Actions

Work Header

help me enjoy the fall

Chapter Text

Pat watches with narrowed eyes as the captain of the other rugby team returns to his friends at their table – he’s walking quickly, he looks sort of tense, and Pat thinks there’s something off. He can’t really see the friends’ faces, but after the captain speaks, some of them down their drinks and the others just start getting up without finishing. He stands up slightly.

Korn pulls his shoulder down and scolds, “Man, stop looking for trouble.”

He shakes his head and shakes off Korn’s hand, saying, “I’m not! I think those guys are trying to leave without paying.”

As Korn is shaking his own head and telling him to stop making other people’s problems his own, Chang leans over in his seat, squints, and says, “Nah, there’s a bunch of bills on the table.”

“See – everything’s fine, man, finish your drink!”

Something still feels off, but Pat does as he’s told and downs the drink in front of him. He feels sort of jittery. Where is Wai? He’s been keeping an eye on him since they got here, but he lost track a couple of minutes ago.

Mo starts in on Korn for some bad joke about the name of the song playing over the speakers but Pat can’t even make out the song over the chatter in the room and the growing pounding in his ears; something is wrong. Why did they leave so quickly?

He turns to look over his shoulder, checking that none of those guys are waiting by the door, before standing up.

Pointing to the toilet, Pat says, “I’m just…”

This is stupid. Nothing is going to happen – the bar is crowded and noisy, but it isn’t rowdy.

He turns the corner.

There’s a prone form lying by the entrance to the toilets, and a woman who must have just emerged is standing back against the wall in horror, hand over her mouth. The form’s arm is covered in blood – a lot of blood.

Pat runs to Wai’s side.

Distantly, he feels grateful for the first aid course his dad made him take in high school. The course had been more about sports injuries than anything else, but that guy was another rugby player, right? He goes through the motions without having to think about it, looking up to tell the woman who still hasn’t moved, “Call an ambulance! I think he’s been shot.” She responds in a high, panicked voice, but he doesn’t listen, only paying enough attention to her that he’s sure she is in fact calling.

How can he have been shot?

The question doesn’t have an answer. Pat is kneeling by Wai’s side, in his blood, when people come in behind him, but he can’t feel relieved – these aren’t paramedics, he can hear the voices of his friends reacting with the shock he isn’t letting himself feel. How long has he been in here? It’s been long enough for them to notice and come looking for him, why isn’t the ambulance here-

 

The next time Pat feels anything other than that dull panic, he’s seeing Pran walk into the waiting area. Fuck, he looks devastated. They notice each other at the same moment, and Pran thuds into Pat’s open arms before Pat even realises he’s stood up.

“Hi,” Pran mutters into his shoulder.

Pat turns his head, presses his face to the side of Pran’s, breathes him in.

The moment can’t last – he has to point Pran to the nurse who had all the questions and made Pat realise that he’s not even sure of Wai’s full name. Pran keeps hold of Pat, gripping his shirt tightly, the whole time he’s giving her all the details he has. The lights in here are too bright.

When Pran’s done, they’re pointed to the chairs and told to wait.

They sit in the not-really-silence of the waiting room for a while, not talking but pressed up close, before something Pran said to the nurse occurs to Pat.

“His dad might not be able to come?”

Pran doesn’t look at him when he answers, “He works far away. I don’t know if he’d be on shift right now, but if he’s not I’m supposed to be able to make some decisions because he doesn’t-“

Pat is sure his boyfriend’s about to start crying, but his face stays dry.

“He doesn’t have anyone else,” Pran continues. “That’s why we’re still here. He probably won’t want me here, but I have to be until his dad gets here.”

The dull, flat tone worries Pat, but there isn’t really anything to say. He never wanted to cause this rift. He rubs Pran’s side slowly, letting him lean all his weight on Pat. He can hold it.

People flow in and out of the room, and that’s the only proof that time’s passing. Pran sinks his head into his hands, but Pat just keeps staring forward, trying to focus on the people around him instead of what he remembers from earlier. Shouldn’t someone have told Pran something by now?

