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The Hardest Thing I Had To Do Is Not Kiss You

Chapter Text

“A kissing booth? Seriously?”

Pran regards his friends with the most unimpressed look he can muster and they don’t even have the decency to look embarrassed. In fact, Safe is grinning.

“I saw it once on tv,” Safe declares unabashedly. “We’re thinking fifty bahts for a kiss on the cheek and a hundred bahts for a real kiss.” He makes a dramatic smooching noise, and Louis and Wai follow suit. Pran rolls his eyes. “Cool idea, right?”

“Not exactly the word I would use.”

Definitely not the word he would use.

“Aww come on, Pran,” Louis says. “It’s for the department.”

As if that makes it any better.

His friends look at him expectantly and it takes Pran a moment to realize that they’re waiting for him to offer his own participation.

“No.” His response is stern and immediate. His friends start laying on the puppy eyes and he knows they’re about to protest, so he reiterates, “Absolutely not.”


“I’m not kissing anyone. I’ll help with the booth but that’s it.”

They all look like they want to argue but Pran silences them with a look that’s final. They don’t bring it up again.



Fair Day arrives and his friends set up their kissing booth with the help of a few other students they managed to wrangle into participating and it’s… whatever. It’s weird - Pran still thinks it’s really weird - but somehow people seem to find it mostly endearing. They get a steady stream of people coming and going. Some see the sign and giggle. Some ask what on Earth a kissing booth is and how it relates to anything - Pran can empathize. Most people take it in good humour, drop the small fee in the jar, and present their cheek to one of the boys for a quick peck.

It’s weird but hey, as long as they’re making money and everyone is enjoying themselves, who is he to judge? Pran has his own booth to man with a few other classmates, just next to theirs, that sells desserts. Much more civil and hygienic, if you ask him.

It really isn’t a problem until Wai shuffles over to his booth and nudges his arm as he’s in the process of transferring a cupcake from its display into a to-go box.


He’s too distracted in his task to notice that Wai is using the sickly sweet tone that means he wants something and Pran isn’t going to like it.

He hums absentmindedly in response.

“Can you take over for me?” 

Pran drops the cupcake and blurts out a curse.

“Can I take over?" he sputters, as he quickly grabs a napkin to clean up the mess of icing he just made on the counter. "You mean at the kissing booth? To kiss people?”

Wai can’t seriously be asking him to kiss strangers on his behalf. No way. He’s a generous friend, but he’s not that generous.

“Just for fifteen minutes,” Wai adds hurriedly. “I just really need to go to the washroom and I can’t leave my post unattended.”

Pran wants to say no. He really wants to say no. But…



And that’s how he inevitably finds himself stationed at the dumb kissing booth to help his dumb friends who somehow forgot to schedule themselves washroom breaks.

“A kissing booth?” He would recognize that laugh in his sleep. Pat. “Do Architecture students need a fundraiser to get kisses?”

Pran just barely refrains from rolling his eyes. Of course Pat had to come to the booth while Pran was manning it. As if he wasn’t already embarrassed and frustrated enough with this situation.

“Wasn’t my idea,” he says. “I’m supposed to be over there-” He jabs a finger at his own booth, which remains so close yet so far. “But Wai needed to use the washroom so I’m covering for him.”

Pat clicks his tongue as his eyes roam over the massive sign hanging above Pran’s head. ‘Kissing booth,’ it reads. ‘Fifty bahts - Cheek. One hundred bahts - Lips.’

“Covering for him at a kissing booth.” There’s something odd about Pat’s tone, the way his smile is tight, his posture stiff. “What a good friend you are.”

Pran snorts and, in an attempt to lighten the weird mood, says, “You should tell him that, maybe he’ll learn to show some gratitude.”

Pat looks very much like he wants to say something other than what comes out of his mouth, which is, “So what do you- How does this work exactly?”

Pran shrugs. No one but Pat has stopped by yet.

