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Hear’s to University!

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Arthit

On the first day of third year, Arthit wakes up in a cold sweat. Today is D-Day, the day that he and his closest friends have been training for since the end of their first year of studies.

And he’s feeling damn scared.

Rolling over in bed, he opens his group chat on Line and quickly sees that Bright is thoroughly excited to start hazing freshmen, Knott is more reserved, Prem is growling already about all the extra work and Tootah is worried that his maroon shirt isn’t going to fit him anymore after a summer of fun and excess.

Scoffing to himself, he drops a message to meet in the hazing room within the hour, and then clambers up and prepares for his day. He thinks that he’s going to be okay, but if he doesn’t get access to some pink milk soon, that could all quickly change.

After showering, he grabs his already overflowing rucksack, his bike lock keys and unplugs his phone from where it’s charging. Time to go and face his fears.

Time to be the best head hazer he can, make P’Tum proud and whip the freshmen into shape!

-

It’s not long before the time comes to meet the freshmen. Arthit knows that the second years are having fun with them in the cheering hall, but he can’t do that with them just yet. Instead, it’s his responsibility to make sure they learn to behave: to be on time for class, to be respectful to their teachers and their seniors, to work hard and to be both a team and to stand on their own feet.

It’s a hard task and he takes a moment to remember his own head hazer, P’Tum, who had made him so terrified in his first few days that he had ended up waing to a tree for hours. It’s an embarrassing memory when he looks back, yet it was an important teaching moment and he’s glad it happened as it reminds him that whatever he says to his juniors could have a serious (and long lasting) impact on them.

Suddenly, it’s time and the hazers gather in the centre of the room, Arthit quickly reiterating the plan for the first session. He feels a little thrill rush through him as Knott pats him on the back, and Arthit gives him a strained smile in return.

“It’s going to be fine Ai’Thit, let’s go haze some freshies!”

The rest of the circle burst into shouts and cheers and then they line up in order, smoothing down their hair and straightening their engineering shirts, schooling their expressions into something serious (a hard task for Ai’Bright who has to ask for extra time to prepare.)

It’s time for Arthit, normally calm and studious, to put on a performance worthy of the big screen.

It’s time to be Head Hazer.

-

Arthit is genuinely nervous as he barks at the freshmen, but then he’s into the swing of it and is starting to find his rhythm, doling out punishments as needed, giving them a rundown of what hazing is, when one of the first years interrupts his flow.

His hand goes up in the air politely but before Arthit can even nod at him, he’s on his feet.

“Kongpob. Student number 0062. May I have permission to speak?”

Arthit desperately wants to say no because he’s feeling a little but vulnerable, even though he’d managed to hold out his gear without his hand shaking. But he can’t say no every time a Freshman wants to speak, so he let’s him.

“I think one week is not long enough to collect all of those signatures.”

Absentmindedly, Arthit notes that this boy is going to be in his co-line family soon, even as he disagrees with him and insists it must be done as he says.

There’s a certain kind of look on the boy’s face that suggests he thinks otherwise, and Arthit immediately goes on the defensive, angrily giving him his orders, then sweeping out of the room, the rest of the hazers following in his wake.

He’s trembling inside, but tries not to let his anger spill out of him. Instead, he squeezes his hands into fists at his side, like his mother taught him, and marches into the hazing room.

“You told them, Arthit!” Bright laughs, as the door snickers shut behind them. “Nicely done, this is going to be so much fun, I’m going to get so many phone numbers from the freshy girls!”

“Hey! It’s not about getting numbers,” Knott insists, smacking his hand across Bright’s head, “It’s about them getting to know us and to trust us, that’s why we do it. You know that!”

“Yeah, but one or two numbers can’t harm can it?” Bright grins and then heads out with Tootah to grab some dinner.

Beside Knott, Arthit is changing out his maroon shirt into another identical one that he brought with him, after Tum’s advice that he would probably sweat buckets his first day. He certainly has, his nerves getting the best of him even if he had hidden it away.

“You did good, Arthit.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, it was just enough. Next time, we’ll have to see how things progress.”

“What about that Nong, 0062?” Arthit asks as he grabs his bag, ready to head out for dinner too.

“He’s going to be in your line code family, you should have a little think about how to handle him, it seems like he might be..”

“A bit of a hero?” Arthit asks.

“Exactly, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.” Knott opens the door and ushers Arthit out in front of him.

“A hero complex.. hmm.. hard to squash, but if we don’t, he’ll try to walk all over us.”

“Then, you better think of a way to deal with it.” Knott spins his bike keys on his fingers, “Want a lift?”

“Already on it, and no thanks, I’ve brought my bicycle today,” Arthit frowns as he heads home, mind already ahead with the huge pile of third year work that has somehow built up over just three lectures today. It’s going to be a nightmare to stay on top of it all and he could do without that freshman causing problems for him as well.

It’s when he’s sitting at his desk later on that he remembers a tiny detail he must have shoved to the back of his mind. That freshman, 0062.. Kongpob he’d said his name was, had the most intense stare Arthit had ever experienced. The way his eyes had stayed focussed on Arthit the whole time he was reprimanding him.

It had been a powerful gaze and he made a note that he should try to see if he could squash that out of him also - sure, respect including paying attention to your seniors, but that level of stare.. It was a bit disconcerting, intimidating and soul searching, like he was interested in stripping Arthit to the skin or something.

But no, Arthit tells himself as he tackles a particularly difficult set of equations for his Calc course, Kongpob was just looking at him like a junior watching his senior and his head hazer. That’s all. It had just been..intense.

Arthit brushes his thoughts away and groans as he finishes his Maths and opens his production notebook, staring down at his messy scrawl - he is definitely going to need to neaten up his notes this year if he is going to maintain his GPA.

It’s late - after 11 - when he finally rolls into bed, remembering to put his phone on charge at the last second before he drifts into an exhausted sleep.

He doesn’t remember in the morning, but that night his dreams are dominated by an intense pair of sparkling brown eyes and a warm voice asking his permission to speak, challenging him, over and over, on repeat.