As he’s thinking it, someone does. A doctor approaches and Pran jerks upright, eyes wide, before slumping with relief. Pat should be relieved too; phrases like “out of the woods” and “been stabilised” are streaming past, but all he can really hear is the part about the blood transfusions. There was so much of it, he remembers.

Look at the family across from us, what’s that game they’re playing? He thinks to himself, turning away from the other image. He stares at them firmly until he notices Pran putting his phone to his ear.

He looks directly at Pran again; he’s fiddling with Pat’s sleeve, turned slightly away from Pat like he’s looking for privacy, but it’s in his normal speaking volume that he’s saying, “I thought I should let you know. I’m calling Safe next, and I’ll text you the details when I know what floor he’s on. Bye.”

Pat tilts his head – that’s not his normal phone voice. As Pran scrolls his contact list he glances at Pat with something that’s near to a smile and says, “They’re probably both asleep, I got voicemail. I don’t think they’re ignoring my calls after today.”

Pran leans backwards onto Pat as he makes the second call, identical to the first. Before he puts it away, Pat sees on the phone screen that it’s nearly four in the morning and he wonders how that happened.

They stay in that position for a while longer, and Pat’s pretty sure he’s sobered up now. It’s probably the lighting in here that’s giving him the headache. He leans over and kisses the top of Pran’s head and then just leaves his mouth there. He’s so tired, but he’s also the sort of jittery he normally gets after the third coffee of an all-nighter. How did this happen?

When Pran’s phone eventually does ring, Pat first feels him lazily fumble in his pocket to glance at the screen before he sits up suddenly. He’s pushed back a bit, and he makes an attempt at the joking pout he’d normally go for but Pran isn’t even looking.

Urgent, Pran says, “It’s Wai’s dad.”

Pat feels his own spine stiffen into a more respectful posture, like the guy’s about to start walking in here in person. He watches Pran accept the call and hears a voice that might be frantic or angry – he’s speaking loudly and quickly, only leaving room for Pran to respond with single words.

When Pran does get to say a full sentence, it’s, “I’m already here, sir. Of course I will.”

The response to that is quiet enough that Pat can no longer hear it, but it’s as long as the opening barrage.

He hangs up, and Pat looks at him expectantly.

“He’s on a work trip. He’s rushing back, but it’s going to be twelve hours, so I have to stay.”

Pat is nodding along to this when Pran continues, “You don’t have to stay with me, you should-“

He interrupts with a wordless huff and pointedly settles back into his original lounging position. No way.

After a short pause, Pran does the same thing, leaning back onto Pat and half-closing his eyes.

Chapter Text

Pran anxiously drums his fingers on his now-dead phone, glancing down the hall towards where Pat seems to be getting annoyed at the police officer’s questions. He really hopes he doesn’t say anything stupid. He glances the other way then, at the door of the room Wai’s finally been moved to, and also hopes he doesn’t say anything stupid.

All of Pran’s favourite people are very impulsive.

It really grates to know that Wai is finally awake and be unable to see him, even though he knows full well that Wai won’t have anything to say to him. If he could just see for himself that Wai is talking, it wouldn’t matter what he has to say.

Or maybe it would – the one in the room with Wai storms out, looking harried, and goes over to his colleague. He seems to interrupt Pat midsentence, and Pran watches anxiously while they seem to decide together to dismiss Pat. Hopefully Wai isn’t about to get arrested.

Pat walks back to Pran and the nervous creature inside him calms a tiny, tiny amount. He grabs Pat’s hand and looks at him, not sure what to ask.

Pat shakes his head and says, “He was being really weird. He didn’t seem to care at all about who the other guy was even though I told him I could give a description. He just wanted to know what kind of person Wai is, I guess? The questions were weird.”

Alarmed, Pran starts, “You didn’t say-“

“I didn’t say anything bad.”

The police officers walk past them towards the exit; neither looks at Pran and Pat or at Wai’s door. They don’t seem to be arresting Wai right now, at least.

