving her a light hug. “I’m fine. Really. I want this.”

“But why? If it was because of the promise I made Nan, you don’t..” 

“Mae. Stop, please. It really isn’t because of you.” Kongpob sighed. 

Pulling his mother along gently with him, he seated her gently upon his bed that was adorned with red sheets. Pulling up his desk chair to sit right in front of her, he cradled her hands in his, thinking of the best way to phrase what he was about to say next. 

“When I said it was for me, I meant it.” 

Kongpob took a deep breath, before staring at her dead in the eye. 

“Remember when I was a child.. I told you I needed to return to Bangkok? I told you someone was waiting for me to find him. And everytime I told you about him, I cried. That’s when you told me it was all just a bad dream and that it would stop eventually?”

Mrs Sutthiluck gasped. Surely it couldn’t. No. That would be impossible. 

“It’s Arthit mae. He’s the one I’ve been dreaming about all these years. I’ve never stopped dreaming about him. Not once.” Kongpob admitted, hanging his head. He’d been hiding the fact that he was still dreaming about his past life so that his parents would stop worrying. 

“Oh Kong..”

“I’m sorry mae, but I really want to do this.” Kongpob whispered, a tear leaving its mark on his grey pants. “All my life, I’d wanted to meet him. But now that I can’t..”

Mrs Sutthiluck quickly stood up and pulled her youngest child into her arms tight, hugging his head to her chest.

“I’m so sorry sweetie, I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

“No.. It isn’t your fault. I just.. I wanted to at least have a small connection with him. Then maybe now I could let him go.” Kongpob breathed, tears streaming continuously. 

“I’m sure he would love to have a husband this good looking then. He is a very lucky man.” His mother cooed, stroking his hair gently. “No more tears now, I can’t have the groom of the night looking like a mess. She pulled a tissue and dapped his face softly. 

“Let’s go get your man, shall we?” She smiled genuinely, and Kongpob grinned back, nodding.

Mr Sutthiluck stood outside the room waiting, giving Kongpob a warm hug when he had stepped out. He opened his mouth and was about to say something but his wife tugged on his jacket, shaking her head indicating ‘no’. Kongpob smiled reassuringly, squeezing his father’s hand before stepping up to his future parent-in-laws. 

Mrs Rojnapat caught his hands in hers, as she thanked him. Her voice broke a little as she told him about Arthit.

“He was such a free spirited child. We never really stopped him from doing what he wanted. Not really. Not until..” She trailed off, ducking her head down to hide her tears. 

“He would have liked you.” She smiled tearfully at Kongpob, caressing his cheeks. “You look like his type.” She added on so softly Kongpob wasn’t sure he had heard it right. 

“Thank you for doing this. It is just a ceremony so.. If you ever wished to marry someone else..” 

“Don’t worry about me, Pa,” Kongpob flashed a small smile. “I really do want to do this.”

“Thank you, your mum was right. You are a good boy,” she sniffed. “You can call me Mae, don't be so courteous. We’re going to be family now.”

As the elders moved into their positions, Kongpob took a good look around the hall. He had never imagined things to turn out like ths. He had always thought he would find the boy of his dreams, get to know him and maybe, rekindle some old flames. But this - this was most definitely not what he had expected. To say what he felt now was complicated to say the least. He didn’t quite know how to feel. 

He secretly wondered if all he was destined for were ghost marriages. The last time around, he was the dead partner. But at least he had time with Oon, as a live person. But this time around, the fates really had played a cruel trick on him. He never had the chance to even meet Oon in person. He wondered if ghost marriages still worked the same in this era, if he would eventually be able to meet his dead husband. However, even that was based on the assumption that Arthit had yet to move on. It had been two years after all. 

So here he was, attempting to grab hold of the last thing that would bind the two of them together. He wondered if this was what Oon in felt in their last life, standing here in front of the altar and their parents. Looking to the effigy that had been placed in replacement of Oon to his left, he sighed. Maybe it really was time to put an end to this dream that has literally lasted his entire lifetime till now. 

Once everyone had taken their places, Kongpob moved himself into position wordlessly.

His mother nodded as he took a deep breath to begin the ceremony. It was strange, going through it all by himself. 

A first bow to the heavens and earth for the gods’ blessings.

A second bow to the parents for their good blessings.

A last bow to his partner to signify respect for each other and their relationship. 

Kneeling on the pad in front of his parents, Kongpob offered up the tea to them.