“You put money in the jar, you get a kiss.”

“From you.”

“No, Pat, from the billboard,” he deadpans. “Yes, obviously from me.”

But apparently that’s not the response Pat was hoping for because now he’s frowning - not something he does very often. Pran can’t figure out what his problem is but there’s clearly something.

“But you didn’t sign up for this. Do you want to kiss anyone who gives you money?” No, he doesn’t. Trust Pat to hit the very obvious nail on the head. “You don’t even look like you want to be here.”

He shrugs and pretends it doesn’t bother him as much as it does.

“I don’t but it’s just for a few minutes.” He ignores the voice in his head that says, a few minutes is enough. It’s fine, he can handle this.

“And they couldn’t just close the booth for those ‘few minutes’? They can’t make you-“


Pran’s eyes snap to the girl standing just a few feet behind Pat. She gives them both a timid smile and a wave and says, “Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt, I wasn’t sure if you were just chatting or if there was a line or..?”

There is nothing he would rather be doing less right now than this. Kissing someone he really doesn’t want to kiss - a complete stranger - is bad enough but having to do it in front of Pat, his unfortunate lifelong crush, is a special kind of torture.

Pat was right. He really doesn’t want to be here right now.

But he steels his nerves and ignores the way his heart is aching. He already agreed to help, there’s no backing out now. He’s just about to open his mouth to respond when Pat straightens his back, stands firm between him and the girl, and beats him to the punch.

“How much to reserve you until Wai gets back?”

When Pran looks away from the girl to meet his gaze, he finds Pat already watching him, carefully, clearly waiting for a reaction.

“That’s not how it works.” The words come out before he can really register what he’s saying because what the hell is Pat asking for?

The girl now looks distinctly uncomfortable behind Pat and it briefly occurs to Pran that he should probably shoo Pat away so that he can actually do his job.

But Pat just won’t stop.

“Why not? Kisses are time and it’s the same money either way. Your friend’s probably going to be gone for, what, ten minutes? How many kisses is that?”


Pran’s face feels like it’s on fire, Pat’s question playing over and over in his head on repeat. How many kisses is that?

What’s Pat’s plan here? He can’t possibly be thinking of kissing Pran here, out in the open for everyone to see, for any of their friends to see, for ten minutes. That’s insane, even Pat wouldn’t pull something like that.

“No, I mean it.” If Pat notices Pran’s internal crisis, he doesn’t acknowledge it. In fact, he seems remarkably intent. He’s not grinning like he always does when he’s teasing Pran. Why isn’t he grinning? “How much?”

“Err, I don’t know,” he says eloquently. “A thousand bahts?”


Deal? Wha- Deal?! What’s that supposed to mean?

He watches in stunned silence as Pat rifles through his pockets until he manages to pull out a few bills that get unceremoniously crammed into the kissing fee jar.

“Pat, what are you-“

“That’s one thousand, you can count it.” There’s that cheeky grin, back in action. Pran hates how it makes his heart flutter in his chest. “Which means I get you all to myself for the next ten minutes, right?”

“I- yeah?” He should protest but he has no idea what to say to that.

Pat half-turns towards the very confused - Pran can relate - girl behind him and gives her an apologetic shrug. As if to say, ‘Oops sorry, guess you can’t kiss him. I reserved the privilege for ten minutes, his entire time here.’ The girl takes the hint, bows her head, and scurries off to the neighbouring booth, the one Pran should be tending to instead of getting himself stuck in this mess.

“Great!” Pat claps his hands together, startling Pran out of his thoughts. In one swift motion, he hops up onto the booth table and it’s only then that Pran notices the bag of chips in his hands as Pat dangles it in his face. “Because I brought snacks.”

Pran doesn’t know how, after all these years, Pat can still manage to surprise him.

“Don’t you… want your kiss?”

Pat laughs through a confused frown as he tears the bag open and shovels chips into his mouth. “Of course not.”