The hallway isn’t exactly empty, but everybody here has their own job to do and none of them are paying any attention to Pran and Pat, so he looks both ways and leans in to kiss Pat’s cheek before he enters the now-open door to Wai’s room. The kiss helps with the nerves, which he has no reason to be feeling anyway – the doctors were very clear that he’s almost certainly going to be fine. Now.

He’s holding his breath as he shuts the door softly behind him.

Wai’s always looked sort of delicate to Pran, even though he’d never say it to his face, but that impression is magnified with him looking so pale, lying right in the middle of a hospital bed with an IV leading to his bandaged shoulder. He finally breathes out as it really hits him, how completely Pran could have lost him.

More completely than he already has.

He walks so slowly as he approaches the bedside that he thinks it would be funny, if things could be funny. He braces himself for what Wai will say to him.

Wai’s eyes are open but he’s squinting at the light, so it takes him a couple of seconds to focus on Pran. When he does, he says, “Oh, hey. Do you know what’s going on?”

Shocked by how pleasantly he’s being addressed, Pran says, “You got shot.”

Wai laughs.

As Pran’s wincing, Wai replies, “Yeah, the police officer told me that it happened at work? I told him I don’t remember, but there’s CCTV through the whole bar. Then he just,” he nods to the door, “Fucked off.”

Pran nods, now knowing what Wai’s asking.

“I don’t know the guy’s name, but he was from the other rugby team you played against today so I’m sure they’ll find out,” he tells him. He considers telling him where that information came from, but he doesn’t want to agitate Wai in this state. He likes having the excuse to pretend.

While he’s considering, Wai is moving on and tilting his head as much as he can, lying down in bed like that. He fixes a squint on Pran and says, “Hey, am I mad at you about something?”

It’s really, really stupid that this is the first time all night that Pran can feel himself tearing up. He doesn’t cry, though – this isn’t the time for that. Instead he says, “Yeah I think we’re both mad at each other. For a few things, now.”

For example, you got yourself shot, he doesn’t say.

Wai clearly hears it anyway, glancing down at the bandage on his shoulder. This distracts him and he says, “The doctor said… I can’t remember what the doctor said. Except I shouldn’t play rugby again for months.”

Sometimes Wai reminds Pran of a grumpy toddler, and he’s making that face again.

“The doctor told me that you might lose some movement in your arm permanently, but you aren’t in any danger as long as you don’t get tackled. Or punched,” he finishes. One of those can be avoided by just not playing rugby, but the other… Pran isn’t sure.

Wai huffs.

Leaning back onto his pillow with his eyes closed, he asks, “Is that guy here?”

It feels like a blow. He doesn’t sound as angry as he tends to when Pat comes up, but the venom is definitely still there. He wants to say that yeah, Pat’s the one who found you and held some of your blood in when the paramedics weren’t there yet, he’s the one who called me and let me know what was going on, without him you might be-

Wai opens his eyes when Pran doesn’t respond.

Pran nods.

He sees Wai screw up his mouth like he’s about to spit out something cutting, and Pran lets his feelings go dull and empty again, but he doesn’t say anything for a long moment. They’re still making eye contact, Pran waiting for Wai’s judgement, when they hear familiar raised voices outside.

Louis and Safe sound pretty panicked, and he can just hear Pat’s calm responses; he hopes they aren’t giving Pat a hard time. He feels a pang seeing Wai relax in response to their voices, and he takes a few steps backwards from the bed.

His steps back are just in time; they rush in, not bothering to close the door behind them, and hurry to Wai’s side. They’ve picked the opposite side to the one Pran’s standing on, which he tries not to anxiously read into.

After they’ve fussed over him a little and Wai has started playing the tough guy, Safe looks up at Pran and says, “We tried calling you back like half an hour ago bro, you didn’t pick up.”

Louis is feeling Wai’s forehead with the back of his hand while Wai protests that the doctors know more than him, neither paying any attention to the exchange, so Pran is quiet in his response of, “My phone died, I didn’t think to bring my charger when Pat called.”