“I hope you get your closure now my dear.” His mother stroked his cheek gently. 

Kongpob nodded, as his father clapped him on the shoulder wordlessly. His parents were soon replaced by the Rojnapats who were both tearing as he offered them their tea. 

“Thank you my boy,” Mr Rojnapat said, wiping a tear away with a handkerchief. “I really hope this brings him joy.”

Kongpob smiled and replied sincerely.

“I hope so too.”

Finally returning to his room to rest for the day, Kongpob fell back upon his bed. Here he was in his beautifully decorated wedding room. It was similar to how he had envisioned his wedding would be like with only one big difference - he was still very much alone. His emotions and feelings had been all over the place the whole day, both anticipating and yet dreading being married.

Holding a picture of Arthit above his head, he sighed. Mrs Rojnapat had very kindly given him a picture of him. In it his smile was so incredibly brilliant Kongpob was sure he would have melted if he ever had the chance to see it in person. 

But he didn't.

Mrs Rojnapat had shared a few things about her son over their first dinner as a family. It seemed like this Arthit had retained a few of his familiar traits from his previous life. It warmed Kongpob greatly that at the very least, it felt like he knew this Arthit a little through the previous, even if he never had the chance to meet him. 

Sighing deeply again, he wondered what his life would have been like if he had actually known Arthit when they were kids. Would they have developed a relationship much like the way they had in their previous life? Was Arthit as cute as he was then? Would he still blush the same way he did? All these answers were now to remain unanswered. Kongpob lightly touched the ring that now sat on his ring finger. It felt familiar and foreign all at the same time. Even though it was meant to just be a ceremony, he had wanted to buy themselves a set of wedding rings nevertheless. 

That way he could truly be tied to the Arthit of this lifetime. 

With his mind full of thoughts of his new husband, Kongpob slowly drifted to sleep, ready to meet the Arthit of his dreams who would never belong to him. The Arthit who haunted his dreams every night. Under his breath, he cursed at the Kongpob of the past, as his heart clenched in pain. 

He would never get to know Arthit in this lifetime.

Chapter Text

Arthit opened his eyes only to be face to face with a handsome stranger. They were lying side by side on the bed with red sheets. It looked to be a wedding night room. He looked around his surroundings. Yeap, it was definitely his room so what was going on?

When the hell did his bedroom turn into this?

Who? What? Why? This was the first time he had been teleported back into his house like this. All this while ever since he had come to exist in this realm, it had been a whole lot of aimless walking in the strange environment. Until his parents provided his house, that was. Then he had a place to rest at night. He had just been strolling around the lake and then he felt a strange woosh. The next minute he was in bed. With a man. Also, now that he had been teleported, his head hurt. Why was he even feeling pain anyway?

He was dead.

A flurry of questions ran through his head before he finally realised that the man had an arm on his waist. He blushed as he tried to ease an arm between their bodies, slowly pushing away. He feared waking the other man up. How was it that he was dead and he still had to go through such a ridiculous situation? Which soul wakes up in bed with a stranger? It wasn’t like he had gotten drunk and found himself awake next to an awkward one night stand. 

“Oon.. Stop moving around..” The stranger murmured. Arthit froze. How did this person know his nickname? Only his parents called him that. The arm around his waist tightened as the stranger spoke and Arthit groaned quietly.

This was absurd. He wiggled gently, reaching a hand to try to pluck off the hand around his torso. But clearly, it wasn’t going to work because all it did was make the man in front of him tighten his grip around him and even pulled him closer.

By this point they were nose to nose and Arthit could feel the other’s breath. This was not good. He could feel his blush creeping up to his face. How does that even happen to the dead? It was most definitely all in his head. There’s no way he could be blushing at the moment. And yet, looking at the man in front of him was definitely making his heart race. His phantom heart that was. 

Arthit groaned again lightly and the man stirred, finally opening his eyes. Staring straight into the other’s eyes, Arthit couldn’t help but feel like he knew this person but he had definitely never seen him before. He would have remembered a good looking face like that. 

“Wow..” The other man said. “I’ve never gotten a first person point of view before.” 

He raised a hand to touch Arthit’s cheek, gently brushing it with his fingers. 

“He’s really lucky to have you.” He murmured, eyes tearing a little. “I don’t even get to meet you.”

Arthit frowned. What did he mean by ‘meet him’? Weren’t they meeting, right now? Enough was enough. It was time to put an end to this confusing encounter.

