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Do You Believe in Fate?

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Arthit doesn't remember dying; one minute, he's laughing with his friend, and the next, darkness. He doesn't understand why in death, he was brought back to his room. While he doesn't remember his death, he will never forget watching his friends pack his belongings.

"The juniors will miss out," Bright cried when he picked up a maroon hazer shirt, "he was the best out of us. We gravitated to him for a reason. How do we do this without him?"

A sob echoed in the room; Arthit froze when he located the source. If Arthit was the light, then Knott was the glue that held them together. He watched his strong friend crumble to the floor.

"I'm starting to forget what he looked like because all I see is his blood-covering bruised face. You weren't in the car that night; every time I close my eyes, I see the life drain from his eyes," Knott looked in Arthit's direction, but straight through him, "do you know he smiled at me as he died, he thanked me for being his friend. Why do I get... why am I alive and not him?"

One of Arthit's shirts flew across the room; Prem clenched his jaw, "because some alcoholic couldn't be bothered to call a taxi, we lost our friend."

Bright held Arthit's hazing shirt in front of himself, "Do you think Arthit knew I teased him because that's how I show I care? The last thing I said to him was a joke."

Arthit couldn't move from his spot in the corner of the room, forced to watch as Bright cried into the maroon shirt. He knew, of course, he knew. They were his closest friends; he knew them better than he knew himself.

"Another person died that night," Tutah finally spoke, clutching a manga tightly in his hands, "the son of Siam Polymer Group's CEO. He was enrolled in this university; he would have been a freshie. The semester is about to start, and we have this tragedy looming over us. Arthit would know how to handle this; P'Tum made him the head hazer for a reason."

Knott picked himself off the floor and grabbed another box, "the Dean said we needed to have this cleared out before the weekend is over. Two days to erase any trace he lived here, that he existed."

Bright handed the maroon shirt to Knott; the other raised an eyebrow.

"You should wear it as the replacement head hazer."

"I don't need to; I have my own."

Bright wiped tears from his cheeks, "one of us has to wear HIS shirt. He's dead, but he won't be forgotten."

For two days, he could only watch. Arthit expected his friends would be sad if he died; it was morbid to have that thought while alive. Even so, he wasn't prepared for Bright's tears or Tutah's silence. Knott sewed himself together, but his eyes showed the pain he desperately tried to hide. And Prem, the anger radiated off him like smoke from a fire. There was nothing he could do for them now.

When the last box was in Knott's hand, Arthit cried. The fact he died sunk in; this wasn't a nightmare. He'd never see his friends or family again; they didn't know he was trapped in this room. The lights turned off, and the door shut for the final time. Arthit screamed,

"Please, don't leave me here alone. I don't like the dark."

He ran to the window, and the light from the courtyard dimly lit his surroundings. His head fell into his hands, and he cried harder. "Why am I here? I don't want to be alone forever."

The silence mocked him, but then he heard,

"Excuse me, can you hear me?"

Arthit's head whipped in the direction of a new voice; he scrambled towards the other. The boy smiled,

"You can see me?"

Arthit nodded, "you're trapped in this building, too?"

"I guess so. I was in my room alone for two days. All of a sudden, I was with you."

"How did you die?"

I don't know, I didn't even realize until I tried to stop one of the movers my parents hired, and my hand went through his arm."

"I watched my friends pack my room. It was hard to watch. I couldn't tell a stupid joke to make them laugh; or tell my friend who was there the night I died not to feel guilty," Arthit sighed, "I'm Arthit, by the way. I was going into my third year. It seems we are stuck together for a while, might as well get to know each other."

The other boy chuckled and sat down on Arthit's bed, "I'm Kongpob, I was a first-year, or at least I was supposed to be."

"I'm sorry you didn't get to experience your first year. You didn't get to make new friends or meet your seniors."

"In death, I met you, so not a complete loss," Kongpob smiled wide, and it threw Arthit off balance. Can a person still feel butterflies after they die? Arthit, get yourself together. You can't be weird around the only person in this afterlife. He decided it was safer to be quiet; Kongpob didn't appear to mind the silence.

The moonlight shined through the window directly over his face; Kongpob was handsome, someone Arthit could see being the Campus Moon. He shook his head with a sigh. Their lives were cut short; he never had his first kiss. He would never get married or have children. There were many things he'd miss out on. Arthit paced in front of the window.

"If I hug you, will it help you stop pacing?"

That stopped all movement; Arthit didn't remember the last time he hugged someone. It must have been his mother. He hugged his mother when he saw her last, right?

"I'm sorry, that was too forward. My sister paces, just like that. She told me when I hugged her... she... Can ghosts even touch each other?"

The younger's voice trailed off as if he finally understood what he lost. Arthit took pity on him and sat next to him on the bed. He put his hand facing upwards in the other's lap, who didn't need any further prompting to lace their fingers together.

"Khun Arthit, how long do you think we will be here?"

"I don't know," Arthit squeezed the younger's hand, "if we are trapped together for eternity, you might as well call me P'Arthit."

Time passed differently in the afterlife. The two of them laid on his bed most days, talking about their life. Arthit learned that Kongpob wanted to go into economics but decided to make his family happy and chose engineering as his major.

"I would have been your head hazer."

"You would have been a great leader, P'Arthit. I'm sure of it."