Well, that’s…

Part of Pran is relieved. Pat just saved him from having to kiss a total stranger. And from having to kiss him, which would be a million times worse. Kissing Pat once and never being allowed to do it again isn’t a problem Pran ever considered, because he never expected the possibility of reciprocation. Now though, he suspects the thought will haunt his every waking hour for the foreseeable future.

The other part of him can’t help but be crushed. Of course, it was ridiculous of him to even consider that Pat might want to kiss him, but he never asked to be given such a cruel reminder.

Still, it does beg the question: If Pat doesn’t want a kiss and isn’t just teasing Pran as usual… what’s his goal here? 

Pran gets so lost in his thoughts that it takes Pat poking at his lips with a chip and asking, “Want some?” to startle him back to reality.

Pran stares blankly at him, his brain still buffering.

“Open up,” Pat says. After a token protest that their friends might see them - which Pat easily refutes because “they’re not here and everyone else will just think I’m teasing you” “you are teasing me” “not like that, you know what I mean” - Pran rolls his eyes and obliges.

Pat spends the next ten or so minutes telling every passerby, “Sorry, come back later, this guy’s kisses are all reserved.” Even after the fifth time, it still sends a tingle up his spine, makes him unconsciously wet his lips. He has to ball his hands into fists just to stop himself from grabbing Pat and making him put his money where his mouth is.

People start giving them the stink eye. Pran can’t bring himself to care. When Wai returns and Pran has to shoo Pat away, he’s almost disappointed. Pat winks and blows him a kiss as he jogs backwards to his own department and Pran’s heart soars. What an idiot, Pran could fall in love with him again every day for the rest of his life.

If he can’t stop smiling for the rest of his shift at the dessert booth, no one needs to know the reason why.



That evening, Pran paces in the space between his and Pat’s rooms for what could just as easily be seconds or hours before finally making up his mind. His hand doesn’t even touch the door before it’s being swung open.

“Didn’t I tell you to just come in if you miss me?” Pat muses from where he stands in the threshold, looking more amused than he has any right to be.

Pran’s reply is immediate and practically instinct at this point. “I don’t miss you.”

“No?” Pat leans against the doorframe and smirks. “Then did you come here to confess your undying love?”

Pat,” he hisses, ignoring the rush of heat to his face. “Be serious.”

“Okay fine,” Pat raises his hands in mock surrender and makes an intentionally ridiculous ‘serious face’. “Then serious talk, why have you been pacing in front of my room for the past ten minutes?”

“Seven and a half,” Pran corrects without thinking.

“You’ve been counting.”

And just like that, Pat’s attempted seriousness flies out the window and he’s grinning from ear to ear again. Typical. Pran wishes he didn’t find it unfairly endearing.

“Pat, listen.” Because this conversation is going nowhere and he came here for a reason. “Can we talk?”

Pran isn’t sure if it’s his tone or the infamously dread-inducing words ‘let’s talk’ that has Pat’s smile wavering, but somehow the severity of the situation finally seems to hit him. 

“Yeah, sure.” Pat steps back and gestures towards his room. “Come in.”

Pran does.

Pat closes the door behind Pran and turns to face him and, for a moment, they stand in awkward silence in the middle of the room, neither quite knowing what to do or say. Pran knows that he’s the one who asked to talk in the first place but now that he’s here, he’s not quite sure how to put his thoughts into words.

“About today.” It’s a terrible way to start, Pat already looks confused. Pran tries again. “At the kissing booth?”

“What about it?”

I haven’t been able to get the idea of kissing you out of my head since then, he doesn’t say.

He plays it safe, goes for a half-truth. “You’re always talking about owing each other. You ‘owe’ me for saving Pa, I ‘owe’ you for offering to move out. You helped me out today and I just- I don’t want to owe you so I-“

“Hey wait, wait!” Pat interrupts. The implication seems to have caught him off guard. “You don’t owe me anything for that. I just… you looked uncomfortable. I wanted to help.”