“Alright mister.” Arthit said, plucking the other’s hand off his face with his index and thumb as though it was something dirty. “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”

He shifted himself away from the other, albeit a little unwillingly. It wasn’t everyday he had a cute guy embracing him, alive or dead. But this was not the time to be lamenting that fact. He had a stranger in bed to deal with. Which was strange. The house had never allowed anyone else in. Ever since his name had appeared at its gates, it was as if he was the only one who could enter - like the house had magically recognised him. He had tried entering other houses but the doors remained dead shut. 

So how did this guy get in?

The other person chuckled as he reached a hand out once again to Arthit, only to be smacked away by the latter. 

“Oi! Keep your hands to yourself! I haven’t decided if you are a friend or foe!” Arthit exclaimed indignantly. Who was this person really? The way he staked his claim on him and touching him as if he belonged to him was unnerving. 

“This is new. I haven’t seen this memory before.”

“What memory? Okay. That's it. Out of my house.” Arthit huffed, trying to push the stranger out of his bed. 

“Woah woah! Wait a minute. We’re having a conversation?” The man’s eyes grew large, as though he was surprised. 

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do throughout the last minute when you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself!” Arthit exclaimed, exasperated. It was such a pity. That such a good looking guy was this stupid. 

“Oon?” The other breathed, as though he couldn’t believe it. “Arthit? Is it really you?”

“Yes it’s me damn it! Why do you know my name! Don’t you think it’s time to give me yours?”

“Kongpob,” the stranger supplied, finally. “Kongpob Sutthiluck.”

“Kongpob..” Arthit mumbled, momentarily distracted by the way the name rolled off his tongue. He shook his head, this was not the time to be romanticizing a person’s name!

“Okay Kongpob, who are you and why are you in my house?”

“I’m your husband, Oon.” Kongpob beamed, flashing Arthit a dazzling smile. 

Arthit blinked. And stared, and blinked again, multiple times. 

“My.. WHAT?” He gawked. 

“Your husband. We’re married. See?” Kongpob said, bringing up his left hand to wiggle his fingers at him. “I thought I was seeing things but I’m pretty sure you have the ring too.”

“What do you mean I have it too? I don’t-” Arthit’s words fell short as he brought his own hand up to look at it. When did this ring appear on his hand?

“How the hell does a dead guy get a husband?” He screeched, making Kongpob wince a little.

“Erm, well, long story short, your parents married you to me. We were betrothed, as children. Kind of.” Kongpob shrugged, grinning once more. 

“So now can I hug you?” He asked cheekily, “husband?”

“What? No wait!” Arthit stuttered before he found himself once again in Kongpob’s embrace. Squirming, he tried to push himself away. “We are not husbands!”

“But we’re married, that’s how I was able to come here.” Kongpob explained. His memories of the previous Kongpob and his conversations with Deer were now coming into great use.

Arthit stopped pushing Kongpob and stared at him confusedly. “What do you mean ‘come here’? Do you mean this house?”

“No, I mean here. This place. Oon, I’m not part of the dead. We had a ghost wedding.” Kongpob tried to explain, keeping his tone light.

“You’re alive?” And Arthit was back to shrieking. “Why on earth would you marry someone who's dead then? And a man at that! What is wrong with you!” 

“Oon, calm down, please.” Kongpob pleaded, hugging the struggling man closer to himself. “I’ll answer any question you have, so just calm down. I have my reasons for doing so but I will need time to share it with you.”

“How do I know you are not some perverted psycho with some sort of fetish?” Came the angry muffled huff against his chest. For once, Kongpob was glad he had actually spent some time working out with Aim even though he was lazy. His strength had really helped in keeping Arthit pinned to him instead of the wild trashing he was sure he’d be doing if he had let go.

“I’m not. I promise. Your mum likes me, you know. I’m pretty sure I heard her say that I was your type.” Kongpob coaxed, gently patting the other’s back to calm him down. 

There was a small moment of silence before an angry ‘you’re not’ floated to his ears again. Kongpob chuckled. Arthit was very unlike the Oon from his dreams and yet, he knew he would not trade his new found happiness that he now held in his arms for anything else. 

One thing was for sure - he couldn’t get to know this Arthit more. 

“Your parents didn’t want you to be lonely, I think, in the afterlife. They thought that if they bound you to me by marriage, you would have a partner at the very least.” He explained earnestly. “I just happened to be the convenient choice, with our mothers making a promise to each other to let their children marry each other when they were older.”