Arthit sighed, "I wish we could have met while we were alive."

"We met once."

"What?" Arthit's turned his head to face the younger, eyes wide.

Kongpob smiled, "it was the day of my interview. I was alone, overthinking. You came over and sat down next to me like you knew I needed guidance. The more you talked about your interview experience, your face lit up; I knew this was the place for me."

There was something unspoken by the tone of the younger's voice. Arthit couldn't place it, but even in the short time he knew Kongpob, he knew there was more to his story.

"P'Arthit, do you believe in fate?"

"I never gave it much thought," Arthit turned his entire body to face Kongpob, "why do you ask?"

Kong cleared his throat, a tear rolled down one of his cheeks, "I came here for you, to see you and know you. You intrigued me; it felt that if I chose to come here, I'd get something more than an education."

"Kongpob..."

"Then I died. I sat and stared at the same four walls for 48 hours, trying to make sense of why I was trapped here. The next thing I know, I'm in your room, and you're dead too. Was this always supposed to happen? Were we destined to die together? There has to be a reason we are confined together in your room."

Kongpob shifted to face the older, and Arthit swore he felt his heartbeat anew.

"P'Arthit, death isn't as terrifying with you by my side."

He couldn't take it anymore, the way Kongpob's shy smile lit up the room; even with tears staining his cheeks, Arthit can't think of someone more attractive. He reached out to cup the younger's face, brushing some tears away with his thumbs.

"Kongpob, I'm going to kiss you."

The younger hummed his approval; Arthit pulled him closer as he hesitantly pressed their lips together. Hands found their way into his hair, softly scratching the base of his scalp. He wasn't sure if this was how a kiss was supposed to feel, as he never kissed anyone while alive. Kongpob bit at his bottom lip, and a moan escaped him. He didn't expect kissing to feel this pleasurable; they are ghosts after all.

There's no need to breathe, but Kongpob pulled back slightly, inhaling deeply from habit, "I could kiss you all day, P'Arthit. I suppose I can. Nowhere to be, no one to interrupt us."

Arthit felt his cheeks get warm, cursing he still blushes in the afterlife. Kongpob kissed down the right side of Arthit's neck; he paid close attention to the pulse point. The mood was heating up; until the door flew open. The two sprung apart, even though no one can see them.

Two men entered; one dragged a large suitcase behind him, groaning as he pulled it to the center of the room, "My best friend dies before we can start the semester together. Kongpob didn't even want to be an engineer, but it would have been nice to have a familiar face. And when I think my luck is finally turning around, I find out the only available room in this place belonged to the other dead guy."

Kongpob stayed impossibly still; his jaw dropped slightly. Arthit pulled him back into his arms; he remembered the feeling the first time he encountered his friends. "It's okay. I'm here," he kissed the younger man's temple.

A guy with glass raised an eyebrow, "he didn't die in this room; calm down."

"Oak, what if he is a ghost and haunts me for stealing his room."

The man named Oak flicked Em in the forehead, "if you're afraid of a ghost, one that doesn't exist, how are you going to handle the head hazer?

"Kongpob would know how to handle it. He always knew what to do," the pale man paused, "it sucks that out of all the people in this world, he had to die young."

"How did he die?"

Em cleared his throat, "he was hit by a drunk driver. He was walking outside a restaurant with his sister. The driver swerved into the wrong lane, hitting another vehicle. He pushed his sister out of the way. The impact killed him instantly. The driver of the other vehicle died that night as well. Two people walked away from the accident, the passenger of the struck car and the drunk driver who caused it."

Kongpob started shaking in Arthit's hold; he spun the younger around to see more tears streaming down his face.

"Kongpob, look at me. Ignore them; it's going to be okay."

"How is any of this okay? I'm dead; we died. Now we are trapped in this stupid room with my best friend. Who gets to do all the things we won't be able to do. I can't take you on dates, travel the world, stress over exams, or introduce you to my family. I didn't get a chance to do anything, and... I never will."

Arthit runs a hand up Kongpob's arm, "I understand, but we can't change the past. I'm not going anywhere. How do you know we can't leave this room? We haven't tried."

Kongpob stared back at the door, "you're right... we never even tried to leave," he bit his lip, "should we?"

"Would it make you feel better to know?"

The younger quickly nodded, and Arthit sighed,

"Then come on, let's do this."

Arthit walked around the two freshmen; he didn't want to figure out how it felt to walk through a person. He glanced back; Kongpob wasn't far behind. They stared at the door for a few minutes before Arthit took a deep breath in and pulled them through the door. He slowly opened his eyes to see they were in the hallway. They could leave his room. They weren't trapped within those four walls for eternity.

"P'Arthit!" Kongpob smiled wide enough to cause his nose to scrunch up in a way Arthit would forever find adorable, "we made it. We can leave the room. Does that mean we can leave the building? Want to travel the world with me? Please say we can travel the world together."

Arthit laughed at his childish nature, "Okay, okay, calm down. I'll follow you any and everywhere, but first, let your head hazer show you around campus. Give you the first-year experience."

"Are you going to make me run laps?"

Arthit chuckled, "shut up, and follow me."

The older held out his hand for the younger to take. Sure, dying before finishing college wasn't what Arthit had planned for his life, but as Kongpob took his hand, he thought maybe death wasn't the worst thing to happen to him.