Pat smiles reassuringly at him and Pran’s heart melts. It’s moments like these that remind him of why he fell in love with Pat in the first place.

“But you know, if you want to make it up to me… I can think of something.” Pat bats his eyelashes and he’s using that voice and Pran doesn’t trust it for a second.

“What?” he asks cautiously.

“You could have a nice little chat with your friends about them making you do things you don’t want.”

Yup, there it is. Something stupid.

“Pat,” Pran deadpans, unimpressed. “I’m being serious here.”

“So am I!”

“We are not having this conversation.”

“If you don’t want to do it yourself, I can.”

“Pat! Do you want your stupid kiss or not?”

Shit. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

They stare at each for a moment, both reeling from his accidental outburst, and it’s stifling. In fact, it’s probably the most stifled he’s ever felt around Pat, who’s usually his comfort zone. Now Pat is staring at him as if he just grew a second head. As if the thought of kissing Pran is that absurd. To him, it probably is. Pran shouldn’t have brought it up.

“Do I what?” Pat blurts out eventually. Pran can practically see the gears turning in his head. “You’re still stuck on that?”

Well, it’s too late to backtrack now.

Pran sticks to his guns, stands taller, sticks his chin up, and says, “You didn’t answer the question. Do you?”

Pat lets out a mirthless laugh in response. That’s it, that’s his confirmation. Pat finds the idea of kissing Pran ridiculous. Of course, it’s easier this way but… well, the hopeless romantic in Pran had always kind of hoped.

“I’m sure you’re an excellent kisser.” Pran doesn’t miss the way Pat’s eyes drop to his lips for just a millisecond. “But I would never kiss someone just to soothe their weird sense of duty.”

Pran can read between the lines: Pat doesn’t want to take advantage. Okay, so he’s not necessarily against kissing Pran.

Feeling slightly emboldened, he decides to test the waters. “What if…” But here’s the hard part - admitting what he knows he shouldn’t. “What if I said that wasn’t the only reason?”

There’s immediate understanding in Pat’s eyes - of course there is, Pat has always understood him best - but it’s hesitant, as if he thinks he just figured out the answer to a complex puzzle but doesn’t want to get it wrong.

“Is there?” he asks. Pran has never heard him speak so quietly. Or sound so vulnerable. “Another reason?”

Can’t answer that. He chickens out.

“It’s just a kiss.”

“You think you would be able to stop at one?” Pat winks.

No, he doesn’t. In fact, Pran is quite certain that kissing Pat would ruin him for kissing anyone else ever again. Because this is a terrible idea, worse even than a kissing booth. But… well, he finally has a valid excuse to kiss Pat, if Pat wants him too. It’s likely the only chance he’ll ever get. He thinks he deserves to be reckless and not think things through for once.

“Is that a yes?”

“Not until you give me a good reason.” Why is Pat being so persistent? “Try again.”

He can’t.

There are a million things Pran wishes he could say out loud right now. He wishes he could list all the reasons.

Because I’ve wanted this since we were kids.

Because I want to know what kissing you would feel like.

Because I want to engrave the memory into my brain, let it consume my mind for the rest of eternity. 

Because you’re the only person I’ve ever wanted to kiss.

Because I’m hopelessly in love with you.

He wants to say it all and more. But he can’t.

So instead he shrugs as if kissing Pat is no big deal, isn’t completely life-changing, and says, “Practice for the next time I get stuck in this kind of mess.”

“Uh-huh.” Pat doesn’t believe him at all. “And that’s it?”

Pat doesn’t need to hear the reason, Pran can tell that he already knows what it is. What Pat actually wants is a concrete confession. And Pran can’t give it to him.

“Do I need more reasons?” he asks instead. “It benefits us both and I figure you’re probably a decent kisser so I-“

“Woah, hey! Decent?”