He winces internally after he says it, hoping the others won’t hear the name, but Safe is just nodding, “Yeah that makes sense, man. Thanks for calling us.”

Is that him being dismissed? He didn’t think Safe had anything against him, after the game, but maybe that was just the heat of the moment.

He’s overthinking.

Even if he is overthinking, caution is his general practice, and this isn’t the place for any kind of confrontation; he was even annoyed when the police officers got here, even though he wants that guy caught as much as anyone. Besides, if Louis and Safe have seen his texts and come here, it must be morning; he should get food or something.

Pran slips out of the room, closing the door softly, and returns to Pat.

He doesn't look back to see all three of them watch him leave.

Chapter Text

Paa is halfway through applying her eyeliner when her phone rings, displaying her brother’s name, and she rolls her eyes and considers ignoring it. He thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world to call her and demand the delivery of some small item across the hallway like he doesn’t have his own legs. He always calls back if she declines, though, so she picks up with a sigh.

She’s glad she did.

When he hangs up, she texts one of her classmates in a panic, asking if he’ll cover for her that morning. Without waiting for a response, she gets her bag and shoves a phone charger into it, before pausing and going into the kitchen. If something bad has happened she wants to bring better food than can be found at the hospital, so she brings the lunches she has prepared for the next three days. Then she runs to the bus stop.


 

Louis and Safe turn to each other after Pran leaves the room; Louis raises his eyebrows at Safe, then tilts his head towards Wai, like, should we say something? Safe shrugs at him. All the while, Wai is still glaring at the closed door.

Things have been awkward.

Wai just keeps staring at the door.

Eventually, Louis decides on a distraction and says, “I would say I can’t believe someone shot you, but I’d be lying.”

“Motherfucker!” Wai responds.

Louis laughs but glances sideways at Safe to see if he’s noticed – Wai is still staring at the door. Safe makes a face at him; he’s made it clear to Louis that he thinks whatever’s between Wai and Pran is their own business. It’s not like he’s wrong, but…

Safe rolls his eyes at Louis and tries, “Louis is right, man. If you told me last month that one of us would be shot I would put my life savings on it being you.”

Finally, Wai turns his attention to them, saying with deep annoyance, “What fucking life savings? Motherfucker you have never had a job-“

Backing off with his hands in the air, Safe concedes the point and Louis laughs at them both. Things are more comfortable after that, but that’s not a happy thought itself, really – Pran’s always been the core of their group, and he doesn’t want to have to exorcise his presence from any room with Wai in it before they can have a conversation.

Eventually, Louis works up the courage to bring up one point, saying into a quiet moment, “Do you remember it happening?”

Safe hits him in the arm and hisses, “Dude!” but he came in to the hospital the same way Louis did, so he has to know where Louis is taking this one. Wai might not, though.

His face is scrunched up when he says, “Sort of? Not the actual shot, but I remember him pulling the gun on me, and trying to back off and calm him down. Then I remember-“ he cuts himself off, swallows, “being on the floor.”

Nodding wisely, Safe says, “Ahhh, there’s your problem. Wai tried to calm a situation down.”

Wai gestures like he’s going to hit Safe, but he can’t move from his position on the bed, so Louis selflessly steps in and punches his shoulder. He receives a solemn nod of thanks from Wai and an offended pout from Safe, and then he takes a preventative step back.

It’s not entirely to prevent Safe from hitting back, because he continues, “But do you remember who found you on the floor?”

Returning that glare to the closed door, Wai says, “Nope.”

Louis wonders whether he’s really going to leave it there. He doesn’t want to push anything, really. He just wants the group back. They can hear the noises of the hospital through that closed door, and the sound of traffic through the partly-open window. It doesn’t take long for Wai to look back at them this time.

“But you guys know who it was,” Wai accuses.

They exchange panicked looks.

“He was bragging about it out there, before you came in, right? I know he’s still here.”