“My parents.. Suggested the marriage?” Arthit asked, pulling away to stare at Kongpob with an expression he couldn’t quite decipher.

“Yes. They were the ones who brought the matter up to me.” He answered, still trying to figure Arthit out.

More silence ensued as Arthit seemed to be lost in his own thoughts. Kongpob didn’t know what it was but he wanted to know. Now that he had the chance, he wanted to know everything about Arthit - including why he was still trapped in this realm instead of going for reincarnation on the 49th day. It had been 2 years, what was Arthit’s unfulfilled wish? As much as Kongpob already dreaded the day that they would be apart, he didn’t want to see Arthit stuck here for eternity. So he quietly made up his mind to help him, along the path to reincarnation. 

“So we really had a wedding?” Arthit inquired.

“Yeah, we did. It was just a small ceremony though. With our parents. There was an effigie that was made to represent you but I must say, it did you no justice.” Kongpob related, throwing a flirty wink into the mix. 

To his wonderful surprise, the other turned bright red, causing him to lose complete control on his train of thoughts. Arthit nodded shyly and ducked his head, hiding it from view. 

How did the other Kongpob survive like this?

“Oh yeah, there was one part of the wedding I didn't get to complete just now though. Because you weren’t there.” Kongpob grinned impishly at the puzzled man.

“Hmm? What?” Arthit asked innocently, bringing his head up to once again face the other.

“You may now kiss the bride.”

Chup

“Kongpob!”

Chapter Text

"Will you stop taking liberties with my body as you wish?" Arthit hissed as he tried to pry himself once again out of Kongpob's arms. Everytime this man turned up in his room, he had his hands all over him. Well, not exactly all over him. But Kongpob most certainly had a preference for having his body pressed up against his so Arthit often found himself being hugged tightly to the other’s chest. 

“But I want to hug my husband,” Kongpob whined, earning himself a smack on the head from the other. “I’ve been wanting to do it my whole life.” 

Arthit cocked an eyebrow at him. “What do you mean your whole life? I thought you told me that you had only found out about our betrothal not too long ago?” 

In the last few days, Arthit had grilled Kongpob over and over again about the details of their marriage, trying to find loopholes in his story as he still couldn’t believe that his parents had decided to get him a husband. It was practically unimaginable. But Kongpob’s story had remained consistent right down to the tiniest detail and Arthit had finally relented to the fact that he, Arthit Rojnapat, was now a married man.

“Erm..” Kongpob dragged, unwilling to meet his eye. 

“Kongpob. What are you not telling me?” Arthit threatened, using a hand to force Kongpob to look at him. 

“Oon..” Kongpob pleaded, but the other kept glaring at him and he knew there was no way out of this. 

Kongpobg sighed. This was not how he wanted this particular conversation to go. He had it all planned out. He was going to make Arthit fall in love with him, then tell him about their past. He wasn’t sure how his husband was going to take the news of them being past lovers. This could go wrong on so many levels. But right now, he had no other way out, with Arthit boring a hole through his face as he waited for an explanation. 

“Oon, do you believe in reincarnation?” Kongpob asked cautiously. 

“Of course I do!” Arthit answered impatiently. “I’ve seen my fair share of souls here heading off for reincarnation and I’m obviously waiting for my turn. What has that got to do with what I just asked you?”

“Then would you believe me if I told you that we were past lovers?” Kongpob murmured unconfidently. 

“Oh.” Arthit breathed. Of all the things he had imagined, this was not one of them. He remained silent for a long while, thinking of the many questions he wanted to ask Kongpob.

“Wait a minute, doesn’t everyone have to drink the soup?” Arthit shot back. Was Kongpob lying to him? How could he remember his past life if that was the case?

“I didn’t drink it.” Kongpob sighed again. This was going to be a long night. “Or at least the previous Kongpob didn’t drink it. “I don’t know why he wasn’t made to, but that’s how it was. Which is why I remember every single detail about our past lives. I dream about it every night. Have been doing so ever since I could remember.” 

“You mean you remember everything? Like, every single thing ?” Arthit asked in both horror and wonder. No wonder Kongpob had reacted the way he did on their first meeting. He had thought he was dreaming. And that he was Arthit, the other Arthit. 

Kongpob nodded, praying hard his husband wasn’t going to run for the hills. Their whole situation was strange. Here he was, the living person trying to convince the dead person that he was normal. Never in a million years had he ever seen that coming. Then again, absolutely nothing about this relationship was normal. 