“Yeah, decent.” Pran gives him a cheeky smile, dimples intentionally on full display. “Did I stutter?”

The laugh Pat lets out for that is genuine, finally, and Pran has to actively control his facial muscles so that he doesn’t just respond with a dopey smile.

“Okay, Mr. Pran.” There’s a glint in Pat’s eyes that he can immediately identify. Understanding, amusement, endearment, desire. He’s seen that last one on Pat before but could never be sure that he wasn’t just imagining it. Wishful thinking or something like that. This time though. This time, he’s sure. “I see how it is.”

They step towards each other, completely in sync, like two magnets naturally drawn together. Precious seconds tick by and it feels like the moment lasts a whole millennia until Pat finally reaches out and cups Pran’s cheek.

His breath ghosts over Pran’s lips as he says, “Shall we test your theory then?”

Pat draws a circle over Pran’s cheek with his thumb and that’s the final straw, what tears down Pran’s carefully built walls, his last ounce of control and caution. For once, he doesn’t think about the consequences. The man he’s been in love with all his life is cradling his cheek, just barely brushing their lips together as he speaks, and inviting Pran to take the last step, with eyes that are now fixed on Pran’s lips.

Screw the consequences.

Pran doesn’t even think twice before closing the rest of the distance between them and pressing their lips together like he’s always wanted to. And it’s… god, it’s amazing. Kissing Pat is everything he could’ve ever hoped for and more.

Pran expected kissing Pat to be like everything else they do. A competition, a battle, a push and pull to be in charge. It isn’t. Pat kisses Pran like he’s something to be cherished. The kiss is firm and confident and intent, but also remarkably gentle. Like Pat isn’t in a rush, like he wants to savour the moment. Like he’s been waiting for this as long as Pran has.

Like he’s in love.

They pull away too soon.

Pran isn’t sure if it’s him or Pat or both that moves, but they press their foreheads together and the contact serves as Pran’s anchor. He tries to hold on, to let it ground him so that he can think straight again. But then he makes the mistake of opening his eyes and sees Pat’s half-lidded gaze, watching him, drinking him in, Pran feels his uneven breath on his lips, and he knows he’s doomed, he’s so doomed. There’s no way he can give this up.

“Not bad,” Pran lies through his teeth. ‘Not bad’ is a gross understatement and the look Pat gives him says they both know it. “But I bet you could do better.”

Pat hums distractedly. His gaze flickers from Pran’s eyes back down to his lips.

“No, of course, hardly my best work.” Pat breathes against his lips and Pran desperately wants more.

“Yeah? Prove it.”

And that’s apparently all the encouragement Pat needs to thread his hands into Pran’s hair and pull him back in for a second kiss. One that’s all teeth and tongue and years of pining. Pran asked for an impossible ‘better’ and Pat seems intent on providing exactly that. Pran is quick to reciprocate. He pours everything into the kiss and is beyond thrilled that Pat is giving just as good as he’s getting, that Pat’s just as eager, that he wants this just as much. It’s too much and it’s not enough, all at once.

This time when they part, it’s for air and it only lasts a second before Pat starts peppering Pran with small kisses on his chin, his cheeks, his nose, like they’re lovers, and Pran’s chest feels like it’s going to explode with fondness for this idiot. Pat drops a kiss on his lips, clearly intending to keep it short, but Pran follows him for another and Pat hums into it, delighted.

“Do I get my whole ten minutes?” Pat teases between kisses, bumping their noses together playfully.

It’s so, so tempting to grab hold of that excuse, of any excuse. Any reason to stay close, to stay in Pat’s room, to keep kissing him. Pran wants to give in so badly.

“I owe you that much,” he says. “Do you want it?”

It’s the wrong thing to say. He watches Pat’s smile fall and he already knows the answer. He can see it in his eyes. Not if you don’t. Not if we’re going to pretend it’s just a debt you had to repay.