Safe is faster than Louis in his denial because Louis is picturing what Pat looked like when he pointed them in and told them how bad it looked; Wai doesn’t notice his distraction, moving on to his next thought.

“Or was it Pran? He’s the one who called you, I bet he bragged about how his- that guy was the bigger person again, like he’s not the biggest fucking hypocrite-“

While Safe is saying, “Hypocrite? When did Pat shoot you?” Louis is laughing incredulously.

“Bragging? Pran? Man, I know you don’t really believe that.”

Wai looks away, nods in what might be a concession, says, “How else would you know?”

Louis licks his lips and thinks how to phrase it, but Safe beats him to it.

“No-one had to brag about it, man. It was kind of obvious.”

“Huh?”


 

She runs up three flights of stairs and bursts onto the floor which Pat had directed her to. Then a left turn by the vending machine, and-

They’re both fine. Her stupid brother and his slightly-less-stupid boyfriend are sitting on the floor of the corridor, eating crisps, apparently uninjured. They’re fine.

Paa contemplates murder.

She calls out to them as she approaches, and Pran looks up at her with a tired smile and a wave. When she gets closer, she realises she wasn’t exactly right. They both look really, really tired, and her brother’s clothes are…

“Hia! I would've brought you clothes if you'd said!”

He looks down at his shirt, then to Pran, then back up to where she now stands over him. He looks confused; has he not noticed?

Clearly disregarding his confusion, Pat asks, “Did you bring the charger at least?”

She nods as she sits down across from them and starts digging in her bag for it while telling them, “I also brought food, I knew you wouldn’t have anything nice here.”

Pran thanks her sincerely but quickly, turning away with the charger and immediately starting to stare at his phone impatiently. As she’s handing Pat the lunches, some nurses come through behind her and her brother scolds, “Sit against the wall next to us, so inconsiderate.”

His heart doesn’t exactly seem in it, though, and as she obeys instead of sniping back, Paa finds herself wondering, “Have you been here all night?”

He hums, prodding at the salad in the tupperware box he’s been handed. “Since about midnight, I think.”

She glances past him at Pran and notices that even though he has his back turned to them, clearly focused on his texts, the two of them are holding hands. Pat’s thumb is stroking Pran’s.

Softly, Paa asks, “What actually happened?”

Pat’s the one who glances over at Pran this time, and his voice is nearly a whisper when he says, “His friend Wai got shot at the bar we were celebrating the match at, I found him.”

She tries to remember which one Wai is and asks, “Is he the sort of… pointy one?”

He nods, but his mind is clearly far away.

Until it’s not. He shoves her shoulder and says, “Hey, don’t you have three lectures this morning?”

She punches him much more lightly than she normally would and says, “Yeah, my brother called me asking me to bring his charger to the hospital and didn’t tell me anything else so I came quickly!”

Pran looks up and says, “Pat, you didn’t tell her what was going on?”

Pat looks between them rapidly. They both raise their eyebrows at him.

He gets his stubborn face on and says, “You should still go to your classes,” before breaking off and looking at Pran, who must have nudged him, because he tacks on, “Alright, I’m sorry. Go to your classes.”

She really shouldn’t be missing them; her second lecturer this morning is notoriously strict. She sighs and stands up, but before she leaves she says, “If you’re still here when my classes end, text me. I’ll bring you a change of clothes.”

“What for?”

Chapter Text

“-Not missing any fingers,” Safe is saying when the door cracks open.

Wai can tell it isn’t a doctor or nurse straight away; his own laughter cuts off at the sight. Even before Pran comes into view, that cautious, slow entry to a room is exactly what he used to do in the days and weeks following his transfer. Something sour curdles in his stomach.

The other two keep laughing, chairs angled towards each other and letting them pretend not to see that Pran’s come in. He sort of hates them for it. He sort of hates Pran for it too. He knows who’s really to blame, though.

Pran stays by the door, not even approaching this time. He came close earlier, before Wai remembered, and he wishes he could think Pran was taking advantage of his state at the time, but.