“Then when you called me Oon..” Arthit’s voice faltered. He wasn’t quite sure what to feel. He had grown somewhat comfortable with the other man over the last few days and was fully ready to accept their relationship but now - this was not something he had seen coming. 

“He.. I mean me.. Agh. The previous Kongpob called him that.” Kongpob explained, “I didn’t know you had the same nickname, until your mother told me.” 

“Wait, you mean my mother knows?” Arthit’s voice went up a notch once again. His parents had knowingly married him to a past lover?

“No, no, no!” Kongpob hurriedly denied. Running his hand through his hair, he groaned. This was so much harder than he thought it was going to be. And this was exactly why he wanted to wait till after Arthit was already in love with him before he said anything about it. It would have been easier to digest at least, he imagined, to accept that he was in love with someone he used to love in his past life. He could have sold it as a romantic notion. But right now he was basically swimming in the deep end with his newly wed husband ready to bolt at any minute. 

“Only my mother knows. The dreams.. They used to scare her. When I talked about you, Bangkok and a time I obviously should know nothing of. I didn’t realise as a child that all the dreams I’d been having were my past memories. But I cried often when I couldn’t find you. I used to plead with my mother to bring me to you. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t with you.”

Kongpob waited for Arthit to say something but the other man remained silent, so he continued.

“Then as I got older, I gained more memories. And there was also a man in my- the other Kongpob’s life, when he was dead. P’Deer. He told Kongpob a lot about the afterlife, about the different matters of the world, about reincarnation. And then of course, I finally saw the memory where I- Kongpob didn’t drink the soup.”

He lifted a hand to brush at the frown that had formed between Arthit’s eyes and pressed a little, attempting to get the other to relax and smooth out the muscles. “So I realised, I was meant to find you in this lifetime too. That’s the only explanation isn’t it? Why I wasn’t made to forget. I was meant to find you.” He smiled, gently stroking Arthit’s cheeks. He wanted so badly to bite onto them but this was not the time. “And I’ve been searching for you ever since.”

“But I’m dead.” Arthit murmured, a little sad. What kind of twisted fate did they have if he was made to die in this lifetime? 

“And yet here we are. Together. It stands for something right?” Kongpob reminded him, hugging him yet again, tenderly stroking the other’s back. “I’d say we have extraordinary fate if even death couldn’t stop us from meeting. Not many people get to say that, no?”

Arthit gave up struggling and slumped into the other’s embrace. It was comforting and he needed that. 

“Does this mean you were literally born to be a pervert towards me?” He grumbled, putting aside his pride and returning the hug. “Was the other Kongpob like this too?”

Kongpob chuckled, pulling him in closer and planting a soft kiss to the top of Arthit’s head. 

“Pretty much yes. Although I’d say he was way more clingy. I’ve actually dialed it down a couple of notches.” 

Arthit pulled back to gape in horror at the order, making an ugly face. “You have got to be kidding me.” 

“Oon, we were childhood friends turned lovers. We’d been sleeping together since we were children. I’m not sure how not clingy you expect me-him to be.” Kongpob laughed, freeing one hand to help Arthit shut his mouth. Which turned out to be a bad idea because the struggling resumed as the other tried to slip out of his grasp once more. 

“No! But! That’s them. We’re us! And, and we’re just husbands. No wait, that came out wrong. We’re erm..” The flustered man babbled, trying to string together a proper excuse on why his husband shouldn’t be so handsy with him. “Husbands-in-training!” He finally decided, earning a ‘you have got to be kidding me face’ from the other now. 

“Okay then this husband-in-training would like to have the other husband-in-training nicely settled in his arms so he can sleep for the night because he has work the next day unlike the other husband.” Kongpob grinned as he once again overpowered Arthit who had put up a relatively futile fight. 

“This was not how this discussion was supposed to go.” Arhit whined, miffed that he had once again lost. Was he ever going to win against Kongpob? Adjusting himself so that he could nestle himself against the crook of his husband’s neck, he asked, “Kong, will you tell me about them, us next time? Were they happy?” 

“Mm.. I will.. I’ll tell you everything next time. And yes, they were happy while they were together. As will we - we will be happy too.” Kongpob promised, voice trailing off as sleep began to lull him away. 

Arthit snuggled himself tight against the other and prayed for the first time in a long time - to be happy with the man who held him like he was his whole world.