But that’s all Pran can offer him. Sincerity and affection behind a thinly veiled disguise.

So when Pat’s grin returns but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes, and he backs away and says, “Let’s just say we’re even.” Pran simply nods and turns to retreat.

“But Pran?”

It takes him a second to gather the nerve to glance over his shoulder. He’s scared of what he’ll see.

“Not this,” Pat says. The smirk is gone. All Pran can see on his face is sincerity and vulnerability. It’s too much, he needs to leave before he does something stupid. Something more stupid than what he’s already done. “This doesn’t count as a favour.”

Because this was real, goes unsaid but remains understood by both of them.

Pran can’t agree without giving too much away and can’t disagree without hurting Pat, so he says nothing, simply nods stiffly and flees to his own room across the hall.

If he dreams of soft lips and what-ifs that night, and wakes up to the regret of having indulged too much in the fantasy of being allowed to be in love, then that’s between him and his tear-soaked pillow.

Chapter Text

“So.” Pran sets down his food tray and slides into his usual spot at their group’s lunch table. “What are we thinking of doing for the fair?”

Three pairs of eyes land on him. He doesn’t like their matching glint.

Safe is the one who speaks up first. “We want to do a - drumroll please -“ He gestures to Wai and Louis who immediately oblige by drumming on the table. Pran frantically glances around for professors and tries shushing them to no avail. “A kissing booth!”

Pran groans. Of course they want to do another kissing booth, he should’ve known. After the surprising success of their booth last year, they’d spent the entire next month holding it over Pran’s head. ‘See?’ they’d said. ‘Told you it was a good idea!’

“Guys, no,” he grouses. “Not this again.”

“But it did so well last year!” Safe insists. “Come on, you should join!”

Louis nods, “We would make so much more money with you there.”

Pran has to bite his tongue to keep from scathingly remarking that the only money he made them last year came from the jealous and protective streak of a certain someone. Knowing Pat, the kissing booth would be put on hold for Pran’s entire shift if he participated. Somehow he highly doubts that’s the outcome his friends are hoping for.

“No.” He puts his foot down. Last year is not going to happen again. “Count me out, you’re on your own again.”

“Please?” It’s Wai who prods this time, but both Safe and Louis are matching his pleading eyes. Pran wants to flick one of his noodles at them. “Just a short shift, only kisses on the cheek, it’s-“

Wai’s words trail off as he makes eye contact with something over Pran’s shoulder, but before Pran can turn to see what he’s looking at, a pair of strong arms drape themselves across his shoulders, hands clasping over his chest, and he already knows. Pran could easily recognize him by touch alone, even long before they started dating.


Pran leans into the familiar touch immediately.

“No can do, guys.” Pat rests his chin on Pran’s head and Pran can feel, more than see, the grin spread across his face. “His kisses are all reserved. From now ‘til forever.”

Pran cranes his head up to look at him as best as he can. He’s rewarded with Pat nuzzling his hair.

“Someone’s ambitious,” he jokes.

“And competitive,” Pat replies without missing a beat. “Which means I can’t lose.”

“Is that so?”

Pat mockingly ponders the question and Pran can already guess what he’s going to say.

“Well, I did used to have one worthy competitor. But I don’t think he’s going to fight me on this.” He grins at Pran and bats his eyelashes, as if Pran needs any convincing. “Do you?”

Pran tips his head back further to plant a kiss on Pat’s nose and smile at his ridiculous boyfriend.

“No, somehow I don’t think he will.”

The smile Pat flashes him is probably just as ridiculously fond as his own and he couldn’t care less. He’s waited forever to have this, to have Pat by his side. He thinks they deserve to be disgustingly in love.

“Okay okay, we get it, no kissing booth for you,” Wai gags, but Pran knows at this point that it’s all in good fun. And a little bit because since they’ve started dating, he and Pat have remained attached at the hip. His friends joke that it makes them feel really single, but he suspects it’s not entirely a joke. “You can stop with the PDA now.”