He hates everyone in this room right now.

“Hey,” Pran says.

The other two are having an eyebrow-conversation about it, but Wai ignores them and nods. See? He’s being nice. Pran nods back, so the other two can stop looking like Wai just personally kicked their puppy to death. It’s almost like things are normal, just the two of them having one conversation right past Louis and Safe’s own, stupider conversation. Except the other conversation is about them, and theirs is the stupid one.

Pran waves his phone in one hand, saying, “Your dad’s flight just landed, he’ll be here in about forty minutes.”

“Oh,” Wai says. He’d heard Pran saying it earlier, that his dad was on his way, but it’s just sinking in that he’s cutting a survey trip short for this. It’s a relief that he’s on his way, sure, but…

The other two are smiling at the news, but Pran’s making a face about it.

He’s only got one best friend.

Pran won’t leave the hospital without Wai telling him to, he knows, and probably even then he won’t leave until Wai’s dad gets here, but he also won’t stay in this room if nobody asks him to. The other two are going to keep staying out of it, because they’re only meddlers when nobody fucking wants them to be. They’d all be winning if he actually asked, though.

The room is filled with another awkward silence.

He licks his suddenly-too-dry lips and says, “Hey, um.”

Everyone turns to him with wide eyes, and it takes everything in him not to tell them to fuck off. Everything about this is so embarrassing.

He manages to continue, “I remember seeing that ponytail guy, sort of. Was it the engineering guys who found me?”

Louis and Safe can have all the staring contests about it they want to, Pran is the only one who needs to believe he only just remembered. He keeps his eyes on Pran’s and wills the other two to stay quiet.

“Yes,” Pran says, taking a single step away from the door. “They found you. That’s how I found out.”

Oh, come on. Wai feels himself sneering against his will; why the fuck is it just an implicit well, of course if they know I know thing? Pran’s not an engineer. Wai finds himself hissing that at Pran, who doesn’t step back.

He also doesn’t say anything back, even though he could. Wai can see that he wants to; everyone here knows why Pran gets information from the engineers now, and probably since last year too, so why is Wai the only one getting upset? Wai also sees him tilt his head and shake away the thought, choosing not to respond. At least he’s sort of getting pissed off.

It’s one of the most annoying things about Pran, the way he won’t just tell anyone why he’s mad at them – even sometimes that he’s mad at all. Everything has to be a secret with him. It makes it easy to hurt him without even knowing it, and Wai had thought they’d got past that part of their friendship back in high school. He doesn’t know if him being wrong about that makes him feel more angry or guilty.

Louis and Safe’s expressions push him towards “guilty”. He looks down so he won’t see Pran’s.

He counts his breathing and says, “It’s good that those guys told you. I’m glad you’re here.”

It’s fucking humiliating.

On the edge of his vision, the other two jump out of their chairs in synchrony.

“We should go to afternoon classes-“

“I need something from the library-“

They flee before Wai actually looks up.

When he does, Pran is softly closing the door behind them. For some reason, Wai’s heart twists at the sight. It’s thoughtful of him.

He watches Pran walk up to the bed, this time to the side with the chairs, and pause before taking a seat on the one closer to Wai. It’s cheap plastic, and the legs scrape loudly against the floor with the force of Pran sitting down.

He can see the clock ticking; it’s just above the door. Forty minutes until dad gets here, and Pran probably leaves. He wouldn’t if Wai asked, but that would be going further than even what he’s working up to right now. He’s not planning on being that vulnerable even with Pran. Pran who knows everything; Wai remembers what they used to talk about.

Stop putting it off, idiot.

“Your parents don’t know about- about your boyfriend?”

Pran blinks rapidly. It might be at the question itself or at how he phrased it – it feels stupid, but saying that guy’s name would piss him off more than saying “your boyfriend” does.

He watches as Pran puts his stubborn face on and says, “They don’t.”

Wai doesn’t break eye contact as he says, “If they do find out, it’ll be my fault.” He doesn’t say it like a question because it really isn’t one.

Even so, Pran looks at him like they’re in a study group and someone has just said something that’s mostly correct, but simplified too much for Mr Perfectionist. Still, he nods once.

Wai feels sort of giddy to see Pran making bitchy faces at him about this, to be honest. That’s why he has to stop himself from smiling; it’s easy enough to do, because the next bit is the part he has to say. He really doesn’t want to.

At least the door’s closed, he thinks. He starts counting his breathing again. This is important.

Eyes closed, Wai says, “I’m sorry.”

After a few seconds he opens them to see Pran sitting there with his mouth literally hanging open. It doesn’t make the burning embarrassment go down.

The second hand on the clock keeps moving. Eventually, Wai nods at the door under it and says, “But I won’t say it to him, he’s a dick.”

At least Pran finally closes his mouth at that, but he still doesn’t actually say anything. This was a stupid idea. It might be guilt that compels him to make his next offer, or it might just be the awkwardness of sitting there without anybody speaking.

“I will thank him if you want me to, though.”

Pran starts crying. What the fuck.

Wai must make a noise of alarm, because Pran looks up and wipes his hand over his face, but his eyes are still shiny.

He feels himself panicking slightly as he says, “Seriously, go and get him, I won’t do it after this-“

Pran laughs – it’s sort of wet laughter, but Wai will take it as a victory in this moment.

He goes to the door and Wai watches him lean out and over, like he’s talking to someone on the floor. His head pops up, and he sees that guy’s hand come into view; he’s wiping Pran’s tears away.

They talk for a couple of seconds in the doorway, that guy still standing just out of sight. Also still cradling Pran’s face.

Wai looks up at the clock.

They come in and walk to the chairs, but neither of them sits down this time.

Wai looks back at them and nods towards the chairs. He tries not to feel annoyed because that guy’s sitting in the closer chair now.

It means Wai can see him in full when he looks down, and the sight of him is like a blow. Not his stupid, smug face, which is the same as ever – he must have washed in the bathroom or something. Because his clothes are-

He remembers Safe saying “It was kind of obvious.” How has nobody spotted him and told him to wash up? This is a hospital, aren’t things supposed to at least look clean?

The red and blue of his shirt are spotted and streaked with dark brown, but it’s his jeans that are really- The knees are both black, the left leg is stained stiff, and Wai vividly remembers a moment when his shoulder was being held tightly on top of something warm.

Pat is covered in blood.

For some fucking reason, Wai asks, “Is that my blood?”

Pran laughs again, but he’s not going to call it a victory this time. Who else’s fucking blood would it be?

Pat looks down at his own clothes in surprise, and Wai watches realisation hit him.

Before he can reply to Wai’s comment and send the whole thing off-track, Wai diverts everyone’s attention by clearing his throat.

“Thanks.”

He really does not like watching people have conversations with their faces, but apparently that’s just his fate today. Pat looks amused, Pran resigned, and that makes Wai annoyed again but… he’s not as annoyed as he usually is by the reminder that they’re together. It’s probably the blood.

Still, he doesn’t like the laughter on Pat’s face, so he decides to finish it properly. “You tried to calm that guy down when he was being the same kind of dick as you and then you,” he closes his eyes and grits his teeth, “saved my life or whatever, in the bathroom. Thank you.”

He looks at Pran, not Pat, in the aftermath; this is part of his apology to Pran and they all know it. Pran’s smiling at him, so the embarrassment is fine.

“Did you just call me a dick?”

“Pat,” Pran hisses. He also nudges Pat, because they’ve pushed their chairs close enough together that they’re practically cuddling.

Pat smiles brightly at Pran before turning back to Wai with a smirk and saying, “Don’t worry about it. I have to look out for my boyfriend’s friends, right?”

He feels the ghost of his hatred for the engineering guys rising at that smirk, but he finds himself letting it go. He looks at Pran’s soft smile and realises it’s aimed at both of them.

For the first time, Wai looks Pat in the eyes without glaring. He nods.