“And no bathroom breaks either!” Pat points accusingly at Wai, who just scrunches his nose in an inoffensive grimace and looks very much like he wants to stick his tongue out at Pat in retribution. Pran doesn’t hold back his smile. Seeing his boyfriend finally getting along with his friends makes his heart feel light.

Then Pat leans down and whispers into his ear, “Wouldn’t mind repeating what happened after though.” and they’ve been dating for almost a year, but somehow it still manages to make heat rise to Pran’s cheeks that he desperately hopes his friends can’t see.

Pat,” he hisses, elbowing him in the stomach with less force than he deserves. “Get off, we’re in public.”

“So? I can’t cuddle my boyfriend?”

“You can cuddle your boyfriend after he’s done eating.” It’s too late, Pat dug his own grave. They both know Pran is more stubborn. “If you behave.”

Pat gives him a quick squeeze and a peck on the cheek before releasing him and replying with, “Then eat quickly.”

Pran doesn’t dignify that with a response beyond a snort and an eye roll, instead just slides over the tray of food that he ordered for Pat while he was buying his own.

The whole table chats amicably for a few minutes - Pran mostly eats and listens to them, Pat and Safe guiding most of the conversation and him throwing in his two cents when he can take a break from chewing and swallowing - before Pat spots Korn in the distance, then the rest of his friends, and he waves them over. His friends who, as per their routine, presumably made their way directly here after the class they shared with Pat.

“Wait, what time did your class end?” Pran doesn’t really have to ask, he has his boyfriend’s schedule memorized. He checks his watch and raises an eyebrow at Pat. “Did you run here?”

“Yup, made pretty good time too. I should join the track team.” Without even an ounce of shame, Pat grins at him, leans over, and whispers, “I just really missed my boyfriend.” Pran still never gets tired of hearing the word. My boyfriend. Judging by the grin on Pat’s face, he hasn’t gotten tired of saying it either.

Pran really can’t help it when Pat says things like that so what happens next is entirely Pat’s fault because he knew exactly what he was doing. It was probably all part of his master plan.

Pran throws one leg over the bench so that he’s sitting sideways, facing Pat, and Pat, who’s beyond in tune to Pran’s body language by now, immediately twists to the side to receive his kiss. It’s gentle, it’s close-mouthed, and it’s quick because they have an audience and Pran does still have some self-restraint, but he revels in it nonetheless. Pat does too, if the way he curls his hand around the back of Pran’s head and pulls him back in for a second kiss, obligingly but reluctantly short, is anything to go by.

They only break apart for the sound of someone - almost definitely Korn, who’s typically the most… vocally supportive of their friends - wolf-whistling at them. The rest of their friends, however…

“Oh, come on, we literally just got here and you’re already-“

“If you two don’t stop, I’m leaving-“

“I’m trying to eat here-“

“No, please. Don’t stop on our account-“

“Ugh, just get married already-“

Pat and Pran burst out laughing. Their friends roll their eyes and elbow them playfully. It escalates until Pat gets into a wrestling match with his friends as they taunt him relentlessly for being a sap, and Korn makes sure to tousle Pran’s hair to let him know that he isn’t off the hook either. Pran swats him away and successfully dodges a second attempt, which of course makes all eyes fall on him, like hunters to a fleeing target. He spends the next five minutes trapped in a chokehold by Korn as Wai messes up his hair and he squawks in protest. It’s going to take him forever to look presentable for his afternoon class but he can’t stop smiling regardless.

Once he’s free and everyone’s sitting - mostly - and chatting at a volume that should have a professor screaming at them, Pat reaches over to hold his hand. Pat smiles, Pran smiles. He interlocks their fingers and continues eating, only half listening to their friends rambling on nonsensically. It’s chaos, but it’s their chaos and it’s perfect. Pran wouldn’t have it any other way.